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Posts Tagged ‘UK’

UK Universities plan to become world leaders in on-line distance learning

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

A new task force to ensure our universities become the first choice across the world for on-line distance learning was announced yesterday by Higher Education Minister, David Lammy.

The task force chaired by Lynne Brindley, the Chief Executive of the British Library will advise on a wider strategy to build on our past and present successes and ensure we do not lose pace on increased demand in expanding and new markets.

It will be backed by a new Open Learning Innovation Fund aimed at helping universities build on their existing world class reputations to access and engage future markets that are expected to value around £15bn in the future.

This is a competitive match funding initiative, with up to £10m from HEFCE and therefore worth up to £20m in total, aims to encourage universities to work collaboratively with each other and the private and third sectors, to bid for money to develop projects to help transform the way people can get a degree.

David Lammy said;
“Advances such as 3G, webcasts and web 2.0, will allow UK universities to reach out to communities as far flung as Africa and Hong Kong and to deliver high quality, student-centred higher education across the globe.

“The use of mobile technologies such as PDAs and MP3 players means this can be done at a time and place that is convenient for the student wherever they are in the world.

“This Open Learning Innovation Fund will help institutions develop new initiatives and exploit new opportunities to ensure we remain at the forefront of online distance learning as the international market develops.

“I am particularly pleased that Lynne Brindley, Steve Beswick from Microsoft and Martin Bean have agreed to be part of the task force that will guide the way as this important work is taken forward.”

Dame Lynne Brindley, CEO British Library said:
“I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Task Force, and to consider the many opportunities for UK higher education to excel in online learning and meet the changing demands of students. The British Library is itself committed to innovative, high quality digital services, including public and commercial partnerships, and I look forward to making recommendations for action to stimulate growth in this important area.”

The Taskforce will include senior representatives from Microsoft [and Apple], who will join Martin Bean, the next Vice Chancellor of the Open University, the British Council, HEFCE, JISC and Universities UK. The BBC has agreed to advise the task force as and when appropriate.

The Online Learning Innovation Fund, established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), could help groups of institutions to pursue new business opportunities and promote online learning including using open resources funded as part of the e-learning programme. Universities will also be able to develop greater expertise in on-line teaching and create centres of excellence for the delivery of online learning.

The wider strategy will broadly;
> Develop new plans for international marketing of on-line distance UK HE;
> Continue to promote the development of e-learning across the breadth of HE;
> Work to increase the quantity of learning resources freely available for all institutions to use; and
> Continue to develop the role of the Open University (OU) as a national resource, so that all universities can benefit from the OU’s specialist expertise, developed through public funding.

HEFCE will develop the Open Learning Innovation Fund in the light of the task force’s advice and then consult the sector on the practical details.

Britain is a world leader in distance learning currently attracting more than 100,000 students from around the globe and earning the sector some £200m in fees.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Nottinghamshire County Council engages adult learners with interactive quizzes

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Adult Learners Week: 9-15 May 2009
Inspiring adults from diverse backgrounds to give learning a go, the Adult and Community Learning Service (ACLS), part of Nottinghamshire County Council, is engaging adult learners through game-show style quizzes.

Adult learning providers across the county are using Qwizdom (www.qwizdom.co.uk), an interactive voting system, to encourage learners to participate anonymously with confidence, removing the embarrassment or fear of speaking in front of peers.

A major skills shortage is costing the UK economy up to £10 billion a year according to a recent estimate by The CBI (Confederation of British Industry). By improving adult learning through new technology, the ACLS aims to help adults regardless of their background to continue their education through numerous projects. It has trialled the voting system with three of its learning providers: Advocacy 2 Engagement (A2E), The Positive Action through Learning Support Project and The Personal Learning Consultancy. Due to huge demand, it has now rolled out the kit to numerous other learning providers in Nottinghamshire.

A2E, which delivers tailor-made courses for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, is using quizzes to improve their basic life skills. Questions such as: ‘Have I put a safe amount of water in this kettle?’ are posed to the class whilst the facilitator shows them a kettle filled with water exceeding the maximum limit. Learners press their keypads to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and responses are anonymously displayed on an interactive whiteboard, open for discussion. The system can also record achievement and progression by inputting the quiz results into a spreadsheet against each learner. This instantly shows how well learners are progressing, indicating which learners and topics need more attention.

Alan Clark, Service Development Manager at ACLS, commented: “Learners have been able to identify the link between using Qwizdom and popular television shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The feedback from learners and staff has been overwhelmingly positive because of the interactivity and healthy competition it brings to sessions. Sometimes adults’ perception of learning is a stereotypical one of being seated in rows and lectured, whereas voting technology is bringing learning to life for them.”

