Lancaster and Morecambe College implemented our pilot testing of the Digital@YouthWork project resources with two groups of the project target audience. The first group used a blended learning format that included two small face-to-face workshops, self-guided learning, and then an evaluation focus group upon completion. The second group was conducted completely online via a short virtual introduction session followed by self-guided learning and a final brief virtual evaluation discussion.
This strategy was adopted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce the risk of any transmission of the virus. We had originally planned to run several full-day workshops both on the college campus and at a local youth organisation. However, due to national lockdowns, we had to alter our strategy and adjust our plan.
Group 1 Workshop
The physical workshops took place on college campus with five representatives of the college’s community engagement team. This team were already in a Covid-19 ‘work bubble’ and thus it did not pose a serious threat to have them all in the same room. They are responsible for engaging with all our local community organisations and stakeholders to support educational provision at all levels.
We ran a short two hour introductory workshop in early November 2020 to provide some context to the project rationale, developed resources and key objectives. The participants logged onto the e-learning platform and were proved with a brief overview of the structure and content of the learning materials available.
The second physical workshop was conducted in late November 2020 and served as an introduction to the learning content of the Graphic & Media Design module. This was led by the trainer who had been involved in the development of the resources and lasted two hours. The participants worked their way through the introductory section of the module and had the opportunity to ask any questions and provide feedback.
The participants were then asked to work through the rest of learning content of the Graphic & Media Design module over the next two weeks as self-guided learning. They were asked to work through the content at their own pace but to record any technical issues or problems that they encountered in order to report these to LMC during the final evaluation workshop.
The group met again on the LMC campus in early December 2020 for a one-hour debrief and evaluation session. This served as an opportunity for the participants to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the platform and module content. Each participant completed a short evaluation form and provided LMC with some technical issues that had been identified through the piloting.
Group 2 Workshop
The virtual group was members of local stakeholders and youth organisations who had been consulted throughout the developmental stages of the project resources. This group completed the workshop and learning content completely online via a virtual introduction from LMC, self-guided learning, and then a short virtual evaluation session. This was conducted virtually as we were unable to allow members of outside organisations onto our campus and we were unable to visit external organisations due to a national lockdown and Coivd-19 restrictions.
This group were invited to a two hour virtual introduction to the project and the resources developed. They were introduced to the Graphic & Media Design module using the introductory video and given an overview of the module structure and content.
The participants were then asked to work their way through the module content over the next week as self-guided learning. They were asked to record any technical issues they found and to identify some of the key strengths and weaknesses of the module content.
The final step for this group was a one hour virtual evaluation and feedback session that worked like a focus group discussion. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences of the module and to identify any technical issues they discovered.