Tail Wags Dog?

Having been away from ‘the front line’ of the sector until recently, I was pleased to attend an event put on by a learning provider to share with other providers, their experience in developing a range of dynamic learning materials in a major project. During the course of the day the guest providers were also invited to share their own progress for introducing technology into the mainstream of teaching and learning. I was a little surprised with the answers.

[Read more…]

Learning Technology self-assessment tools are OK…

…but it rather depends on who’s ‘ticking the boxes’.

It’s well known that the majority of colleges and independent learning providers are not yet realising the benefits of technology to deliver courses online, or to ‘manage’ learners such as apprentices. This despite evidence that the learning technology available today has already been proven by hundreds of organisations to reduce costs, enhance quality, engage learners and employers and in the case of apprenticeships, put the control back in the hands of management. [Read more…]

ePortfolios for Apprenticeships

An unnecessarily confusing subject, full of personal opinion, understandable supplier bias and outdated information of what has proven to be an essential tool for the management of apprenticeships and other competency based qualifications.  Set against a plethora of barriers to change put forward by key personnel, including cost, staff development issues or simply ‘not liking it’. [Read more…]

Right time to take the tech challenge?

A response to the FE Week Technology Supplement September 2016

“Right time to take the tech challenge?” Is the title of the opening piece by Jude Burke for the Technology Supplement-2016 published by FE Week, which looks at ‘all things technology-related for the FE and Skills sector.’ Collating views and opinions of key stakeholders and sharing some of the many ways that colleges and other providers are embracing new and emerging technologies. But the right time? When was the right time, Jude? [Read more…]

eAssessment Portfolios: Making a silk purse out of an outdated, inefficient…

12 months ago today I published an article on the subject of ePortfolios (same old, same old) and the fact that so many learning providers were sitting on the technological fence, effectively ‘staying as they are’ using paper portfolios to manage competency based qualifications such as apprenticeships.

It would appear that the situation hasn’t moved on too much. So who are you going to call? [Read more…]

ePortfolios for apprentices: What Next?

For this the last article on the subject of ‘ePortfolios’ I had anticipated that the content would be based on questions raised throughout the series by way of the ‘usual channels’ and whilst there have been a few direct requests for advice, there are as many comments as questions, mostly positive which is encouraging. But such is the nature of the medium, comments are more difficult to respond to than a live or even virtual audience without having more information. For example, one comment was – ‘my learners detest e-Portfolios’ to which my answer might have been, ‘as a former work based learning coordinator, I know for a fact that none of my apprentices liked paper based, barely understood the content beyond the ‘next instruction’, may even have detested them, best tell me more’. But social media is no platform for such a discussion and a snappy response might be construed as me being at best, ‘picky’. [Read more…]

ePortfolios for Apprentices: Making a business case

…to get it past finance

“The use of e-portfolios to support apprenticeship programmes is likely to be a key factor in ensuring the ongoing success of vocational qualifications in the digital age, thereby contributing to the skills campaign and ultimately the acquisition of world-class skills.” (Becta ePortfolios for Apprenticeships 2009)

A message myself and others have expressed in many ways over several years, so clearly not news and might just as easily have been written today as ‘post referendum’ the current skills minister stated that commitment to apprenticeships and investment in future skills development more broadly was ‘absolute’. (Nick Boles speaking at the AELP national conference London. June 2016) [Read more…]

ePortfolios for apprentices: What are the challenges?

and how others have found a way.

Another reminder, that the purpose of this series of articles is to provide information to those in the sector that are yet to embrace appropriate technology to deliver competency based qualifications.

I hope to achieve this by cutting through unnecessary ‘jargon’, putting into perspective the preponderance of so called barriers and filtering out systems that are likely to make a very difficult task more challenging than necessary. As in ‘I wouldn’t start from here’. [Read more…]

ePortfolios for apprentices: What are the benefits?

…and who wouldn’t want them anyway?

But before I go into a long list of what an ‘advanced’ Assessment ePortfolio can do for a learning provider delivering Apprenticeships, I feel the need to recap a little. Especially as many people are reading these articles as ‘one-offs’ and may be commenting on points already covered, such as in using the generic term ePortfolio as though they are all the same which they most definitely are not. Cutting across such confusing information is the basis for producing this short series. [Read more…]

ePortfolios for apprentices: What are the barriers? Pt 2

What are the barriers and how to ‘get over it’? Part two

March 2009 (Becta ePortfolio for apprentices)

‘Evidence shows that when providers use technology effectively, the benefits are inspiring: improved results and retention rates, greater participation by learners and increased effectiveness of trainers. E-portfolios can provide a vehicle to facilitate these benefits because they use technology to allow learners to collect and organise artefacts in many media types, enabling them to track progress, carry evidence of their work across transition points, reflect on their learning and build a skills profile across a lifetime (Barrett, 2006; Becta, 2006).

June 2016

Several years and a wealth of technological advancement later, a significant number of learning providers in the UK appear not to have an IT Strategy that fits in with such a vision or have a long term plan to encourage innovation in teaching, learning and assessment. [Read more…]