Wednesday, 18 August 2010

How good are you at E-Learning?

As an organisation it can be hard to know how well you are performing with e-learning. How do you compare to other training providers? What 'could' you be doing with e-learning?

This is the reason the RSC's developed the free 'ILT Healthcheck' many years ago, a free service which involved us visiting learning providers, speaking to samples of their staff and learners and producing a free report which helped them to identify their e-learning strengths and weaknesses. This service also helped providers with action planning which could be mapped to any support, funding and initiatives that were available for e-learning.

We now have a very large number of training providers in this region and so we are unable to offer the same level of in-depth review, however we are able to help providers to assess their e-learning progress through a number of other e-progress review options. There are several options available for this and to make the current offering clearer we have produced a two page summary sheet with outlines the wealth of free services available to regional providers. Click image to download in pdf format.

We are happy to work with you using these review tools and to offer you free impartial advice and guidance throughout the process. This will not only help you to determine your current e-learning position but will also outline next steps that will help you to reach your desired goal.

To arrange your own free e-progress review or to discuss your needs in more detail, please contact us.

Hopefully when we next ask, how good you are at e-learning, you'll be able to say "much better!"

Related Wobble links:

Safeguarding Learners – Tips for E-Safety
Leadership in Technology Grants

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Moodle Use in Work Based Learning

As the number of case studies in the Excellence Gateway continue to grow, it’s great to see examples of providers using Moodle on the increase too. In this region we have quite a large number of Moodle users and these case studies offer a really effective way for learning about what possible with this particular Virtual Learning Environment, as well as showing who’s doing what elsewhere.

Below, I’ve listed a handful of these Moodle examples with links to the case studies that have been shared through the Excellence Gateway (and Delicious) with you.

To make it easier for you to also keep up with who’s doing what with e-learning in Work Based Learning generally, I’ve now also included a link to the latest Work based Learning case studies in the margin of this blog. This will be updated automatically so you can keep up with developments directly.

ATG Training with its Future Zone VLE
Maurice Keeley, e-Learning Co-ordinator at AGT Training notes that “...Most if not all colleges and universities now have a VLE. Yet one could argue that the VLE has even more value within a work-based learning organisation. Twenty-four-hour remote online access to learning resources and course materials combined with the communications and collaboration tools built into systems like Moodle dovetail perfectly with the teaching and learning models we use with our apprentices...

Maurice set up ATG's Moodle-based Future Zone in August 207 which now has learning materials available ‘24/7', so that students can always catch up in their own time if they miss any lessons, as well as access videos for practical demonstrations.

Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network: Communal Moodle
Here a group of 20 work-based learning providers got together to develop a shared training resource for the Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network. Along with Mahara - a generic e-portfolio system, this provided a method for all training materials and communications being available online.

S & B Automotive Academy: Partnership VLE to support vocational training and learning
S & B Automotive Academy specialises in training apprentices for the motor industry. Thanks to funding from a Learning Innovation Grant (LIG), S & B Automotive Academy enabled the development of a network-wide virtual learning environment (VLE) – known as the Hive, to be implemented across eight learning providers.

League Football Education: Tackling the Football Apprenticeship Programme online through Moodle
Faced with the challenging task of organising education for football apprentices across 74 English Football League clubs, League Football Education (LFE) implemented Moodle as a key part of its strategy to meet the requirements for this geographically dispersed set of learners and educators.Their developments currently focus on administrative processes, including the creation of learner accounts at pre-programme enrolment, initial literacy and numeracy assessments, undertaking reviews and tracking progress.

14-19 Diploma learners in Torbay benefit from shared Moodle site
Students and staff from Torbay schools and colleges now have access to the Torbay Learning Partnership Moodle site as part of the 14-19 Diploma programme. The Torbay Learning Partnership is one of the first consortiums in the country to have been approved to run the Creative and Media Diploma and the virtual learning environment (VLE) provides students with easy access to learning material wherever they were studying.

