Method of Our Study
What we propose to do in this research is to devise a model whereby an authentic overseas learning experience can be planned and executed for a large cohort of students.We propose a simple 5M MODELLING to delineate the main areas of consideration that have to be factored into our planning, execution and review processes, pertaining to the project. This model, comprising Manpower, Machinery, Materials, Motif and Methodology will help us to finalise the KEY programming features.
In this way, based on the model that we propose, educators and student leaders will be able to use this a s a framework to work out their roles, areas of responsibility and planning structures.
5M Model for Planning an Overseas Project
The 5M model is easy to understand and apply. It acts as a checklist for you before you start your planning for the trip. The 5M model consists of Methodology, Manpower, Motif ,Materials and Machines. The figure below shows a Holistic Overview:
Without any of these 5Ms, your project will be unwholesome and incomplete. The 5M model can also be used to categorise all the resources you need for your project. A detailed description of the use of each M can be found below.
Example of a Project that Utilises this Model
Malaysian Montage 2008 was conceived with the broad objectives of gaining an overall historic-cultural perspective of Malaysia. The very first step of our project was to gather interested batch-mates who wanted to help out in the organisation committee, and we actually had a very good response. Many batch-mates volunteered and they were allocated to the sub-committees of their choice (they are allowed to choose their own sub-committees as we do not want tension and conflict to arise from the committee, but instead we wanted the students to work willingly and still have fun out of it). Within the sub-committees, they elected their own student IC (in-charge) to lead them.
With all these settled, we moved on to start brainstorming for a theme for the trip. The theme was the first major thing the committee had to work on, and it was important as we wanted everyone to remember the trip by an impressive theme.
The theme plays a huge role, as it gives the first impression to everyone, whether it will be a fun trip or not. We then set up communication links, such as an e-group and how information was going to be disseminated, for example, from the teacher in-charge to the organising committee. The sub-committee, the Logistics committee, was responsible for purchasing or loaning the neccesary materials the other sub-committees needed, such as materials for the games (Programmes committee and Games committee).
Of course, there was a budget for purchasing the materials neccesary for the whole trip, so the Logistics committee had to bear that in mind while carrying out their work. Last of all, we needed to loan laptops and videocameras from the school. The Photography committee was in-charge of loaning some videocameras from the school's I.T. department while the teachers were in-charge for the laptops (they were too expensive and risky to be handled by students). Of course, the school will not be able to supply so many videocameras and cameras, so the Photography committee members had to bring some of their own equipment to carry out their work during the trip.
From the above examples, we can tell how the 5Ms model help us in our organisation. Each of the 5Ms has their own usage and purpose to help make your trip more wholesome. Below is a figure that diagrammtises how the 5Ms can be utilised:
Manpower is essential for organising an overseas trip as it is best to have as many people to help out possible. Organising an overseas trip for a huge cohort of students is no simple task and without adequate manpower, it is almost impossible to plan and execute your project properly.
For example, during the process of the planning we roped in as many interested people to join our organising as possible. We then further split ourselves into other teams to cover the different needs during the outdoor learning trip.
Thus, manpower is an important factor in the planning of an authentic outdoor learning trip. The person who will be facilitating this should also be someone who is reliable and able to get focus so that the planning would go well. The people helping should also be those that are reliable and not lazy. If the teams consist of all the hardworking and reliable students, the planning would definitely be a breeze.
Not only is manpower important, machines play an essential part in the outdoor learning experience too.
Without machines (e.g. computers, laptops, thumb drives) the whole trip will be very messy and unsyncronised. If the teacher is to give a task to students during the trip that requires laptops, the teachers should borrow sufficient laptops to facilitate the students in completing their projects.
Without computers, students planning their projects would not be able to inform the others about what they are in charge of. This would make the planning more complicated and it will turn out bad.
Transportation is another important factor that you have to consider. Transportation does not only mean transportation around the country of destination, but includes transportation to the country of destination. Transportation to your destination includes by land, by water or by air. There are many factors you have to consider to decide your mode of transportation. For example, factors you can take into consideration are:
Thus machines are also another important factor in organising an authentic overseas learning trip.
During the trip, you will need many materials to carry out your games and activities. For example, we needed a lot of things for the games we played there. We needed balls, scotch tape, cones, straws and many other things. The logistics committee was in-charge of this and the school had set a budget so they were limited to things that were highly accessible, easy to get and most importantly, not expensive. The best choice to get the items we needed for the trip was from the school (e.g. physical education department) as it was easily accessible and was free.
Another material you might want to consider is a booklet. The booklet should consist of essential information for students, such as groupings, itinerary , worksheets, information on tour destinations and activities and any other things you would like to include. This booklet can be compiled by the Publications committee.
To organize this trip, many different committees were formed. They are:
A detailed list of duties for each committee can be downloaded from here.
Communication is another important point to take note of, such as communication with the parents, with the teachers, with the tour agent and among the different sub-committees. To facilitate communication among committee members, an online e-group should be created. Preliminary discussions and voting should also be held online through the e-group, so the decisions can be easily finalised. Important or urgent information can also easily disseminate through the e-group, to avoid unnecessary troublesome meetings before school.
Committee members’ contact numbers and e-mails should be uploaded on the e-group, for members to call each other when there are very urgent matters to be discussed. E-mails can also be a mode of communication. Contrary to what many think, e-mail discussions do not have to be very formal or lengthy. The e-mails can be kept short, providing only the essential information in point forms. This way, information can be more easily digested by the other members.
Motif is also important for your project. It is the main theme the project and whatever the students will be doing is going to be centralised around and based on, or related to. A theme is important as students need direction and a rough idea of what is the concept behind and purpose for what they will be doing on the learning trip. It is also in educating the students as anything or everything they do can be linked back to the theme.
For example, our theme for Malaysian Montage was “Survivor”. All the symbols, cheers and paraphernalia can be the linked back to the theme.
Briefly then, this is a round-up of the 5M Model.
Machinery - equipment (cameras, videos, laptops), logistics, transportation
Manpower – student allocation, deployment, communications, Mastery of Skills, namelists and particulars, passports, visas, vaccinations, clustering
Materials – worksheets, notes, booklets
Motifs – symbols, cheers, theme, macro-concept, paraphernalia (T-shirts)
In short, to represent overseas learning in a nutshell,