Blended Learning Combination Helps Support Military Kids
The Client: Military Child Education Coalition
The work of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) focuses on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. The role of the MCEC is to help families, schools, and communities be better prepared to support military-connected children throughout their academic careers.
Military children generally move six to nine times during their K-12 school years. That can mean moving across the U.S. or across the globe. Many make multiple moves during high school years alone, some even during their senior year. Even when not moving, separation from a deployed parent (or parents) raises social, emotional, relational, and educational issues.
To support these military children, MCEC educates the adult professionals in those children’s lives—teachers, coaches, and counselors—equipping them to surround students with care and information specific to their circumstances.
The Issue: Scaling Relational, Instructor-Led Training to Reach More Military Families
MCEC traditionally reached adult learners at military bases around the world through in-person group events. Instructors were passionate about their mission, recognized the sacrifice that military families make, and delivered insightful training to military families and school districts with understanding and compassion.
To expand its outreach, and provide their resources to a larger constituency while constraining costs, MCEC needed to broaden its approach beyond pure instructor-led training. However, one of MCEC’s paramount requirements was to preserve the quality and the experience of the instructor-led courses. While it was necessary to adopt new training methods, it was critical to maintain the relational, human connection that was such a key component of the previous method.
The Solution: Blended Learning
The solution was a combination of elearning available over the internet at anytime from anywhere, online communities, and in-person classes. This reduced travel costs, simplified logistics of transporting course materials, allowed customization of courses for different groups, and provided learners a way to take online courses from all over the world at times that fit their schedules. The arrangement also retained in-person training, but allowed MCEC to send out trainers strategically for greater effectiveness.
Microassist’s graphic designers, instructional designers, and programmers also worked closely with the organization to communicate care and compassion through both the online and instructor-led portions of the MCEC training. Incorporating artwork from MCEC’s vast children’s art library, slides, narration, and video, Microassist ensured that the online courses reflected the student- and family-centered focus of the in-person courses.
The result was a blended learning program that MCEC provides to the Department of Defense, school districts, school-based mental health workers, and others.
An Example: The Journey from ‘Welcome Home’ to Now™
One particular course dealt with the difficult time of family reintegration after deployment(s). Military families, including those in Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserves, all face similar transition experiences and stresses with deployment and reintegration. These can be magnified when the parent is recovering from physical or mental wounds.
Using pictures, case studies, movies, slides, interactions, and guided collaboration, the training was designed to aid the learner in helping the children of these families identify and use their strengths to become resilient during these transition experiences.
The training became a 3-1/2 hour blended course that used a combination of webinars, group collaboration, and self-paced online learning modules. It provided each student with peer-to-peer interactions and the flexibility to take courses on their own time. Each module had lessons of approximately 15 minutes each. This allowed the learner to take the training in easily digestible “chunks” and be able to absorb and reflect on it before moving on to the next lesson. Microassist also took care to build the modules accessibly, ensuring that they were navigable, perceivable, and usable by all, including those with disabilities.
The United States armed forces impact more than 4 million military and veteran-connected kids. By working with Microassist, MCEC created a series of online courses that previously were only available as in-person, instructor-led classes. This allowed them to reduce travel costs while continuing to reach child-education professionals at military installations and surrounding school districts around the world.
The Microassist team
- Enabled MCEC to reach more people
- Helped MCEC adapt to new training strategies
- Put critical MCEC content online while retaining care, compassion, and human interactions
- Incorporated instructional strategies and technology with expertise from in-house training resources, striving to create the best and most creative MCEC training in a different format
- Empowered MCEC to train large, widely distributed audiences while controlling costs
- Met federal procurement requirements for accessible elearning, enabling all adults, including those with disabilities, to experience the training online
What will you learn next?
- Converting In-Person Training to Online – Lessons Learned
- Introduction to Accessibility – Online Training
“Military Child Education Coalition®,” “MCEC®” and associated trademarks and design elements are owned by the Military Child Education Coalition. ©2013 Military Child Education Coalition. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: 4/20/2021
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