Is your information past its sell by date?

All too often I read a report or survey on Learning Technology to find that although it is presented as though new, on closer inspection, I find that the information it relies upon to form a conclusion may be traced back to information from over a decade ago or even further. This particularly applies to technology for the work based and adult learning sector such as e-Assessment Portfolios for apprenticeships which some organisations appear to ignore – which begs a few questions: [Read more…]

Apprenticeships, employers, providers…

…what is the connection with technology and why should we care?

Well according to those enforcing government policy, not much and going by the services being meted out by high level consultations, such as with area reviews, even less. But for the learning providers on the ground it ought to be essential although there appears to be a severe shortage of impartial and up to date advice should they need it and unfortunately, many still do. For whilst there is much talk about FELTAG and online or blended learning there is precious little about ‘managing’ apprenticeships using technology which also addresses  teaching, learning and assessment, for the workplace. [Read more…]

Area Reviews: what colleges apparently don’t need to know

It would appear that they don’t need to know too much about the effect that technology has on key review questions such as reducing costs or raising quality and efficiency. Not to mention the need for colleges to ‘be equipped to respond to the reform and expansion of the apprenticeship programme.’  An important area that warrants serious use of the ‘right’ technology.

I may be wrong as I am only going by the objectives of area reviews and the criteria stated for consultant’s (as in cash for) which still doesn’t include specialist knowledge in technology. But I would have thought by now that even those in high places should be aware that using a few ‘techie’ sounding words here and there will not suffice. Not if it impacts on the bottom line it doesn’t. [Read more…]

Incentive8’s ‘Learning Technology Review’ is fit for purpose – Why?

Well check out the latest video from our creative content team which shows how the Incentive8 review differs from other ‘technology reviews’ which are invariably based on a form of ‘self-assessment tool’.

It’s no secret that the majority of colleges and independent learning providers are not yet realising the benefit of  using appropriate learning technology to ‘manage’ their learners, especially apprentices on work based learning courses.  Despite the evidence that the learning technology available in 2016 has been proven by hundreds of organisations to reduce costs, enhance quality, engage learners and employers and most important of all, put the control back in the hands of management by providing data in ‘real time and not by way of word of mouth, spreadsheets using methods spawned two decades ago and clung to by those avoiding change. Its not a myth, its a fact. 

[Read more…]

Subcontractors – so costly to manage?

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The subject of subcontracting and the management fees charged by lead providers made the news again this week which was bound to catch my attention especially with the headline of: ‘National Audit Office to examine provider topslicing scandal’.

And as usual there are the claims to justify administration fees of up to 35% as in one example the college is reported to have said “The weighting we give to management fees reflects the increasing costs of administration associated with sub-contracting – the closer involvement and the increased demand on resources – required by all colleges with sub-contracted provision”. [Read more…]

Is Work Based Learning Fit For The 21st Century?

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One year on

12 months ago today I posted my very first article on my new company’s website after choosing to leave Jisc. The article began:

I have been very fortunate to have spent more than a decade dishing out advice, supporting and occasionally nagging, learning providers about the fantastic and often simple technology available to them. But here we are beginning the fifteenth year of the 21st century when I feel the need to make the following observations which may touch a nerve with some, bewilder others and perhaps, just perhaps, encourage a few to reconsider their organisations methods of delivering Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Post-16 education. Particularly in the FE & Skills sector.

Is Work Based Learning Fit For The 21st Century?

[Read more…]

‘Hello’ anyone noticed it’s 2016?

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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…]

Have you got a plan B?

From guest Writer Judy Bloxham.

As I write this article, the county is reeling from yet another round of severe flooding. Roads have been washed out, bridges destroyed and the city of Carlisle cut in half. Just over two weeks on, the main bridge in Carlisle has now been re-opened, during this time it necessitated another 12-15 miles on journeys between the north and the south of the river. For many it meant an extra hour travel to work. Travel around the county is still a challenge and each bout of renewed heavy rain brings more problems as the soaked ground cannot cope, and it brings more fears to the residents.

The media has tended to focus on homes and businesses, but seeing school closures and water in their buildings reminded me of issues that emerged during the major episodes of flooding over the last 10 years in the county. Issues such as :

How to disaster proof your exam/assessment evidence?

How to maintain learners’ learning in times of disruption?

How to protect your learner records and progress data? [Read more…]

Making a silk purse out of an outdated, inefficient…

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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…]

If Not Now – When?

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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…]