University of Florence (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 6664-6671
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1769
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
The article focuses on the design of a blended learning programme addressed to 240 educators working in the field of socio-educational services, which range from providing educational support to students with special needs education to taking care of elder people in special houses, to youth people empowerment through street education, to implementing reskilling courses for refugees, etc. The programme was designed by the University of Florence in 2018-19 through the involvement of scholars from different disciplines (e.g. Pedagogy, Psychology, Sociology, Adult Education, Social Research). Relevant problems for educators’ professional development were identified and content arranged around them. From a methodological point of view, the program was designed according to the following assumptions (Ranieri & Giampaolo, 2018): experiential learning (Kolb, 1984; Moon, 2013), self-directed learning (Knowles, 1975) and social learning (Dron & Anderson, 2014). Reflecting these assumptions, the online learning environment was structured into four phases: activation, to encourage learners to mobilise previous knowledge; documentation, to provide information about the main concepts; application, oriented to facilitate knowledge appropriation; and final reflection. At the end of the course, a questionnaire was administered to evaluate students’ perception of training’s impact on their professional development. The application of the instrument was done in June 2019 and the total number of valid questionnaires obtained was 202. There were 41 items in the questionnaire, including questions relating to the perceived relevance of contents and professional tools provided and collaborative learning methods, such as online peer-feedback activities and live workshops. It emerged that 49% considered the theoretical contents in the course quite relevant and 51% very relevant for their professional training. Moreover, most respondents (93%) believe that tools reusable in their work practice have been provided, useful for planning or evaluating educational interventions, for instance. Regarding interaction with colleagues, just 10% of respondents had experience of online peer-feedback, but 64% believe that giving feedback to peers allowed to improve learning. Over more than half of the respondents considers that experimenting with peer review and self-assessment was relevant to their professional development. The other findings indicated that also the live workshops were relevant for the training of educators, especially in order to discuss with experts and other students.

[1] Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media.
[2] Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers. Chicago: Association Press.
[3] Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
[4] Moon, J. A. (2013). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: Theory and practice. New York: Routledge.
[5] Ranieri, M., & Giampaolo, M. (2018). Educators at university. A blended and problem-based teaching model for the training course of “socio-pedagogical educator”. Form@re, 18(3).
Lifelong learning, Blended learning, Teaching innovation, Teaching methods, Higher education, Educators.