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Archive for the ‘e-learning’ Category

What Can You Gain by Teaching Online?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

When I tell people I teach online discussion often turns, rather quickly, to all that a teacher will lose when teaching in the online environment. I will be the first to admit that there are certain things we often take for granted in a physical classroom that can be more of a challenge in the online environment. However it’s time we focused more on what can be gained by teaching online rather than what could be lost.

via What Can You Gain by Teaching Online?.

Teacher Productivity – what if we harnessed Mechanical Turk?

Friday, September 17th, 2010

One of the most important areas of teacher development must surely be working out how to save time, create more time, drop some of the less meaningful activity in our days to create more, higher energy time to engage with students or improve our own professional learning? 9 times out of 10 the main barrier to teachers doing what they really want to do is ‘time’. I think that we could transform teacher time and energy by crowdsourcing some of our most mundane duties.

Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education

via Teacher Productivity – what if we harnessed Mechanical Turk?.

MBO for Deansgrange e-Learning Co?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ThirdForce, the E-Learning technology provider who has offices in Deansgrange, Dublin has confirmed that it has received an approach from its management team.

ThirdForce, the e-learning technology providers receives an offer from management team

The company, valued at 8cent per share, pointed out that it has not formally received an offer, but has appointed members of its management team and board, Carol Clark,  Alan Maguire, Eimear McGovern, Mike Newton and Edwin Robinson to manage the approach. They have also said they have retained Goodbody as advisors.

The company is listed on London AIM and Dublin IEX markets, and last year made losses of amlmost €3/4m. In recent years, and in recent years has acquired and/or merged with Electric Paper, AV Edge, Creative Learning Media and MindLeaders.

Source: irishdev.com

Strategy for tech-enhanced learning launched by Higher Education Funding Council for England

Friday, March 27th, 2009

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has published ‘Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology – a revised approach to HEFCE’s strategy for e-learning’.

This revised approach follows an independent review of the strategy and is designed to provide further support to higher education institutions as they develop their own e-learning strategies.

The new approach is intended to support institutions in considering where they may wish to prioritise their technology-related investment over the next few years, and to develop appropriate institutional learning and teaching strategies. Support and guidance is available from the Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Findings from the review, which was carried out with the support of the Higher Education Academy and JISC, suggested the strategy has been useful in motivating institutional activity, but that some of the information has become outdated, given the current level of maturity in e-learning in the sector.

In order to assist institutions in achieving their strategic aims for enhancing learning and teaching through technology, the document suggests a framework focusing on: pedagogy, curriculum design and development; learning resources and environments; quality; and research and evaluation.

John Selby, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation), said:
‘Our emphasis is on recognising that technology has a fundamental part to play in higher education, and that it should now reflect commitment from senior management in institutions within an institutional context. Our revised approach to e-learning will contribute to the Government’s aim to position the UK at the front of technology-enhanced learning internationally, and continue to build a knowledge-based economy.’

David Sadler, Director of Networks at the Higher Education Academy, said:
‘The Higher Education Academy is pleased to have been involved in this review and the revised policy statement, and its emphasis on enhancement is one that highlights how technology can be used by practitioners to support students in their learning. It focuses on the benefits and the outcomes from using technology to support learning, teaching and assessment, which will be different in each institution, and could make a real difference to the learning experience of students across all higher education institutions.’

Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary at JISC said:
‘JISC welcomed the opportunity to work with its partners to contribute to this review, and suggest how technology can enhance teaching and learning to assist in the delivery of higher education institutions’ strategic missions.

‘Part of this strategy is already beginning to take shape through the current investment being made in the open educational resources pilot. This work aims to open access to high-quality education resources on an international scale. It shows a new approach to virtual education, and will help to maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in online learning.’

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for teaching, research and related activities. In 2008-09 HEFCE will distribute over £9 billion to universities and colleges in England. The Higher Education Academy works with universities and colleges, discipline groups, individual staff and organisations to help them deliver the best possible learning experience for students.

JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology to support learning, teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Villiers High School hits e-learning goals with open source Moodle solution

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Meeting the Government’s latest eLearning targets, students and teachers at Villiers High School, Middlesex now have access to an engaging, interactive online learning environment that provides anytime, anywhere learning.

Choosing to tailor the free open source learning platform Moodle with the help of Moodle Partner Synergy Learning, the school is benefiting from technology tailored to the specific needs of its staff and students at the fraction of the cost of an off-the-shelf solution.

