From education to employment

New course in the Blended Essentials range launched

Digital skills are essential in today’s workplace, as there are few jobs that don’t require these skills, yet employers report a shortage of digital skills. It is therefore vital for teachers to expand the digital skills of their learners.

Building on the highly successful Blended Learning Essentials series of MOOCs, the third course entitled ‘Developing Digital Skills’ has just been launched and will start in October. This course, commissioned and funded by the Ufi Charitable Trust is designed specifically for the Vocational Education and Training sector.

Professor Diana Laurillard, one of the lead educators behind Blended Learning Essentials, says, ‘We’re hearing every day about the need for digital skills in all kinds of jobs in the modern workplace. The idea of this course is to help the FE and Skills sector with gearing up to supply the graduates industry so desperately needs.’

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 be funding “Developing Digital Skills”. User feedback shows 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.’

The course seeks to address the digital skills shortage by giving teachers and trainers the knowledge and the confidence to teach the necessary skills to their learners, thus enabling the students to bring much-needed digital skills to the workplace. It also enables teachers to train their learners to manage their digital footprint.

The course also includes examples of tools and apps that can help teachers to develop digital creation skills in their learners.

The course covers a wide range of vocational education settings and all kinds of learners, with a variety of expectations and needs. It is based on the needs of employers and on the real experience of how digital skills are being used at work.

As the course takes places entirely online, it is flexible and can be completed at the participant’s own pace. It will be delivered on Futurelearn, the UK’s leading platform for delivering open courses. The course starts on 20 October and is free of charge.

The previous two Blended Learning Essentials courses were very well received by participants.

What participants said about the previous courses:

‘We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel all over the country… for me it was really quite a revelation.’

‘A source of nuisance before, they could now use the mobile phones in a constructive way.’

‘Seeing what’s going on in the classroom and listening to the practitioner giving you really practical points.’

Blended Learning Essentials is a free online course developed by the University of Leeds and UCL Institute of Education, supported by the Association for Learning Technology and funded by the Ufi Trust.

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