Dewi case study swansea met

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Dewi case study swansea met

  1. 1. Delivering WBL Improvements- DEWI Case study: Swansea MetropolitanContact Name: Professor Tony TooleEmail: anthony.toole@smu.ac.uk/tony.toole@e-college.acPhone: 07964894790Institution: Swansea Metropolitan, University of Wales Trinity Saint DavidAddress: Mount Pleasant Campus, Swansea, SA1 6EDIdentified need/issue/opportunity:The name of the Jisc Dewi Project initiative at Swansea Metropolitan was:The Development of Online Distance Learning courses in Logistics and Transport using theJISC WBL Maturity Toolkit.Swansea Metropolitan delivers logistics and transport courses, validated by the CharteredInstitute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) in the UK, to the British armed forces stationedabroad, particularly in Germany. A major issue for the delivery of the CILT courses is theneed for periodic work based training delivery in the bases across Europe. To date this hasinvolved tutors travelling to provide face-to-face on site support; clearly an expensiveoption.The university is now considering the design of an online distance learning version of thecourses that would be able to provide that tutor support remotely. It was hence proposedthat the WBL Maturity Toolkit be used to assist in the planning of that online distancelearning version of the programme. This would include preparation for validation, qualityassurance, delivery and work-based assessment.Swansea Metropolitan University currently has only limited experience of online distancelearning delivery, but sees it as an important part of its future delivery mix, particularly forwork-based learning. The Dewi project was seen as an opportunity to use the JISC WBLMaturity Toolkit to assist in that process, and also to judge the value of the toolkit for similardevelopments in the future.Aims/objectives:The broad aim of the project at Swansea Metropolitan was to use the JISC WBL MaturityToolkit in the design of an online distance learning version of the CILT Logistics andTransport courses for delivery to British armed forces overseas.The objectives were to: Plan and develop the online distance learning delivery of Logistics and Transport courses in collaboration with CILT(UK) and with geographically dispersed clients, particularly the armed forces; Use the WBL Maturity Toolkit to ensure institutional and faculty preparedness for new and innovative methods of delivery to work based learners; Assist in the formal quality assurance and validation of online distance learning as a new delivery mode for the courses; Evaluate the WBL Maturity Toolkit as a design tool and to use the project to assist in developing and improving the toolkit effectiveness for the user community.Description/approach - including area(s) of the toolkit used: 1
  2. 2. The Swansea Metropolitan project focussed on four specific areas of the WBL MaturityToolkit:1. Institutional Readiness. The criteria considered being: 1-1 WBL strategy and plans, 1-8WBL procedures and processes for programme validation, 1-9 QA for WBL and 1-12Business, commercial and financial approaches2. Faculty Readiness. The criteria considered being: 2-1 WBL strategy and implementationplan and 2-4 Training and support for external staff and employers3. Programme Design for WBL. The criteria considered being: 3-3 Development and planningfor validation, 3-4 Alignment with professional standards, 3-8 IT Support and 3-11 Learningmaterials and resources6. Quality Enhancement of the Learner Experience. The criteria considered being: 6-3Programme Design, Review and Quality Enhancement and 6-4 Programme Delivery andSupportIn each area of focus and for each criterion the main statement, self assessment guidelines,evidence to look for and (where included) further information and examples were examined.In each case a summary was made of the area of focus in the context of the proposedSwansea Metropolitan WBL development. The summary was then followed by anassessment of the WBL Toolkit added value for the design process and concluded withproposed potential enhancements for the toolkit identified by completing the evaluationexercise.Anticipated outcomes:It was anticipated that the structured approach of applying the WBL Maturity considerationsto an assessment of faculty and institutional preparedness and procedures wouldsignificantly assist the university in its planned development of online distance learningsupported WBL delivery.It was also expected that the particular context of the application would potentially enhancethe practicalities of the WBL Maturity Toolkit itself in the way it deals with and advises ondifferent types of WBL initiatives.Evidence of actual outcomes:All of the outcomes of the work carried out by Swansea Metropolitan as part of the Dewiproject are available on the project website at: http://swanseametwbl.pbworks.com.The outcomes for the different WBL Maturity Toolkit focus areas are reported on separatepages on the website:1. Institutional Readiness2. Faculty/School/Department Readiness3. Programme Design for WBL6. Quality of the Learner ExperienceThe following excerpt from the evaluation of Institutional Readiness gives a flavour of theevaluative approach and an example of the outcomes:1-1 WBL strategy and plansThe term work based learning does not appear anywhere in the Swansea Metropolitanstrategic plan. That does not mean, however, that it does not support WBL or that WBL isnot an important part of its portfolio. There are close relationships between all vocational 2
