A. We recommend that the learning from the BLTG is forwarded, in the first instance, to:
Walking the Way Steering Group
The task group working on the successor to TLS
The BLTG’s report has been presented digitally so that it both models its content and purpose and can be shared widely. Our hope is that the Education & Learning Committee will commend the work and desire that it is forwarded to the places where it can do most good in terms of informing the ongoing work of enabling the discipleship of the people of God.
The Blended Learning Task Group has enjoyed its work together, learning as we go and having the privilege of being invited to spend time on exploring a fascinating and highly relevant subject. The United Reformed Church has exciting possibilities ahead of it as it seeks to define its life as missional discipleship through Walking the Way. Living the life of Jesus today. An important thread within this is to take forward the strengths of Training for Learning and Serving as it has developed over 23 years into a successor programme which starts from a 21st Century standpoint. Contemporary digital realities and expectations are part of the landscape in which both these will exist, as hinted at by the insights of a leading researcher into the church and the digital world. Therefore it is vital that the insights, experience and conclusions of the BLTG inform the work of these two new groups.
Ideally the URC will consciously integrate its online provision through its websites, internal software, and online learning platforms. Different needs and expectations require different offerings.
What has become apparent to the BLTG is the intimate relationship between learning resources and communication methods. If the URC is to harness its resources to best effect it is imperative that “Education & Learning” and “Communications” are in close and intentional conversation with one another. Another key event for the URC is the redevelopment of Church House and the concomitant upgrading of IT hardware and software, which is being overseen by the Deputy General Secretary for Administration and Resources. There is an opportunity now to ensure that decisions made in that area at the very least do not hinder future work on providing online learning resources.
It will be important for the Education & Learning Committee to ask the Communications Committee for their informed comment on the BLTG report. A conversation about the shared appointment of the Online Learning Enabler would concretely bring to the surface some of the realities of joint action.
The identification of these specific groups is intended to make intentional the conversations beyond the Education & Learning Committee and its usual partners – the Synods and the RCLs. The working assumption of the BLTG is that the Committee would share the BLTG report with those conversation partners as a matter of course, and the digital nature of the report makes it easy to share widely and easily. Indeed, it would be the hope of the BLTG that the report interacts with an audience across the URC and beyond.
B. We recommend that the Education & Learning Committee pursue further conversation with the 20-40s Task Group drawing on material from the report
We could have rolled this recommendation into 5A. We kept it separate because this age group contains the generations which are most likely to be comfortable working digitally, or to be their parents. It is essential that they are in active dialogue with the people steering and servicing the educational agenda for the URC.