By Pauline Pitchford, Volunteer.
There are several ways of learning with the RDA. As volunteers we all start with an induction and practical training in the areas we wish to work in. For most of us that will include a bit of yard work and then some training in side-walking and leading during classes. After that there are a few other ways in which you can continue to learn more to help you in your role and to understand more about how the RDA works. One of those ways is the RDA National e-learning courses. There are currently four courses available, one just been added as coming soon and from what I can see more being planned. In this article I am going to give a brief overview of what you can expect from these courses. First stop is the RDA e-learning home page: http://rda-learning.org.uk/
Signing up is very straightforward and you get sent an automatic email confirming your user name and password. Once you are logged in you see a page looking something like this:
When you first sign up the “Your Courses” section will be empty. To sign up to a course you click on the link and follow the instructions on the page. Some courses will say you don’t have access to them but I found that if you follow the request to join links you are very simply given access.
The first course I joined was the Disability Awareness one. I had attended the face to face workshop on Disability Awareness earlier last year but I was curious to see how the e-learning course might differ. I also thought it would be a good refresher for me. The material in the e-learning course was very similar to the face to face workshop. The main differences being a starting quiz, a finishing quiz and no group discussion as you might expect from an e-learning course.
If you attended the face to face workshop and want a reminder this is worth looking through. If you were unable to attend the face to face Disability Awareness workshop then I strongly recommend this e-learning course. You can also work at your own pace, the course saves your place if you need to stop for some reason and go back another time. Many of us will have some level of Disability Awareness but reminders of how terminology has changed and the current best practices are always useful in my opinion.
I decided to try the Safeguarding course next. Lynda Mckeeman is the Safeguarding Officer for RDA Glasgow so any Safeguarding issues should be reported to Lynda. The Safeguarding course gives information about the importance of safeguarding and gives several examples of what you should do in various situations. For example if you have a concern and Lynda is on holiday that day what would you do? One possibility is to contact the Board of Trustees, you can also contact the RDA National Office for advice and support. Again I found this course easy to follow with clear information. Everyone of us has a role in safeguarding so this is a course that again I strongly recommend particularly if you haven’t done a similar course in the past.
Being the curious type I didn’t stop with those two courses so next I looked at the Governance course. If you like to know how RDA Glasgow fits into the bigger RDA National picture or if you are curious about how things are run then this will help. This course is aimed particularly at those who are interested in being RDA trustees. If you happen to have some spare time and are nosy like me though you may find it interesting. While doing this course I found myself looking up the RDA Glasgow constitution and the Memorandum and Articles of Association on the RDA Glasgow group website at: https://rdaglasgow.wordpress.com/about/ I really enjoyed doing this course. Again the information was clearly laid out and well structured with quizzes and again you can work at your own pace. The subject matter won’t be for everyone though.
The final course available at the time I was looking was the course on the RDA tracker. Again this course was one I did out of pure curiosity. I haven’t yet seen the RDA tracker being used, I know it is used in some classes but so far it hasn’t been in the ones I have been a part of and I was very curious about it. Essentially the RDA tracker is a method of recording participant progress in a number of different areas. Again the course was well laid out and well structured. If you are curious about the RDA tracker I can recommend the course although it is really aimed at those who will be using the tracker, particularly instructors.
I really enjoyed my exploration into the RDA e-learning courses and I am looking forward to the forthcoming Autism Awareness course due to be released at the end of March 2018. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to see an in development version as a tester and it looks really good!