A Change in Culture? – Remote (on-line) learning
The Department for Education (DfE) has encouraged training and assessments to be delivered remotely wherever possible which has proved very challenging for some smaller providers who do not have the infrastructure prior to the current climate. Although some providers will be using distance learning tools, for others this will not be possible for a range of reasons, for example, if the technical system was not already in place prior to Covid19 and there is a frenzy to contract with companies who can offer this service. Being able to react positively and including an ethos to on–line learning is the key to success.
This may also impact on staff who face challenges of working from home who need to demonstrate the ability to deliver on–line and have the knowledge and resources to do this effectively. CMI link to webinar- Killer Virtual Presentation Skills
For those learners and apprentices who have been able to continue their learning, this has also moved online, raising further issues. Learners and apprentices, especially those from lower income backgrounds, may not have a suitable home learning space to continue their study, the equipment, access to the internet or the support of staff who may have been furloughed.
Even if the learner or apprentice does have the access, technical and skills needed, the training provider may not. While IT contractors or the apprentice’s employer could potentially support, overarching demand may hinder at a time when they are likely to not have a fully staffed team, or it may come at an additional unbudgeted cost.
This is clearly a challenging time, but it also presents an opportunity for us all to experience the potential benefits of online learning. For us, online doesn’t just mean a video to watch or a portal on which to submit work – virtual learning can be as diverse and as engaging as face-to-face delivery.
With an increase in the use of Microsoft Teams/ Zoom and Interactive whiteboards, polls and discussions help to keep learners engaged and access to libraries of resources online helps students to extend their learning independently. Data capture is invaluable too, in helping Tutors and learners to track progress.
Of course, it goes without saying that our first priority in the coming weeks and months is to help look after the health of our community and there’s a lot of work for us to do in education to protect learning. If we consider how flexible on line learning can be (as well as the positives with regard to journey times and positive environmental factors) we can evidence that students want to learn on demand (just look at their viewing habits for evidence here, with Netflix and Amazon Prime now much more popular than live TV among a younger audience) and we know that learners respond if they’re empowered to set their own agenda and take charge of their learning.