Electronic and Mobile Learning for Workforce Development

Electronic and Mobile Learning for Workforce Development

Dominic Mentor (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9351-5.ch007

Abstract

This chapter covers the construction of a digital ecosystem grown organically to digitize a workforce development organization. A criteria matrix was developed from a listening tour to plan and adopt blended, electronic, as well as mobile learning (e&mLearning) as part of its practices. The chapter describes the organic approach to diffuse the technological innovation for cultivating supportive teaching and learning communities. The process started with the establishment and implementation of an academic vision and strategy; the building of a blended, electronic, and mobile learning criteria taxonomy; as well as a theoretically informed, technology integrated educational framework. The results and findings of the implementation of an LMS as the foundation of the e&mLearning vision is shared, followed by recommendations from successes and organizational needs.
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Background

Seven years ago, EPICC, the then twelve-year-old organization, was running its six-month learning and development program primarily with paper-based models. In one week of an Information Technology course, students were printing five to ten assignments with screen grabs. The assignments would typically be 20 or more pages per student. Apart from the heavy printing cost and printer maintenance, which was not tracked separately as budget items, the “instructors” would be saddled with massive stacks of assignments to grade. Imagine the demotivation that would be induced when looking upon those heaps of assignments to grade. Additionally, instructors were only required to submit grades at the end of seven weeks, which is the time frame of one module. This impacted whether students and staff could see immediate or regular evidence of a student’s learning and development progress. For the most part, aside from a few instructors at all sites, there was a heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence of a students’ progress. A lack of criteria-based assessments and evidence of learning was overwhelmingly present within the organization. The issues of clarifying why criteria-based assessments were important, was further compounded by the lack of hiring educators that have undergone any type of teacher training. In a few cases, other program staff would be allowed to switch to teaching positions even though they had no training, no certifications or experience to educate methodically the young adults of the program. At times, the struggle to attract experienced or teacher trained staff was a result of program staff without any relevant academic background, industry or higher education work experience writing the job descriptions, running the hiring process and managing the training staff. Low paying instructor salaries further hampered the proper attraction of teaching talent. Furthermore, the short time frame in which to catch up students with less than desirable K- 12 educational experiences, and to deliver internship-ready young talent, requires well-trained and experienced trainers. Additionally, if EPICC is to justly serve the trainees, programming staff with a depth of industry and higher education experience would go far to support the training operation.

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