Here at St Christopher’s CARE we’re constantly looking for ways of making the learning experience better and better. In Learning Technologist Matt Tregellas, we think we’ve found the man to help take our education offer to the next level…
Your job title is Learning Technologist. Can you tell us what that means?
I see my role as understanding and knowing what education technology is available and working out how to integrate that into the St Christopher’s CARE programme so we can provide the best possible education experience.
And what scope is there for technology to enhance the learning experience at St Christopher’s CARE?
Before the pandemic happened, St Christopher’s was delivering all its teaching face-to-face. Then it pivoted overnight to an online model. The good thing about that is that the education programme has been accessible to people from all over the world, not just from South London. What we’re looking to do is enhance the online experience – to make it as good as we possibly can.
What about face-to-face learning – is there a role for technology in that too?
Absolutely. But it’s all about ensuring you use the appropriate technology for each course. There are certainly some really exciting possibilities though. We’ve started discussing, for example, how we could possibly use Virtual Reality (VR) for, say, helping learners really understand what it feels like for someone living with dementia. VR could be really useful in role play scenarios to help create a more authentic environment.
Going back to online learning, just how will you be looking to make that even better?
It’s all about how to ensure learners are engaged with the learning process. So rather than just asking people to watch a 45-minute lecture on their screen, you need to break up the content into manageable chunks and deliver the content in a more interactive way. Learners need to feel like they are interacting with both their fellow learners and the tutors. Rather than click, watch, click, watch, we’ll be endeavouring to make the quality of the interactions as good online as they would be face-to-face.
Can you give us an example of what you mean?
In my work for University of Sheffield, we worked on a project to support English teachers in Indonesia who didn’t feel confident in their own grasp of the language. We provided them with a suite of materials that required lots of engagement and interaction for them. What we also did was connect the teachers, many of whom were living in remote locations, in a community of practice, using WhatsApp. They then learned from the course as well as from each other. I’m hoping that sort of model could work at St Christopher’s – connecting learners from a course so they can communicate about their experience of implementing what they’ve learned on a course.
Looking ahead to say 2023, what do you hope to have achieved?
I think I’ll be happy then if St Christopher’s CARE has an online offering as successful and renowned as its face-to-face offering, that attracts students from around the UK and beyond, receives consistently positive feedback and we reach a whole new level of engagement with health and social care professionals.
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