In the second in the series of Catalysts of eLearning Webinars, TLA TeleLearn-Akademie shared the success story of their Perspektive Wiedereinstieg programme, which was devised to support women returning to employment. In addition to the Blackboard Catalyst Award, this programme was selected as a first place winner of a Public Service Award by the United Nations for promoting gender responsive delivery of public service.

Access the recording here.

Founded in 2000, TeleLearn-Akademie is a not for profit organisation funded by KWB and part of a wide international cooperative that links the academy to partners across Europe, in Vietnam, China and Saudi Arabia.

Perspektive Wiedereinstieg is a half-year training initiative designed to encourage and support well-qualified women who are returning to work after a career break of at least three years. It starts with a four-month blended-learning course of professional skills development that covers business administration, ICT and project management along with personal skills such as communication, career development and job application training. The second phase of the programme is a two-month internship to provide current on-the-job training with the potential of employment in a full- or part-time job at its completion.

Additional online-only courses have also been introduced to teach supplementary skills and to reach women living in remote areas.

The award-winning Project Management Basics course lasts for six weeks and participants receive a certificate upon completing at least 70% of the credits. No more than twelve learners take part in each course to keep focus groups intimate and build relationships with instructors and delegates.

Blackboard solutions allow the online instructors to upload weekly outlines of the course and guide participants through the learning and support materials. Links to videos, further reading, additional sample projects and key project management templates are also available for learners who wish to explore the topics further.

A continuous loop of feedback from the instructor helps support progress and self-assessment and weekly conversations are facilitated through the Blackboard discussion board. Participants can post questions for instructors, share what they have learned, help each other, and develop their professional networks.

Course Instructor Sigrun Bones is confident that this facility makes a big difference to the ongoing engagement by participants. “I find online meetings very motivating for instructor and for the participants,” said Sigrun. “They provide students an opportunity to share experiences and see that they are all in the same boat and have similar problems. The conversations often move beyond the course material into support for the individual as they balance family and work life.”

As courses and support can be accessed through computers and on mobile devices, some participants make use of Blackboard Mobile Learn on their smartphones and tablets to check their grades and see new discussion posts.

The TeleLearn-Akademie’s Director said that Blackboard provides an easy framework for the programme and feedback from participants has been good. “We have used other technologies including home grown systems,” he added. “Blackboard enables online collaboration that simplifies the process for the learners, providing the mixture of knowledge, structure and support that is needed.”

Over 1,000 women have participated in the Perspektive Wiedereinstieg programme since its inception and TeleLearn-Akademie plans to continue offering this vital training and development programme to women returners.

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