Wednesday, 26 August 2009

£3m Workplace E-Learning Funding

Launch of more Learner Innovation Grants, just one week to go...!

"Work-based learning providers are being encouraged to bid for £3 million of funding, from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), to help the sector adopt new technology and explore innovative ways of applying ICT solutions.

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP), which is managing the Government's Learning Innovation Grant (LIG) project, is inviting applications from providers that have not bid before as well as consortia bids. Bidders will be able to apply for the new funding, the fifth tranche in a £13 million scheme, from Friday 4 September... " See here for more details.

This is an exciting opportunity for work based learning providers to get assistance with e-learning projects. A large number of providers have already benefited from the grants. Full details and a prospects will be available next week but it's worth thinking about this ahead of time as the deadlines are likely to be tight!

If you would like more information about this funding or help with preparing a bid please get in touch. I'll post more details as they become available.


Related links:

Previous Round of Learner Innovation Grants
New Report - ALP Evaluation of LIG Phase 4 - 2009
List of LIG Phase 4 Funding Allocations

To read more of Wobble click here.

Regional E-Learning Forum – Your Suggestions Welcome

In October, the West Midlands RSC will host another free e-learning forum for staff working in the Work Based Learning and Adult and Community Learning Sectors.

The last forum, held in June, had a pretty packed agenda which included a hands on demonstration of e-learning technology, updates on available funding for e-learning, an overview of regional projects and initiatives and much more. If you missed it, you can still get an overview here or access the resources from the session on our wiki.

For the next forum we have deliberately left an open slot in the agenda which we hope to fill with a topic that addresses what you would like covered on the day. To assist this, we have set up a very simple survey for you to anonymously make your suggestions. We will then use the feedback from that to determine the contents of that agenda item.

We hope you will take a minute to complete the very short survey here. You can also see your choices as well as everyones else's reflected in the dynamic summary on this page.

It’s also worth noting, this survey was set up very easily using Google docs, which could also be used by you to set up your own free, customised online surveys. (This previous wobble post has more details of how to set up your own).

We look forward to receiving your feedback and to seeing you in October!

To read more of Wobble click here.

E-Assessment Online Toolkit

In a previous wobble post I mentioned the publication, “E-assessment: guide to effective practice” which covered the management and delivery of e-portfolios and e-testing. A new online toolkit has now been developed which builds on this guide and provides the same level of practical information in a nicely presented online format.

This new website is very informative and offers lots of useful tools and resources including templates and case studies. It should make a useful resource for those already using some form of e-assessment as well as anyone thinking of adopting e-assessment in the future.

(Thanks for the information Brian; a good site to note).

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

New Learning Technology Loan Inititative

As a learning provider, would your organisation appreciate having a range of tools for e-learning, freely available to use on a fixed period to evaluate their use? Well, as part of a recent RSC West Midlands initiative you now may be able to.

RSC West Midlands has recently bought a number of e-learning tools which are now available to loan to training providers in the region. Arranged as collections of kit, each set contains a wealth of items which aim to help you to bring the benefits of e-learning to all your learners. Contents include an Asus netbook; a hand held video camera, a portable e-book reader, voice recorder, MP3 player, digital camera, and more. You can see the full list here.

An objective of the project is that you consider the implications of accessibility and inclusion while you try out these technologies in the classroom. Another is that you see what using any of these devices in the classroom can contribute to your wider adoption of e-learning. Kind of like a try before you buy (but without the buy!) All pieces of kit come will come with associated documentation which typically shows you their potential for teaching and learning, pros and cons of their use plus more.

Participating in this initiative will allow you to loan a complete set of kit for a period of six weeks. In return you would be required to commit to an hours initial training introducing you to the tools and outlining the project aims, and to completing a short end of project review in which we would discuss your use of the technology.

There are no costs associated with taking part in this initiative however you must be from a West Midlands RSC Supported work based learning provider. To apply to take part and borrow this equipment, you need to register your interest with me and I’ll add your name to the list. (email:

We will be treating this in a first come first served basis so act quickly if you want to get your organisation registered to take part anytime soon!

* The image above does not represent the contents of each bag of kit. (My colleague Jane is not included either!)


Related Wobble links:

Exploring Accessibility
Information Sheets on Technology for E-Learning
Accessibility Overview

To read more of Wobble click here.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Waterproofs and more Digital Video Camcorders

I’ve mentioned pocket sized video camcorders on here before and several of our regional providers now own or two of the models that are out there. At a recent training event a learning provider told me about a different one that they were using in their land based provision.

This model was waterproof so could be used with his learners outdoors. It also:

* Allows you to take a photograph of the subject WHILE you are still filming (useful if you still want to print hard copies of evidence)
* Has two operating modes, simple (for the user like me who wants to just press record and go!) and Normal which offers you the option to change all its settings.
* It was fairly resilient, so suitable for working in manual environments.
* It could plug straight into an TV, no need for groups of learners to copy images to a PC before viewing them
* And it had a rechargeable battery. (Need I say more?)

The camera was a Sanyo Xacti as per the picture above.

You can learn more about this model in the ShinyTech review below (so glad they did this – makes my life easier!). If you can’t access you tube you can get the review on this site.

We’ve since bought one of these for our own increasingly expanding bag of mobile kit so would be happy to chat with you about how this and other camcorders can be used for work based learning.

With funding opportunities arising all the time, it’s certainly worth knowing what tools are out there that could possibly enhance your provision.


Related Wobble links:

Pocket-sized Video Camcorders
Information Sheets on Technology for E-Learning
More Funding for your E-Learning Projects

To read more of Wobble click here.

Software for Digital Notepads

If you have a Digital notepad, but don’t have Windows (because you’re using Open Source software such as Linux) you can also use your digital notepad with free software available online. I learned this recently from a learning provider who kindly shared the link with me.

Having a notepad herself she was forced to investigate free software options to use with it after her Windows laptop died.

She notes, this software has “...basic functionality with a free demo version, or if you upgrade you can then work with the pretty colours and edit it etc…The demo version just created JPG, (the full version does editing & pdfs) however I just open the jpg in an image viewer/word processor and then save as a pdf to save pennies!

The jpeg image below shows an example of how one of these pages looks. (Handwritten on her digital notepad.)

Thanks to Glen of TDM for the information (and lovely picture) - It’s handy to know the information, and good to share! With a larger number of providers now buying netbooks and considering free and open source versions of software it’s useful for us all to know these kind of work arounds.

Speaking of sharing, I’m also currently looking at Arioforms, software that you can use with your digital notepad to electronically capture forms data on the pad. Watch this space, I’ll let you know how I get on.


Related Wobble links:

Digital Notepads and Their Uses
Open Source Software – JISC keeps us informed

To read more of Wobble click here.