How it all began…
After a term of frustrating no-shows and low sign ups to our advertised technology enhanced learning workshops, we were stumped. What else could we try? We’d advertised a range of different options and approaches, but almost no biters.
Over a coffee we vented. Then it occurred to us. In a time-starved world, what if we could deliver a daily dose of CPD that would take less than one minute to read or watch? And that’s how #1minuteCPD was born.
#1minuteCPD is an initiative that has been started by Catherine Wasiuk and myself, (Kate Soper). We’re both Technology Enhanced Learning Advisors (TELAs) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). We also managed to rope in Chris Meadows and Colin McAllister-Gibson (also TELAs) to help to contribute to the project.
What is microlearning?
Microlearning is a growing trend in bite-sized training that is a way of delivering content to learners in short, sharp bursts. As lack of time is frequently cited by academics as a reason for not engaging in their own continuing professional development (CPD) (Singh and Hardaker, 2014; Kopcha, 2012), microlearning seems to offer an accessible way to introduce learners to new topics, ideas and concepts.
We were attracted to microlearning because of the various benefits it seems to offer. Learners only need to put aside one minute a day to engage with the content, they can access it from wherever they are, whenever they like, in the office, on the bus or in the bath!
What’s it about?
As TELAs we are always looking for opportunities to engage staff with new technologies as well as new ways of using old technologies. As such, #1minuteCPD is focused on:
- enhancing staff digital skills
- increasing staff use of educational technologies within their practice
- introducing staff to time-saving tips and tricks
We feel that this approach helps us to lay foundations, spark ideas, generate conversations and tackle those unknown unknowns. Each post is focused on improving digital skills, with an emphasis on educational technologies in a higher education context. For example, one of the most popular posts so far has been introducing Pocket, a bookmarking tool.
By exposing staff, one minute at a time, one day at a time, we are giving them space to reflect and consider how they could use the technologies in their teaching practices. At MMU each faculty has an ‘in-house’ TELA on hand to offer help and support to integrate these technologies into their teaching.
Early on we decided to make it an open access resource, which would be promoted through Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to widen our reach. We are advocates of open educational resources and wanted to ensure that #1minuteCPD was freely accessible to anybody interested in improving their digital skills.
#1MinuteCPD exists in the blog – the posts are scheduled to be released everyday at lunchtime.
We send a weekly newsletter around each faculty that includes news about technology enhanced learning, #1MinuteCPD has become a regular feature of the newsletter, where we add links to the posts made in the previous week. We are encouraging staff to follow the blog via email so that they can receive the posts directly to their inbox.
Internally we are promoting #1MinuteCPD through weekly newsletters and encouraging staff to sign up to follow the blog when we see them face to face. So far, we are thrilled, and slightly overwhelmed, by the response.
We are sharing 1MinuteCPD as an open access resource, so it is open to all to use. We can see from the WordPress and Twitter stats that the majority of our followers so far have an educational interest. We are pleased with the uptake we have had and a number of colleagues at MMU are beginning to follow the blog via email.
The blog has had over 2000 views so far, so we are pleased that the materials are being accessed and used. This is much better numbers than we had attending our face to face sessions, so there is some satisfaction in that!
Singh, G. and Hardaker, G. (2014) ‘Barriers and enablers to adoption and diffusion of eLearning: A systematic review of the literature–a need for an integrative approach.’ Education + Training, 56(2/3) pp. 105-121.
Kopcha, T. J. (2012) ‘Teachers’ perceptions of the barriers to technology integration and practices with technology under situated professional development.’ Computers & Education, 59(4) pp. 1109-1121.
Catherine Wasiuk, Kate Soper, Chris Meadows and Colin McAllister-Gibson
Manchester Metropolitan University
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