Shifting to e-learning

Following my recent post about the small changes that justice charity 2makeit have made in recent weeks to continue their vital work in prisons, today I’ll look at the adaption of nurtureuk.

nurtureuk are an education charity that support education professionals.

With increasing numbers of children and young people affected by social, emotional and behavioural difficulties inhibiting their progress and limiting their life chances, nurtureuk has developed a range of interventions and support to give vulnerable children and young people the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Much like prior to the pandemic, our services would exclusively be delivered in-person, such as face-to-face training and in-house consultancy. Our trainers and consultants would travel throughout the country to deliver these services. Our delegates would receive our services on pre-arranged dates either at their place of work or in a venue they would need to travel to.

As we are very much aware, today, this type of activity is not one that can happen.

Because we can no longer offer services in person, we’ve developed shorter (1h) sessions to be delivered via webinars (using Zoom). Our trainer delivers live from home to up to 60 people (we’re limiting to 50-60 so that she can manage questions, but we might open to more in the future). We are adding more dates each week right now because of demand.

We also have developed an online training course, accessible from our online platform (Thinkific), which delegates can complete at their own pace within two weeks. It is a mix of texts, videos (with PowerPoint) and quizzes. We plan on adding more courses on the platform within the next few months.

This is a dramatic shift in delivery for a charity that is well respected for their face-to-face training. While working with them just before lockdown to explore what a new website might be for them, none of us contemplated shifting the delivery of sessions to virtual!

The team have been swift in the changes they have made and are learning each day.

There were some key decisions to make:

Going online: this was the most obvious to us as education professionals would need our services now more than ever considering the impact this crisis will have on children and young people, and also considering many of them were required to undertake CPD during lockdown.

Offer/prioritising products: we had to find out what resources and topics were the most pressing, what education professionals needed from us. We’ve put a survey out to find out and we’ve based most of our product development planning around this.

Format of delivery: this is the decision that has taken us the longest to figure out. Our team has attended countless webinars, CPD and forums, just to find out what was out there and what others did- all the while sharing what we found with each other.

By keeping focus on the main impact areas of the organisation and keeping the decision team to a small group, nurtureuk were able to make quick and effective decisions to keep things moving forward. The team have found that not only is their online service much needed and appreciated by the education professional they support, but they are now reaching new international audiences to support too.

We definitely think this has been transformative, it will now be part of what we do and we will keep delivering online services even after the Covid-19 crisis, along with existing ones.

To achieve this incredibly speedy transformation, the team have taken advantages of support from the sector including my monthly Charity Digital Q&A, one-to-one support from The Digital Candle and resources from The Catalyst.

We felt supported when we truly needed it which is fantastic really. We have found tremendous support in the wide sharing of information from the non-profit digital community plus our suppliers and other stakeholders have been incredibly supportive as well (for example, one of our freelance designer produced all the videos used for the online course free of charge).

It has also been useful to talk to peers, and find out what others are doing, ask questions, find out what your beneficiaries need from you. I really think it’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, be open-minded and potentially being prepared to re-think your organisation’s activity altogether.

Here’s how you can support them:

Spread the word about the benefits of nurturing approaches in education and the use of the Boxall Profile. Tell schools, tell local authorities how important the work we do is and get them to work with us so that we can support more professionals in education and in turn, have bigger impact on vulnerable children and young people across the UK. To follow what we are up to: Twitter @nurtureuktweets, Facebook @nurtureuk, website nurtureuk.org