An Excellence Gateway case study
Published: 22 October 2010
This case study was produced by JISC Regional Support Centre Northern on behalf of the Excellence Gateway.
Sector relevance: Work-based learning
Keywords: Improving teaching and learning; improving responsiveness to learners; improving institutional effectiveness; collaborative project; development of teaching and learning resources; creating and adapting e-learning materials; blended learning; distance learning; e-portfolios; work-based assessment; retention improvement strategies; achievement rates; staff development; value for money; motivating learners; management of ICT infrastructure; mobile technology and learning; engineering; building and construction; administration
Through collaboration, the UXL Newcastle network has been successful in securing Learning Innovation Grant (LIG) 5 funding for the purchase of mobile technologies to improve retention and achievement rates. Funding received proved to be an excellent springboard to more collaborative working opportunities, eg in sharing good and bad experiences and practice, and shaping equipment.
About UXL Newcastle
UXL Newcastle is a network of 11 work-based learning providers in Newcastle, which is dedicated to helping young people in the area make the most of their abilities and reach for more in training and employment. The 11 members of UXL Newcastle offer a wide range of learning programmes in various sectors, including hairdressing, motor vehicle training and animal care.
Seven of the 11 members of UXL Newcastle decided to continue to develop and use mobile technologies to improve retention and achievement rates. The providers are at very different stages of using these technologies, but they all wanted to:
- create or extend a mobile learning platform;
- improve the effectiveness of teaching and quality of learning; and
- reduce learner completion times.
The providers decided to form a consortium to make a collective bid for LIG 5 funding. This funding is administered by the Association of Learning Providers (ALP) and supports the innovative development and application of ICT technologies and e-learning within the work-based learning/skills sector.
One of the providers, Tyneside Training Services, took the lead and co-ordinated the bid. The consortium also employed a bid writer who had previously worked with the group and knew them well. The bid was successful and the consortium received £70,000 LIG 5 funding. This meant that every member received £10,000 to invest in the development of ICT and e-learning. The providers got value for money by bulk-purchasing equipment and advising each other on where to buy materials at the best price.
- All members of the consortium developed facilities that allowed better access to e-learning materials, for example, by:
- introducing e-portfolios, which can be accessed remotely;
- providing better equipped IT suites with internet connection and flexible access; and
- providing laptops for learners which can be used outside of the centre.
Although it is early days and, therefore, difficult to fully evaluate, there is already a feeling amongst the consortium members that the new and improved facilities and equipment are having a positive impact on organisations and staff. This has also been reflected in the Observation of Teaching and Learning (OTL) across the consortium.
- Staff are using more e-learning technology in their delivery, which has improved the learning environment.
- Use of the e-portfolios has increased, and the speed of feedback and approval of ILP development and action planning has improved. The use of e-portfolios has also reduced the use of paper.
- The use of web conferencing has reduced the mileage and time taken for meetings.
- It is still too early to measure differences in achievement and retention rates, but all consortium members are already reporting an improvement in early completions.
Are you looking to form a successful consortium? Allan McNaught, the lead bidder and manager at Tyneside Training Services, recommends the following:
- The members have to trust each other and everybody needs to take on a fair share of the work involved.
- The members of the consortium have to be able to take decisions without having to seek approval from somebody else.
- The members have to feel free to ask questions and share good and bad experiences.
- The lead of the bid needs to be prepared and realise that collaborative planning takes time.
- UXL Newcastle network's website
- Information about LIG 5 funding on the Excellence Gateway.
- JISC Regional Support Centre Northern website
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Disclaimer: The Regional Support Centres (RSC) and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) support the development of educational e-learning. In the case study, we may refer to specific products, processes or services by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise, or link to websites or supporting material. Such references are not endorsements or recommendations and should not be used for product endorsement purposes.