Digital 55, A Toronto-based Digital Media Agency Develops Free Micro Course On Pandemic Leadership

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Navigating Extraordinary Times, a new course available through PowerED by Athabasca University teaches leaders how to cope with new realities as traditional classrooms pivot towards learning experience design (LX)

Navigating Extraordinary Times via PowerED by Athabasca University, designed and developed by Digital 55.

There have always been obstacles to physical education as not everyone can easily access physical spaces. The fact of the matter is our world is speeding up and educational systems need to be responsive to what people need.

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Digital 55 has been creating knowledge-based digital experiences long before modular learning became the status quo. Their latest project, “Navigating Extraordinary Times” in collaboration with PowerEd by Athabasca University is a free online micro-course providing leaders with strategies, tools and frameworks for successfully navigating new realities introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In our current world defined by distancing measures and uncertainty - it is the way of the future,” says Lauralee Sheehan, owner and CCO of Digital 55. “Educators must not focus on the skills that are being lost, but on what’s being gained through engaging and meaningful learning experiences while disseminating just-in-time knowledge to wide-spread, diverse and digitally savvy audiences.”

The team at Digital 55 have been optimistic about the power of digital media and EdTech to serve purpose-driven organizations for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated new thinking within education and has created opportunities for a new deployment of learning. Digital and remote learning poses new challenges for the school systems and students, but virtual learning has proven to be advantageous. According to the Research Institute of America, e-learning increases retention rates 25% to 60% while face-to-face retention rates are low in comparison at 8% -10%. This is because digital-learners have more control over the learning process, can explore concepts in different modalities and are able to revisit training as needed.

Course development has pivoted with the rise of digital, no longer solely relying on one teacher but on a team of professionals in design, digital media, content architecture and interactive storytelling to build learning experiences that engage online learners.

“It’s time to rethink educational systems,” says Sheehan. “There have always been obstacles to physical education as not everyone can easily access physical spaces. The fact of the matter is our world is speeding up and educational systems need to be responsive to what people need.”

Back to school during a global pandemic is no easy feat, but digital has certainly helped identify opportunities for learning, creating space for continuous dialogue and a multiplicity of voices and perspectives beyond a traditional classroom setting.

Downloadable Digital 55 project + headshot links available here.

About Digital 55
Digital 55 is a Toronto-based interactive digital media agency run by indie musician-turned tech entrepreneur Lauralee Sheehan. Digital 55 works with not-for-profit, government agencies and companies on research, user experience, design, development, content architecture, learning experience design, strategy and complex storytelling. They produce values-based digital media products to encourage critical thinking on topics and issues of social justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, human rights, intersectional issues and arts and culture.

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Stephanie Chong
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since: 02/2019
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