An update on the work being done to bring the recommendations in the FELTAG report to fruition.
In his last last blog post, head of change implementation support programmes for FE (further education) and skills, Nigel Ecclesfield commented on the unrelenting change that is being experienced right across the FE and skills sector.
Constant change isn’t always comfortable and over the three months since then, the FELTAG Coalition Group has been working on a series of measures that will accelerate the pace of change; but we’re confident that the changes we are ushering in will be positive and that organisations are now starting to benefit from some quick wins.
FELTAG's key focus areas
Over the spring the FELTAG Coalition Group has grown in size and has a number of working groups, each focused on a key area.
Several have recently met to report back on what they are doing.
The FES Online Academy working group is creating an online home for continuing professional development (CPD) resources specifically designed for practitioners.
The academy will be a place where they can acquire strong digital skills so that they can create and deliver online teaching modules and also foster the digital skills of their students. This is a key aspect of the FELTAG recommendations, geared to ensuring that students have the digital skills that employers now demand.
An alpha version of the online academy is being tested this summer and over winter 2015-16 we’ll be looking for early adopters to try out a beta version ahead of a general rollout in 2016.
Learner engagement and the Summer of Student Innovation
There have been exciting developments, too, in the area of learner engagement. This year’s Summer of Student Innovation included a category specifically for apprentices and students in FE to offer their ideas for using technology to improve teaching and learning.
Learners can bring a unique perspective on this and this category attracted dozens of applications. Following the judging process, Jisc is providing funding and support for further development work for nine projects from FE and two from apprentices.
The winning apprentice projects include Licence to Learn, devised by a group of apprentices studying for their level 4 BTEC Diploma in Business and sponsored by Training 2000. It is a creative solution designed to liven up the learning process via a games app that provides tokens for redemption in local shopping centres, cafes and restaurants.
The second is Connected Apprentice, a web-based tool designed by learners at Sparsholt College to connect apprentices, learning providers and employers effectively so that learners can find the apprenticeship that matches their aspirations and meets their need for support. The aim is to ensure that more apprentices commit fully to their programme of learning and get as much as they can from it.
In addition to funding of £20,000, each of the apprentice projects will receive practical support from Jisc and from the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).
Summer of Student Innovation is designed to identify projects that can be turned into practical products for the sector with help and support from Jisc, whether that means delivering them as a Jisc service or helping the project teams to find a sustainable alternative route.
Open educational resources (OERs)
The content development working group is supporting creation of a rich variety of new open educational resources (OERs). These are specifically geared to FE and skills and are being developed by learning providers themselves.
The group is also working to make sure that these resources are widely available and remain so for the long haul.
For now, that means placing them in the dedicated FE area of Jorum, Jisc’s repository for OERs, and we are also developing plans to make sure that they remain easily discoverable in other locations ahead of the decommissioning of Jorum late in 2016.
Meanwhile, the curriculum development group is pushing ahead with providing advice and guidance to support curriculum development against the backdrop of rapidly evolving technologies.
We want to make sure that teaching can use technology to break free from older ways of doing things when doing so will enable practitioners to find more interesting and challenging ways of inspiring learning.
Stay up to date
So, despite the current summer heat, there’s no let-up in the pace of change for the FELTAG Coalition Group.
Visit our web pages to stay up to date with the latest developments in our work to implement the FELTAG agenda and keep an eye out for an invitation to become an early adopter of the FES Online Academy.