Virtual ImplementationSince the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth programming has largely been suspended. Even with the reopening of schools in the fall of 2020, there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether and how sexual health education using evidence-based programs (EBPs) will be possible in schools or community-based settings. School reopenings may look very different in each community and be prone to frequent changes. Given the complexity of maintaining health and safety, schools and community-based agencies may not be interested in opening their doors to SRAE projects for on-site education.
To address these challenges, we have worked with providers to develop virtual implementation strategies for Making a Difference: basic, customizable templates using different online teaching modalities. Providers will modify these templates to meet local needs and then submit their plans for review by ACT for Youth before implementation.
EBP TemplatesBecause MAD is normally implemented in person, putting it into the virtual context is a major adaptation that must be undertaken with attention to the original program theory and learning objectives. EBPs are largely based on social learning approaches that highlight small and large group interactions, but virtual implementation restricts and modifies these interactions. We need to address the limitations of virtual implementation by using different instructional design and learning strategies. With this in mind, and in collaboration with CAPP and PREP providers, we developed templates for EBP implementation that are focused on two approaches:
- Asynchronous learning refers to providing curriculum via platforms such as Google Classroom or Schoology where young people study online at their own pace, working individually and submitting responses in their own time using the platform. Instruction from the educator typically does not occur in real time.
- Synchronous learning refers to providing curriculum live via platforms such as Zoom or Skype where young people and the educator sign in at the same time and participate in activities online.
The templates we are providing for MPC are basic -- focused on content, teaching strategy, and youth engagement. Providers can modify the templates by enhancing the visual design and increasing interactivity through the use of different online platforms and applications (such as Kahoot! or Nearpod). Provider expertise as well as platforms in use by the implementation sites will guide these modifications.
Template for Synchronous Learning
The first template was developed for synchronous learning, which requires young people to meet virtually in real time via platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangout, or Microsoft Teams. Guided by MAD's learning objectives (Word), the template includes a very basic, customizable PowerPoint presentation and a script that clearly indicates when and how to engage young people in activities using the platform's interactive features.
Template for Asynchronous Learning
The second template was developed for asynchronous learning using Google Classroom as the online platform. Young people will work on their own through the curriculum, module by module, submitting assignments for each module.
The template is designed for young people to work individually, but it can also accommodate a combined asynchronous/synchronous format. The Google Classroom platform includes interactive features like chats, real-time group sessions, and email contacts with group members. Access to these interactive features may vary among implementation sites. If educators can access these features, they can modify the template and indicate the additions in their virtual implementation plan.
Access to the MAD Google Classroom template is by invitation only. Please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual Implementation PlanImplementation sites may vary greatly in their use of asynchronous and synchronous online learning. Thus, even with templates for virtual implementation, it is very likely that additional modifications will need to be made. To help you prepare for implementation, we have developed two tools:
Preparation Checklist (optional)
Use this checklist to clarify the implementation conditions: size of group, frequency and length of meetings, technology restrictions, platforms used, etc.
Use this document to describe the planned implementation, the ACT-provided template you used, additional modifications, e-tools and apps used, etc.
Before You Implement: ACT for Youth ReviewSince all projects will modify their virtual implementation templates to fit local conditions, we ask all projects to submit their implementation plan to their ACT for Youth TA provider for review before implementation begins. Review criteria:
- An ACT-provided EBP template was used
- Learning objectives and content of EBPs are met
- Content is medically accurate
- Youth have a range of opportunities to actively engage with the material
- There is a plan to ensure that youth can access the platforms and use all of their interactive features
- Attendance and demographics data can be gathered