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New approach to learning in the lockdown

We have been working on the Kent Design 20/21 programme, exploring alternative ways of bringing the network together.  While the coronavirus situation prevents us launching the usual programme of physical events, we are delighted to launch a full programme combining online, distance and – eventually! – face-to-face learning and networking events.

Our approach
Our approach recognises that learning events in Professional Development  programmes often have multiple benefits for attendees:

  • Learning from the experts
  • Learning from other people’s experiences
  • Learning through activities and exercises
  • Discussion and networking with colleagues in similar and related roles
  • A break for reflection from the routine and pressures of work

Some learning events can be moved online relatively easily, whereas others require a more sophisticated approach.  For example, we cannot simply replicate a four-hour seminar online, particularly at the current time when people are juggling multiple pressures including domestic and childcare responsibilities.

We have therefore developed the following approach:

Online Learning Programmes
Online learning programmes will blend short, shared online presentations and discussion sessions with a mix of distance learning resources and online forums; a flexible and accessible approach to professional learning. Theses might include:

  • A live one-hour online session consisting of a short presentation and/or discussion with a guest speaker
  • A package of learning materials including slide shows, reading, articles and exercises which can be studied in as much or as little depth as required
  • An online forum with questions prompting responses from and discussion between, the learners
  • After 2 weeks, a concluding live one-hour online Q&A and discussion.

Roundtables – online and face-to-face
Roundtable discussions are the platform for a cross-sector discussion on current issues, enabling Kent and Medway’s local authorities and private sector partners to share their knowledge and learn from others.  These events will initially be delivered online, and we anticipate reverting to a face-to-face model when safe to do so – though it might be that we also have ‘dial-in’ options.

Councillor Professional Development – online and face-to-face
This series of one-hour online twilight sessions is designed to enable greater flexibility and increased Councillor participation within the Kent Design programme.  Each session builds on the last, examining context and character in greater detail.  These events will initially be delivered online, and we will explore the inclusion of face-to-face follow-up networking sessions when safe to do so.

Knowledge Exchange Network – online and face-to-face
The Knowledge Exchange Network is exactly as the name suggests; an opportunity for experienced officers and practitioners to get together to share best practice, shout about the successes and strategise the challenges!  These events will initially be delivered online, and we anticipate reverting to a face-to-face model when safe to do so.

2-Day Urban Design School
A 2-day introduction to designing places and the space between buildings.  Full details to be announced. 

2-Day Study Tour
A 2-day study tour visiting a number of exemplary developments across a region.  Full details of location and theme to be announced.

We are confident that this new blended learning approach will create a Professional Development programme every bit as rich as our face-to-face programme.  Indeed, we intend to use this experience positively and to take the opportunity to integrate elements of online or distance learning into our programme to increase flexibility and access to learning going forward.

Unable to access Zoom?
We will be using Zoom as the online conferencing platform.  We appreciate there might be a small number of members who are unable to access Zoom, so please do let us know if you’re unable to participate, as well as which platform(s) you do have access to. We will do our best to accommodate you.

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