Monday, 30 June 2008

More E-Guides for 2008

NIACE have confirmed that there are to be more E-Guides events taking place from September this year. They are currently in the process of updating the materials, preparing publicity and booking venues.

The E-Guides programme aims to increase the effective use of e-learning in the sector, by developing the skills and knowledge of E-Guides to support colleagues in their use of technology. Training consists of a three-day programme, and is aimed at all WBL staff who are involved with the delivery of learning across different subjects and areas of learning. The new training programme will be aligned with the National Teaching and Learning Change Programme (NLTCP) delivered by the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA).

NIACE have advised that they will announce dates as soon as possible. I will share those here but in the meantime, if anyone would like to be added to the waiting list you can email

If you're interested in attending I'd suggest registering that interest at this stage as the last events were oversubscribed very quickly! NIACE have confirmed that people on the waiting list will be emailed directly as soon as dates are available.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Pocket-sized Video Camcorders

Day Three of our West Midlands E-guides event last week showcased more useful technologies for e-learning, with one of the favourites this time being a very inexpensive pocket-sized video camcorder, Disgo.

These video cameras have raised considerable interest in the work based learning sector because of their portability, ease of use and starting at just £35 their price! The basic Disgo model has only three buttons so you can’t go far wrong with using it either making it a great tool for learners to use (to capture evidence for e-portfolios for example).

There are a couple of models available, the basic Disgo video retailing at £35 or a disgo Video Pro at £99.99.

Both are great little tools and signal the way technologies are becoming more affordable and accessible. The reviews from BBC's "Something for the Weekend" programme on the Disgo site are worth watching as they show just how easy these pocket-sized gems are to use. This You tube review offers a users review of the Disgo and this one shows a good comparison between the two models.

With capital funding being made available though the current round of Learner Innovation Grants what better time to be exploring technologies like these and looking at ways they can be incorporated into your own provision.

Finally, if you like the idea of using video but don't fancy making your own who not explore some of the ready made content that's out there. Business and Learning Conections is certainly a good place to start!

New Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)

Many regional work based learning providers will be aware of the work of the Centre of Excellence in Leadership (CEL) through their popular programme of e-learning programmes for leaders and managers in the WBL sector as well as their online toolkit.

The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) was set up by the government in April 2006 to support quality improvement and raise standards and achievement in the learning and skills sector. Both organisations have now combined to form LSIS the Learning and Skills Improvement Service which was named earlier this month.

“….this new service is dedicated to supporting excellence and leadership development in the further education and skills sector.” Learn more here.

Learner Innovation Grants - Launch and Support

Last week a number of work based learning providers from across the country attended the launch of Round 4 of the successful Learner Innovation Grants programme managed by ALP. Unfortunately the event was oversubscribed so some missed out, however such high numbers did signal a very positive demand for funding to support e-learning development.

The day featured a number of presentations, all of which will are now available on ALPs new website so if you weren’t able to make the event you can still learn a lot from those. Our RSC National WBL Co-ordinator summarised some of the key points worth noting:

· In this round, there will be a 6.9% + VAT management service contribution which will be payable upfront by the lead bidder prior to signing of the agreement
· The focus is on Train to Gain and Apprenticeships
· ALP are encouraging consortia bids – with funding ranging from £50k to £200k for those, and £50k to £100k for single bids
· Bid submission will be by the 8th September
· ALP recommend that bids refer to national and regional strategic objectives and priorities
· Projects should consider sustainability
· Allocation letters will be sent out week commencing 17th November
· Interim evaluations will be in March 2009 with final evaluations taking place in June 2009

A full prospectus and FAQ on ALPs website offer much more detail and the application form is now available on-line.

What also came out of the day was the amount of support that is now available to help providers make the most of this round of funding. This summary document (pdf.format) outlines all of the organisations who are offering support not just for this LIG funding but to all LSC funded providers wanting to progress their e-learning. It’s certainly worth making a note of these if you haven’t already engaged with them.

As well as the face to face support available a forum has also been established on QIA to:

· Ensure all providers are aware of the LIG project
· Share best practice from the LIG projects
· Support providers through the bidding and delivery phases of the LIG project
· Develop case studies showing the positive impact of the LIG projects

Like the networking pages of Innovate, it’s a good place to chat with other providers about some of the issues relating to this round of funding, and to get answers to LIG 4 questions that may have already been asked.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Next Generation Learning Awards 2009

This year Becta will offer its Next Generation Learning Awards 2009 which will reward learning providers who are confident in the use of technology. This year, the judges will be looking for excellent work with ICT in one of three areas of good practice:

The use of technology to achieve efficiency and effectiveness
The use of technology to enable effective collaboration and partnerships
The use of technology to improve learner outcomes

To submit an entry, you need to complete an online form which can be accessed from Becta's website. The Awards are now open for entries, the deadline is 9 July 2008. Winners will receive a cash prize as well as the opportunity to share their excellent practice regionally and nationally with colleagues.

For more information about the 2009 awards, read How The Awards Work, Becta's Guidance or Frequently asked questions pages. If you have more queries you can also contact the Next Generation Learning Awards team on 024 7641 6994, or by email.