Technology in FE: Tracking Student Progress A Priority


City & Guilds are on a mission to encourage a greater use of technology in the Further Education (FE) sector. Here at Macleod Associates we love technology and have to agree with them. We believe that technology can really help institutions to make the most of their provision. 

The new Technology in FE Special Report sets out to gain a greater understanding of how technology is being used in FE and where is it needed. City & Guilds asks how is technology being used within teaching, learning and assessment?

Overall the feedback from the sector is optimistic, FE practitioners recognise the benefits of different learning technologies and many are leading the way demonstrating innovative approaches to technology and learning. 

The Further Education (FE) sector is finally ready and willing to embrace technology.”  - Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director, City & Guilds

Here are some points that stood out:

79% believe technology has the power to positively impact teaching and learning.
Bringing learning and training to life in the classroom, providing online resources or using technology solutions to keep track of learners. Different technology solutions all play a role in improving the quality of learning in FE.

“Technology is an enabler not a replacement to great teaching.”
Technology cannot replace great teachers (unlike these predictions from the 1920's ) but is a tool to facilitate improved teaching and learning. Better tools help FE institutions to make the most of their resources and time to deliver improved training and learner experience.

75% say tracking students/progress is one of the main areas technology could be useful to them personally
With some FE institutions having thousands of referrals coming through the door, keeping track of and managing learners can be hard. (That's why we created Workpepper)

Strugglers and non-attenders can simply get lost in the system. Taking advantage of learner management technology can help practitioners to ‘take control’ of their data. Having access to accurate and up to date records can be used by managers to tutors to make more informed decisions. In short - you can’t manage what you don't measure.

For example:  With little time for personal tutors to be truly ‘personal’ – being able to quickly search for struggling learners could help tutors to use their time where it is most needed.

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

48% claim that being able to link up with other organisations, employers etc is one of the main areas technology could be useful.
With the Government focusing on employer led learning / curriculum as a the key to filling skills gaps, how could technology help to build better links with employers and other organisations?

Ways this could be used:

  • Giving employers limited access to learner records so that they can gain visibility on employees on your training programmes
  • Letting JCP or referral agents know what is happening with learners. Using tech to automatically alert them to non-attenders – especially when this could affect a learner's benefits.

Only 25% of FE practitioners have access to the cloud.
Everyone is talking about the Cloud but not everyone knows quite what it is. 

Building from our own experience delivering cloud based solutions to the FE sector, comments from our clients on the benefits of cloud technology include:

  • Can access from anywhere – on the move, on different campuses and locations and makes life a lot easier for tutors and managers
  • Being able to look up learner records and resources (ePortfolios, assessments, documentation ect.) from anywhere including lessons or tutorials
  • Can manage courses from any location
  • Ability to look up records and reports at meetings.

With 44% claiming that they do not use technology solutions because they are not available within their department. Cloud technology is key to ensuring that everyone has access to the same technology – all you need is an Internet connection.

As mentioned in a previous blog "data is your most important asset" - if you are considering Cloud technologies here are some great tips on choosing a provider: Top Security Concernss When Switching To the Cloud

The report concludes:

“It is no longer possible to do without technology in teaching, learning and assessment”

I recommend reading the full report: Technology in FE Special Report or check out this great infographic of the key points

Infographic Technology in FE
Source: City & Guilds

Tor Macleod 09:39

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