State & Local Programs

Flex Learning Training Curriculum Update

What do you get when you mix National CASA's tried-and-true classroom volunteer training with an online, self-paced component? You get a flexible, manageable way to train volunteers: the Flex Learning curriculum.

At the close of 2013, over 150 CASA/GAL programs had implemented Flex Learning, some offering it occasionally, others adopting it as the curriculum of choice. The majority of programs self-identified as rural, although there was active implementation in urban and suburban programs. Over 2,200 volunteers have been trained utilizing this curriculum.

The initial purpose behind the development and launch of the Flex Learning curriculum was to integrate technology with training and introduce the CASA/GAL network to a plethora of online learning tools. However, that purpose soon expanded, as programs embraced the new curriculum as a way to cope with shrinking training budgets and the increasing need for trained, competent, CASA/GAL volunteers.

Flex Learning utilizes a learning management system called MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) to manage the online learning system. This system promotes a learning partnership between student and facilitator. In addition, it provides yet another alternative for CASA/GAL programs to produce trained CASA/GAL volunteers.

An exit survey completed by more than 25% of CASA/GAL staff who have facilitated the curriculum and volunteers who were trained utilizing it revealed the following:

  • Over 96% of volunteers agreed that the Flex Learning curriculum was engaging.
  • Over 96% of volunteers agreed they felt confident in what initial steps needed to be taken once assigned a case, while 90% of the staff felt volunteers were ready to take a case.
  • Over 95% of volunteers and staff agreed that the curriculum supported the development of the following core competencies: foundations of knowledge, cultural competency, communications, assertiveness, initiative and sound judgment.
  • Over 95% of volunteers felt the case studies provided practical examples and information that will be useful to their advocacy work.
  • Over 85% of the staff were either definitely or very likely to offer it again.
  • In addition, over 68% of programs reported that the training had a positive impact on volunteer recruitment.

So, what’s next for Flex?

  • More robust and informative training of facilitator webinars
  • Stronger case studies webinars that continue to support the case study facilitation
  • Facilitator conference calls
  • The intentional evaluation of staff utilizing and volunteers completing the Flex Learning training
  • The development of a best practices document to support the curriculum
  • Continued utilization of the information collected and compiled for the Flex Learning curriculum

The National CASA Training Team, as well as members of its Curriculum Advisory Committee, thank all CASA/GAL programs that have launched the Flex Learning curriculum. For those of you who have not yet considered or implanted the curriculum, try it and see the learning power and opportunities unleashed when you mix the tried and true classroom training with an online, self-paced component.

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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