  3. 3. programme areas and the industry sectors they support. Involvement of employers andprofessional bodies in programme planning and design is common and work placement andsandwich components are part of a number of industry specific courses. As detailed in 1-12below, a significant part of the work based learning provision is commercially based ratherthan part of normal degree delivery.WBL Toolkit added value: The toolkit provides a useful checklist against which WBL strategyand plans can be mapped and guided. This may be very useful in the development of a newstrategic plan for the merged institution. An explicit articulation of WBL policy is likely toguide developments in a more direct way. The reason it is not there already may be becausethe integration of academic learning with the development of workplace skills andexperience has always been part of the Swansea Met institutional vocational culture.WBL Toolkit proposed enhancements: The WBL Toolkit gives the impression that WBL isviewed as something separate to other learning formats. In practice, of course, WBL isintegrated with the other learning formats that combine in the overall programme. It mightbe questioned whether a specific WBL strategic plan is desirable rather than just promotingWBL in the institutional strategy as an key component of applied, work focussed training.1-8 WBL processes and procedures for programme validationIt would be reasonable to say that the existing procedures and processes for programmeapproval and validation at Swansea Met already accommodate the particular needs ofcourses with a WBL component. The involvement of employers and the professions iscertainly encouraged by what has always been a vocationally orientated institution.WBL Toolkit added value: The WBL Toolkit would provide a useful focus for future validationplanning. Although the culture of the institution accommodates WBL as an importantcomponent of courses that benefit from it, the articulation of that approach is likely toensure that the opportunities for, and benefits of, WBL are not missed in new course designand approval.WBL Toolkit proposed enhancements: The guidelines here seem to promote fast tracking,shell frameworks and other features as being essential, rather than just options ifappropriate. It may be helpful if they were presented as such and that the further info andexamples addition to this particular criterion (not a feature of most other criteria) includedas part of an appendix of useful resources.1-9 QA for WBLThe QA processes for WBL clearly need to include an assessment of the quality of thelearning process in the workplace, and the way it integrates with the underpinningknowledge delivered by the institution. In the case of the CILT Logistics programme, itinvolves no on-campus attendance at all. Hence the QA assessment must consider both theWBL and the distance learning provision as an integrated delivery process.WBL Toolkit added value: All of the guideline statements are valid and helpful for theplanning process (but see the comment below).WBL Toolkit proposed enhancements: As noted in other comments, the QA processes andprocesses supporting WBL planning, development and implementation are covered morethan once in the WBL Toolkit. The distinction between the contexts of each QA criterionneeds to be made clear (or a separate area of the toolkit be created dealing with all aspectsof QA). Also, the main statement for the criterion is expressed as a question rather than as astatement and this may need to be revised.1-12 Business, commercial and financial approaches 3
  4. 4. The CILT Programme at Swansea Metropolitan is managed as a commercially fundedprogramme through the Commercial Services Department at the University. Staff from theFaculty of Applied Design and Engineering are contracted to deliver the courses. A fullbusiness case and costing is attached to the programme.WBL Toolkit added value: There are no self assessment guidelines or evidence suggestionsgiven in the current version of the WBL Toolkit. An assessment of added value for thiscriterion is therefore not possible at present. Some possible toolkit guidelines and evidenceare presented below.WBL Toolkit proposed enhancements: Self assessment guidelines could include: A viable business model is in place for the WBL programme based on full economic costing The resourcing model includes workplace provision and mentoring Approval and validation includes employer commitment to