Digital technologies have the potential to be a true ‘game-changer’ in the vocational education and training sector.

Adaptations of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) could fit the FE sector because of the flexibility for adult learners who are capable of more independent learning, and who need to learn at their own convenience and pace, and because of the potential for economies of scale.  Many adult learners already use social media platforms for their professional networks, and to share information and user-generated content, so they will expect a culture of not only ‘Bring your Own Device’ but ‘Bring Your Own App’ as a natural part of their learning environment.

Video conferencing in the workplace, or virtual master-class demonstrations, could give teachers and learners a virtual presence in different locations, and would enable big improvements in the ‘line of sight to work’. Moreover, digital technology has the potential to enable new forms of formative and summative e-assessment. Modelling and simulation encourages learners to vary their strategies through feedback and reflection, and select those that are most successful. Digital technology is also improving the quality of the formative assessment that teachers employ by providing more analytics and data visualisation.

Human-computer interfaces that incorporate haptic (touch) and kinaesthetic (motion) are widely used in gaming – and they have pedagogical potential for practice-based vocational education training. Haptic interfaces have already been used to increase authenticity in classroom learning in, e.g. medicine, dentistry and animal welfare.advancedlearning2

Learning analytics, which apply a pedagogical approach to educational data mining, are becoming increasingly used in online academic learning – but for the FE sector, off-the-shelf analytics are unlikely to be sufficient. Nonetheless, there is a tantalising opportunity for improved selection of the teaching and learning strategies that lead to successful learning and labour market outcomes.

New and open management systems that provide a seamless integration of management and pedagogic elements, may also enhance learning outcomes, with learners owning their data and being able to move between institutions and use the best tools for the job.

The programme will support the development of a community of practice which recognises that:

  • teaching practitioners increasingly use their personal digital technology experience and apply this to the circumstances of their learners
  • teaching practitioners are more curious than fearful of digital technology and are using a wide range of products and digital technology in their practices
  • there is a growing degree of collaboration between teaching practitioners with their colleagues and learners – but this is mainly confined to collaboration inside their organisations
  • teaching practitioners increasingly regard themselves as independent professionals who explore their own use of digital technology, with few indicating that they expect guidance or direction from others

This programme will provide trainees with not merely a grounding, but a detailed understanding of the potential of digital technologies and the scope for the application in FE.

On completion of the course graduates will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate a range of technologies in terms of their impact on teaching and learning
  • Instigate the designing of your own online teaching/learning resources

Rationalise your own current teaching provision in terms of the key issues emerging from current research in digital education strategies.

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