Dr Xanne Janse de Jonge: Virtual training sessions provide real-world learning experiences
Dr Xanne Janse de Jonge has been awarded the Work Integrated Learning Staff Member of the Year in recognition of her dedication to providing alternative and meaningful Work Integrated Learning opportunities for students amidst COVID-19 restrictions.
Numerous nominations for Xanne to receive this award stemmed from satisfied clients who took part in her Work Integrated Learning fitness training program, which speaks volumes on its successful delivery.
When COVID-19 hit in the first semester, Xanne started gathering case studies for her Bachelor of Exercise & Sport Science students to provide 40 hours of simulated practicum. However, when things started to worsen, Xanne decided to engage in online consultancy platform Telehealth to ensure second and third year students were on track to complete their course requirement of 140 hours of practicum.
Xanne experimented with Telehealth thoroughly before reaching out to students with this alternative virtual Work Integrated Learning activity. Traditionally students would seek placements within professional sporting teams, gyms and clinics, however in the first semester amidst COVID lockdown measures, students needed to adapt, and Xanne was at the forefront of this.
“I learned a lot about Telehealth very quickly, and after several weeks of putting manuals, templates and consent forms together, we advertised to campus staff and students as an online free fitness program,” Xanne said.
Xanne taught all students how to operate the Telehealth platform and app, which quickly became a useful and progressive way to communicate with clients and oversee their progression outside of the weekly one-hour sessions.
In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Xanne filled the role of supervisor for the students partaking in the 10-week online fitness program practicum – talking through client expectations and monitoring student performance, which resulted in students receiving “more feedback and freedom than they would normally get at an external placement site”.
“It was great to see the students getting creative in how they delivered the service to real clients”, Xanne said. With clients working out from home, students needed to get creative with what was available to them, encouraging their clients to use water bottles as weights or stairs as a step up. When some clients were going back to work, Telehealth enabled students to adapt their virtual sessions to continue to deliver a satisfactory service throughout the course.
This online Work Integrated Learning experience was extremely well received by clients, with many who engaged with the fitness program in first semester signing up again for the face-to-face classes in the second semester, and some even looking to continue their relationship with their Exercise Scientist after completing the program.
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