Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in the Teaching & Learning Showcase event on ‘Flexible Learning’, put together by the CDoTL team, during which we presented the Existing and Emerging Biotechnologies (EEB) Framework. You can read more about our presentation on our blog: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/bioscience-skills/tflexible-learning-presentation.
This is part of a BBSRC-funded Modular Training for Industry initiative, which was first piloted as a 5 module residential course for the Continued Professional Development of Science industry employees, as part of the Biopharma Skills Economic Challenge Investment Funded project in 2010.
Feedback and suggestions during the pilot course have been used to design and develop 3 modules for training, which will be offered in 2013 via a blended learning format using material collated from industry and the pilot course. Each module within the framework will be standalone or part of the framework.
Our collaboration with 11 host companies and participants in 2010 principally taught us the following:
- Flexibility of the programme must be at the core
- Multiple Entry/Exit routes are desirable
- There must be a variety of study modes/opportunities
- Keep up the engagement with Industry
The current action is the development of three modules:
- An Integrated Systems Approach
- Genome to Proteome
- Imaging and Affinity Technologies
However, from experience, it is important to recognise that Blended learning requires:
- Comprehensive E-learning package: easy to use, flexible content, range of e-tools
- Easy and reliable access to a range of multimedia resources
- Allow interaction and collaboration
- Infrastructure support and processes to fully enable all elements of flexibility (PT, FT, accreditation, credit transfer, etc), and to provide quality assurance
- Web support 24/7
And perhaps the bigger and more important aspect is institutional change, thinking outside the box and working smarter, not harder!
Dr Kimberley Watson/Dr Teeroumanee Nadan