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WAGGGS e-learning initiative
E-learning has been developed at WAGGGS as a response to a motion passed at the 34th World Conference to make the WAGGGS Leadership Development Programme (WLDP) more accessible to girls and young women around the world. A key challenge has been to align learning in a virtual environment with the key WAGGGS values of non-formal education in a supportive cross-cultural environment.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is committed to providing opportunities to girls and young women for personal development. This includes the WAGGGS Leadership Development Programme (WLDP) which enhances leadership skills and personal growth via international training events. WAGGGS has sought to create opportunities for more young women to benefir from this training programme by developing an e-learning initiative.
The development of technology in our modern world has transformed the way we interact, work and learn together. The internet is a powerful tool and modern technologies offer many new opportunities for learning. It is important to us at WAGGGS to use this medium to offer the young women of our membership a chance to develop and reach their full potential.
The objective for our project is to use modern technologies to impart knowledge, facilitate development and an international sharing of ideas via the internet. This will allow for more open access, increased diversity of participants and for the development of digital skills; helping us to capitalise on the opportunities present in our truly international organisation.
The project is being developed by WAGGGS and the University of Reading as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). This is a UK government initiative that joins businesses or organizations and universities to help develop new practices to improve competitiveness and productivity. Our partnership with the University of Reading provides strong academic and practical experience in the areas of technology and education.
Our team at WAGGGS is based at the World Bureau, London and focuses on the integration of new technological approaches within the organization. This requires careful consideration as it will impact the organisation and the approach therefore needs to fit our unique requirements. Our e-learning programme is still under development but is open to members of the organization to help us to test and review it. We are keen to share the development of this initiative with members of the asociation. T0 access the current leadership online course click here.
Areas for e-learning development
We have now developed four different approaches to e-learning as follows:
Closed courses require the participant to log in and are accessed by a limited number of people at any one time. They are based on the WLDP materials and focus on interaction and communication. They will be attended by women from across our membership. The participants will be supported by e-facilitators and e-buddies who are individuals and have participated in a similar course. The current leadership online course is in four stages with one open stage and three closed stages. (see here for more information)
Open courses will follow a more typical e-learning style where courses are based on a topic. They will be available for any users on the system. These courses will allow for flexible access to learning materials and incorporate interactivity including quizzes.
Online support for events
These courses will support our face-to-face events. The online aspect will allow participants to gain more information about the course, complete pre-tasks and begin relevant conversations prior to the event. They can be used during the event as a space to report on progress, share learning and documentation. Following the event the platform will continue to support the evaluation of the learning and offer an opportunity to follow up on the progress of participants.
Online support networks
Online suppoirt networks are communication groups formed of individuals from across the organization. They consist of a group of staff or volunteers with the same role but located in different parts of the world, or may be the alumni from our events. These areas will enable on-going communication and the use of file sharing.
So far we have built a prototype platform using open source software called Moodle. This has allowed us to trial our developments in the above four areas. Our first prototype course was held in March 2012 over three weeks with sixteen participants from across the organization. Two five week courses with educational materials were held in June-July 2012 and October/November 2012 with fifty young women between the ages of 19-25 on each.
We were delighted with the commitment of our participants and the valuable feedback they provided on both course design and content. In light of this feedback there are some changes to the structure of our current Leadership Online course. It is now in four modular stages and the first stage is open so anybody in the association can participate. The second, third and fourth stages are available to sign-up for on a range of dates giving participants flexibilty on when they complete each stage. The course is no longer age restricted.
We have also supported a facilitators training event and offered online support for one WLDP event.