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Strategic planning for online learning
Strategic planning for online learning

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1 Scenario planning

For this next part of the session you need to develop (write, draw, create) two scenarios. In one you envisage your school responding positively to designing a differentiate learning experience for all pupils (the positive scenario); in the other you envisage your school failing to respond or responding in a negative way (the negative scenario).

Scenario planning is an important tool for leaders and strategic thinkers (Schoemaker, 1995). While it cannot enable you to predict the future, it does produce alternative views of the future that allow you to plan within a range of possibilities. None of the alternative scenarios you produce may be probable but they should be plausible. Typically they will be at the opposite ends of a particular axis, such as (in economics) high growth and low growth scenarios, allowing you to scope out the space in between.

So that you can make significant progress in a short time this activity works through a process of single-axis scenario planning so that we are concerned only with two scenarios, a positive and a negative situation.

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Figure 1: Responding to change factors

You are asked to look 3–5 years into the future and imagine that your school has spent the intervening time either fully focused on responding to designing a differentiated learning experience for all pupils (the positive scenario) or failing to respond (the negative scenario). The more detail you can give in your scenario descriptions and the more specific you can make them to your own school, the more useful they will be as tools for strategic planning. You may wish to complete this activity with other stakeholders either through discussions or a workshop and including, for example, Governors/Trustees, Heads of Departments, Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Coordinators (SENDCOs) and Teaching Staff. In designing a digital experience for all pupils, it is important to hear from them. Some will have no internet access at home and rely on opportunities at school; some will have more skills than most of the staff. It is important to be aware from the outset what pupils bring into school.

You have been provided with a series of Scenario Prompts in Section 1.1, below. Adapt, delete and add to these as much as you need to describe the future scenario for your school. Continue to use the present tense to make the scenario real (not ‘Pupils will have access...’ but ‘Pupils have access...’).

Create your own scenario in any software or format your like. As well as text, you could also add images, doodles, or a mind map, and a 'strapline' or headline message to communicate the scenario concisely to others. Use a drawing tool or draw and photograph/upload your ideas. Be as creative as you like.

Here is an example of positive and negative scenario planning for Enhancing the digital experience for all learners [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Here is an example of positive scenario planning for designing a learner experience.

After you have described and elaborated on (and perhaps drawn) your scenario as much as you can, think about the decisions you would need to take as a School Leader if you were operating in the world described in your scenario.

As a result of developing your scenarios and reflecting on them, what key actions need to be taken at your school?

Add these to your Action grid (only use this link if you haven’t already downloaded the file).