Comments from A2E learners include: “I liked seeing it on the screen so I know what I am doing”, “I liked it very much, it was easy” and “now I feel more independent.”

The Positive Action through Learning Support Project – a partnership between Nottingham Dyslexia Action and Nottinghamshire Probation Service – also uses Qwizdom for basic skills training. For example, when a probation officer identifies a literacy or numeracy weakness in one of their clients they can put them forward for a place on the programme. The Personal Learning Consultancy uses Qwizdom for family learning programmes to enable parents and carers to become more involved in their children’s education by understanding the literacy and numeracy curriculum whilst improving their own skills.

Gary Morrison, Director of Qwizdom, concluded: “The ACLS appreciates the benefits of using interactive technology to engage adult learners. If education providers are to successfully motivate adults to continue learning, it is vital that they implement innovative technology so that all learners feel confident to participate.”

Lifelong Learning UK seeks online feedback on data collection project

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Lifelong Learning UK is running a process of data collection about the workforce to ensure there is a better understanding of those operating in the lifelong learning sector.

We have been analysing and reporting labour market intelligence gained through the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) submissions received from further education (FE) colleges. Encouragingly, submissions for 2007/08 increased by 29% on the previous year and will provide our partners with a detailed profile overview of staff working in FE colleges.

As part of a data collection process revision, Lifelong Learning UK has now created an online consultation portal for all those involved in submitting data to discuss any aspects of the collection. The portal will enable frequent and simple interaction and will build a community of users to assist each other.

Tynan Rodger, Project Manager at Lifelong Learning UK said: “We’re really pleased with the response from further education colleges, and this year have opened up the collection process to work based learning and adult and community learning providers, which are also an important part of the workforce.”

He added: “Data collection is just one element enabling us to build a picture of the FE workforce but we also want to ensure we encourage an ongoing dialogue with providers. We are confident that the portal will be a welcome tool for providers to give us their feedback on the process.”

With the launch of the consultation portal, we are inviting FE colleges along with other training providers to log on to the portal, speak up and share their experiences of the collection process. This is fundamental to ensure its benefits are identified and necessary improvements are delivered.

We look forward to receiving the feedback and engaging in a constructive process to shape the future of data collection and support the development needs of all those working in this important sector.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

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.

Parents & teachers to receive practical support to get children learning online

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Teachers and parents across the country will be able to request support and training on how to help school aged children access the internet at home for learning, from a new foundation to be set up by Becta. The foundation will provide a vehicle for all interested organisations to demonstrate their commitment and support to this initiative.

Becta, the education technology agency, will work closely with industry and other interested parties to create an independent foundation, which will administer and distribute industry funds in support of the government’s Home Access programme. The idea was proposed by Microsoft in response to the government announcement made in September 2008 and the foundation is open to other organisations who wish to get involved.

The Home Access programme, which will be piloted in Oldham and Suffolk from February, will work to ensure every child has access to a home computer and the internet for their school or college work. The pilot aims to ensure every 7- to 18- year-old in full time state-maintained education has access to the internet at home.

The Home Access programme forms part of Becta’s Next Generation Learning campaign, which promotes the best use of technology in learning.

The new foundation is expected to be launched later this year, to coincide with the national rollout of the Home Access programme. It will be charged, on behalf of the government, with supporting local training of teachers and parents, including raising awareness of the importance of home access and how to overcome barriers in the community. The independent foundation will be overseen by Becta and other organisations are being encouraged to join Microsoft in providing support for the foundation.

Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta, said:
“We need to ensure that every learner has an equal chance to tap into the benefits of the internet to enhance their learning – and the Home Access programme seeks to do just that, by offering this opportunity to all learners.

“Getting parents and teachers on board is clearly vital to the success of the programme, so we are really excited about this opportunity to support them, in partnership with the industry. I welcome the leadership Microsoft has shown and am now calling for more leading companies to join us in the drive to support parents and teachers.”

Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft, commented:
“We believe that all children should have access to the learning tools they need in order to realise their full potential. As part of a global programme, we have created an investment fund to support activities that will help ensure the home access programme has maximum impact. Our goal is now to support Becta in setting up the foundation and encourage others across the industry to get involved.”

In early 2009 a pilot begins in two local authorities, focusing on learners aged 7-18. Low income families may be eligible for support towards the purchase of an approved package consisting of a device, connectivity and support.

Hospitality and tourism training update from the UK

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

24th October, 2008 – UK – A short-life task group has been set up by Ministers to review qualifications within the hospitality and tourism sector and ensure these are relevant and responsive to the changing needs of the industry in these tough economic times.

