From education to employment

Opening up more creativity and innovation across FE: Future FE Pedagogies – Vol 1

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC)

This set of essays on future pedagogies is timely after a year like no other in which colleges and FE providers were forced in double-quick time to move all of their learning online.

That a year has exposed a range of profound issues and challenges in education which many of us have been raising for many years.

In particular it has shown clearly how inequalities in society are reinforced by unequal outcomes in education, at every stage.

And like every crisis, whilst this one has caused great suffering and loss for so many, it also offers an opportunity to reflect, review and renew.

The conversations and debates we need have across the education system

This publication helps us to do that for FE, providing a resource for the conversations and debates we need have across the education system.

I only hope that policy makers, politicians and education leaders embrace the debate, engage and seek change for the better.

I hated school and was bored with the teaching and learning I was offered. I also watched with sadness how my three children’s thirst for knowledge, curiosity and motivation were all sapped, rather than nurtured through a schools curriculum and targets which did nothing to inspire nor tap into their motivations.

Those experiences, and my own work in community development and informal adult education have always led me to focus on how education and teaching needs to tap into the motivations of learners:

  • What is it they want to learn, and why? How does this learning help them achieve what they want to achieve?
  • How can learning and education empower them in their lives to carry on learning, find work, thrive in a job, support their children, be active citizens?

Motivated learners, with committed teachers can learn successfully online

I mention all of this because the pandemic has shown us that motivated learners, with committed teachers can learn successfully online, if the resources and facilities are adequate for everyone involved. These essays show that and help us think about how technology can enhance learning.

The last year has also shown us that learning is also a profoundly social experience, and that people generally want more than just online learning. The physical interactions during learning as well as before and after are critical for most learners.

Technology can empower when used well

For the very diverse learners in FE the balance and blend of online, remote, individual, group, face to face and virtual will need to be carefully planned and delivered.

We also need to get the facilities right for learners, develop the skills of teachers, and invest to make FE the best it can be with its use of technology. But that will not be enough, because the pandemic has exposed how little the post-16 system really treats learners as adults and gives little agency and provides little flexibility to tap into people’s motivations and wants.

Technology can be transformational in supporting learning for everyone post-16, allowing flexibility, access and engagement in ways that excite me.

I hope that this publication opens up more creativity and innovation across FE to meet diverse needs in various ways, to tap into the motivations, situations, starting points and ambitions of learners.

I believe technology can empower when used well and I believe it can be part of the approach to unearth and ignite the motivations of learners to maximise their talents and realise their ambitions.

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC)

Future FE Pedagogies – Vol 1

The Future FE Pedagogies journal was categorically not intended to be a ‘how to improve your e-learning skills’ guide – there are professional associations, websites and online materials fulfilling this function already. 

Rather, we aimed to provide for time poor colleagues a series of think pieces: nuanced analyses of the potentialities and challenges of TEL for our practice.

Future FE Pedagogies – Vol 1 Preface

David Hughes


Future Pedagogies – The Context

Bob Harrison


Rethinking the improvement of teaching and learning in a virtual environment through unseen observation

Matt O’Leary


Free, easy and fit for purpose TEL: lessons learned the hard way by a non IT whizz

Martin Compton


Research from the front: A Developing Digital Project

Matt Gordon & Jan Calvert


Pedagogy at the centre – getting the blend right

Eddie Playfair


Ways of Engaging: some approaches to developing learning skills

Ian Duckett


The Proverbs of TEL

Howard Scott


Digital Practitioners creating “artfully-crafted, student-centred, learning experiences”

Nigel Ecclesfield & Fred Garnett


Moving a class online

Dave Cheseldine


The Reality of FE TEL Post-Covid-19: Thoughts from the bike by an FE Teacher Educator

Jamie Heywood


An open letter to the Secretary of State for Education: preparing FES teachers and trainers to ‘teach well’ in a digital world

David Powell



Vikki Liogier


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