Moving Hands-On Learning to Online learning in career and technical education with SkillsCommons: COVID Strategies

Concurrent Session 5 & 6 (combined)
Streamed Session Community College/TAACCCT

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The COVID pandemic has required hands-on career and technical education programs to move online.  The workshop will demonstrate how to use SkillsCommons, an OER repository of workforce development training resources, to design hybrid and online courses that align with hands-on learning in the workplace.


Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and SkillsCommons ( for the California State University, the Director for the Center for Usability for Design and Accessibility and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. At MERLOT and SkillsCommons, he directs the development and sustainability of the international consortium and technology strategy to provide open educational services to improve teaching and learning and continues to development the US Department of Labor's open repository of educational resources for workforce development. Gerry's previous positions include Assistance Vice Chancellor for Academic Technology Services at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategy Planning at CSU, Long Beach.

Extended Abstract

Moving Hands-On Learning to Online learning in career and technical education with SkillsCommons: COVID Strategies

From aviation manufacturing in urban Seattle to health care in rural Montana, many community colleges have used their U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to develop work-based learning (WBL) opportunities and build the capacity of their institution to prepare their students for 21st century employment. These WBL activities provides alternative learning environments, subject matter experts, and assignments as compared to classroom learning that can accelerate the students’ readiness for successful employment is high skilled jobs.  With the COVID pandemic, how will Career and Technical Education programs prepare the workforce with the significant restrictions on hands-on, work-based learning?   Blending online learning with Open Educational Resources and Practices with work-based experiences will help balance the learning needs and the social distancing restriction during COVID.  With the current recession we still need to place thousands of adults into well-paying jobs and ensure American firms’ competitiveness in the global marketplace.

This workshop will review and demonstrate a variety of WBL programs of study that are freely available SkillsCommons, an OER repository developed for TAACCCT grantees across multiple sectors to store all their instructional and program support materials.  The workshop will have participants explore these resources on their own devices and select materials that could be applicable to their own institutions.  The review/demonstration will cover a wealth of teaching and learning OER that can be used to scale and sustain apprenticeship programs, strategies for designing apprenticeship programs, and detailed tactics for implementing apprenticeship programs. 

The workshop will also showcase how SkillsCommons can design, deliver, and sustain a customized portal of OPEN Educational Resources (OER) to provide higher education, industry partners, and 3rd party intermediaries with the following:

  • Learning content for apprentices in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including content focused on workplace safety that can be delivered online.
  • Online teaching content for mentors in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including an online/hybrid training program to help mentors become better teachers (Jumpstart to Successful Instruction) developed by SkillsCommons that can be delivered online.
  • Exemplary innovations in apprenticeship and support services for program design, management, and evaluation resources produced by TAACCCT grantees and curated by SkillsCommons. Program evaluations of TAACCCT projects provided evidence of effective apprentice programs improving retention and employment.
  • A customized repository (modeled after SkillsCommons) for your project to store, curate, distribute, rebrand, and revise the resources created by your grant, along with reliable and effective support services.

Finally, the workshop will end with a group discussion (via chat in Zoom)  on the institutional and industry sector barriers for implementing successful and sustainable apprenticeship programs and how the resources reviewed during the workshop can be used to overcome these barriers.

  • ​What are the explicit participant learning outcomes for the workshop?

Participants will identified the key elements and the available resources for them to design a blended work-based learning -online learning program for workforce development at their institution 

  • What types of collaboration or interactivity will occur during the workshop with the instructor-participants and within the participant-to-participant group themselves?​ Please outline time allotments for any presentation vs. interactivity (i.e., 15 minute presentation; 65 minute interactive workshop; 10 minute Q & A).

Participants will interact with the online resources so they become familar with their value.   Participants will interact with each other in small groups assigned In Zoom in discussing the application of the presented materials to their own institutional plans.  Participants will discuss the barriers they face at their institutions for successful work-based learning during the COVID pandemic.

  • How will workshop participants be able to apply the effective practices shared in the workshop at their home institution?

Participants will be identifying opportunities for them to apply lessons learned from workshops during discussions.

  • Who do you envision as the primary audience types who would get the most out of this session and why do you believe they will benefit?

Community college faculty teaching in CTE programs  as well as Program managers and directors responsible for  designing WBL at their instittuions.

  • What activities, take-aways, and/or activities will your workshop participants engage in that make your workshop unique, innovative, and relevant to the OLC Innovate 2020 themes and track you have selected?

Free access to online program support materials and instructional materials that have been evaluated by SMEs and industry partners which they can customize for their own needs will be the unique value to the workshop.  Taking away strategies to help them move some of their hands-on learning to online learning will be an important outcome.

  • What materials are required for the presenters, and what materials are required of those in attendance? This must be clearly outlined within the proposal submission.

Participants need to bring their own devises and pen.

Presenters need computer, projector, access to the WWW, screen, and will be providing handouts to participants.