A Contribution Towards Innovating Continuing Professional Development in African Higher Education Institutions

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Lelliott, Tony
Butcher, Neil
Glennie, Jenny
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PCF10 Sub-theme: Fostering Lifelong Learning // Traditional approaches to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) prevalent at many African universities are dominated by face-to-face workshops that take academic staff away from their normal duties. Staff often find it difficult to implement what they learn in such events once they are back in their normal teaching environment. This is exacerbated by several obstacles to staff participation identified in literature on CPD. These include lack of time, resistance to moving away from traditional teaching practices, and that innovative teaching practices are often not a requirement for appointment or for career progression in Higher Education Institutions (Inamorato dos Santos et al. 2019). One possible strategy to alleviate some of these challenges is to provide short, online tutorials that engage participants in authentic learning tasks that can be done individually or collaboratively in their own time, while they are in the workplace. // From 2019 to 2021, OER Africa delivered a series of CPD pilot activities at African universities to introduce more innovative approaches to, through the design and delivery of modular and flexible ‘learning pathways’ (LPs) available at https://bit.ly/2NVj3P5. The LPs discussed in the paper focus on finding and adapting Open Educational Resources, and Open Access Publishing; each consists of several learning activities designed to be accessible on a variety of digital devices. Pilots were implemented via introductory video conferencing, and participants then worked through an online learning pathway over two weeks. Thereafter, an online feedback session was held and data was collected via pre- and post-activity surveys. Findings indicate that the LPs were well-received, showing statistically significant change between baseline and endline tests, suggesting that learning did indeed occur. There was also self-reported evidence for participants using the content of the LPs with their own colleagues and designing better courses for their students. This paper summarizes the development of the LPs and the findings from the pilot evaluation, and discusses implications for CPD policies and processes at HEIs in Africa. // Paper ID 2999
Professional Development, Open Education Resources (OER), Open Access, Higher Education