WBL support requirements Provision for APEL based on evidence of workplace competence mapped to learning objectivesEvidence to look for could include: Employer contractual agreement to fund the delivery Documented evidence of WBL target delivery Audit/accounts confirmation of meeting financial targets/viabilityBarriers to success:As far as the Swansea Metropolitan contribution to the Dewi project is concerned, therewere no particular barriers encountered that prevented a very useful assessment of the WBLMaturity Toolkit. It will be seen in the next section of this case study, however, that thereare some significant areas for improvement in the toolkit itself and it is hoped that theoutcomes of the project will assist in the development of the resource.Comments on the Work-Based Learning Maturity Toolkit/how the Tool could be improved:Overall, the WBL Maturity Toolkit was found to be a useful and valuable resource forinstitutions developing their work based learning capacity and experience. At the end of theday it is basically a lengthy checklist, based on established practice, against whichinstitutions can judge their preparedness.As indicated in the excerpt of the evaluation above, however, the project carried out bySwansea Metropolitan identified the fact that there were two aspects of the toolkit thatneeded significant attention before the toolkit itself could be regarded as a ‘mature’resource. The first was completeness and the other was consistency.It is clear that there are a number of areas of the toolkit where the ‘self assessmentguidelines’ and ‘evidence to look for’ sections are either incomplete or totally empty. This isimportant for institutions looking for guidance in specific areas of WBL design and delivery. Related to the same issue is consistency. There are some focus areas where the guidelinesand evidence advice contains more than a dozen recommendations for action. In othersthere are just one or two. It is not clear from the toolkit guidelines whether this is indicativeof greater importance and complexity in some areas compared with others or whether somefocus areas have received greater attention in the toolkit development and are hence morecomplete and detailed. 4
  5. 5. Either way, for the WBL Maturity Toolkit to be accepted and used as an authoritative sourceof information, advice and practical guidance, the completeness and consistency issues needto be addressed.Reflection/impact, including lessons learnt: The toolkit is most useful as a checklist against which work based learning courses can be mapped and their completeness judged. To some extent it can be seen to be a two way process as new programmes bringLessons learnt - the process of different contexts, priorities and methods to WBLusing the toolkit design and can inform and refine the toolkit itself. The toolkit will be most useful if seen as a design tool owned, managed and continuously improved by the whole WBL community of practice. The CILT Logistics and Transport programme being used as a case study in the use of the JISC WBL Toolkit has two very specific characteristics that have provided valuable information about WBL design. The first is that the programme is designed and validated by the industry lead body rather than the institution thatLessons learnt - relating to the delivers it. The second is that the online distanceSwansea Met project and WBL learning delivery method is completely new to the programme and the institution. This points to the need for the WBL Maturity Toolkit to be a dynamic resource that actively supports and promotes innovation in WBL, particularly through the exploitation of emerging technologies. Given the innovative nature of the delivery method, the toolkit has the potential to be central to the checks and balances process that must accompany the course development and approval process. There is likely to beImpact of the project uncertainty and some scepticism about online distance learning and the inclusion of a systematic evaluation process will bring reassurance that all quality issues are being addressed.How will the project be taken further e.g. become sustained and embedded?As with any resource relating to innovation and development, the WBL Maturity Toolkit willquickly become irrelevant and will atrophy if it does not: Maintain a dynamic presence that is clearly being maintained and continuously improved by an active user community; Represent a key authoritative resource, the value of which is repeatedly endorsed by leaders in work based learning, particularly employers and the professions; Provides more than just a checklist of good practice. It should allow users to drill down to any level of detail and evidence about that good practice, and provide access to live advice and guidance in the community of practice.For sustainability and embedding the WBL Maturity Toolkit needs a business model madeviable and maintained by the community of practice because of its clear added value. 5

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