Online Equalities Training – can it really work?

OSDC is currently exploring the possibility of developing some of our training courses into online learning resources.

There are a number of challenges to doing this in relation to equality and diversity training, especially, if like us, you want your participants to leave the training feeling like they have been challenged in a positive way, they have had an opportunity to reflect on their own practice and learn from each other. There has been some criticism of online equalities training, as there is a feeling that effective equalities training needs to empower and enable culture and attitudinal change, which requires good facilitation, discussion and reflection – these things can be hard to achieve through online learning (or at least within the online learning we have viewed). We find one of the most effective ways of delivering equalities training is through the use of scenarios which enable people to think through how they would actually respond to real life situations.

There are obvious advantages to buying online courses for large institutions in terms of cost saving and staff being able to complete courses in their own time/at their own pace. However one complaint that we have heard from local authorities is that they find it difficult with the current systems to track who has completed a course and who has not. Many of the current available resources are quite generic and corporate and not necessarily sector specific, when OSDC delivers training in the traditional way we always tailor it to ensure it is relevant to the audience and sector specific, even if the outcomes and many of the exercises are the same people feel like that can relate to the scenarios we provide them with.

Our challenge, therefore, is to create online equalities training which has the benefits of being low cost, accessible and flexible while remaining sector specific, drawing on relatable examples/scenarios and creating the positive culture change needed in organisations in order to achieve real equality.

Our initial ideas will blend traditional elearning techniques with our unique training resources, use of webinars and blended learning.

Watch this space for future developments.

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