Posted on Apr 20, 2020
Navigating teaching and learning in lockdown - How we are ensuring quality leads the way in an online world.
Coronavirus has proved a huge challenge across all sectors - and the education industry is no different. While the logistics of moving our staff to working remotely seemed to run relatively smoothly (although I’m not doubting the hard work of our IT team), moving learners to remote and online studying was just as essential (and quickly) to keep our learners on programme, allowing them to continue their studies with as little disruption as possible.
When it comes to learners - there’s a lot of things to consider to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning remains at the high standard we expect of all of our provision. Not only have we had to think about how our different sectors can be translated into an online world, we’ve also had to consider individual learning styles and levels and how we continue to support learners the way we did in the traditional face-to-face environment, remotely.
Luckily, we already had a number of online platforms that we could utilise quickly to get our online learning up and running across the board and delivering the same quality provision. Our flexible learning qualifications can all be completed online - and we’ve actually seen a huge growth in individuals wanting to complete these qualifications too.
With increasing numbers of the population isolating or furloughed, people are looking to fill their time with something worthwhile, which has seen over 19,000 people register an interest as part of our #EducateWhilstYouIsolate campaign in just four weeks. This interest highlights the appetite for learning, even in the most uncertain times the value of education is clear.
A huge spike in this interest has been for individuals looking to complete mental health qualifications, I’m really proud that we offer these programmes as I think breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is vital, and education around this topic can only be the starting point to support individuals. Particularly as we’re seeing so much uncertainty in the world at the moment, these qualifications really will make a difference.
We’ve also seen some brilliant teaching and learning examples within our academies, we have tutors doing online tutorials and live streams for our students to follow, and they are also completing their theory work and gaining additional industry standard qualifications to stand them in good stead for the world of work on completion of their qualifications.
We’ve taken our usual face-to-face sessions online, we deliver training to a lot of key workers across the care sector and work with NHS trusts to support both apprenticeship programmes and the development of functional skills. While there is obviously an increased pressure on these learners during the current pandemic, we’ve found that flexibility is key. We’re holding online video sessions on a 1-2-1 basis and at a time that suits the learner; whether that be late into the evenings or on weekends to allow learners to continue their study with us in between their longer shifts and increased workloads.
We’ve found that some of our learners that require greater support are adjusting well to the transition as they are speaking to their tutors and trainers on more of a 1-2-1 basis, getting extra support with anything they might be struggling with, and taking time to go back through previous work and focus on improvement.
Technology has been key for us throughout this pandemic - we’re utilising various apps, social media sites and live streams to not only keep in touch with our learners, but educate them too. We’re delivering online presentations and webinars, remote induction sessions and feeding back to learners in real time as if we were in the classroom. But we’re also recognising the challenges they will be facing as they’re in isolation, or indeed on the front line; like many of our learners across the NHS, retail and distribution sectors.
Our core value has always been, and continues to be, to keep ‘learners at the centre of everything we do’ - and while we’re really looking forward to getting back into those classrooms and teaching in a more traditional setting, this crisis has really highlighted the possibilities and endless limits there are to learning.
We work with over 100,000 learners every year, through our network of academies, apprenticeship programmes, flexible learning qualifications and FE partners. We’ll continue to provide the best quality of teaching and learning we can to our existing learners, and welcome new learners for as long as there is appetite to learn.
For more information on our qualifications, email firstname.lastname@example.org