Nye tider – Nye muligheder: Uddannelse indledes med e-læring

De nye tider med COVID-19 har ikke kun givet bekymringer verden rundt, men også været grobund for nytænkning. Da både Grønland og Danmark lukkede ned i foråret, tog det os ikke lang tid at nytænke forsvarernes grunduddannelse, så vi sammen med landsforsvareren kunne starte introduktionsmodulet til tiden i april ved at indlede med e-læring, der kan gennemføres sammen hver for sig og afslutte modulet med et kortere fremmødekursus i juli, hvor det er bliver muligt at mødes igen.

Heldigvis har vi i LEARN|RIGHT været godt rustet til denne tilpasning, da vi siden 2018 på vegne af landsforsvareren har udviklet en online læringsplatform til forsvareruddannelserne, som bl.a. omfatter e-læringsemner til alle grunduddannelsens moduler.

Som Maria Løkke Rasmussen, Direktør i LEARN|RIGHT, siger: ”Det er dejligt, at vi har kunnet trække på vores stærke erfaring med online uddannelse og de store mængder af e-læringsmateriale fra de sidste forsvareruddannelser, så vi hurtigt har kunnet omstille og tilpasse introduktionsmodulet uden at gå på kompromis med fagligheden på uddannelsen.”

Læringsmæssige fordele
Hvor introduktionsmodulet tidligere har bestået af 10 dages fremmødekursus med en afsluttende stopprøve, hvorefter kandidater der fortsatte på 1. modul, gennemgik e-læring der understøttede introduktionsmodulet, indledes GU 20-21 i omvendt rækkefølge med 10 ugers e-læring og afsluttes med 5 dages fremmødekursus og stopprøve. Det gør det muligt at udnytte fordelene ved flipped learning allerede på introduktionsmodulet, så kandidaterne selv sætter sig ind i emnerne forud for fremmødekurset, hvor der så kan bruges mindre tid på oplæg og mere tid til at komme i dybden med diskussioner og at træne kandidaternes praktiske færdigheder i at anvende de ting, de har lært om.

Samtidig bredes læringen ud over længere tid, og der arbejdes med flere forskellige læringsmetoder, som alt sammen giver nogle læringsmæssige fordele. Kandidaterne kan gå tilbage til de forskellige e-læringsemner og repetere dem igen og igen, så de føler sig klædt på til fremmødekurset, ligesom de kan gense emnerne f.eks. om aftenen i løbet af grundkurset.

Omstillingsparate kandidater
Den ændrede struktur har krævet en stor omstilling blandt kandidaterne, som gennemfører den ulønnede uddannelse ved siden af deres hovederhverv eller studie. For det første har de skulle tilpasse sig en ny kursusdato, som heldigvis var muligt for stort set alle. Men lige så vigtigt har de skulle finde tid til og sætte sig ind i at anvende en online e-læringsplatform med ca. 4 timers ugentlig e-læring med læsning, diskussionsopgaver og selvtest samt aflevering af skriftlige procedurer hver 14. dag. Selvom de kan arbejde forud i e-læringen, og de kan gennemføre ugens emne(r) om aftenen eller i weekenden, har det krævet nogle dedikerede kandidater.

Dertil kan det også være uvant og utrygt at sidde alene bag skærmen. Derfor gør vi meget ud af at være i dialog med kandidaterne bag skærmen og gennem feedback på opgaver og deres ugentlige ”hvad har jeg lært og hvordan går det”-indlæg samt lave en ugentlig opsamling på ugens opgaver. Som noget nyt har vi også indført en videokonference hver anden uge, hvor kandidater og arrangører får sat ansigt på hinanden, der øves procedurer og diskuteres i grupper og der samles op på ugens pointer og spørgsmål, ligesom vi har indført flere cases med aflevering af skriftlige procedurer.

Heldigvis har kandidaterne taget godt imod e-læringen og vist stor vilje til at sætte sig ind i alt det nye. Som Maria bemærker: ”Kandidaterne har haft stort gåpåmod med e-læringen, og vi har haft nogle rigtig gode videokonferencer, hvor vi har set hinanden i øjnene. Det er imponerende, hvor hurtigt kandidaterne har taget læringsplatformen til sig. Selvom både e-læring og mange begreber er helt nye, så klør de bare på!”

Der er dog også kandidater, der har forladt uddannelsen. Det er normalt med et større frafald, hvis f.eks. deltagerne får nyt job eller studie, eller fordi de finder ud af, at uddannelsen ikke er noget for dem. Da de denne gang snuser til uddannelsen tidligt, sker der et frafald inden fremmødekurset, og dermed inden uddannelsen har haft en stor udgift til at flybilletter og indlogering af tilrejsende kandidater.

