...Or, why Online Club Leadership Education could be for you
By: Heather McAllister
Club Excellence Coordinator
In my life before Kiwanis, I taught elementary school for more than a decade. Of course, during that time, in order to keep my teaching license current, I enrolled in continuing education classes. The first time I took a class, I actually went to campus, twice a week for two hours. It wasn’t bad, at the time I had only been out of my undergraduate program for less than three years, and I still identified with typical college students.
When it came time to start working on a Masters degree, several years later, I wised up. There had been a lot of buzz about online education and I was intrigued to see what programs might be available. I was pleased to learn I would be able to earn my Masters degree online, without traipsing to campus for classes. No more hunting for a parking spot, paying for a parking pass, or fighting rush hour traffic. I could simply do my coursework via the Internet from the comfort of my own living room while wearing my yoga pants and my favorite t-shirt! I was sold!
Many Kiwanis members may not know it, but Kiwanis International launched its own online curriculum for Club Leadership Education (CLE) in 2009 with great success. As many of our members are unable to attend face to face training due to geographic constraints, now, everyone, regardless of distance or timing can complete CLE training before taking office. Online education and learning can fit and benefit all demographics of our membership because it is done at a time chosen by the member.
Some people may be wondering what is actually being offered in the online version of Club Leadership Education (CLE)? The online version of CLE is based on the materials from the facilitated classroom training offered in the districts. However, because the material is online, it is broken down into specific learning modules. One module might be about the history of Kiwanis, the next about leadership skills, and another outlining the specific duties of the club president.
Each module, fits together to provide the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill the duties of the club officer. The modules do not need to be done in order and all the modules for a club office do not need to be completed at one time. So, if a member only had fifteen to twenty minutes to devote to online learning in an afternoon, that member could sit down, go through a module and complete it, leaving the rest of the day for other activities. The member finishes the modules at their own pace and can revisit the modules at any time throughout their term in office. Ultimately, the member is in charge of their learning and must take responsibility for completing each of the modules for their elected position.
I know many would argue that online training cannot take the place of the classroom learning experience. And I agree, but when the classroom is not feasible then online learning is a great alternative. By offering multiple avenues to gain knowledge and strengthen our membership, we are building a stronger Kiwanis that can serve more children around the world. That is a winning situation for everyone.
So, if you are like me, and you learn best while wearing your yoga pants (or other favorite outfit) in your living room, check out the online CLE training. You never know, you might also learn best wearing your yoga pants, too!