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How organisations use technology to successfully improve and evolve their learning delivery
Almost 2 years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all aware of its considerable impact on the UK’s education and skills sector. Institutions have had to rapidly adapt their educational delivery such that remote and blended forms of education are widely available and encouraged. However, due to this rapid need to adopt technology most organisations haven’t had the time to carefully assess the effects it has on their learners, employer engagement, teaching quality and assessment.
So, we thought it would be great to share with you some of our customer’s experiences: Jonathan Lawson from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and, Sue Bright and Mike Blakeley from Exeter College spoke to us about the challenges they faced and how they embraced digital technology to successfully make significant improvements within their organisation.
Manchester Metropolitan University
For MMU, the initial challenges included having to reassure their employers that they’d continue to deliver a high-quality product and maintaining close contact with apprentices to let them know the university was thinking about them, understood their circumstances and was taking on their feedback.
They commented: “We wanted to make sure we were delivering an interesting learning experience. The idea of doing a 3-hour lecture via webinar doesn’t fill anyone with delight, so we had to think differently and embrace the benefits online learning brings.”
The benefit of online delivery was evident as tutors were able to personalise learning for each student. This was especially important in degree apprenticeships as cohorts include a wide range of ages, backgrounds and job roles. Jonathan leveraged the opportunity of online learning to create group workshops, reflective tasks and seminar activities that enabled students to draw directly from their job roles.
“Online learning has some great advantages for us that classroom learning simply doesn’t.”
Mike Blakeley from Exeter College explained the 3 main principles they implemented as soon as the pandemic started:
- Maintaining high-quality learning and delivery
They worked with their staff to understand how different technologies could be used to complement or replace face-to-face delivery and engage with individuals remotely.
- Good quality assessment
Mike explained that it was really important that reviews became as meaningful as they could be. They recognised that students were under a lot of pressure within a period of national nervousness and uncertainty, so keeping regular contact was paramount. They immediately shortened the amount of time between formal reviews to 6 weeks, so learners felt well connected.
- Excellent customer service and employer engagement
They wanted to make sure employers were engaged, so within the first 2 weeks, they spoke to every employer about how they were able to support them. They wanted to make sure that employers understood that, although their doors were closed, Exeter College was well and truly open.
Mike then went on to explain their biggest challenge – understanding new ways of working in a short timeframe.
Mike commented: “Under pressure and our hands being forced, we’d made improvements that we didn’t have the confidence to do before. This situation has created huge momentum for us to put our aspirational changes into place.”
Although some members of staff were fearful of new technology, they supported staff in the early days and after 3-4 weeks, everyone felt settled in the ‘new normal’.
Sue Bright commented on how their learners have embraced online learning:
“Exeter College has been using OneFile for over 10 years, and the system has stood up to scrutiny during lockdown and has helped our learners and employers stay engaged. Learners enjoyed the extra support and new styles of learning – shorter, sharper methods like 2-minute videos or quizzes on OneFile. They’re enjoying learning.”
Exeter College used OneFile as the foundation of their remote delivery. Sue said: “We built more content and quizzes using the OneFile course builder. It’s taken a bit of time, but as tutors can send content to multiple learners and track progress online, it’s saved them loads of time in the long run.”
Mike added: “We’ll continue to build our remote offering as staff have all the tools they need, learners and employers are more engaged, and delivery is far more efficient. Remote delivery has reduced travel costs and improved processes while maintaining a high quality of learning. In the longer term, we’ll see even better results. This situation may have forced us to think about things differently, but it’s meant that we’re offering better customer service.”
There’s no better time for strategic change
We hope the above provides some valuable insights into the challenges and advantages of embracing a new approach: how it benefits the learner, employer, tutors and the organisation as a whole.
Although the impact of Covid has been terrible in so many ways, in this sector the pandemic has accelerated so many organisations’ digital strategy by around 3 years. If you’d like to find out how OneFile can help you accelerate your organisation’s digital journey and improve your learning delivery, please contact us here.