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Partnership and CPD

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The Development Partnership Scheme and CPD
by Brian Holley

A vision for CPD

Imagine being able to access training provided by virtually all the major professional associations. Let’s say you are a member of an institute in need of developing your skills in an area tangential to the mainstream activities of your professional body. By accessing a Professional Associations’ Learning Portal on the Internet it would be possible to undertake the required training, either on-line or by booking yourself on to a course. Naturally, such a state of affairs will require a considerable level of co-operation between disparate bodies, but the educational, organisational and economic benefits are overwhelmingly attractive.

Members could have access to an enormous array of learning material. Organisations could save money by not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and they could actually make money by attracting course fees from the members of other bodies as well as those of their own.

The starting point to achieving this could be the Sherpa Development Partnership scheme.

The E-learning Component

To benefit from a system for sharing professional knowledge, such as we have suggested above, we would need to have a common platform for delivering learning material. E-learning could provide part of that common platform. With e-learning it is possible to build ‘learning objects’. These are discrete elements of learning which can be ‘bolted’ together to create courses. For instance, a ‘learning object’ covering objective setting might be used in compiling a course on project management, one on proposal writing and one on strategic planning. Think of how much that would save on course design.

But e-learning is a highly complex learning medium and skills used in designing classroom learning do not automatically transfer. Indeed, a Department for Education and Employment report published in early 2000 and called Authoring for CBT and Interactive Media says:

“A typical TBT [Technology Based Training] author will NOT have received specific training in the many skills required for TBT development, such as analysis skills, instructional design, writing aims and objectives, question techniques and answer analysis.”

E-learning needs to be part of the solution for distributing knowledge; it cannot be the whole solution. We still need classroom training, coaching, mentoring and distance learning etc.; but we need to ensure that each element of a learning programme is designed to integrate with all the others. Nowadays a course might consist of an e-learning introduction, a one-day classroom workshop, some mentoring, an on-line simulation and a follow-up session. This ‘blended’ delivery method is called ‘integrated learning’ and has been shown to be up to four times more effective than traditional delivery methods.

Development Partnerships

If you commission an e-learning course from one of the many providers, you will incur heavy costs. First you will need to teach the writer all the material related to the subject matter. Then you will need to edit and check various drafts over a period of months. E-learning developed this way is certainly not a cheap option. It will be much more cost efficient to produce your own material. After all, you have expertise in the subject matter and it is only a question of learning how to produce e-learning content. Once you have that skill in your organisation, you can produce course after course with little additional cost.

Since, as the DfEE have shown, few e-learning providers currently have the skills to produce good quality e-learning content, you also ensure that the material you present to your members is of the highest quality. To ensure that the components of e-learning courses are as high in quality as, and integrate with, classroom courses, Sherpa Integrated Learning Ltd has produced a learning programme called Designing and Writing E-learning Content. This course, based on the Institute of IT Training competencies, can be undertaken purely on-line or as an integrated learning programme. Government sponsorship is available through the Individual Learning Account scheme and the course is recognised by The Institute of Continuing Professional Development. You can qualify at two levels: certificate and diploma. The certificate is awarded on successful completion of the course work, the diploma on the production of content for a full e-learning course.

Becoming a Development Partner

There are two ways to benefit

1. Those wishing to write their own e-learning content:

(a) Send us a résumé and a sample of your writing (this may be a course handout). If we think you will be able to benefit from the course, you will be invited to join the next available group.

(b) We will visit you to discuss your needs and find out how you and your organisation would like to benefit from the scheme.

2. Those not wishing to write their own e-learning content:

We are building a team of experienced and qualified Training Partners who can undertake the writing for you.

Generating Income

With either scheme we will provide full technical and editorial support and, if you wish, you can put either whole courses or individual learning objects into the ‘pool’ for access by other bodies. By this means your organisation will receive regular commission as others access the learning material you have provided. In process of time you will earn back your original investment in the scheme many times over.


Brian Holley is Managing Partner of The Holley Warren Partnership, of which Sherpa Integrated Learning Ltd is an operating division.

[email protected]

http://www.hwpartners.co.uk

http://www.icpd.co.uk


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