When An Cosán wanted to widen its remit and help people and communities, not only in Tallaght West but across the country, it looked to Learnovate to help build an educational platform for blended learning that could reach a wider audience.
“We were very successful in what we were doing but I always had a dream of going national by providing blended learning and that’s where Learnovate came in.”
Liz Waters, CEO of An Cosán and CEO and Director of An Cosán Virtual Community College
Developed with Learnovate’s guidance, An Cosán’s award-winning Virtual Community College (VCC) enables An Cosán to expand its ethos of empowering through education beyond Jobstown to locations across the country.
Liz always had a dream to grow An Cosán and bring its essential services to a wider audience. Her belief in the power of education to transform individuals and communities has been a driving force in engaging digital technologies to provide education to disadvantaged communities in Ireland.
When An Cosán was drafting its strategic plan, they decided they needed to think bigger and Liz instinctively knew that online was the only way to go. Her unique vision was to bring social equality and an end to poverty through education – using online and mobile technology.
“I knew online was the way to go but I could not find the right blended model I wanted out there. We didn’t know if the idea was right, if it would work, and how to ensure quality assurance.”
I was working with a colleague at the time who said to me: ‘If you can imagine it – it can happen – and I know the people who can make it happen.’ It was then that I was introduced to Learnovate.”
Funding from ESB allowed An Cosán to engage Learnovate’s services. An Cosán commenced a pilot project in collaboration with community partners across the country. The pilot blended-learning project began with 15 people, with Learnovate monitoring it all the way.
Learnovate held brainstorming and solution-storming sessions with An Cosán Stakeholders to identify the most valuable solutions to meet the instructional design needs of An Cosán’s learners. Learnovate then developed a bespoke instructional design model for An Cosán, which they have been running and delivering ever since through their Virtual Community College (VCC).
The model, based on solid research, combines face-to-face workshops with online learning and assignments as well as virtual classrooms. Discussion, interaction and teamwork make for both an enjoyable and rewarding learning experience.
“One of our key strategic goals was to scale the centre’s impact nationally. Learnovate’s support allowed us to move seamlessly towards a blended model of virtual and face-to-face learning that made courses accessible to disadvantaged communities nationwide.”