Online Education Saves Master Gardeners Time and Money
Volume 16, Issue 1 - June 2023
Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott
An online Advanced Learning Series was developed to provide opportunities for current Master Gardener Volunteers to obtain required annual education hours during the pandemic. A secondary purpose was to increase the outreach capacity of the local Extension office. The learning series was developed and presented by the State MG Coordinator and numerous MSU Extension specialists and provided 17 weekly Zoom classes with presentations and videos. Participants were instructed on advanced horticulture and education topics. Current MGs were emailed a registration link using their state provided MG number. This prevented any non-Master Gardeners from obtaining entry into the learning series. Each session was recorded and placed on a website with controlled access. To assess the impact of the online series, participants were emailed a Qualtrics survey at the end of the series. The results were used to show participant savings and project impacts. With an average round trip of 24.7 miles to the local Extension office, a total of 68,888 miles were not driven and a total of $4,396.02 was saved in fuel costs. Participants reported a significant increase in knowledge and abilities to answer client questions, and collectively rated the value of the series at $135,150. The MG Advanced Learning Series was a success as participants received substantial opportunity to obtain required education hours. These one-hour classes allowed MGs the opportunity to get education hours from home, eliminated costly travel time to the local Extension office, and saved travel costs.
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