Benn Carson, Carson Recruitment

Last week, I talked a little about some of the developments in distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, I’d like to go into greater depth about some of the strategies and science which could help providers innovate in response to the industry’s ongoing crisis.

Learner engagement via social media

What is it, exactly, that makes social media engaging?

Ever wonder why you feel compelled to sit scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, sometimes for hours, and sometimes in spite of the fact that you really ought to be working? 

The short answer: Lots of little dopamine hits. Facebook and other social media pages are specifically designed to activate the human brain’s reward system. The former VP of User Growth at Facebook even went so far as to admit that he felt “tremendous guilt,” and claimed that “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”

Social media giants were far from the first businesses to employ the same strategy. Video game creators have been harnessing the brain’s reward system to hook players for decades. But that’s not always as nefarious as it sounds; the same rewards systems can be equally used to promote positive behaviours. 

Gamification is one such positive way to harness the “little dopamine hits” strategy of the social media giants. Dividing learning objectives into small and achievable goals and then offering a small reward can go a long way to building engagement for learners. Perhaps the most successful example is the popular language-learning app, Duolingo.

Learning and Social Interaction

Another compelling feature of social media - particularly during the current lockdown - is the ability to interact with friends and family from the comfort of the sofa. People’s desire for human connection helps to make social media the primary means of consuming information for vast swathes of the population today. 

These days, you’re more likely to go to Youtube and watch a video guide before whipping out the encyclopedia to learn something new. If the guide is particularly good, you might even share it with your friends and family on social media. Innovations in learner engagement would do well to take note, and the most successful learning environments of the future will include this kind of functionality. Consider tools for creating groups where students can collaborate with each other, post what they’ve learned, and message other group members to discuss their learning, while promoting engagement with tools like notifications.

Communicating with students: While it might be best to get students into a dedicated environment (Slack is a great tool to get the basics set up in minutes) it’s important to connect with students with the tools they use on the day to day.

So, while Facebook and Instagram are far from the best place to host learning activites, having accounts there to connect with students, and share news about timetables, learning opportunities, and more, is crucial.

Innovative learner engagement solutions in action

Several of the largest apprenticeship providers are already innovating in new delivery methods in response to the pandemic. Skills Training UK’s Apprenticeships Online offer includes live group training webinars, an events calendar of webinars for all apprenticeship levels, bite-size videos available for apprentices to view at all times, and 1-2-1 remote delivery.

SCL are using Microsoft Teams to maintain a degree of normality while including engagement activities, weekly digital 1-2-1s between tutors and learners, tutor sessions in the morning and independent work in the afternoons followed by group catch ups. Other innovations include shared teaching resources, videos, polls about lessons and fun activites to motivate and build engagement - essentially employing some of the same interactivity and gamification strategies which we already discussed.

Will distance learning become the new normal?

In short: probably not. A lot of media sources have jumped on the bandwagon and are already calling distance learning the new norm, but there is always going to be a place for in-person learning, with all the opportunities for collaboration and easy communication it offers. Colleges, schools, and universities in particular will maintain a strong in-person presence after the pandemic dies down and, in those sectors, distance learning will remain a supplementary activity once we return to normality

However, the ITP will continue to incorporate distance learning to a greater degree - apprenticeships are especially well-suited to distance learning with their focus on on-the-job training - and recent steps are just the beginning. Lockdown isn’t going to end in the immediate future and experts are predicting that there could be a long process involved in getting back to normality, with additional lockdowns as new waves of infection come until such a time as a vaccine becomes available. 

We’re sure to see further innovations and refinements in online learning and, given the industry’s current cash flow problems, it’s a very real possibility that the providers who produce the most successful and innovative solutions will be those who emerge from the crisis relatively unscathed.

Benn Carson, Carson Recruitment

If you’re looking for advice about how to boost your organisation’s distance learning credentials, I’m always available for a chat; just get in touch!

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Trust is very powerful, as the article suggests. The question is, how to develop trust in a work...

AELP Webinar Team added a new event 1 hour

Flexi-jobs, ATAS and Apprenticeships

Overview Following recent consultations by the Department for Education, a new flexi-jobs apprenticeship scheme will be piloted from July 2021....

  • Thursday, 03 June 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page