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Hints and Tips for Rolling Out CL Using E-learning

June 2016 by Ned Gatenby

One of the requirements of the Carbon Literacy Standard is an understanding of some of the science behind climate change. We understand that it’s a tough subject to teach, but it’s the foundation knowledge that explains how our planet is changing and why we need to reduce our emissions. To take the pressure off trainers delivering the science cold, we’ve developed an e-learning course called Carbon Literacy: Knowledge (CLK) to help. This may be a useful tool for your organisation in order to reduce the time and financial cost of face-to-face workshop delivery, and to help deliver that all-important climate change science.

CLK e-Learning Background and Basics

CLK consists of 8 sections that take the learner on a logical journey from the basic science of climate change right through to how they can feel confident encouraging carbon conversations and climate action. With sector specific information (that can be tailored to your organisation) and an array of case studies to look at, the learner will be loaded with knowledge of existing projects and schemes to combat climate change and will be supported in creating new ideas to reduce your organisational carbon footprint.

There are options for how Carbon Literacy is delivered, and all routes must add up to 1 full day’s worth of learning (for every participant).

  1. a) CL can be delivered via face-to-face workshop-based learning. Workshops can be 1 full day, two half days or just about any combination that works for your organisation. The workshop(s) will cover all aspects of the Carbon Literacy Standard, including the science of climate change and how your learners will take action.
  2. b) Or you can take advantage of CLK e-learning. CLK will take a learner about 3 hours to complete – the equivalent of about half a day’s learning – leaving the rest of the CL Standard to be covered in one manageable half-day workshop.

Delivering CL using e-Learning

Trainers have two options: e-Learning followed by Workshop; or Workshop followed by e-Learning.

In order to explain the benefits and challenges of both, we went to our experts in each category. Wigan and Leigh Homes (WALH) and Northwards Housing (NW) are both high-flying members of our CL4RPs consortium (our CL roll-out project across 20 of Greater Manchester’s housing associations). Both organisations have almost completed CL training across their entire workforce, with NW adopting the ‘e-learning first’ approach, and WALH opting for the ‘e-learning second’ approach.

From the experts:

Chief CL trainer at NW, Anthony Brady, has fed back to us that his learners, with the ‘e-learning first’ approach, “really enjoyed learning in this way as it allowed learners to investigate further areas of interest which kept them engaged with the learning throughout.” Anthony found that the workshop session, placed after the e-learning, benefitted from the “great foundation of knowledge” provided by this pre-session course.

CL learners at WALH, who took the ‘e-learning second’ approach, describe CLK as “user friendly” and “very informative”. Our CL trainers have noted that CLK-users have “increased overall knowledge” of climate change and the half-day value of CLK is the preferable option for the organisation. Alison Hatch, chief CL Trainer at WALH says, “the main reason we took this [e-learning second] approach is because I wanted to get staff engaged with the subject area before they completed their e-learning. All prefer this approach.”

The choice is yours

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Common Hurdles

Many people are often reserved or disengaged when it comes to talking about climate change. Here are some hurdles our trainers and facilitators have encountered when trying to get their learners to complete the course, and some suggestions how to overcome these.

  1. A) We’re told the e-learning is ‘too long’. We understand that 3 hours in front of a computer screen can be tedious, so we’ve made the course as interactive as possible. But even so, this can still seem daunting, that’s why you don’t have to do it all at once! Your log in details allow you to pick up where you left off, whenever you like. If the online course were shorter, the time would have to be made up in a workshop, which is exactly why it’s designed to be 3 hours long. Try to ensure your learners know how long it is before they begin – if the expectations are set correctly then this should help.
  2. B) Delays in completion of the e-learning. – There is no rush, do it in your own time. But we cannot certify learners who have not fully completed the training so it’s best to get it done ASAP.
  3. C) Full day workshops or multiple shorter sessions are often difficult to organise, especially in a professional setting, if learners don’t feel they have the time to spare. This is why we developed the e-learning, to help remove some of this pressure. Designing a bespoke course for your learners gives you the freedom to decide how best to deliver your CL training to as many people as you like, so it is up to you how you do it.

We think this is a brilliant tool for you to use as part of your Carbon Literacy, how and whether you use it is up to you!

Still not sure how to utilise e-learning on your CLK roll-out? Email info@carbonliteracy.com. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it works for you and your organisation.

All the best in your teaching and learning!

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