UNP ventures into instructional materials development in week 2 of training

Central to the theme “We Learn as One: A Journey in Embracing the New Normal in Higher Education,” the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs headed by Dr. Rolando B. Navarro organized a virtual training-workshop of faculty on Flexible Learning which runs from July 6 to 31, 2020. This undertaking is one of the counter measures of the University to the ongoing health pandemic.

With all the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, basic education and higher education institutions are challenged as to how classes are to be held and how lessons are to be delivered. Pedagogical shift from the traditional to blended learning type has become imperative.

To respond proactively, a research was undertaken by Dr. Erwin F. Cadorna (University President), Dr. Edelyn A. Cadorna (Director, URO) and Dr. Aldrin S. Jaramilla (VP of Faculty Union) to determine the readiness of faculty members on flexible learning. With the results at hand, the training program was crafted to augment the needs of the UNP educators.

Resource speakers from various universities have been invited to share their knowledge and best practices on flexible learning. They were asked to discuss varied topics within the context of Online Delivery Learning. 

On week 2, experts from Philippine Normal University imparted to the UNP community their experience on developing instructional materials. Dr. Celina Sarmiento lectured on designing flexible instructional materials for online delivery while Prof. Marla C. Papango talked on developing effective self-paced learning modules during the morning and afternoon sessions respectively.

Dr. Sarmiento highlighted the value of flexible learning. She presented conflicting results of previous research studies conducted as to whether flexible learning can improve students’ achievement. She emphasized the significance of a learning management system (LMS) and provided inputs on how to maximize the features of an LMS to facilitate learning.

For Prof. Papango’s lecture, she stressed the features of effective self-learning modules. She presented different instructional models that can guide module writers in their writing. She also gave tips on how to present lessons and pointers on what modules should contain.

Gaining ideas from the discussions of the two esteemed speakers, the remaining days of the week were devoted to the workshops. The hands-on activity was intended for the faculty members to apply what they have learned in their course preparations for the upcoming semester. The accomplished flexible learning course plan, sample digital, and printed instructional materials were the expected outputs of the week.

On the last day of the week, selected faculty members of different academic units presenting were asked to present their outputs virtually in front of the UNP community and resource speakers. Consequently, inputs were given by the resource speakers for improvement.

The speakers also commended the University for venturing into the online delivery of learning. They underscored that it is part of the University’s preparation in becoming proactive towards the future of education. They claimed that the journey would not be so easy but with practice all educators can get better.