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Digitally Enhanced Learning


Going digital is a must nowadays. But how can we do this as (small) TEE / Theological Education by Extension organizations? There are so many decisions to make, and so many skills to learn. It feels like we need lots of staff and resources to make it work.


In three plenary sessions and several special interest groups at the 2022 Increase Conference, dedicated Increase Equippers and experts from Horizon Education Network tried to show that going digital is truly possible when we make the right decisions.


Resources


The resources on Digitally Enhanced Learning listed on the 2022 Conference page can help you get the tools and ideas to begin. We would recommend that you start with ‘Implementing Digital TEE’, which gives an overview of the decisions you need to make. After that it lists many tips for making (digital) courses better with pictures, video, good layout and more. Look at the handouts and PowerPoints from each session for inspiration and know-how.


Session 1


In the first session we saw that we will lose current and especially new generations if we keep using printed materials only. They will simply not be interested to start TEE courses, no matter how solid and life-changing the courses are. We need to turn to digital options.


The main takeaways from this session were:


● Be committed to TEE as church-based training, even when you take courses online.


● Think about what you are teaching first, and then look at how you can deliver this. For example, if you have a Bachelor-level course with lots of writing tasks, a smartphone course may not work so well.


● Courses for smartphones need different things from e-learning courses.


● You may need to add people to your staff. It is also possible to connect with other organizations like Horizon who have the expertise to help. Funding may be found for this.


Session 2


In the second session we looked more closely at learning on smartphones. We believe that for many TEE programmes smartphone courses are the way forward. Currently two courses are already available: SEAN’s 'Abundant Life' and 'Come Follow Me' by Word of Life.


The main takeaways from this session were:


● The way people use their phones affects the way learning happens via smartphones. For example, people do the same thing only for a short time, and the screen size is small.


● Short sessions are the way to go. In such a short session (microlearning) you will develop one learning point in 3-15 minutes. The sessions link together in a logical way but variation is needed to keep students engaged.


● New activities are essential to help participants connect to the learning, both in interactive and social ways. For example via group chat or by use of multimedia.


Session 3


In the third session Rob Hayden and Allan Cuthbert from Horizon helped us focus on effective online learning. It is possible for learners in an online environment to have a meaningful experience, and it depends in part on the presence of the online teacher. In this session we also thought about good use of images and other media, and how they can enhance the learner experience.


The main takeaways from this session were:


● When you develop any part in an online course (text, images, video, chat option etc.) the main question to ask yourself is 'Will this help people learn?'


● Videos are important because they help build relationships and engagement. In videos the audio is more important than the images!



Next Steps


During the sessions we have seen that for many there is excitement and apprehension in equal measure for developing digital courses. If you would like to take further practical steps please contact Increase and connect with the Digital Enhancement Team.


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