Related Wobble links:

Examples of E-Learning in Work Based Learning
More E-Learning Case Studies
E-Learning Case Studies by Sector and Region

To read more of Wobble click here.

Free Web Based E-Portfolios for You

The Development Manager are now offering free, open source e-portfolio solutions that are available for both learners and staff to use online. Their new e-portfolio project, is built on the award-winning Mahara software, which provides learners with their own free e-portfolios, hosted on the web.

With, learners have the freedom to create their own e-portfolios away from the restrictions usually imposed by institutional e-portfolio systems. They also take ownership of that e-portfolio, much like they do now with email and many other web services. As part of this project, educational institutions can also have a dedicated branded e-portfolio area hosted on the web that their learners can also access when they leave their course of study. In this way the institution no longer maintains responsibility for the learners' work once the course has finished. (Please note - that particular service does have a nominal charge). now also makes use of a Mobile Upload application which allows people to make recordings, take photos and upload files from their smartphone straight into their e-portfolio. This makes maintaining their e-portfolio extremely easy to do on the go, as well as capturing useful evidence of the learner voice along the way.

The four minute video below offers a quick demo of some of the capabilities of the Mahara e-portfolio platform on which this project is based. Certainly worth a look at what this e-portfolio option offers, for free.

For more information on how you or learners can benefit, please contact the TDM team.

Related wobble links:

E-Portfolios for Starters
E-Assessment Online Toolkit
Use Of E-Portfolios In Assessment
Midlands E-Portfolio Group

To read more of Wobble click here.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Watching Social Media Grow

Interested to see how rapidly Social Media and technology is being adopted at the moment? Then the 'social media counter' developed by Gary Hayes (shown below), is worth a look.

This tool shows social media activity around the world as you watch. Its a great visualization tool which makes us aware of the impact of technology and shows how mobile devices and forms of social media tools are being adopted worldwide. As Gary Woodhall pointed out, "...the phenomenon is huge. Watch for a minute, and see how many people tweet or upload images to Facebook....

...As a learning tool, this kind of embedded dashboard could be used to teach about the impact of any dynamic activity that is rapidly changing – for example, pollution being discharged, or jobs being gained or lost."

via Gary Woodhall, Workplace Learning Today.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Free Online Tutorials for Using Video and Audio

JISC Digital Media in conjunction with the Virtual Training Suite (VTS) have launched two new online tutorials, Internet for Audio Resources and Internet for Video and Moving Images. These free web based tutorials have been designed to assist staff and learners to locate audio and video for use in both teaching and learning.

Internet for Video and Moving Image Resources can help you learn how to use the web to find free video resources quickly and efficiently, whereas Internet for audio does the same but helps you to locate good quality audio files. Both were created as part of the Virtual Training Suite, some of which I’ve mentioned on wobble previously.

Dave Kilbey, Training Coordinator at JISC Digital Media said “..the emphasis of the tutorials is on finding copyright cleared resources, which are available free of charge; facilitating users with quick, hassle-free access to a vast range of online audio and video resources.”

These two new tutorials follow the launch of the very successful Internet for Image Searching tutorial.

I have previously co-written one of these Virtual Training Suite tutorials myself and know firsthand how much work goes into ensuring they offer you a good range of links and resources. Naturally I’m slightly biased but I do think they are great free tools to have access to for teaching and learning. I look forward to seeing the range of available titles continue to grow. Watch this space for more.

Related Wobble links:

Intute - web resources for education

To read more of Wobble click here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Safeguarding Learners – Tips for E-Safety

JISC Legal has just published their top ten tips for e-safety on the web. The document tends to be fairly FE biased, so I’ve modified their tips slightly and included some additional links and information.

JISC Legal’s ten tips...

