From education to employment

Digital minister endorses tool for improving teaching and learning digital skills

Ufi was really pleased to celebrate the launch of a new course in the Ufi-funded Blended Learning Essentials Learning Essentials (BLE) series, aimed at increasing digital delivery of vocational learning, alongside partners Association for Learning Technology, University of Leeds and University College London.

Digital technology has a key role in increasing UK skills and it is vital that those teaching adults are able to use digital tools to their best advantage. Ufi commissioned Blended Learning Essentials to support those working across the adult vocational sector, who want to make better use of blended learning as part of their teaching practice. This free, open access course, supports teachers and trainers in colleges, in the workplace or in the independent training sector. From the two original courses (Getting Started and Embedding Practice), the series is being expanded to included two more, the first of which – Developing Digital Skills – was launched this week.

Almost every job now involves a range of digital skills and Developing Digital Skills will help those working in vocational education to develop the digital skills that learners need for successful employment and progress in a changing economic and technological landscape. Ufi’s Chief Executive, Rebecca Garrod-Waters joined policy and decision makers from across the vocational education sector to discuss some of the challenges that face us in a digital world. Rebecca explained how, with Ufi’s support, BLE can help transform the delivery of learning by increasing the capacity of teachers and trainers to use digital tools as part of blended learning practices.

Matthew Hancock 100x100The course also received a ringing endorsement from Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock, who said: “We want everybody to have access to all the benefits digital technology can bring, so I’m delighted Ufi is expanding its hugely popular Blended Learning Essentials (BLE) Programme to help increase the digital skills of those teaching and learning on vocational courses. I pay tribute to everyone who’s working so hard on this agenda, to try to make sure everyone gets the chance to fulfil their true potential.”

More than 35,000 people registered for the original BLE courses of which 52% were active participants and 64% said that they felt confident about using blended learning at the end of their course (up from 39% at the beginning). Awareness of technologies to support blended learning had doubled from 45% beforehand to almost 90% afterwards. Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technology at UCL Knowledge Lab who was involved in developing the BLE programme said “We have the sense of a developing community of teachers and trainers gradually building knowledge of how best to optimise blended learning opportunities in the FE and Skills sector. So it’s wonderful to be able to continue that promising work with the Ufi, with further runs and new courses.”

Ufi Chief Executive, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, says, “Our BLE programme is a great example of how Ufi is working to develop products where we see a market need; supporting the increased use of VocTech for teaching and learning. We are very pleased to announce our funding for the next phase. Feedback from users has shown how valuable BLE is in giving teachers and trainers the skills and confidence to make more use of digital technology and improve outcomes for vocational learners.”

About Ufi Charitable Trust: Ufi is an independent grant funding charitable trust. We support the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, funding projects that will accelerate scale and access to digital vocational learning across the UK.

Our aim is to accelerate adult vocational learning, helping more people gain the skills needed for work. We want to provide opportunities for lifelong learning and skills development in ways that fit around work and life commitments. We believe that this can be achieved through the use of digital technologies, increasing the scale of people who can access learning opportunities.

We see digital technology offering increased flexibility, new approaches to learning, new ways of accrediting learning, new distribution models and new relationships with learning providers.

Ultimately, developing the skills of the UK workforce is fundamental in enabling our country to compete in the global economy.

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