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The Education Department Is Off the Blocks!

Full speed ahead. Exactly! Readers of this blog will know that the MLA Board has established a strategic goal of serving the mission and growth of MLA by increasing the breadth, depth, and quality of MLA education offerings and expanding our audiences. Powered by a board meeting last month in which we presented our plans and thoughts on meeting the goal and engaged the board in a vigorous discussion, the MLA education department has left the starting block with a surge of energy! (Warning: Mixed metaphors ahead.)

With the power of the board’s vision, coupled with members’ commitment and expertise and staff’s skill and experience, MLA is on its way to new era of education. It is exhilarating to be one of the drivers of the education department car!

As we look three to five years hence, we see an inspiring vision of where MLA education is headed. It includes:

  • a planned curriculum of engaging, effective courses that serve our members and a broader audience, organized around measurable competencies created by the Task Force to Review MLA's Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success;
  • a user- and instructor-friendly learning management system (LMS);
  • staff- and member-supported e-learning tools for creating courses; and
  • Academy of Health Information Professionals membership run through the LMS.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the vision is an enhanced culture of teaching and learning at MLA. We see at least two parts to this. One is a great increase in the number of instructors who have instructional design and e-course authoring skills who can create and teach courses and share their skills with others. The other is programs such as the academy and Rising Stars becoming more learning focused: Rising Stars to have an expanded leadership curriculum to develop future MLA leaders; the academy to become more member-transformation focused through enhanced mentoring and career-planning elements

We’ve begun thinking about working with members on how to convert annual meeting presentations and continuing education (CE) courses and have started the process of selecting an LMS. The board and the Continuing Education Committee have identified members​ who have experience with choosing and implementing an LMS at other institutions and who have online instructional design and curriculum development experience to help us in identifying the functionalities to seek in an LMS and e-course creation tools. We have spoken to six people to date and have six more conversations scheduled. Every conversation has generated at least one, “I'm sure glad I talked to you!” idea.

We’ve set some aggressive deadlines that motivate us and help us focus our energies, but they won’t stand in the way of making good, collective decisions. Stay tuned to Full Speed Ahead for updates and news of ways to be involved in creating the future of education at MLA!

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