The opportunity to participate in the first-ever OSU Extension Hybrid Learning Study Group (Spring 2014) was a great experience and the opportunity I’ve been looking for to begin the process of creating a new learning environment for individuals preparing to take an Oregon private pesticide applicators license exam. A “blended” or “hybrid” course can offer the best of both worlds (face-to-face instruction and online) when designed and implemented with new types or re-designed engagement activities fully integrated into both platforms. My goal is to utilize blended learning technology to improve the overall training experience and comprehension through increased learner engagement via online (independent study, discussion forums, etc.) integrated with on-site workshops. This course also works well for individuals preparing to take a “laws and safety” exam needed for a public or commercial pesticide applicator license. In addition, I will work with ODA to develop a system that awards applicator recertification credit for online participants.
In a nutshell, my plan involves the NE Oregon Pesticide Applicator Training team (Walenta, Williams, Cowan, Kiemnec, Stock) to re-design the traditional NE Oregon Private Pesticide Applicator Pre-License Training course into a hybrid course which offers expanded training opportunities. Currently, the annual pre-license training event is delivered on-site in each county (Union, Baker, Wallowa) via 4-hour face-to-face workshops which does not allow enough time for in-depth training of all pertinent study material. The objectives for the “hybridization” of our traditional course are to: 1) engage learners in training activities prior to the delivery of on-site workshops; and 2) enable learners to develop greater comprehension of key information and knowledge required of licensed applicators. The general format of the course will include 4 online learning modules and one onsite workshop (per location). Modules will be expected to be completed prior to the onsite workshop. Once the course is developed the course would be made available for to use in their own local pre-license training events in Oregon.