We are currently creating a new approach to online learning, focusing on helping professional learners to achieve a specific career development objective: the need to move from role X towards role Y.
Working alongside ACCA we have identified 3 different points at which their members often need help to make the next move on their career path(s) and are now creating learning experiences designed to enable people to develop and home the likely skills they will need to make that move.
This involves look at a learning pathway in a slightly different way. We are not considering a single subject with a set of desired learning outcomes, but a wide range of subjects and a learning outcome that will be unique for every learner.
Too hard? Possibly, but when you start to think in terms of learning pathways rather than topics then it starts to come together. What if you could get a similar group of people together with access to a variety of learning resources and then encourage them to explore, to share their learning, to discuss their experiences, ask questions of each other and finally to support each other to achieve their goal(s)? That sounds like the social aspect of online learning that we have been using successfully with professionals for the last few years within our courses, just on a broader scale.
We know that contributions to discussions are fairly easy to come by – most people are very happy to share their opinion on a topic! But real conversation and debate is harder to promote. We are exploring the idea of a facilitator and a series of scheduled events that bring people together, alongside a set of weekly compulsory activities that end in sharing and discussion. We're also continuing the ongoing development of the contributions feature of our Imago system to simplify the process of responding to specific posts and alerting other contributors when a conversation is taking place.
This is all exciting stuff (for the development team anyway!) and ensures that we are also moving forwards - towards achieving our own goal, of ensuring that our system and our courses continue to enable professionals to learn successfully online and meet the demands and expectations of people who want real social learning.