Launching the EBLI Online Training

by Nora Chahbazi

This is a monumental time in EBLI history: we have officially launched our EBLI Online Training Course with Marygrove College!

You may be wondering how this course came about and what it means for the future of in-person EBLI training.

Over the years, it became apparent to me that our goal of teaching the world to read would not be possible without the assistance of technology. We began the process of marrying EBLI student instruction with technology in our EBLI apps.

This is a game changer!

However, I knew that if we wanted to expand the reach of EBLI on a massive, world-wide level, we'd have to scale up the EBLI teacher training. Scaling up while simultaneously retaining the fidelity of the instruction required an online platform. The problem was that I had no idea how to do this or even where to start!

Then, in early 2015, I had a chance encounter with the President of Marygrove College. A Detroit-based Catholic college founded in 1927, Marygrove has been providing online teacher college courses since 1990 and is ranked #7 nationally in Best Online Master of Arts Teaching Programs. They also offer over 80 online Professional Development courses for current teachers.

After learning about their history and focus on social justice, I felt that Marygrove was the perfect institution to partner with us for the EBLI Online Teacher Training.

After a flurry of meetings with Marygrove over several weeks, we moved on to the logistics of creating the EBLI Online Training. The in-person EBLI teacher training is very hands-on, experiential, and application oriented, creating a bridge from the research-based theory to instruction. Trainees move quickly to embedding the strategies and activities into content area instruction. Modifying the in-person training for an online platform proved to be an interesting challenge!

We knew it was imperative that trainees teach EBLI to student(s) as they were learning it themselves so we had to figure that out. Also, we had never created an online training; I'd never even taken an online course! We spent countless hours videotaping instruction for the trainees in our reading center as well as in dozens of classrooms around the state. Our staff was cross-eyed from watching and editing hundreds of videos.

Shanna was our 3-camera-toting professional taping queen; Hannah and Peter edited the videos; Cricket and Shannon watched them and gave refinement suggestions; Peter then added visuals to the videos; Molly shared insightful design suggestions and feedback. Hannah began the process of documenting, organizing, and color-coding these videos and all the information I had dumped from my brain along with taping the introductions to all the videos. LouCyndra was the stabilizing glue that held us all together!

With this history and their focus on social justice, Marygrove was the perfect institution to partner with us for the EBLI Online Teacher Training!

We sent our first iteration of our first activity to Marygrove…and had to start much of it over. Then we revised many things, re-taped, re-organized, re-did videos of the first activity and had our staff go through it….and found we needed to revamp many things AGAIN!

By November, we had a delivery process that was smooth(er), concise, and logical plus we had much of the video content we needed. Marygrove provided consistent feedback and support. We finally felt we were on a solid path that would need fewer significant overhauls. Our mighty, flexible, brilliant staff worked together as a well-oiled machine, continuing to train teachers, build materials, provide coaching in schools, teach students, run a reading center, and do the multitude of other tasks we were responsible for as we were tackling this major project.

In the spring, Shannon, Cricket, and LouCyndra went through each module and recommended revisions. Their feedback and excitement about the quality and content of the training was exhilarating. LouCyndra had never been trained in EBLI and she was so excited about what she was learning that she began teaching a student! After getting their suggestions and input, we put on the finishing touches on the training, implemented suggestions from pilot trainees, and made it available for anybody teaching whole class 2nd - 8th grade or remediation K - adult.

The online training is 7 weeks long and is facilitated by EBLI experts. It is unlike typical online courses that focus on delivery of information and writing papers. Many of our trainees were not expecting the extensive hands-on experiential learning and teaching!

We have now begun creating our 1st grade training online and will move to Kindergarten after that. In-person EBLI training for Pre-K-1st are now and will continue to be offered until we complete the online versions.

In-person training for 2nd - 8th grade whole class and K-adult remediation instruction can still be specially scheduled on-site by schools, districts, or anybody interested in creating an implementation plan and training a group of people. Click here for more information.

Our mighty, flexible, brilliant staff worked together as a well-oiled machine, continuing to train teachers, build materials, provide coaching in schools,  teach students, run a reading center, and do a multitude of other tasks we were responsible for as we were tackling this major project.

The EBLI Online Training allows us the opportunity to provide EBLI training to educators and others teaching literacy in a systematic, structured way anywhere in the world where technology is available. This is a game changer! There were many, many challenges along the way and we wondered if it would be possible to replicate such an experiential, hands-on training experience. We did it and we are thrilled that you - and anyone you know - now have the opportunity to take advantage of this amazing online training!

To learn more about the course, visit our EBLI Online Training page. If you have a question that’s not covered there, please let us know.

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As always, THANK YOU for reading, commenting, sharing, and being an integral part of the EBLI community!

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