Wednesday, 6 May 2015
The Use of Online Learning as CPD within Animal Welfare Organisations
One of the conference themes was 'knowledge transfer and education', and 'bridging the gap between policy and research'. BSAS works to improve the understanding of animal science and the ways it can help ensure food is produced ethically and economically. As an organisation they promote accessible science and during the 2015 annual conference were keen to have a range of papers looking at innovative educational projects.
Lee presented preliminary evaluation of the bespoke Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course that the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education designed for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Lee's project, titled "The use of online learning as continuing professional development within animal welfare organisations: A case study with IFAW' found that IFAW staff members had a generally positive response to the professional development program, with more IFAW staff members reporting that they felt very confident in describing IFAW's ethical position with regards to animal welfare issues, and 90% of staff members strongly agreed that animal welfare was based in science (versus 80% who felt this way prior to doing the course).
Lee also investigated how different learner types responded to the online format of the course, and intends to use this to inform the creation of virtual learning environments in future projects.
This work will allow animal welfare scientists to build better interventions in future, and refine the educational materials already in use. Lee's work also supports the evidence based approach to animal welfare, by demonstrating how an evidence led approach can make a measurable change in peoples' knowledge and attitudes to animal welfare, as well as providing education in an enjoyable and flexible setting.