Microcredentials · Editorial

Online Teaching: Creating courses for adult learners

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Our new microcredential has been developed to support educators create online courses for adult learners.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in educational institutions provide online learning at an unprecedented scale.

To ensure teaching can continue to be provided for adult learners, courses will need to be created and adapted for online learning during the new normal. Preventing disruption and providing learning solutions to the challenges faced, IET has focused expertise in technology-enhanced learning in a new short course to help teachers and institutions maintain learning opportunities for adult learners.

The 12-week microcredential, Online Teaching: Creating courses for adult learners is designed for individual educators, trainers and institutions to understand how adults learn online, at a distance, and how different technologies can supporting learning in specific contexts. Involvement in the course will support individuals to learn how to design engaging and inspiring online courses, ensuring classes are inclusive and accessible.

Acknowledging the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on educational institutions, IET's qualification director Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman stated:

"Many institutions have moved their teaching online, unprepared and on an unprecedented scale."

Student assessment has also been affected, with many assessments cancelled and some also moved online, accompanied by trial ​and error and uncertainty for all involved."

This ‘online pivot’ is likely to have significant long-term consequences for the affected learners, deepening inequalities and compromising individuals’ life chances, especially as the ‘lockdown’ strategy is likely to be with us for some time, either as a continuous period of closures, or in shorter phases over a longer period."​

As UNESCO (2020) reports, over 91% of the world's student population – a total of 1,576,021,818 learners across 188 countries (in all sectors) – have been affected by the closure of educational institutions, as part of a broader ‘lockdown’ strategy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Discussing the impact of Covid-19 on education further, Dr Perryman explained the demand for learning and teaching expertise across multiple sectors:

"The online pivot has resulted in high demand for ‘just in time’ informal learning provision supporting skills development around online teaching, and IET has been inundated with requests for support, guidance and skills development in the area of educational technology and online and distance learning."

IET’s COVID-19 response has included the production of a 15-credit, postgraduate level microcredential designed to help educators and institutions address the challenge of moving teaching, learning and assessment online."

The microcredential, Online Teaching: Creating courses for adult learners, offers a practice-focused exploration of online teaching, learning and assessment. It supports learners in navigating the practical and ethical implications of the online pivot, in critically evaluating available technologies, in understanding educational theories explaining how people learn online, and in designing pedagogies and assessment that will help ensure affected learners’ study outcomes are realised, and that institutions are resilient to any future periods of enforced closure.”

With pressures on educators and institutions, IET responded to the impacts of the pandemic and developed the bite-size online course in just six weeks in order to meet the urgent need for such a course; incorporating resource from IET’s existing modules with new content focused on the challenges posed by the new normal.

To learn more about the Online Teaching microcredential for creating courses for adult learners, visit the course on FutureLearn.