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We Don't Do Modules, We Do CPD

03 Oct 2019

Why I dislike eLearning modules...

On my teacher training year on an INSET day that signalled the end of October half term, we were told we had to do a CPD session on supporting pupils with autism. We were sent to the school library and sat in front of computers to independently (and silently) complete an e-learning module. We had to read the text, watch videos and then do a quiz. At the end, I downloaded a PDF certificate telling me I was now trained to support pupils on the autism spectrum. I sent this to my PGCE mentor and that was it.

No one asked me a week later what I remembered. No one quizzed me randomly in the corridor, no one noted if I used the strategies in my lessons, and my mentor never referred to it again. And this was the only autism training the school gave me for my placement.

This wasn’t the last time it happened - throughout my career, I was sat in front of a computer to do modules to learn how to support a whole range of SEND needs, do safeguarding training and even sessions on building resilience in pupils. 

What was the impact? I knew the science, the academics, the theory… but how did I put it into practice? Did it work? Was it worth the effort of planning lots of different sessions, activities and worksheets for each lesson? I had no idea and so I just took my certificate, uploaded it to my online folder and forgot the sessions: an insult to the money the school spent on these sessions and the pupils they were intended to benefit. This was all very informative, but I wanted transformative CPD.

Move aside e-learning “modules”- bring on “initiatives”

Headteachers and SLT have asked us at OneStep where our powerpoints are to deliver in Twilight or INSET sessions to staff; where are our e-learning modules? The answer is simple: we don’t have any.

In 2011, the Centre for the Use of Evidence and Research in Education found that “most CPD in schools was only informing teaching with only 10% actually embedding or transforming practice”. I could definitely empathise with this from my teaching practice, and this was definitely something we wanted to move away from. We wanted to deliver transformative CPD digitally, and we couldn’t do this through an e-learning module.

Whilst our 6-week process may look like a module of learning because you are trying one thing (simple or complex) in the classroom, it is more of an intervention. From speaking to teachers however, interventions give connotations of poor behaviour and over short periods of times.

And so we are proud to offer initiatives: putting an actionable strategy into place for 6 weeks to see how it impacts teaching and learning in your classroom. If it works, fantastic - keep it as part of your teaching arsenal. If it leads to no impact, also good - don’t use it again, but do reflect on what you have learnt and whether there is something else you can try.

Move away from an e-learning module that focuses on informative training - move to actionable CPD through initiatives founded in academic research and transform your teaching practice.

 

To hear more about our process, watch our explanation video here.

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