“Our vision is of a thriving economy made up of businesses able to compete internationally and respond to rapid technological change. There will be many more people with registered technician status, recognised as having the skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary for skilled employment in their chosen field, as well as the transferable skills that are needed in any job such as good literacy and numeracy, and digital skills.”
The post-16 skills plan (July 2016) published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education
In July 2015 we commissioned research to explore the digital experiences of learners in the skills sector and to consult them on their needs and expectations. The study encompassed work-based learning (including apprenticeships), adult and community learning and offender learning. Read the full study findings published in November 2016 and our brief for leaders of apprenticeships, adult, community and offender learning.
Although the findings have much in common with earlier studies in phase one: higher education (HE) and phase two: further education (FE) we also identified some key challenges specific to the skills sector.
- There is great diversity in the technology experiences of learners, even within groups who appear to have much in common
- Learners cannot always depend on reliable access to the internet, wireless services, online resources and industry standard equipment and software
- Curriculum practice (including assessment) does not always make the best use of available digital technology. Online platforms such as virtual learning environments (VLEs) and learner management systems (LMSs) are not always used effectively
- It can be difficult to provide cost-effective continuous professional development (CPD) where large numbers of staff work on a part-time or fractional basis
- There is little research or evidence of how learners feel about their digital experiences and how they can be effectively engaged in efforts to enhance this
There is enormous diversity in the providers that make up the skills sector and we recognise that offender learning providers face some unique challenges. This guide therefore focuses on the practices and experiences of skills providers (including independent training providers) and adult and community learning providers.
Five key themes
This guide is intended to inform and inspire you as you develop your use of digital technologies by including practical examples and case studies of effective practice from a range of skills providers. The intention is that you can amend, replicate and embed this practice in your own context.
The content is structured around five key themes which our study revealed are essential in supporting an effective digital experience for learners:
- Developing your digital vision
- Building a robust digital environment
- Developing staff digital capabilities
- Empowering and engaging learners
- Embedding technology within inclusive curriculum and assessment practices
Where available, links have been provided to help you access further resources, find out more information and make direct contact with those whose work interests you.
Like technology, effective practice continues to grow and evolve. So, if you would like to share your work please email Sarah Knight, senior co-design manager, to submit brief details on what you are doing.