Government eLearning targets state that by 2010 all schools must have a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for pupils and use this technology to report in real-time to parents about key issues such as attendance and attainment. With a VLE, pupils can log on, search resources, receive and complete homework and talk to teachers and peers via internal email. Villiers High School is leading the way for the region by introducing a free of charge, open source online learning environment for schools. Open source software enables schools to use, change and improve the software with no restrictions.

The biggest advantages of open source software such as Moodle are its flexibility and cost savings. The software can be adapted to suit each school, from adding school colours and logo to selecting which functions they want for pupils. To gain maximum potential from their new tool, Villiers High School has enlisted the help of Synergy Learning, a Moodle Partner specialising in adapting the tool, technical support and training staff. The company provides 24/7 advice and support 365 days a year for less than the cost of an annual licence for similar off-the-shelf software. This support is particularly useful for schools that do not have a dedicated ICT coordinator and those that would like to free up teachers’ time that may otherwise be spent on overseeing the school’s technology.

Juliet Strang, Headteacher at Villiers High School commented: “Using Moodle and the support from Synergy Learning has been incredibly cost-effective, enabled us to meet government targets and create the highest quality educational tool for our pupils. We wanted technology that was unique to us, not a generic online environment that offered various functions we wouldn’t use and a style that wouldn’t appeal to our pupils. We now have a tool that meets our needs and the ongoing support we receive is invaluable.”

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Learn Skills can also offer this support and advise for schools wishing to explore this option in line with these targets but also have a hosted LMS options targeting the needs of schools that would not be as familiar with the Moodle LMS.

New Skills for New Jobs: Anticipating and matching labour market and skills needs in Europe

Friday, January 16th, 2009

What is ‘New Skills for New Jobs’?

As requested by the European Council, the Communication on New Skills for New Jobs presents a first assessment of the EU’s future skills and jobs requirements up to 2020. The unexpected nature of the current crisis clearly shows the limits of any economic forecasting exercise but forecasts can serve to indicate general trends.

The two objectives of this initiative are to help ensure a better match between skills and labour market needs and to improve the Member States’ capacity to assess and anticipate the skills needs of its citizens and companies.

What does it mean in practice?

The New Skills for New Jobs strategy is composed of four strands.

  • It will improve the monitoring of short-term trends on the European labour market and develop several tools and services to promote job guidance and mobility and to address skills mismatches.
  • It will also help to develop better information on skills needs in the EU in the medium and long-term, with regularly updated projections of future labour market trends and analysis of skills needs by sector, taking into account business needs and the employment impact of the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
  • It will improve our understanding of global challenges related to skills and jobs through cooperation with third countries (notably US, China, Canada, India) and international organisations (OECD and ILO).
  • It will help Member States, regions and others involved in skill upgrading and matching by mobilising existing Community policies (such as the strategic framework for cooperation in education and training) and European funds in line with these objectives.

Why is action needed at EU level?

Member States are mainly responsible for education and employment policies. However a Europe-wide perspective can provide a more complete assessment of the situation, and results which can be compared to better understand common trends. The EU can also raise awareness of the importance of skills and matching as long-term strategic objectives. Finally, well-established EU funds such as the European Social Fund are important instruments to support the objectives of the initiative at national and in particular regional level.

Why should skills upgrading and matching be a priority? Why launch this in an economic downturn?

Across Europe, technological change, globalisation, ageing populations, urbanisation and the evolution of social structures are accelerating changes in labour markets and in skills requirements. Upgrading skills is critically important for Europe’s future growth and productivity, its capacity to adapt to change, and for equity and social cohesion – the low skilled are more vulnerable in the labour market and can be hit first by the crisis. It is the also best way to exploit new opportunities for sustainable job creation, such as the shift to a low-carbon economy and the development of new technologies. But upgrading education and skills levels alone is not enough, as skills gaps and mismatches are a common concern in Member States: ensuring a better match between the supply of skills and labour market demand is as important.

As underlined in the European Economic Recovery Plan, improving the monitoring and matching of skills is necessary both in the short and the long-term:

  • To address the employment impact of the crisis, facilitate matching with existing vacancies and help people return to the labour market;
  • To make sure that European labour markets anticipate future needs, to improve the long-term job prospects of the EU workforce and to exploit opportunities for growth and jobs.

How many jobs will be created in the future and in which sectors?

