The Learning and Development Directorate (LDD) of the Ministry of the Public Service is responding to the challenges associated with working in this COVID-19 climate.
And, to this end, says Director of LDD, Fay-Marie Browne, it will shortly be using its virtual classroom to provide learning in multiple areas for public officers.
This, she added, would give the officers the ability to manage their work effectively, and the skills to take them beyond the pandemic.
Mrs. Browne stated: “The Directorate’s programming will see us offering a blend of virtual learning products. We will be conducting virtual learning discussions, similarly to the face-to-face information seminars which we conducted, where we will invite subject matter experts to share and deliver on key topics.”
She disclosed that over the next two weeks, the LDD would be hosting two moderated virtual discussions. The first, which will be held this Wednesday, April 22, at 10:30 a.m., addresses the Psychological Adjustment to Working from Home. Counsellor and Executive Director of Evergreen Associates, Anderson Kellman, will make the presentation.
The Learning and Development Directorate will host two moderated virtual discussions – The first, which will be held this Wednesday, April 22, at 10:30 a.m., addresses the Psychological Adjustment to Working from Home and the second to be held on Wednesday, April 29, from 2:00 p.m., will share with public officers the ICT security protocols to support working from home.
The second virtual learning discussion, to be held on Wednesday, April 29, from 2:00 p.m., will share with public officers the ICT security protocols to support working from home. All virtual discussions will be via Zoom.
Mrs. Browne assured that the LDD has “gone the extra length” to ensure that access to its learning platforms – Zoom, MS Teams and Trident Learning (MOODLE) – “will be secure”.
She disclosed that the Directorate’s intention was to conduct virtual learning discussions every Wednesday.
She added that those conversations would be encouraged on multiple topics, ranging from the sharing of information for general knowledge, such as Safety and Health at Work (particularly as it relates to COVID-19), and Hurricane and Disaster Preparation, to those which focus on how business is done in the Public Service – Terms and Conditions of Service, Grievance Handling, Understanding Misconduct, among others.
She said LDD will also be transitioning many of its face- to-face learning products into self- directed learning (SDL) courses. “This means public officers can enroll and take the course at their own pace and test themselves, using the self-check tests which will be provided.
“These SDL courses will become available from the week of May 4, 2020, and again these courses will reflect the new realities of the Public Service. For instance, the SDL course on Managing Correspondence will take participants through a recommended process for managing emails and correspondence and all public service records while working from home. In addition to the SDL courses, we will also be offering synchronous courses based on our current in-service programmes,” she explained.
Mrs. Browne said ministries and departments may contact LDD at LD@mps.gov.bb about customized learning for their employees. She added that the Directorate completed a learning intervention for one unit in a ministry recently, and it was successfully facilitated in the virtual environment using MS TEAMS.
Meanwhile, the Chinese and Portuguese courses, which are done in collaboration with the University of West Indies, she stated, will recommence shortly and in an online environment.
“We will be continuing our Dale Carnegie collaboration to offer online training to our senior managers and we are currently negotiating with a MOOC (massive, open, online courses) service provider to open up the world of online learning to all public officers,” she further disclosed.
Mrs. Browne underscored the importance of training at this time, saying the only way the public service could come out ‘on top’ after the pandemic was to “keep learning together”.
She noted that the LDD had started preparing for this eventuality a few years ago when the trainers had gained professional certification from UWI to design and deliver in an online environment.