Identifying the next steps following the publication of the FELTAG report.
The publication of the FELTAG report and the government response to FELTAG - which was looking to find how we can best support the further education sector with the evolution of new technologies, for the benefit of learners, employers and the UK economy - has been met with a lot of enthusiasm.
But there has also been some confusion, especially around the definition of a 10% wholly online course component.
Advice from the Skills Funding Agency
Has the question ‘are further education providers supposed to be having 10% of their courses delivered online by 2016’, been echoing round the staff room? Well now we have the answer from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) through their ‘delivering online learning: SFA response to FELTAG report’.
The SFA response says:
“We are not expecting providers to convert 10% of learning delivery in each programme of study ‘en bloc’ to online to meet a ‘directive’. Rather, we are encouraging providers to establish a strategy to determine where the adoption of a greater ‘blend’ of delivery and assessment types adds most value to a learning programme.
Providing learners with improved access to learning outside the classroom, increasing their ability to learn and to assess themselves at their own pace as well as to develop new digital skills and networking opportunities to enhance employability.”
What I’m most pleased to say is that this clarity will enable us to support the sector to achieve the recommendation in an efficient and effective way. We can now act on our objectives to enable all providers to achieve a more blended learning offer.
Realising the FELTAG recommendations
As the report’s recommendations affect a number of agencies and sector bodies we felt the best starting point was to get everyone from across the sector in one room. We wanted everyone to actively participate and agree on what we can do together to make all the relevant recommendations a reality.
Together we identified the areas where no or little activity was already in place to support learning providers and identified the six areas where our activity would have the biggest impact and the smallest amount of duplication:
Set up a collaborative sector forum to deliver for the sector
At Jisc we want to support a forum of the further education sector bodies. This will provide oversight and/or coordination of our approach when delivering the FELTAG recommendations. It will also allow monitoring of actions taken.
Engage students through a variety of activities
One of the most important elements of our work around FELTAG is ensuring that all these activities are delivering for students. By working together to promote existing student engagement projects and innovation, and developing new projects we can make sure that these activities are meeting their needs.
Get your help to design the curriculum
We want to engage employers and learners more directly in designing courses and programmes, by offering them the opportunity to collaborate in their approaches to curriculum design. This should bring the sector together and improve approaches to blended learning.
Provide leadership and governance around the use of digital technology at a UK level
By developing training and support for leaders and managers we would enable them to understand how they can best use technology to educate their learners and make efficiencies within their college. This would include advice and guidance around strategic decisions.
Help bring together a pool of discoverable online resources for the sector
We would encourage and support student generated content and provide more effective approaches for staff to discover and create learning resources. This will help to promote usage of the content and also the creation of future high quality materials.
Build a best practice workforce that are digitally qualified
We will create a further education online academy to enable the entire teaching workforce to become professional digital practitioners. The academy would look to develop digital literacy and confidence in using tech. It may also include validation and accreditation qualifications, bring together existing resources, allow crowdsourcing to promote the sharing of ideas and resources, and ultimately help future proof the sector.
Keep up to date
If you would like any support with the FELTAG recommendations please contact our customer contact centre and keep your eye out for further updates on this joint work.
Partners involved: Jisc, Skills Funding Agency, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), HOLEX, the Gazelle Group, the 157 Group, Institute of Education, Association of Colleges (AoC), Education Training Foundation, Workers' Educational Association (WEA) and The Association of National Specialist Colleges (Natspec).
This post was updated in February 2015 to reflect the change from the Regional Support Centres to our customer contact centre.