19.6 million additional jobs are expected to be created between 2006 and 2020 in the EU-25 (according to projections from CEDEFOP), while 80 million jobs would become available as workers retire or leave the labour market.

The gradual shift in Europe away from the primary sector and traditional manufacturing industries towards services and the knowledge-intensive economy is likely to continue. According to recent studies, by the year 2020, almost three quarters of jobs in the EU-25 are likely to be in services.

A focus on net job creation by occupation shows that there will be many jobs created in high-skilled occupations, but also significant job creation in low-skilled jobs in the service sector. In the service sector, strong positive trends are expected in business services (such as IT, insurance or consultancy); health care and social work, distribution, personal services, hotels and catering, and to a lesser extent education.
Past and future trends in employment levels in the service sector, in millions[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

In addition, efforts to tackle climate change and environmental degradation are expected to create a new ‘green economy’, with millions of new jobs across the world. The market for environmental products and services is projected to double by 2020. The shift to a low-carbon economy could benefit Europe, which already has a leading position in some of the technologies required for renewable energy. Environmental concerns also mean people will need to develop new competences in more traditional sectors (agriculture, transport, construction).

What sort of qualifications and skills will be needed?

In general, higher education levels will be required from the working population, as more and more jobs will require high and medium education levels.

First, there will be a need for higher and broader sets of skills across different levels of occupation. Across sectors, generic skills such as problem-solving and analytical skills, self-management and communication skills, ability to work in a team, linguistic skills and digital competences are more and more valued on the labour market. Second, a general rise in educational attainment levels implies that employers will adapt recruitment criteria and that a growing share of low-skilled jobs will be filled by workers with a medium level of qualification.

Why does the initiative focus so much on “skills”?

Skills refer to the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. They can be accumulated throughout working life, not only through formal education and training but also through informal training and work-related experience. Unlike traditional qualifications, the concept of skills focuses on learning outcomes (rather than years of studies, for example).

Evaluating employers’ needs in terms of overall levels of educational attainment of the workforce is not sufficient, as we can see from the problem of highly educated workers employed in low-skilled jobs coupled with wider shortages of skilled workers in the labour market. Every job requires a mix of knowledge, skills and abilities, including “generic” skills such as communication and problem-solving skills.

What about the role of social partners and business?

European social dialogue is a key instrument for mobilising social partners to invest in the right skills through education and lifelong learning. The Commission will invite social partners to develop joint initiatives to promote skills forecasting and upgrading, and to accompany short-term restructuring. The Commission will also consult with social partners at the sectoral level.

The Commission will discuss with stakeholders, notably the existing sectoral social dialogue committees, the possibility of establishing “sector councils on employment and skills” at EU level, which will enable representatives on both sides to organise collective discussions, where consensual positions can be reached.

It will also be vital for businesses to invest in human capital and improve their human resource management. Businesses are also best placed to assess their own skills needs, especially in a short-term perspective. Awareness and involvement of businesses in forecasting skills needs will be reinforced under the initiative, through a survey of employers and qualitative studies on the skills needs of businesses, notably SMEs. There will be a dialogue between business and universities to take into account employers’ expectations of university students and graduates.

What are the next steps of New Skills for New Jobs?

In 2009, the Commission will continue to work on common approaches, standards and methodologies and promote cooperation between Member States and other actors involved, in particular by setting up an expert group to support the initiative and activities with international organisations and third countries.

More detailed results will be also published next year. In particular, in 2009, CEDEFOP – the EU’s vocational education and training agency – will publish a complementary study providing projections of skill supply which help to identity skill mismatches and shortages. In May 2009, a comprehensive series of skills needs in 16 sectors will be presented at a series of conferences in Member States.

Change management

Monday, October 20th, 2008

All Change – Will Skill Balance

All Change – Casualties

What is the Importance of Change Management in Your Organisation?

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

By Steve Grant

Change management is one of the most important disciplines of Information Technology Infrastructure management. The Wikipedia defines change management as “The objective of Change Management in this context is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes to controlled IT infrastructure, in order to minimise the number and impact of any related incidents upon service.”

Change management was always an integral part of business management, but with emergence of Information technology it gathered seriousness. Information Technology Infrastructure management is one broad term which encompasses all the elements necessary to ensure smooth functioning of business processes which may be threatened due to technological problems or other incidents. It’s the “change is rule” attitude (as coined by some experts) that forced these businessmen to change their attitude towards change management. Good change management techniques always help the businessmen to adapt and adopt new ways of doing business. Change management is not merely implementation of new techniques to cope up with a change within the organisation; rather it is a discipline of Information technology infrastructure managementwhere changes are managed with a more systematic, reliable, rigorous and disciplined approach. Changes are brought into system when the integrity of business organisation is challenged due to some incidents or customer requests or technological updates.

