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Engaging practice-based learners: Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability Volunteers Andrew Fowler Aileen Watson and Jacky Burrows

Engaging practice-based learners

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Page 1: Engaging practice-based learners

Engaging practice-based learners: Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability Volunteers

Andrew FowlerAileen WatsonandJacky Burrows

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context• Penal Voluntary Organisations are charitable,

self-defined voluntary agencies working with prisoners and offenders in custody and the community (Corcoran 2011: 33)

• Offender Management Act (2007) opened up criminal justice market for service providers from voluntary, commercial and statutory sectors

• Transforming Rehabilitation: A Strategy for Reform (MoJ, 2010)

• increasing role for penal voluntary organisations

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The project

•Joint project between SHU and YHCOSA

▫Stand alone academic module▫Aimed at volunteers working with sex

offenders in the community▫Heavy focus on 'practice', skills, and

reflection▫30 credits, level 4▫Blended learning delivered jointly

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The students

•11 started, 8 finished▫1 withdrew for serious health reasons▫2 withdrew for personal reasons

•Completers were all female•All students had previous experience

undergraduate level•All had completed at least one 'circle'

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The module• MODULE AIM• To enable COSA volunteers to develop skills and knowledge that will underpin

their professional development and enhance their practice in working with offenders within the community.

•  • MODULE LEARNING OUTCOMES • By engaging successfully with this module a student will be able to:

articulate, discuss and apply conceptual and theoretical frameworks that underpin community based support, rehabilitation and re-integration of sex offenders

develop and demonstrate core skills that support the community reintegration of sex offenders

recognise and apply the multi-agency context of volunteering within COSA, taking account of diverse roles, responsibilities, partnerships and accountabilities

discuss and respond appropriately to issues of diversity and difference within the context of voluntary work within COSA

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Blended learningBlended learning Volunteering with sex offenders


•1 SHU face to face session

•12 SHU online lectures

•4 face to face COSA sessions (more skills based)

• interim and final assignment

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Online component

Three blocks of four sessions:•Effective engagement•Risks, rights and responsibilities•Rehabilitation and reintegration

Mixture of written information, exercises, video excerpts, case studies and prompts for reflection.

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AndragogyKnowles (1980 (cited in Chametzky (2014)

Volunteering with sex offenders module

Models of assumptions:• 1) self management of learning

• 2) empowerment of learners to increase motivation

• 3) reliance on learners own life experience to aid learning

• 4) objectives of learners for taking the course

• 5) the practical real-world solutions to problem encountered on the course

• 1) in on-line environment more active in knowledge acquisition

• 2) by being self directed learners feel empowered - learn anytime anywhere - flexible learners

• 3) In Circles - this experience provides the figurative hooks

• 4) Our brief - learners ideas

• 5) opportunity to address real-world situations in andragogic learning environment

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Social Constructivismlearning theory

Volunteering with sex offenders module

• Constructed by learners as they attempt to make sense of their experiences. Learners, therefore, are not empty vessels waiting to be filled, but rather active organisms seeking meaning (Driscoll, 2005, p. 387)

• students question existing knowledge, beliefs to problem solve in highly fluid situations (Cooner 2005)

• emails with tutor• BB for debate• simulation - real world

problems• Using existing experience

as a basis for learning• Critically reflective

practice - • course identity• reflection - lectures -


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Sustaining motivation & maximising potential





Chametzky 2014

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Meaningfulness and engagement•needs to be worthwhile - working more

independently - needs to enhance their own practice

•when meaningful - engaged with course materials / peers - stronger vested interest in learning

•more likely to attain skills in upper levels of Bloom's taxonomy (Tsai 2009)

•resolution of real-life problems than memorizing information (Pollock 2013)

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Student perspectiveInitial evaluation Final evaluation

• High levels of confidence• Highly motivatedKey areas for learning: • Sex offender rehabilitation• Academic research around

COSA• Challenging offending

behaviour• Understanding risk• Diversity

• Mixed response• Generally positive about

quality of materials but less of a 'professional' focus

• More connection between online and face to face input

• More face to face contact with tutors

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What did we learn?• Blended learning needed to be more unified - not

two separate components• We needed greater clarity of purpose and course

identity• We needed to make more effective use of VLE to

provide clearer hooks and increase motivation• We could have incorporated student experience

into the learning materials more creatively to enhance engagement and make the module as a whole more meaningful to the students.

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Conclusions and recommendations•Use of multi-media, for example, podcast,

skype•Enquiry-based Blended Learning -

Community of Enquiry Framework for Enquiry based learning

•Continuing the action learning sets in the VLE

•Developing sense of course identity

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References• Driscoll, M. P. (2005) Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd Ed.) Boston: Allyn and

Bacon• Chametzky, B. (2014) Andragogy and Engagement in Online Learning: Tenets and

Solutions. Creative Education, 5, 813-821. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2014.510095• Cooner, Tarsem Singh (2011). Learning to Create Enquiry-based Blended Learning

Designs: Resources to Develop Interdisciplinary Education. [online]. Social work education, 30 (3), 312-330

• Corcoran, M. (2011) Dilemmas of institutionalization in the penal voluntary sector. Critical Social Policy 31 (1): 30-52.

• Higher Education Academy (2015). Flexible Learning [online]. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/workstreams-research/themes/flexible-learning

• Ministry of Justice (2007) Offender Management Act. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/21/pdfs/ukpga_20070021_en.pdf

• Ministry of Justice (2010) Transforming Rehabilitation: A Strategy for Reform. https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-rehabilitation/results/transforming-rehabilitation-response.pdf

• Pollock, D. (2013) Designing and Teaching Online Courses http://fsweb.bainbridge.edu/QEP/Docs/DesigningandTeachingOnlineCourses.pdf

• Tsai, M. J. (2009) The Model of Strategic E-Learning: Understanding and Evaluating Student E-Learning from Metacognitive perspectives. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12, 34-48. http://www.ifets.info