We’ve just found out that we have been lucky enough to win our bid for funding from the Education & Training Foundation, this funding has arrived at just the right time as if dovetails beautifully with work that we had decided to investigate late last year.
One of the largest problems we face in raising our game in the Community Learning field in terms of Digital Inclusion is standardisation. Having worked previously in the FE sector it seemed like all I would have to do to improve our embedding of digital literacy in courses would be to improve systems and help our staff to utilise them.
I was soon disabused of this notion however due to the enormously diversity of our work.
Community Learning in the South West and, I expect, nationwide covers so many disparate venues, tutors and cohorts that there really can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Therefore we have been working hard to offer a suite of tools to our tutors and development workers as well as tailoring our hardware offer to fit their personal situations. This then leads us to an obvious question; how on earth do we provide training for all this different stuff? We currently offer training, guides and general support via online accessible materials as well as classroom delivery. However with many of our staff not being full time and widely dispersed geographically speaking it has been really difficult to have them all attend courses. Therefore we decided late last year to try to work up better online delivery of course materials and this is where the TTLA (Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Assessment) funding comes in.
The fund is for projects that meet the following criteria:
- Innovative and evidence-based
- Transferable and relevant to other providers
- Represent the breadth of the sector
- Address identified local challenges
- Focused on teaching and learning
We’re pretty happy that we hit those elements and our idea is simple in concept. We plan to use open source web based technology to build a Framework to deliver teaching online to tutors and students. The core idea is to keep it simple and adaptable and focus on the content, and ease of use. We won’t be worried about log-ins and security and as we will be continuing to have moderation of tutors and assessment of learning in the classroom we only need to look at the content and its quality rather than its suitability in terms of providing tracking.
We have looked at numerous systems for the core of our approach and broadly settled on Google forms. Forms allows us to provide quiz like functions, it’s modular, simple, exports to a spreadsheet along with built-in data analysis tools and even has a level of conditional routing.
Alongside this we will use a variety of other web platforms or attached documents (in much the same way that you would normally use something like a SCORM package) and we will also create videos and embed these directly.
Finally we will look at chatrooms/web conferencing solutions to allow 2 way communication. The idea here is not just to provide a forum function (which we already have setup) but to provide time slots where a subject expert can be available for those who wish to distance learn but can make certain arrange times. This may end up taking the form of something like Hangouts but only thorough testing will prove the concept.
Updates coming soon.