Process of change management unfolds through following steps

1. Identifying the need for change in organisation.
2. Designing need specific changes to curb with the requirement of the organisation.
3. Making others understand why change is necessary for the proper functioning of the organisation.
4. Altering the organisational process like processes, technology and performance meters to incorporate the changes.
5. Managing the production and changes to ensure that customer and the stakeholder continues to be bonded with each other over the long run.

According to Wikipedia Change management involves management of process related to Hardware, communications equipment and software, system software, and all documentation and procedures associated with the running, support and maintenance of live systems.

Project management is another aspect of change management, which needs to incorporate its values for proper functioning. There are some touch points between project management and change management. Project management is all about handling change with elance. It is defined as the discipline of planning, organising and managing resources in order to ensure the successful completion of projects. Aim of any project management endeavour is to attain the successful results despite of constraints like space, time, changes, quality, time and budget. Every project is developed around some permutation and combination methodology. Changes are made to the existing methodology in order to avoid potential failures. Identifying, managing and controlling changes become important for the smooth functioning of the Project. According to some experts “project is change and change is project”. So it becomes difficult to differentiate or draw a line between the inter reliability of project management and change management.

So change management holds utmost importance in the world of business where things are assessed on the basis of their perfection and capability to address the needs of customers and clients.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Grant

To learn more about change management check out our Change Management Course and if you are interested in learning more about project management, check out our Effective Project Management Course.
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Learn New Skills

Monday, October 13th, 2008

It’s been a crazy few months between banks and stock markets and the big recession that is slowly gripping the world.  In an atmosphere like this it is up to everyone to improve their employability and career prospects by learning new skills and upskilling.  You don’t need to wait until your employer arranges this or even leave it so late that your social welfare officer arranges it.  Take the initiative and seek out the training that can make a difference for you.  If you want to keep up with the times, your old skills must be continually sharpened and new ones must be acquired.

Always keep in mind the following:

  • There is no such thing as “Finished Learning.” One who stops learning, stops growing.  Work hard towards sharpening your Foundation and Transferable skills.  It pays to spend some time sharpening your axe before attempting to fell a tree.
  • Keep an eye open for new skills and master them. At the same time, improve the ones you already have.
  • Do some research to find out what skills are and will always be most valued in your industry.  Two sites that may help you here are ‘A Career Guide to Industries’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Jobs’.

Issues that people typically have include the following:

What can I do? – You can do whatever you want to. Right from cooking to eating, you will find information pertaining to any interest that you may have.

Where to look? – Keep your eyes and ears open. There’ll always be something happening in your locality to match your interest.

Universities/Colleges: – Usually, universities and colleges have clubs, societies and student groups which bring together students with similar interests. You can be sure to fit into at least one of them and learn from those who have more experience than you and build networks.

Leisure Centers & Gyms: – These are places where you will find people who like physical activity like hiking, swimming and traveling.

Evening Classes: – Collect details of all evening courses conducted in your area. Learn a language you don’t know, or get trained to do creative things like sewing or origami.

Volunteering: – Though not as glamorous as a lot of other things, the feel-good factor is immensely high! Giving something back to society is an amazing way to boost your morale. And of course, it looks impressive on your CV too and can be used to reinforce your skills and validate new ones.

Distance and Online Learning: – If you prefer to spend more time at home and if that’s the only hindrance you are facing to learning new skills, this is perfect for you. Learn Skills is one of the places where you can start hunting for relevant information about courses and as for online courses, it is the best place to start looking for what you want with a very comprehensive range of courses that cover both skills and compliance based training.  If you have any specific needs you can contact Learn Skills.

Source: CvTips.com article “Learn New Skills”.

CIPD Learning & Development Report 2008 for UK

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people.  The 2008 Learning and Development survey provides data on current and emerging trends and issues in learning and development. This year CIPD focused on some important issues facing the profession: employee skills; current and future learning and development practices; perceptions of e-learning; and the role of coaching. They also provide benchmark information on trends in workplace learning and training spend.

Below I will outline the summary of key findings.

