‘Hello’ anyone noticed it’s 2016?


Learning Technology for the 16 year old 21st Century

Its now 16 years since the turn of the century during which time, Post-16 education has had the opportunity to embrace so called ‘21st century technology’ which to be fair has moved at an astonishing rate from the the introduction of Wikipedia in 2001 to what you can’t do with digital devices today, is nobody’s business and so much in between.

But despite a decade of agencies funded to raise awareness of the technological benefits to education, it doesn’t appear to have made a great deal of impact on a significant number of Learning Providers that seem not to have noticed that the technology we take for granted in everyday life can can be used so effectively in every day teaching, learning and assessment.   [Read more…]

7 days can be a long time in FE & Skills


But it took a lot longer than that for so many learning providers to become ‘less than good’.

Over the past seven (ok ten) days a minority of organisations in the FE & Skills sector and in particular colleges, have through publications and articles come under severe criticism for the decline in performance of leadership and of particular interest to me, that related to the quality of apprenticeship delivery. I must repeat that the criticism is directed at a minority of learning providers, albeit a significant percentage, which when counted in number of learners is nothing short of disgraceful. Thankfully, the majority are the complete opposite, which also begs the question, why is it that organisations with similar infrastructure, funding and demographics are poles apart in delivering similar quality of teaching and learning. [Read more…]

Roll up, roll up – become an Apprentice


Roll up, roll up – become an Apprentice, you know it makes sense because everyone says so.

Well that rather depends!

In my opinion it depends primarily on the quality controls of the Learning Providers, the relationship they have with employers and the skills and dedication of the personnel meeting the needs of all concerned. But from the would-be Apprentice point of view, the offers will all look the same on a whizzy website. So how will they choose? [Read more…]

Making a silk purse out of an outdated, inefficient…


In conversation with the marketing manager for one of the leading suppliers of Educational software the other day, he confirmed what I had suspected but didn’t really appreciate the enormity of, that a large percentage of their learning provider customers still hadn’t rolled their system out across their organisations. Despite one or two departments proving the benefits and would never go back to the ‘old system’, the ‘old’ system was alive and well and staggering along like the sows ear that we know and I loathe. Somewhat bemused that a learning provider, having researched, planned and purchased a system, presumably tested and proven to be the right direction, continues to use an outdated, inefficient process to manage learners for the significant ‘rest of’ their organisation. So he quoted me the figures and neither of us could make sense of it at all. He referred to them as those still ‘sitting on the fence’. Well it must be one hell of a fence. [Read more…]

The barriers to implementing technology Q & A


But do you know what Questions to ask in the first place and who do you rely on to provide the Answers?

I was recently asked if I would share my views on what was described as ‘questions that learning providers ask themselves about common obstacles to implementing technology’. In that we could discuss the questions we both try to address daily and hopefully we would be able to offer learning providers some answers. [Read more…]

Leadership and management


Leadership & management in education is receiving bad press recently, the latest related to under performing schools, but clearly the increased number of learning providers in the FE & Skills sector ‘requiring improvement’ may also have something to do with senior managers either not best equipped to ‘manage’ but have ‘got the job’ anyway. Or simply assume that the rapidly changing world affecting every aspect of human life, doesn’t relate to their organisation. I am of course talking about the use of so called technology. The technology that learners, employers, parents, grandparents take as normal and businesses strive to find new ways of using to improve their products and services to be competitive or simply stay in business. [Read more…]

If Not Now – When?


Might be a good time to bring your processes into this decade

I realise that this is same old stuff that I have espoused previously, but in the same week that we had an election and Learning Providers returned to their office to discover (surprise, surprise) that the impending changes and cuts to FE Funding hadn’t gone away. I was contacted by three different organisations, each with variations on the same theme of ‘getting away from paper.’ Oh dear! [Read more…]

Problem, what problem?


When running a food manufacturing company in an earlier life, a young engineer that I had called in to address a packaging machine problem, asked about the antics going on at a different machine which had operators going to great lengths to ‘keep the production line going.’ I explained that we hadn’t time to shut down for the few days it would take to fix it, as we would be late delivering orders and so would make do until we could find the time to sort it out.

[Read more…]

“No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in”


How quickly an election comes around when most individuals and organisations are still dealing with the current policies. Suddenly along come a whole new lot of manifestos for us to choose from and this time with education and in particular apprenticeships featuring highly by all main parties. Each vehemently pledging more quantity and quality in the usual politician style of ‘We will do it better than they will’ which in my youth was expressed as ‘My dad’s bigger than your dad!’ so I find it difficult to take it too seriously, actions will tell. [Read more…]

Why mobile devices are an absolute must in vocational learning

On Saturday, whilst shopping, I met the first checkout on an iPad. The staff scanned the barcode on items with it and then it remotely contacted the till. Essentially this freed them up to be able to walk around the shop and interact with customers. [Read more…]