1. Appoint someone to have overall responsibility for e-safety, ideally a senior member of staff.

2. Establish an e-Safety group that represents all stakeholders and includes learners and teaching staff where possible.

3. Audit current e-safety measures and identify weaknesses and areas for development. The Generator tool, or any of a number of other e-progress review tools
(PDF format) may help you with this.

4. Write an e-safety policy that uses appropriate language.

5. Establish consistent risk assessment procedures for the use of technology in learning. (Our Learning Technologies Adviser may be able to help with aspects of this).

6. Provide an easily accessible document, detailing relevant behaviours and sanctions where appropriate.

7. Have a clear and well publicised incident response and reporting procedure in place. (Ties in with point 5 above).

8. Schedule a training programme to promote safe and responsible behaviours, raise awareness of the institution’s e-safety rules and explain how to report an incident or raise concerns. (We also run a number of regional events in support of e-safety so be sure to keep an eye out for those).

9. Provide opportunities for feedback, support and further guidance to staff.

10. Build in time to monitor the impact of your e-safety measures and respond accordingly.

Should you require any help or guidance with regards to safeguarding and specifically e-safety within your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact Jason, our Learning Technologist. He is also currently developing a number of resources to further support you in this area so watch this space for more...!


Related E-Safety links:

* Next Generation Learning Safeguarding learners – a useful website chock full of E-safety knowledge and skills for keeping children and young people safe online

* This e-safety Moodle course from the RSC East Midlands - aims to introduce tutors/managers to the issues involved in making information technology safe for learners.

* JISC Legal’s’ E-safety Theme - Legal Guidance for ICT Use in Education

* E-Safety pages and case studies on the Excellence Gateway: Safeguarding FE learners in a digital world

Thanks to Kirsty for the link.

(E-Safety logo courtesy of E2BN)

Portable Video Magnifier for Learners with Visual Impairments

Over the summer we have extended the range of accessibility kit we have in our accessibility box. This is so that we can continue to offer learning providers a practical demonstration of how accessibility tools can benefit learners.

Our latest acquisition is a hand-held video magnifier that uses OLED display technology - similar to that used on high-end mobile phones - to give really clear magnified displays of text and images. This device could prove extremely useful for learners with visual impairments.

Its key features:

· It can magnify images from 1.5 times up to 10.5 times.
· User can choose from several different colour modes, including full colour, black and white, and more.
· You can adjust the brightness of the screen, as well as the brightness of the LED lights.
· It’s lightweight.
· It has a reasonable battery life of 3.5 hours
· Provides user with auditory cues when buttons are pressed – which can be turned off if required
· When an image has been “frozen” you can change the size, colour and brightness of the image

Alison Wootton, our Accessibility and Inclusion Adviser, has this new video magnifier available for learning providers to try if required. For more information please get in touch with Alison (e-mail:

The posts below also summarises a number of useful publications and accessibility tips and tools, for anyone with an interest in this area.

Related Wobble links:

AccessApps - Free Portable Software on a Stick
Learning Technology Loan Initiative
Accessibility Overview

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Leadership in Technology Grants

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is currently inviting bids from learning providers for project grants of £6000 for technology based improvement interventions. The grant is designed to support providers who identify a particular improvement need that can be tackled through the innovative use of technology and organisational development. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th September 2010 at 12:00pm.

How the Scheme Works:

To qualify for this LSIS grant, organisations are required to:

· Identify a particular area for improvement that can be tackled through the effective deployment of technology.
· Identify the change management that needs to take place and show how this will be part of the organisational improvement strategy.
· Select a mentor who can support you in the implementation of the project and contribute a range of expertise and skills that you / your organisation would benefit from.

You will need to have undertaken a diagnostic or some form of research to justify why the improvement is needed before submitting your application. This evaluation of your current position could be enhanced by using any of the e-progress review tools currently offered by your RSC.

For more information on this funding, please refer to the documentation below or contact the LSIS team on:

Guidance to Bidders
Application form

To read more of Wobble click here.