In Practice

Using bridging activities to create a staggered learning approach | by VVOB

VVOB – education for development supports the University of Rwanda – College of Education (UR-CE) and Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) to organise accredited blended CPD programmes for school leaders and school-based mentors. 

The delivery method of these programmes is based on a thoughtful fusion of remote and in-person learning activities connected by bridging activities. This combination allows for a staggered learning approach based on the flipped classroom model. Each CPD programme starts with an in-person orientation session to introduce participants to the purpose and delivery approach of the programme. 

Moreover, such in-person orientation sessions offer the opportunity to build relationships. After this introductory in-person session, participants engage in interactive online course content. In this component, participants gain knowledge and understanding of the topics of the CPD programme. 

At the end of an online module, bridging activities are introduced to offer participants the opportunity to start reflecting on the content of the module and to translate the content to their work practice. After the online component of the module, participants go to an in-person module session to practise the content with their peers and to deepen their learning. 

At the end of a module, participants complete assignments in which they analyse the content and apply it to their work practice. Twice during the programme, a support visit is organised to participants’ work practice (school). The first visit is a coaching and support visit. The second visit is organised towards the end of the programme to assess the application of skills acquired. 

An example of a staggered approach using bridging activities is the development of a CPD plan for the school. In Rwanda, school-based mentors have the responsibility for guiding CPD of teachers in the school, by creating a school CPD plan. In the CPD programme, school-based mentors learn to develop an effective CPD plan for their school. They do this step by step over each building block of the blended CPD programme:

  • Online module: school-based mentors learn how to identify and assess teachers’ professional development needs.
  • Bridging activity: school-based mentors guide four teachers in their school to complete the CPD needs assessment tool.
  • In-person session: together with their peers, school-based mentors build a school CPD plan based on the needs of four teachers in their school.
  • Assignment: school-based mentors submit a full CPD plan for their school.

In short, the blended design of these CPD programmes allows scaffolding at each step in the learning of participants. 

Example of a staggered learning approach to blended CPD design

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