Subject matter expertise in a given industry or academic area doesn’t necessarily mean having the skills to create an effective learning environment, but programs like the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College are helping instructors improve their ability to teach in the modern classroom – and they’ve been doing it since 1960.
Post by BCcampus’ editorial team
Vancouver Community College (VCC) offers a professional development program to help experienced subject matter experts design, develop, manage, and evaluate adult learners, whether they’re in post-secondary education, business development, industry-specific improvement, or other non-traditional learning environments. The Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP) prioritizes practical abilities and classroom leadership and facilitation across eight courses, available online, in class, or both. The PIDP is a recognized two-year diploma program of 60-credits, and several institutions are now using it as part of their hiring criteria. The next iteration of the program will be available in April 2020.
“Within the past five to seven years, we’ve seen the enrolment rates for online vs. in-classroom learning grow from 20/80 to 65/35. Historically, people were prepared to teach in a classroom environment because that’s where they observed their teachers in action,” said Doug Mauger, Department Leader for the School of Instructor Education at Vancouver Community College. “Just like the initial intention for this program when it was created in 1960, we’re working with people to improve their teaching abilities, helping the next generation develop the skills to create teaching and learning environments in an online world.”
The program graduates 200+ students per year, with 2500 students – across the country and internationally – currently enrolled, including academic educators, corporate trainers, in-house trainers, and even some K-12 teachers. “Working with local institutions, such as BCIT, North Island College, Camosun College, Thompson Rivers University, and Selkirk College, we’ve developed a variety of approaches to learning, with some classes available over weekends, starting on Friday evening and then full days for Saturday and Sunday. All but one of the courses are available online, with a continuous entry so you can start anytime,” shared Doug. “The maximum length of a course is ten weeks, but you can finish early, and next year we’re introducing a 45-hour format with a more-blended version of what we are currently providing.”
The PIDP is just as relevant today as when it was created in 1960 by the provincial government to address the shortage of instructors. Looking at data compiled by , we’re on the verge of another shortage of educators: “In 1970, 4% of professors were 60 years or older. By 2017, this share increased to 24%. Since the end of mandatory retirement legislation in the mid-2000s, the number of professors over the age of 65 has increased sixfold (from 623 in 2005 to 3980 in 2017).”
“We’re very connected with the people we work with, and the program is reviewed every five years to stay current and relevant,” explained Doug. “In response to an increased demand for trades, we’re working with the ITA developing a Trades Training Instructor certificate, and the next iteration of the PIDP will include electives so instructors can tailor their learning to their specific needs.”
Facilitating Learning Online and PIDP
The (FLO) programs from BCcampus will be eligible to be transferred directly into the PIDP. “Students can take the FLO courses from BCcampus,” said Doug. “We’ll treat them as a transfer credit and bring them right into the program, giving them two credits each.”
“FLO introduces research-based adult and online learning concepts, principles, and strategies that can make online facilitating fun and effective,” explained Tracy Roberts, Senior Manager, Learning + Teaching at BCcampus. “This course helps you enhance the skills needed to confidently and effectively facilitate online learning, making it an ideal ladder into the PIDP at VCC.”
“The people who get back to us, sometimes after teaching 10 or 20 years, tell us they wish they’d taken the program earlier because it helped them learn to work smarter and be more informed on the practice of teaching.” – Doug Mauger, Department Leader, School of Instructor Education, Vancouver Community College