In 2019, ECEBC received funding from the Ministry for Children and Family Development to review and update the ECEBC Code of Ethics and accompanying Best Choices program. The Code is the cornerstone of ethical practice and decision making within the early childhood education sector in BC and beyond, and Best Choices had so far been a face-to-face two-day program.
We observed the face-to-face class in practice, to discover what we could emulate, replace or improve in an online or blended approach. To be honest, even though ECEBC were very enthusiastic and ambitious about the new format, we met resistance from other stakeholders, who were skeptical about how the in-person experience could be replicated. A good challenge.
The course is a deep transformational, constructivist journey in how to navigate ethical workplace situations by first becoming aware of your own biases, assumptions and unconscious perspectives. All of our learning, visual and production team members were moved and impacted by the material in the making of it.
We were honoured to work with the two originators of the Code of Ethics and the original Best Choices program as the lead subject matter experts. They were both in retirement, but working hard on re-envisioning the program. Covid was just kicking in so we spent many zoom meetings deep in discovery and debate and piece by piece re-imagined the course together.
Given the deeply transformational nature of the material, the Learnbase Video Lesson maker was the perfect format, allowing us to replicate a classroom experience of being guided through material with frequent invitations to delve more deeply and self reflect and explore around ethic dilemmas, scenarios and case studies. In many ways this gave individuals more time to self reflect without being caught up in the default format of repeated group work that we observed in the face-to face course, where frequently one or two individuals would dominate a group. In fact given the capacity for weekly group zoom meetings and discussion threads, the interpersonal aspect was not lost, and indeed enhanced by the fact that all participants had the opportunity to really collect their thoughts, self-reflect and explore their own inner responses prior to the meetings.
The second challenge was Covid. The original plan had been to film the two subject matter experts, both very well known and respected in their field, but the early days of covid coupled with the age of the retired experts meant that we pivoted to predominantly using animation. We therefore created an iconic style approach to gently reinforce and focus the narrative for around 80 minutes hour of video material over the four modules. The style we created was also adopted as the basis for the style of the publication of the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia.