Skills policy announcement means a major boost to UK e-learning

It seemed like a revelation to someone who works in the e-learning sector to see the government’s response to the recommendations from the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), published in June 2014, and I hope it will prove to be a hugely significant development for the e-learning industry.

It has been apparent for many years that there are certain inhibitors to the UK’s FE system that are now proving detrimental to the digital future of learners.

The research that has been carried out into this has noted that the pace of technological change is accelerating and it will have a notable effect on how learners prefer to learn in the future. It was stated in the document that it will have a ‘profound effect on the economic and social well-being of England, including the Further Education and Skills sector’.

Technology in the learning place and the workplace is now not only a wish for a few, it is what is expected by many, both learners and employers.

The average 21st Century Apprentice I would say is never very far away from their smartphone or tablet so using technology to learn is second nature to them and many of those who they are learning from probably need to get sprinting to catch up.

Time spent assessing a learners work can be greatly reduced if it is done remotely using e-portfolios. Comments and instructions from assessor/tutor and learner can be received at a time when the learner and assessor/tutor is available.

Virtual classrooms are flipping the way learners have been taught in the past, and now we can actually see the increased benefit of the time learners spend face to face with their tutors when a blended approach is used and that precious time is used for example for more in depth discussion rather than direct teaching.

The massive MOOC & VOOC movements also seem to reflect how learners are seeking to learn when given a choice.

At Learning Light we have been beating the drum for a long time to get the government to recognise the effectiveness of online learning and to recognise the immense expertise to be found in e-learning companies in the UK. The expertise in the UK is admired across the globe and should be at the forefront of our export markets. It has however always been difficult for these companies to gain the recognition they deserve and also to grow and become large enough to compete abroad. This has been primarily because the training sector and the education sector have resisted the use of e-learning, with many in these sectors seeing it as a threat to their organisation rather than opportunity.

So you can see why I am so excited about the content of the government document. With everyone on board, government, awarding organisations, training providers, Ofsted, SFA, FE, HE and industry this ship is ready to sail, and what an exciting journey it promises to be.

For further details of FELTAG’s recommendations and the Government’s response.