Employee Skills

  • Two in five (39%) respondents feel their learning and development activity has been influenced by the Leitch Review of Skills: Prosperity for all in the global economy: world class skills (2006). Around two in five have also considered or would consider implementing initiatives such as Train to Gain (44%) and signing the Employer Skills Pledge (47%).
  • More organisations feel it is the Government’s responsibility (87%) to raise educational standards among young people before they enter the workforce rather than employers’ responsibility to raise literacy/numeracy standards within the workforce (57%). Sixty-two per cent feel the Government should prioritise funding on basic/lower-level skills.
  • Compared with two years ago, organisations are now requiring a broader range of skills (61%) and a higher level of skills (40%). The key skills that employers class as very important include interpersonal (79%) and communication skills (68%). However, 66% of organisations feel that new employees currently lack both communication/ interpersonal skills and management/leadership skills. Yet, these are also the same skills that organisations feel will be required to meet business objectives in the future.
  • One-third of employers have a graduate training scheme. The main areas included in these schemes include coaching and/or mentoring (85%) and project assignments (81%).

Learning and development – the future

  • The majority of organisations have experienced change over the last few years in delivering learning and development, with the most significant change concerning management development in the form of new programmes to develop the role of line managers (72%).
  • Indeed, the crucial role of line managers highlighted in previous surveys is reinforced this year, with the majority being involved in determining learning and development needs (86%) and half predicting line managers will have greater responsibility for learning and development over the next five years (49%).
  • On the whole, learning and development managers have accurately forecast changes in learning and development practices; e-learning, coaching/ mentoring and in-house development programmes were all previously highlighted as growth areas. In-house development programmes (61%) and coaching by line managers (53%) are both now used more than previously.
  • However, the expected use of e-learning has possibly been overanticipated, with less than half (47%) using more e-learning and a quarter (26%) saying they don’t use or no longer use e-learning. This is possibly because few feel it is the most effective learning and development practice (7%).

E-Learning

  • Nonetheless, over half (57%) of organisations use e-learning, while nearly half tend to agree that e-learning is the most important development in training in the past few decades. The vast majority (82%) of public sector organisations use e-learning compared with just 42% of private sector companies.
  • There is some indication that e-learning will be increasingly used as a training tool, with 29% saying that in the next three years between 25% and 50% of all training will be delivered via e-learning.
  • More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents feel e-learning is not a substitute for classroom-based learning, while the vast majority (92%) feel that e-learning demands a new attitude to learning on the part of learners.
  • Almost all (95%) feel that e-learning is more effective when combined with other forms of learning.

Coaching

  • Seventy-one per cent of organisations undertake coaching activities, with a similar proportion (72%) finding coaching to be an effective tool.
  • However, the purpose of coaching would appear to vary according to whom coaching is offered. Thus, within organisations that offer coaching to all of their employees, the purpose of this coaching is demonstrably used for general personal development (79%) and to remedy poor performance (74%), whereas within organisations that offer coaching only to managers, the emphasis for the purpose of coaching shifts towards its positioning as part of a wider management and leadership development programme.
  • The bulk of the responsibility for delivering coaching lies with line managers coaching those who report to them (36%) and to HR and/or learning, training and development specialists (30%).
  • The main methods used for evaluating the effectiveness of coaching include: through observation of changes (42%) and reviews of objectives conducted with line managers, coach and coachee (42%).

Economic influences on learning and development

  • More organisations report facing similar (44%) economic circumstances in the past 12 months than those reporting either worse (33%) or better (22%) circumstances.
  • However, the public sector continues to be gloomier than the private sector, with 53% reporting worse economic circumstances in the past 12 months, 45% reporting a cut in training funds and only 13% experiencing an increase in funding.
  • Larger organisations – that is, those with more than 5,000 employees – also have a gloomy outlook, with 44% reporting worse conditions and 39% saying they have received a decrease in funding.
  • Seventy-seven per cent of voluntary sector respondents report that funding for training has remained stable or increased, compared with 75% in the private sector and 54% in the public sector.

Training Spends & Budgets

  • Seventy-seven per cent of organisations have a training budget.
  • Voluntary sector organisations continue to spend more per employee per year on training, compared with the private sector and with the public sector.
  • Those employing less than 250 continue to spend far more per head on training than those with more than 5,000 employees.

The full report is available here and give us all the motivation we need to ensure that Learn Skills addresses a key need in the UK economy through the provision of web-based skills and compliance training for the workforce.