Capacity and capability of providers

Summary: Capacity and capability of providers workstream

This workstream focused on the capacity and capability of providers in relation to their use of learning technologies across Further Education. Its themes included the idea that a provider self-assessment tool could be developed to benchmark providers’ capability and skills use and application of learning technology and identify opportunities for improvement.

Another stream of thinking was for a set of products for FE leadership teams, including governors, to increase their understanding of the educational benefits for their learners and to develop their own knowledge and awareness of the opportunities open to them, including tools to evaluate investment decisions in learning technology hardware and software.

Draft recommendations:

  1. Wanted: FE governors, leaders, tutors and teachers for the Digital Age – an online offer to professionalise leaders’, managers’ and teachers’ use of learning technology in the FE sector, building on the best current models
  2. Curriculum planning and design: Ofsted to inspect a new learning technology strand in the Teaching, Learning and Assessment strategy. All providers should have a learning technology strand in the Teaching, Learning and Assessment strategy. This will be backed up by Ofsted’s recognition of the value of learning technology in their inspections
  3. Celebrate success: identify and publicise top examples of learning tech innovation, scale up and reward the most effective and innovative ways in which technology is used in pedagogy, and develop the award landscape for providers and learners, such as kitemarking the best providers (open badges, sponsorship and prizes) to encourage and reward innovation
  4. Strengthen support of the FE sector’s use of learning technologies by (among others) targeting the use of JISC’s RSCs to underpin the implementation of FELTAG recommendations
  5. Think through change: create a plan to identify the best ways to make use of learning technology research (see the recommendation in the Learners’ workstream)

Your views:

  • Building on these proposals, what specific changes to the ideas for providers are needed to make the biggest difference to you?
  • Can you suggest any good mechanisms for achieving these recommendations?
  • Are there other issues relating to providers that should be considered?

Rate the Capacity and capability of providers workstream:

In your opinion, how useful are these draft recommendations on providers (5 = very, 1 = not at all).

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Rating: 3.7/5 (7 votes cast)
Capacity and capability of providers, 3.7 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

8 thoughts on “Capacity and capability of providers


    The UK could look at adopting something similar to the “Australian National VET E-learning Strategy“. This provides a government funded pool of training, tools and content for e-learning, which can be used by all public and private further education providers. A Learning Design Tool (LDT), packaged e-learning content “Toolboxes“, e-learning software and events for educators are provided.

    I am an Australian ICT professional who does some part time teaching and designs on-line courses for university and further education. My award winning e-learning course ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future, is offered world wide by the Australian National University, with a version adapted for North America by Athabasca University. I write a blog as the Higher Education Whisperer.

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  2. Crispin Weston

    I agree that FE needs a more informed customer base for education technology (i.e. in the colleges themselves). But you can’t do this by self-assessments (more boxes to tick) or by central prescription of trendy but bogus models, advocated by a few self-appointed experts. We need a genuine and contested dialogue around what really works – and such a dialogue can only be developed around a genuine market for education technology:

    Why you need a [PRODUCT CATEGORY].
    What a [PRODUCT CATEGORY] should do.
    What is the best [PRODUCT CATEGORY] on the market?
    How you can use your [PRODUCT CATEGORY] in your own practice.

    For [PRODUCT CATEGORY], substitute e.g. e-portfolio, learning analytics system, automatic essay grader, assignment management system, intelligent tutoring system, peer instruction system, e-Textbook reader etc. etc.

    All of these conversations will only get going when we have a market for [PRODUCT CATEGORY], whatever that might be.

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  3. William Jenkins

    With regard to achieving these recommendations you may find some of these links useful;

    EdTech in India – Go Slow or Go Home

    How Good Ideas Go Viral

    SVSUmmit: EdTech Jamboree

    How This Start up won over Oregon

    All of these examples highlight how key collaboration is with educations digital leaders and those developing new products, so their ideas can be tested in the classroom?

    A lot of the products that get viral roll out are from developers who have spent time in the classroom… should FE departments be partnering with local tech suppliers for a day a week during the key product development stages?

