With the onset of the pandemic, it was realized early by the Board of Directors that ONWAA needed to diversify its focus to support its membership and learners to continue in their professional development. In 2020, the focus of training was to use virtual platforms to continue to reach out to member First Nations and keep them informed of ongoing changes in social assistance policy and best practices. ONWAA staff realized that in order to ensure that learners were still getting the same experiential training that they would in a classroom, the skill set of the ONWAA team needed to be expanded.
After completing research into the benefits of both synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning, in December 2020, the ONWAA Board voted to retool the organization and bring on a new skillset to its training team. This new skillset would focus on enhancing the learning management system already built and ensure that capacity and community building could continue to occur. ONWAA brought on a full digital Learning Management Team to develop courses that would be experiential, reflective, meaningful, and can be acted upon. The team consists of an Elearn designer, digital content developer, artist-in-residence and a trainee in content development.
Since January, the new team has now developed 5 courses that are fully self-directed with 2 more on the way, with additional courses rolling out quickly in this coming year. A student support coach is also now assisting learners with developing their skills in both asynchronous and synchronous online learning environments.
When asked the Elearn Designer, Lauren McClure said, “The research findings show that the benefits of learning online are the same as in-person and there are numerous reports that this type of training can be experiential - it all comes to design. We asked ourselves, what does this mean for our members? How can we incorporate the benefits of online learning with the immense wealth of knowledge of our members and the ONWAA team? How can we support learning through art and culture? To start, we’ve brought in stories and examples from around the province and weaved them into course content. Through conversations with Administrators, we’re fortunate that they have shared their experiences and best practices with learners in our courses. We’ve also added additional functionality to the website to have learner-to-learner discussions and build community. Finally, to make sure this all translates into the workplace, we have developed hands-on, interactive activities so that learners get the skills they need for their work, right away.
I’m continuously inspired by how online learning can benefit our members and I’m so excited for learners to try the new courses. I’m really looking forward to hearing the feedback and continuing to make the courses impactful for the professional development of our members.”
ONWAA is super excited about developing all its new courses and allowing its learners to develop at their own pace when it is most convenient for them. If you would like additional information on the courses or upcoming courses you can view the course catalog HERE
or reach out to [email protected]