Online development for school BoT members

MEDIA RELEASE – Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ)

27 May 2009

Online training for Boards of Trustees members a good move says DEANZ

Online training for school Board of Trustees members, supported by the Ministry of Education, recognises the tremendous contribution that distance education methods can make to training environments, says Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) President Dr Bill Anderson

“Distance education is a proven way of delivering cost-effective high-quality training to large numbers of widely dispersed people. The training of the approximately 10,000 Boards of Trustees members provides considerable opportunity to leverage the cost benefits that distance education can create,” says Dr Anderson.

Dr Anderson says that while this initiative has its origin in an Auditor-General’s report that considered the cost effectiveness of Trustee training; cost alone should not drive the initiative. “Online training is as effective as any other means of training.”

“As with all forms of education and training its effectiveness is a result of the combination of good planning, good design of learning materials and resources, appropriate choice of technologies and effective online teaching.

The Ministry’s move toward online training for School Trustees must take account of all these requirements”, says Dr Anderson.

School Trustees are typically leading busy lives, often working and inevitably involved with their communities in a range of ways.

Distance education provides flexibility for such people and enables them to undertake the necessary training for their valuable role at places and times convenient to them.

It provides the benefit that they can easily make contact with a much wider, potentially national range of fellow Trustees to share ideas and develop new perspectives on their role and tasks, and still allows them to come together in groups when that is valuable.

The flexibility of online training also means targeted just-in-time training is possible.

“Many schools that Trustees are involved with will be using online resources and capabilities to enrich the learning of their students.

There are many examples of the use of distance education techniques in primary and secondary schools that illustrate just how effective distance education can be. Training for Trustees could take advantage of some of the lessons learnt through the experiences of schools” says Dr Anderson.

DEANZ sees the Ministry of Education’s initiative as a valuable example of the ways in which distance education can support education and training across all sectors of the New Zealand economy.

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