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The Learning Support Academy

Overview

The Learning Support Academy ("Academy") is an online, private, secure, branded learning community of practice, providing professional development along with a resources library and peer and expert coaching support to tutors, academic coaches, mentors, counselors and their trainers. Organizations, such as schools and colleges as well as community and commercial tutoring and coaching centers will benefit from lower costs and removing common obstacles to providing game changing student support, while increasing student success, staff engagement and mission alignment. The June 2016 inaugural installation will be for the Manhattan-based Great Oaks Charter Schools network, which currently provides daily tutoring to its students in several states.

Outcomes
 
For Organizations For Tutors, Coaches and Counselors
  • Increased student success and retention in tutoring programs
  • Lowered staff orientation, training and on-going support costs
  • Increased staff engagement, productivity and retention
  • Improved staff classroom training and participation tracking
  • Coordinated organization-wide resource library
  • Increased mission alignment
  • Learn how to apply powerful practice routines that maximize the effectiveness of tutoring, coaching or counseling sessions
  • Active engagement/support in an organizational cohort of experienced tutors, coaches, counselors and mentors.
  • Understand and apply the often misunderstood andragogical differences between teaching and tutoring
  • Convenient 24/7 access to all reference and training materials.
  • Break through common barriers that are obstacles to quality student learning support
The Learning Support Academy: a Community That Works
  • Group engagement for current and alumni learning support professionals and social member stakeholders, covering learning challenges, practice issues, career goals, peer support and more that includes on-line discussion areas and a knowledge base, aligned with locations or organizational roles.
  • A mentor directory with staff, experts and alumni
  • Individualized coach-learner advisement including goal-setting and practice review
  • Social media motivators to inspire participation include digital badges and leaderboards
  • Crossroads of Learning micro-courses are available in online or classroom workbook format, with trainers supplied by Crossroads or developed within internal staff via a train-the-trainer program. Adaptation of existing organizational training materials or integration of third-party training resources can be accommodated.
  • Just-in-time on-line knowledge base, including best practices and support collateral (content and lessons). These can be self-enrolled or coach suggested. Course or social group members can also submit their own best practices and collateral that are available after client approval and an editing and enhancement review process.
  • Multiple training modalities: In addition to fully on-line environments, the Academy supplies the tools, resources and support for face-to-face or hybrid trainings or meetings among stakeholders at each site, as well as at organization-wide gatherings.
  • Trainer and admin training/support is included via self-paced courses and webinars along with 24/7/365 support via internet or phone.
  • PDF certificates/digital badges and micro-achievement badges (co-branded for organizational clients) are granted for all those completing specific, custom designated training levels, whether on-line or in the classroom as well as for recognition of community contributions.
  • Instant, anywhere engagement via apps access on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets
  • Sub-account/departmental branding with role and location based access and security controls that allows for granular permissions and administration of many features, reports, and more.
  • Dashboard integration for learners, social members, trainers, mentors and coaches so that:
    • Learners and social members are able to view announcements, notifications (including pending assignments), launch trainings, view discussion groups, access personal learning plans, calendars, transcripts, certificates, badges and more
    • Trainers, coaches, mentors and administrators access communications and assignment review across all trainings and groups
  • Rich-media options (video, web-meetings, audio recording, chat, collaborative document editing, file-sharing, discussion groups)
  • Flexible learning path creation that can also be modified on-the-fly by trainers and coaches
  • Real-time access to reporting regarding training enrollments, course progress, and community participation are available to administrators, coaches, mentors and trainers. Reports are available to document professional development to program funders and government agencies.
  • Single sign-on integration with other school or organizational internet systems (optional)
  • Automated enrollment of learners and social member stakeholders by location and role(s) via import from HR or hiring systems (optional)
  • The Canvas LMS base platform is a top choice among higher education Learning Management Systems. The Academy environment expands on it with proprietary courses, custom-developed tools and enhanced integrations.

Background

Crossroads of Learning has delivered training for over 5,000 tutors, academic coaches and trainers via an online asynchronous environment, as well as classroom workbooks, since 2006. Continuing education units for graduates are granted by Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA. The self-paced training incorporates research-based, mastery-centered techniques implemented via active learning, spaced repetition, and mentor-led Socratic dialogue and assessments. No one-way, low-learning-impact webinars, multiple-choice questions or automated grading! These curriculum and materials are now available in the Academy for integration with existing professional development and organizational resources. Custom instructional design, process support and the discovery, review and installation of third-party curriculum services are also available to organizations subscribing to the Academy learning community of practice.

In addition to the private Academy installation available to organizational clients Crossroads of Learning will launch, later in 2016, the full Academy experience to individual learners and staff from small tutoring organizations now participating in our courses. Crossroads of Learning currently offers many free resources to learning support professionals such as a library of digital resources, a journal, webinars, and a peer-to-peer community. These resources will be integrated and expanded under the "Academy" banner with the features and functionality as described in this overview.

 

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