From education to employment

Learning and Skills Council invests nearly £60 million in technology for learners

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is to invest £59.8 million in technology for learners. The investment for 2007/08 will contribute to learning infrastructure, student equipment upgrades and expanding the numbers of mobile devices available for students.

The investment will provide for major upgrades to IT equipment in the offender learning sector. The investment programme will also focus on procurement of appropriate technology to expand the LSC’s Learning for Living and Work strategy and to support the transformation and increased supply of high-quality, local provision for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities

The additional investment will enable more FE colleges to introduce mobile learning devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and mp3 players into their teaching strategies. Work based learning providers may also benefit through the Learning Innovation Grant.

The investment follows recent LSC research that revealed that over half of learners surveyed agreed they would like to use technology more as part of their learning.

In addition to this, research from Becta (the Governments technology partner) shows that students are keen to access learning resources remotely, for instance in their own home. Over a third of students currently use features from remote learning platforms, such as virtual learning environments, outside their provider’s premises.

Jon Gamble, the LSC’s Director for Adults and Lifelong Learning, said: “Our increased investment into technology will help us to create a more dynamic and forward looking Further Education System. Technology plays such an important role in learning and an understanding of the latest devices is also vital for many careers. Our programme of investment will ensure that more learners have access to the facilities they need to enrich their learning experience and their employability.”

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK ““ the sector skills council for Information Technology and Telecommunications, said: “We welcome the announcement by the LSC to increase funding for the use of technology in Further Education. Technology has become integral to the way we live and work and plays an increasingly vital role in education. It supports flexible, personalised and interactive learning, which not only helps to engage and motivate students, but also enables them to make the most of learning opportunities regardless of where they are or the amount of time they have available. In addition, it helps to develop valuable IT skills which are becoming essential for most jobs.”

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