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Thursday, November 12 • 10:30am - 10:55am
Openness and Flexibility: Growing a Learning Design Mindset in Malawi’s Teacher Training Lecturers

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Integrating educational technologies in low-bandwidth, low-connectivity contexts across Africa poses unique challenges to educators and provides a rich testbed for innovation. The Malawian Primary Teacher Education curriculum has recently been redesigned, to introduce a inquiry-based curriculum that emphasises learner-centredness. In order to support lecturers in the acquisition of the skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate such learning, a short course was designed for Malawi’s 8 Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) and equipment was received (tablet computers and data) funded by the German government. The aim of this course was multilayered: beyond training lecturers to use these devices in their teaching practice, it was important to support them in their journey from a traditional, teacher-centred approach to a learner-centred approach that would align to the re-designed outcomes-based national curriculum. A co-design thinking methodology informed the course design, development and implementation process. Stakeholders from the various TTCs participated in initial co-design workshops to develop a persona and identify/refine the design challenges, after which the course design was developed through various iterations of reflection and redesign with an initial cohort of 40 participants. The course designers built it Moodle as an OER (drawing from a variety of OERs( and presented virtually from South Africa to Malawi during July and August 2020 using BigBlueButton, an open source video conferencing tool. The initial course participants were pre-selected by their as technology champions with the aim to train them so that they could then facilitate further iterations of the course for colleagues at the TTCs. The course was offered as a hybrid model, lecturers attended a 3-day webinar-delivered workshop using their phones and tablets, followed by a 4-week self-directed online learning phase, and a 4-day closing webinar-delivered workshop. This allowed participants to move between highly facilitated, synchronous collaborative learning design spaces and self-regulated asynchronous learning experiences. Using the Teacher Change Frame (TCF) (Tarling and Ng’ambi, 2016) participants could plan their own learning journey based on their individual needs and aspirations. The Integrating Technology in Teaching and Learning (ITTL) course, emphasises the need for home-grown innovation to address contextual challenges in teaching, learning and assessment.

Learning Outcomes:
Describe the course-design process to develop an OER virtually from South Africa for Malawian lecturers
Explore the innovation process to solve contextual challenges at a distance that impact how participants accessed learning in low-bandwidth, low connectivity contexts.
Examine the application of a design-thinking methodology in an online, open course design process and analyze how this process equipped local actors with design-thinking tools to develop solutions within their own contexts.

avatar for Isabel Tarling

Isabel Tarling

Educational Researcher and Lecturer, Two Oceans Graduate Institute
"The person doing the work, is usually doing the learning." Tarling, I. 2020This has to be one of my most repeated phrases to educators, from professors and lecturers at higher education institutions, to practicing and office-based teachers, and teaching students. When we get children... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 10:30am - 10:55am EST
Concurrent 3
  Practices, Presentation