Profile 5 lsis award for efficiency through effective use of technology in fe and skills - south devon college
2012 – 2013 LSIS AWARD FOR EFFICIENCY THROUGH EFFECTIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN FE AND SKILLS
SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE
Learning Technologies and Resources/Tutorial Management Team
USING TECHNOLOGY TO SUSTAIN EXCELLENCE EFFICIENTLY
The Planning: Purpose and Process
The College is in an area that is within the top 10% of most deprived regions and has the second lowest economic
performance in England. In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to ensure that learners are
fully prepared for employment.
In the face of funding reductions at a learning level, the College’s Learning Technologies and Resources Services and
Tutorial Management Teams developed programmes to support the core curriculum to enable students to achieve
their full potential.
The principal aims of the project were to:
o Develop the skills of learners to manage and extend their own learning whilst gaining multiple qualifications
o To use teaching staff, support staff and IT resources more effectively and efficiently whilst still enabling learners
to access outstanding learning opportunities despite funding cuts
The main objectives of the project were to:
o Encourage independent learning and to develop learner skills to support learning outside formal lessons
o Ensure learners succeed and meet deadlines for completing coursework and achieve their qualifications with
o Enable learners to develop further skills to support employability or educational progression
o Provide access to a range of learning resources and support
o Ensure efficient utilisation of IT facilities within the College
Planning into Practice
The project essentially has two aspects which operate in close conjunction to the ultimate benefit of students. The first
of these is the College-wide implementation of a centrally administered tutorial system (known by the acronym
LEAP: Learner Engagement and Progression). Through this protocol all staff can access information about every
learner and maintain regular updates of progression and other important performance indicators. The first entry is
made from the moment the student approaches the College prior to enrolment, and is maintained comprehensively
throughout their time as a student. The programme leads to an accredited qualification from Edexcel.
The second aspect of the project is the introduction of timetabled periods each week for all level 3 students, which are
spent under the supervision of Independent Learning Officers (ILOs). These members of staff are not subject
specialists but are on hand to assist with research skills etc. This programme means that subject staff can now be freed
up to return to their specialism.
The tutorial programme focuses on progressability and employment skills in preparation for meeting the challenges
of the current economic climate. The fully integrated technology has made this project possible. The course is
accredited to a Personal and Social Development Qualification at Entry Level 2, Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2.
The course content is centrally planned by a Tutorial Management Team and is provided to all personal tutors in a
‘ready to use’ format. This includes a full programme of study mapped to the academic calendar, teacher resources,
learner resources and assessment. This is made available for each tutorial level via a dedicated ‘Moodle’ course.
The bespoke LEAP system provides centralised access to student information, targets, attendance, and any support in
place to enable the personal tutor to concentrate on supporting the individual with the latest information available.
Learners also use this system to set and get live information on their targets, their timetable, attendance to date and
quick links to their Moodle courses.
‘Learning Zones’ were implemented to increase access to IT for students and enable flexible access to IT for teachers.
For many course programmes IT is not needed for all lessons but still plays a major part in the blended learning
approach. A bespoke online booking system was developed to enable staff and students to book access to IT when
they needed it.
Independent Learning Officers (ILOs) provide support and motivation to students. The first weeks of independent
learning make use of a specially developed online course aimed at developing learning skills and provide support
resources that can be used throughout the year on the course. The sessions are planned with the course teachers to
ensure that they are aligned with the taught programme. Each session is timetabled into a Learning Zone to enable
access to IT and lesson activities are delivered via Moodle.
Through independent learning and the tutorial programme, learners will develop study and employability skills to
support career or educational progress. The two sessions complement each other to ensure learners are on target with
their qualification aims, developing learning skills and achieving progressability skills, and achieving more and
working towards higher grades at an accelerated pace with support.
Both of these delivery models are part of the core learner programme so they are managed as part of the course
management processes. These processes include curriculum planning and budget setting, in-year reviews, lesson
observations, learner feedback and regular target setting meetings with course teams to ensure learners are on target
and receiving the best educational experience possible.
The Tutorial Management Team develops the centralised tutorial programme and supports the staff delivering it.
There are four Tutorial Managers on the College management team. This team meets weekly to review the
programme and support for learners. A personal tutor meeting is held once a month for all teaching staff involved in
the tutorial programme.
Due to funding changes, the curriculum has been further reviewed and a new study skills programme is being
implemented for 2013-14. This is a development from the independent learning programme which will be further
integrated into more programmes.
The tutorial programme has been further enhanced with an employability award. This is a College award, created
with employers, to recognise employability skills. Over 200 students have been involved in this pilot project this year
receiving a number of awards and certificates. A range of online courses is being developed to enable learners to
evidence employability skills to achieve certificates of completion. These are being developed with employers.
Outcomes/Benefits to Date
The programmes have continued to develop with over 750 students undertaking supported study sessions. In
addition, over 2,500 students have completed the induction and tutorial qualification. 16-18 success rates have
increased each year since independent learning has been implemented and are in the top 10% of general FE and
Tertiary Colleges at level 1, 2 and 3 for long duration qualifications.
Enrolments in 2012-13 were 40% higher than 2011-12. Retention continues to improve on 2011-12 with indicative
figures for 2012-13 showing 97%.
Tutors continue to be supported throughout the centralised content and resources meaning that they could
concentrate on the support for students and achievement. Access to IT has also increased for staff wanting to use
LEAP and Moodle during sessions as well as outside of delivered lessons.
Through the use of the Learning Zone bookings system, access to IT continues to increase. The learning zone
utilisation is, on average, 14% higher than IT rooms. In addition, computers in the LRC are utilised, on average, 24%
more than those in IT rooms. By freeing up the teaching staff for an extra hour a week that would otherwise have
been spent on preparation, savings of £126,360 have been made.
The initiatives have increased the use of online learning and the use of video has become an engaging learning
resource. The award money has been used as part of a purchasing programme for a media storage, recording and
streaming solution. This software will allow the College to record TV as well as lectures and integrate them within
Moodle. In addition, student work and evidence will also be able to be stored and shared.
Relevance and Replication
In May 2013, the College held a good practice event as part of the local Beacon award presentation event. This
generated interest in the study skills programme and LEAP with significant interest from other Colleges looking to
implement the programme within their own organisations.
The effective use of technology is plainly evident in this programme. It would not be possible to achieve what the
College has achieved without making best use of technology. The whole College community benefits from this work.
The FE and skills sector will benefit from the dissemination of this innovative curriculum delivery model.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: 01803 540576