From education to employment

#AmplifyFE Launch Sector Audit Report for 2021

The #AmplifyFE network is led by the Association for Learning Technology (@A_L_T) in partnership with Ufi – the VocTech Trust (@UfiTrust). 

AmplifyFE launched in October 2020 and already connects over 1000 professionals in Further Education and Vocational Education, providing a strong networking community for them to share, collaborate and learn. This annual sector audit is a key part of the work we do to support the sector.

The publication of this report follows a year of seismic upheaval in the sector. From getting through the darkest days of the global crisis to keeping services going whilst scaling up blended and online learning, the pace has felt relentless. 

The communities and networks featured in this audit have often had to fill the gaps left by too little funding and lack of formal support and such grass-root efforts are often led by passionate individuals who give above and beyond to support their colleagues and learners.

We want to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts, whilst noting that the need for structural change which professional bodies and sector organisations campaign for is more urgent now than ever before.

Overall the sector landscape continues to shift and grow, with many changes identified that were unexpected. In addition to the many new communities that have emerged since the first audit, groups have changed names, platforms and approaches as well as those that have ceased to exist.

In particular we note:

New communities and communities that have been closed:

Having checked and updated the 100 communities from the 2020 audit, the total number increased from the original 100 to 130 for the 2021 audit – 36 additions and six removed.

Most notable in the communities that have ceased to exist is the closure of the TES communities, including all 74 individual forums including those dedicated to FE and Vocational Education.

With 36 new additions to the community landscape, an increase of 30%, the audit is becoming a more comprehensive map of the sector landscape.

Changes to how communities of practice work:

There are a number of different combinations of platforms being used across the different communities, with most using at least two.

Twitter remains the most popular platform with a total of 96 Twitter handles reviewed. Microsoft Teams and Zoom have also grown in usage, with the shift to online meetings due to the impact of the pandemic.

There is also a notable decline in some communities using Jisc mailing lists.

Where the conversation is moving:

The #AmplifyFE hashtag is being actively used across Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram by community members. Many of the more popular posts using the hashtag are posted by individual accounts, particularly on LinkedIn.

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