Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access
Padilela Overview - 3 Learning Pathway ApproachAuthor: Padilela
The Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access (PADILEIA) aims to facilitate access to higher education for those displaced and affected by the Syrian crisis in Jordan and Lebanon, including disadvantaged local populations. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), through the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) program. PADILEIA is led by King’s College London, in partnership with the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Al al-Bayt University (Jordan), FutureLearn (UK), and Kiron Open Higher Education (Germany).
In summary, the project offers three different learning pathways to students:
▪ Bespoke short courses in subjects relevant to local students, designed by King’s College London and hosted by FutureLearn. Subjects include English, Digital Skills, Entrepreneurship, Nursing, and Blended learning delivery of our Introduction to Nursing Course. @Padileia/2019 71 Business Management, among others.
▪ Foundation program: 8-month blended classroom-based learning, currently delivered by AUB and AABU in Lebanon and Jordan, respectively;
▪ Study tracks (6-12 months) of online study offered with student support leading to transfer of credits into university on Kiron platform
The last year saw a major review of how King’s design and deliver online short courses for PADILEIA, based on what we’ve learned so far about the local context, as well as the needs, interests, and ambitions of our students. While our aim has always been to create bespoke courses for our target audience, we recognized there was the potential to create more meaningful and relevant learning experiences by developing two key areas: the learning design process and blended learning.
The Learning Design Process
Within the design process, we introduced more opportunities for feedback and consultation with students and local partners at every stage. Students participated directly in the process through testing learning activities, contributing to glossaries and language support, and completing a digital skills self-assessment. With each new course, additional participatory design methods have been introduced. We are also working with local partners and alumni to generate their own video and podcast content for the courses, enabling them to share their personal stories and achievements to inspire our students. The courses are designed ‘backward’ from assessment, and learning activities are mapped out in detail in learning design workshops to ensure the suitability and alignment of all course content with learning outcomes. Using Fink’s Significant Learning Taxonomy as a framework, PADILEIA courses’ learning outcomes emphasize productive, social, and active learning over the passive acquisition of knowledge, with the purpose of building confidence in digital skills and English, encouraging learner autonomy, and encouraging peer learning. Traditional assessments have been replaced with portfolio assessments that emphasize the production of content (websites, presentations, reports, etc.) and allow learners the flexibility to use video, blog, or audio formats to submit their assignments.
We recently launched our first PADILEIA campus, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon, providing students with access to all the PADILEIA offerings. This physical learning space mirrors the learning culture of the online platform – with an emphasis on learner autonomy, creativity, analytical and reflective activities, and peer support. Offering the online short courses in a blended format with trained facilitators saw a significant increase in our completion rates and student engagement. Facilitators were sourced locally and had subject-specific knowledge. Training and guidance were provided in how to support students taking online courses for the first time, and in developing blended learning activities aligned with the courses’ learning outcomes and assessment. Students were provided with a mixture of face-to-face support and online facilitation. The online facilitation was provided by trained students studying the relevant subject at King’s. This provided our students the opportunity to receive peer-to-peer support and practice subject-specific conversations. We are due to open a second campus in Irbid, Jordan, and look forward to expanding on our learnings.
To read other stories from the 2019 CLCC Yearbook, click here.