(Bike) riding the wave through online learning

Authors: Stephanie Sersli*, Simon Fraser University, Rose Gardner, HUB Cycling
Topics: Transportation Geography
Keywords: community-engaged research, realist evaluation
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Background: urban cycling courses can expand the accessibility of biking for broader swaths of the population, in tandem with infrastructure improvements. With increasing numbers of people considering cycling in the COVID-19 context, urban cycling courses may be all the more relevant. However, practitioners offering courses must re-orient their education delivery models to accommodate social distancing. In collaboration with a Metro Vancouver community organization that delivers urban cycling courses to upwards of 450 adults annually, we took a data-driven approach to identify the aspects of courses that could be moved online, and those best delivered in-person.

Methods: We analyzed data from interviews with 32 women who had taken courses in previous years, using the Context-Mechanism-Outcome configuration heuristic common to realist evaluation to identify “what worked, for whom, in which circumstances”. We used these results to create a typology of adult students, verified in a workshop with cycling instructors.

Results: We determined five student types, based on cycling experience at time of the course. Three types (71%) benefitted equally from all theory-based and hands-on aspects of the course, but one type (16%) particularly benefitted from theory-based aspects whereas another type (13%) particularly benefitted from the hands-on on-bike riding session.

Conclusion: Moving entirely to an online course delivery model limits opportunities for the hands-on learning that so many participants described as essential to their development as confident riders. An option is to pursue blended on-line and in-person sessions; however, given COVID-19 uncertainty it may be difficult for practitioners to plan in-person sessions.

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