Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Innovating e-learning Event

Last week was a busy one, wasn't very well for a lot of it and had Friday off to see mum in hospital (she is out now). I aslo participated with Mark Stiles and Richard Benefer in a JISC online conference, "Innovating e-learning", we were presenting under the Supporting LifeLong Learning Theme with the presentation based on how we promote work based learning (WBL) and how our project is looking to support wbl stakeholders. We had some interesting comments/ thoughts/ outputs including:

  • Being able to point people to JORUM and SURF WBL outputs
  • Communication is vital for WBL
  • Institution tools (i.e. VLE's) are not suitable vehicles for sharing information with employers
  • Understanding and Supporting the mentor role is still difficult for some institutions
  • Ownership of Learner data - Employer or Learner owned?
  • Getting the Employer to understand:
    • The role of the FE college outside of the more traditional context (16 -19)
    • Understanding the roles of HND against Foundation Degrees
  • SME and bigger companies have different needs for training
  • Difficult to access Work Based Learners access to computers
  • Accessibility of tools being used is important
  • Sharing good practice across HE and FE is vital

Friday, 8 June 2007


Thanks to our presentation at the Welsh conference we have become involved in a working group (WBL/Programme Delivery Group) for employer engagement, engage (a Higher Education Authority funded employer engagement project), I presented at the meeting held this week at Loughborough University and spoke about some of the experiences of the original WBL project, on the AimHigher report the WBL-Way project had commissioned and also on the experiences of project partners when talking about supporting work based learning at HE level in FE. Some interesting things were discussed at the meeting:

  • Employer definitions of WBL are varied and confused

  • Employers want students fit for purpose, interested in courses with accreditation at modular level

  • Need to look at Change Management approach to learning, considering company strategies in developing courses for individuals

  • Employers not interested in point in time qualifications but in capability and confidence in their employees (qualification output but not goal of training).
  • Case studies are important to help employers, learners and mentors understand their roles in WBL
  • Often large companies have outsourced Human Resources, IT etc so it is important for the WBL-Way project to develop a Staff Development Area rather than a personnel or HR area (this links back to the last WBL-Way project meeting)
  • Templates and guidelines would be considered useful, this included the UfI's learning contract, there was an interest expressed about how Staffordshire University looked at mentoring (I need to sort out the last projects documents on mentoring and send them to the group).

The engage project has already created a number of useful outputs, including developing a WBL-Journey for the Employee mindmap which I have passed on to the WBL-Way project partners.

The WBL-Way project had a team meeting this week, still keeping to the first Thursday in each month, and we managed to get one partner senior manager to attend it - a real achievement! It is looking like this will lead to further meetings about how we can fit our project into their own strategies. Will keep you posted!