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  4. Jenny Williams

    The Education and Training Foundation is delighted that the sector has the opportunity to comment on the recommendations of the FELTAG programme. We want to make sure the use of technology improves outcomes for learners and employers, and that professionals across the sector have the capacity and capability they need to achieve this. We will be developing our programme of support early in 2014, and will be taking account of comments on the FELTAG recommendations to inform our own programme.

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  5. Geoff Rebbeck

    Towards a new type of e-learning strategy.
    The difficulty with e-learning strategies is that they have a very short shelf life. 18 months at most because the possibilities are changing so quickly. Anyone with a 5 year strategy in its third year would be aiming at protecting learners from all social media, no mention on using e-portfolios, no plan for BYOD, little idea about electronic learning plans and no reference to the Cloud. This is the problem when we come at e-learning by the technology, rather than describe the behaviour it supports.
    If we think strategically about e-learning behaviour, a strategy is more straight forward and much more exciting because it can be more easily understood and interpreted, but still maintaining the values of what constitutes effective teaching and learning.
    Here is a suggested e-learning strategy by way of illustration. It describes the learner experience rathe r than the technology available. In every case the technology of the moment as judged by each organisation will enable it, based on what is available, and the agility of staff and management to bring it to bear. It is interesting that this list would stand well in a prospectus and other marketing material to help describe what it would be like to ‘study with us’.

    1. Learners will have the ability to access learning and teaching from outside college at times to suit the learner
    2. Learners will be able to contact a tutor for help between set agreed times
    3. Learners are able to submit work remotely where the course allows it
    4. Learners can continue to learn during periods of agreed class absence
    5. Staff and students can bring their own hardware and social media sites to their teaching and learning
    6. Where desirable, learners will use their own software to access teaching, and demonstrate learning.
    7. Learners will have access to a range of specific and wider learning resources in support of their specific and general learning
    8. Learners will have a sense of learning being tailored to meet their personal needs and preferences in collaboration with course tutors, equipping them with skills for self employment
    9. Each learner will have access to on-line personal learning space.
    10. Using technology will add to the sense of belonging to a unique community of social living and learning

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  6. David Phillips

    Successful implementation of technological innovation requires a clear educational vision that considers both the soft ‘change management’ aspects of policy, leadership and management, professional development of teaching and learning, and the ‘hard’ requirements such as broadband, wifi and selection of hardware.

    Collectively these considerations enable staff to envisage how technological innovation can be successfully implemented and, importantly, become the medium that supports increased outcomes for learners.

    Pearson has celebrated technological innovation as evidenced in our support of research into the use and success of tablets in UK Schools (launched in 2013) ; sponsored competitions, for example and ; and received nominations for multiple awards including, ResultsPlus, Bug Club, KnowledgeBox and Primary Digital Content in 2014.

    To build on the success that this approach has had in stimulating and recognising innovation, we propose a specific award or competition, organised collaboratively between providers and FE, is established to recognise developments and achievements in FE online learning systems.

    Pearson values research into the different uses of learning technology and systems and proposes that this collective research should be harnessed to allow providers to explore current thinking and to also consider their impact. A form of hub should be created as a site for sharing ideas and educational research, so that research can be collated and critiqued in an open, public forum.

    As with the other workstreams, the solution will lie in the balance between public investment and investment from the ed tech businesses developing and supplying the products and services. The ‘offer to professionalise leaders’, managers’ and teachers’ use of learning technology in the FE sector’ should start with a centrally-managed programme to cover the broad and generic opportunities, but be supplemented by specific training programmes from the suppliers.

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  7. Nigel Ecclesfield

    The announcement by Matthew Hancock about the development of two new national colleges for the nuclear industry and software engineering sets out another route for developing the capacity and capability of the sector through collaboration with employers and the adoption of “cutting edge technology”. Jisc through its developing activity for the FE and Skills sector will be pleased to support these initiatives through the provision of infrastructure support via Janet (the Joint Academic Network) and its other development and support services that are focused on enhancing the use of digital technologies by providers in the Further Education and Skills and the Higher Education sectors.

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  8. Helen Milner

    All sector staff should have as a minimum basic online capabilities. Learn My Way is a tool which we provide free of charge and something which each FE Provider can use to make sure their staff meet this ‘minimum’ set of online basic skills. We can provide low cost licenses if a provider would prefer to personalised the learning platform for example they could then add additional content using our Course Builder online tool.

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