Online training courses leave a lot to be desired.

Am I disability aware?
Last week I decided to take the plunge and sign up to an online disability awareness course. I was interested in assessing the depth of information I would be required to digest, understand how the course worked as a user and find out what I knew already. Working in the industry, having a disabled child and being teacher qualified, I hoped to do well. I was sceptical as to the benefit I’d gain from the training but thought I’d give it a go.

Boring Lessons!
What about learning experience? Surely online training is the most convenient means of skilling up? Well I felt pretty flat as I plodded through the short modules. I might be a teacher but it doesn’t take one to understand an uninspiring learning experience. A radio button multi-choice tick box approach is just about the worst pedagogy approach I can think of. As a friend of mine once stated “At work we do these online knowledge tests. We just guess our way through asap and go back to correct our answers and shut the damn thing off! but it keeps our manager happy.”

Was is useful?
Visits unlimited online training

Surely the course helped me feel confident in meeting the needs of disabled visitors at the front desk? challenge discrimination and understand my rights? advise others on best practice in accessibility? No it didn’t.
It did provide the opportunity to review a few national statistics relating to how many wheelchair users there are in the UK, how many have arthritis and about a dozen other statistics. I’m not sure if the data was accurate though as there wasn’t a date of publication on the website or any reference to the sources used to gather the data.

Did I pass?
How did I get on? Well I was all done and dusted in twenty five minutes! Level 1 Disability Awareness certified! Time included printing my nice certificate off.

So how should online training be?
I heard about e-portfolio online training. This required the use of a qualified assessor to set work. This means work has to be completed by the learner!…and it means there’ll be feedback too. Wow. A learning experience similar to what I’d expect.

Then I thought about course content. Surely there’s loads to learn about disability in terms of really understanding the wishes of disabled people and particularly their aspirations for leisure experiences? There is! I’d want to know more then…and perhaps gain a recognised qualification too to spur me on.

So where can I find a course like this?

I struggled to locate one so I decided to have Visits Unlimited develop it. It’s arriving in late March. Take a peek at our accreditation and courses now and let me know if it’s your cup of tea.

Matt Riley
Director, VisitsUnlimited.