Starfsmennt is the Educational Training Centre for public employees in Iceland responsible for the training of public employees all over the country. In 2018 they started a pilot project to convert their training from onsite training to online training.
The initial pilot focused on a group of prison wardens that needed to finish their education. This was usually done through onsite training, but during this pilot program, the focus was on creating and presenting online training through the eloomi platform.
Challenge:Setting up an inspirational online training portal sufficient for Prison Wardens while ensuring it possible for them to access training at all times and at their convenience.
Pain:People coming to participate in onsite training from all over the country posed a large cost and sometimes inconvenience both for the participants as well as for the workplaces.
Gain:Effective learning portal that allows students to access training at their own pace and convenience. Significantly lower costs for training, both due to the reduction of transportation and accommodation during courses.
Locking up the goal strategyThe ambitious goal to create an educational program allowing prison wardens to finish their education online was set. All academic studies were transferred to an electronic study environment, while standard in-class teaching was still offered. By doing this, employees who had difficulty studying at the Prison Guard School were met. Starfsmennt decided to provide access to the new program for 20 students starting in the winter of 2018 and with a graduation date of May 2019. This was beneficial since prison warden workplaces are located all over the country. Starfsmennt started to analyse what educational topics needed to be met and developed the proposed learning for the prison wardens. The topics were developed into six main themes and the online courses were created based on those.
- Reporting and security issues
- Crime and morality
- Laws and regulations
- Computer systems
Securing the future of training
After selecting the students who would participate in the pilot program, they realised one of the main challenges was the group diversity. The group of students, which involved both men and women, had various age groups and varying degrees of technical knowledge and education (ranging from compulsory schooling to college). It was very important that the study material should be set in such a way that everyone could use it. It was also important to dedicated one contact person to be responsible for resolving all queries and technical issues. They held a special presentation for all the pilot program students, where they were walked through the eloomi system and assisted in their first steps.
Another challenge presented was for the teachers. They were all experts in their field but none of them was an expert in creating electronic learning materials. Some expressed their concern towards this completely new approach, and not everyone was convinced that electronic learning material was a good choice at all. Starfsmennt created an instruction booklet to help the teachers better understand the advantages and disadvantages of electronic teaching methods and which paths would be most effective. They also created workshops for the teachers, to focus on topics like the methods of adult education (andragogy), electronic teaching methods and the presentation of electronic learning materials.
Two workshops were held to help get the teachers more comfortable with the e-learning process. They worked on helping instructors create the teaching videos, getting the tools in their hands to work with. They also focused on better understanding the importance of cutting the study material into many small units, also better known as microlearning. The workshop also went into creating links with the project manager who were assigned the task of entering all the course material into the system and managing it.
Guarding positive outcomes
The pilot program ended in May 2019 and the results were evaluated.
“It can be said that the pilot has provided evidence of a very positive outcome for applying an electronic learning environment. Other government agencies can take the Prison and Probation Administration as a model and contribute to further lifelong learning of their employees through electronic media” says Julia from Starfsmennt.
Starfsmennt now has further plans to expand their work with online training for the benefit of the public workforce