Uddannelsen fremadrettet
Vi tror på, at det i år er endnu stærkere kandidater, der går til stopprøven efter fremmødekurset i Nuuk i juli, og dermed fortsætter på forsvarernes grunduddannelse. Udover introduktionsmodulet består uddannelsen af to moduler samt et mellemliggende praktikforløb, hvor kandidaterne fører simple kriminalsager ved kredsretten med støtte fra landsforsvareren. Den afsluttende eksamen afholdes i marts 2021 hvorefter kandidaterne indstilles til at blive autoriserede forsvarere af dommeren ved Retten i Grønland.

First group on blended-learning education ready to defend their clients

 LEARN|RIGHT congratulates the first group of criminal defenders who has passed their exam on the new education. We have assisted the National Defender in Greenland in the process with the development of a curriculum and the planning and implementation of the education through an online learning management system with weekly e-learning topics in between the face to face courses in Nuuk. 

Huge congratulations to the newly educated candidates who after almost one year’s education passed their exam 1st of November 2019 on the new criminal defenders’ basic education. The National Defender in Greenlandare now able to nominate the candidates to become authorised criminal defenders at Greenland’s 1st instance courts. Here they will be ready to support their clients in criminal cases and contribute to a well-functioning justice system and access to justice in Greenland. 

There is reason for the candidates to be proud, it has not been an easy journey they have been on. As an outset, judges, defenders and prosecutors at Greenland’s 1st instance courts do not have law education, but are ordinary citizens educated in special designed practical education programmes. Thereto comes, that their defence job typically is carried out as a subsidiary occupation next to the defender’s primary occupation. This means, the candidates will carry out the education beside their main occupation and will have to take holiday or unpaid leave to participate in the face to face courses. And then the education is unpaid. 

Strengthened educational framework and contact to learners
It has been a positive surprise how well the online learning platform has worked as a unifying factor for an education spread over time and geography. The learning platform has contributed with an overview of and a common thread by collecting all information and communication in one place concerning e-learning, face-to-face courses, in-service training and exam at one place. It has indeed been a virtual classroom where candidates and the team behind the education, could tap into and be present together independent of where and when they were logged in. 

The candidates have been able to follow each other’s progression and answers and has appreciated the ongoing feedback on assignments and the helping hand from the other side of the screen on the way. We have on our side ensured regular and foreseeable feedback as well as done our best to answer quickly to inquiries and to cheer and motivate along the way. In the team behind the education we have from both Denmark and Greenland continually been able to follow the candidates progress in the e-learning and e.g. when they were assigned by the courts to carry out the 10 in-service training cases they were to handle.

The weekly wrap ups have contributed to driving the education forward and tie together an otherwise very scattered and individual education. As part of the wrap up of each week, the candidates wrote their main learning points and gave feedback to the content and form. Afterwards we as co-organisers wrapped up the week with their main results, what they found difficult and as well as introduced to the following week.

Challenges: Broken sea-cables and language 
The distribution of sea-cables and flat-rate internet in Greenland has made e-learning a far more attractive means of learning in a country where great distances between cities makes face-to-face learning cumbersome and expensive. But it has not been without problems. 

Along the way, several breaches of Greenland’s sea-cable supplying the internet traffic made the learning platform either slow or unavailable to the candidates. It sometimes delayed their work on the platform and at one point it transformed the e-learning into a letter course with content and assignments sent back and forth over e-mail.

Another challenge has been how to assist the candidates in carrying out their legal cases in Greenlandic. In Greenland the legal language is both Danish and Greenlandic and while most documents are presented in Danish, most legal cases in 1st instance courts are conducted in Greenlandic. Candidates in the programme are bilingual, but that does not necessarily mean that they know the terminology used in court. To reinforce that, in an education with primarily Danish-speaking teachers and developers, we created a version of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Criminal Code where the provisions are found side by side in the two languages. Also, we developed a series of videos in Greenlandic and held role plays in Greenlandic with interpretation. In addition, the candidates have submitted several written pleas in Greenlandic on the learning platform. What the candidates have most appreciated in this regard, however, have been videos of pleas in Greenlandic presented by experienced defenders, on case descriptions, to which the candidates themselves have previously submitted their own plea.

The Education of Criminal Defenders in the future
With so much material developed, the National Defender can easily build on the learning platform in future education.

For the time being, we have developed the basic education e-learning into a knowledge bank for the authorized defenders. Here they can look up their questions as needed, and we can use the bank as part of the ongoing in-service training.

Perhaps e-learning on the learning platform could also play a greater role in the abbreviated education for criminal defenders targeting graduates with a specific relevant background, as it has proved difficult to bring these candidates together in the face-to-face courses.

Finally, we look forward to reuse the learning platform and develop it into more basic education programmes in the future, so we can say congratulations to even more blended-learning trained criminal defenders.