The group will also examine a recommendation from the Parliament’s Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee that education, skills and training in these sectors should be rationalised, with resources prioritised to support an industry-backed system.

The group, which will include representatives from the industry, national education and skills bodies, and college and university sectors, will help inform Ministers on what action may be required. Its remit will be to:

* Identify what hospitality and tourism qualifications are available and advise Scottish Ministers on what is required to make them more relevant and responsive to employer needs during these uncertain times
* Establish how many and what type of hotel school developments are currently under consideration in Scotland and advise on how these can support the industry’s needs
* Summarise, for the industry, the roles of the respective public bodies in relation to qualifications development, validation and funding

Minister for Schools and Skills, Maureen Watt, said:

“Tourism is a key sector in Scotland and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the right conditions exist to enable it to flourish, particularly in these tough economic times.

“Ensuring that those within the industry and those seeking to join it in the future, have access to the right skills and training is an essential part of that – both for employees and employers.

“The task group will help us ensure that resources are targeted towards skills and training that best meets the industry’s requirements and that training is also sufficiently flexible to adapt to those changes needs.”

Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, Jim Mather, said:

“Scotland has a fantastic tourism product. From our wonderful scenery, to our compelling history, diverse culture, and friendly people, we have so much to offer the world.

“But if we are to continue to compete in one of the world’s most competitive markets, we need to ensure that we have a new generation of well trained young talent who can take Scotland’s reputation to the next level in years to come.

“It is their Scottish hospitality, their standards of service and their skills which will set our great country apart. This new group will ensure that those standards continue to rise, leading to a highly responsive Scottish tourism industry which will be the envy of countries across the world.”

The creation of the task group will help the industry ensure that people have access to the right skills and training to ensure it gets through these difficult economic times. It will also enable Ministers to respond to a recommendation from the Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee’s report – Growing Pains – can we achieve a 50 per cent growth in tourist revenue by 2015?

While the Scottish Government agreed with the majority of the recommendations, Ministers wanted to further investigate issues raised in recommendation 246, which said the Tourism Minister should work with his colleagues and key agencies to declutter and rationalise the provision of education, skills and training in the sector and reprioritise the resources towards a system that is demand-led and enjoys the support of the industry and which offers a smaller number of industry and government approved courses delivered by a limited number of centres with geographical spread.

Full membership of the group, which will meet twice and is expected to report by mid-December, includes:

* Iain Herbert, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Forum. Iain has also worked with several premier Scottish tourism agencies, including the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre as general manager and as manager for the Royal Yacht Britannia. He is also a former head of visitor operations for the National Museums of Scotland.
* Peter Lederer CBE, Chairman of VisitScotland and Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel Limited. He is also a Trustee of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland and the Tourism & Hospitality Education Trust.
* David Allen, People 1st. Prior to joining People 1st in September 2007, David spent more than 16 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, in the UK and in Europe. This included working for the Marriot Group and setting up and running a multi million pound conference centre in Fife. He is a member of the Institute of Hospitality and plays an active role in supporting industry led skills and education forums including the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) Skills forum.
* Mandy Exley, Principal, Perth College. Mandy moved to Scotland in 2000 and bought at small hotel on the shores of Loch Tay. In addition to her post in the college, she is a director of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Scottish Tourism Forum.
* Mary Nasmyth, Scottish Training Federation
* Professor David Kirk, Vice Principal, Queen Margaret University
* John Kemp, Deputy Director of Strategic Development, Scottish Funding Council
* Chris Taylor, Highlands & Islands Enterprise
* Eddie Brogan, Tourism Director, Scottish Enterprise
* Joe Wilson, Head of New Ventures, Scottish Qualifications Authority
* Darah Zahran, Skills Development Scotland
* Eric Milligan, Skills Development Scotland

Source: Scottish Government News

Train to gain celebrates two years of success as 100,000th company signs up

Monday, October 13th, 2008

UK – 8th October, 2008 – Home improvement retailer B&Q has become the 100,000th company to sign up to Train to Gain, as the flagship service marks its second year of helping to boost the nation’s skills.

Employer representatives joined Ministers in calling on even more employers to take advantage of the training service, which helps firms get the best from their staff by identifying and helping meet skills needs. 78 per cent of employers say that they would recommend Train to Gain to other employers.

Since its launch in 2006, Train to Gain has helped over 570,000 employees in England get training, and over 291,000 learners have achieved a qualification. An evaluation published this year revealed that some 43 per cent of people who had completed their training reported having received a pay rise, and 30 per cent reported having had promotion. Funding for Train to Gain will increase from £520 million in 2007-08 to over £1 billion by 2010-11.

Lord Young, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said:

“Successful employers see up-skilling the workforce as one of the most powerful things they can do to drive their businesses forward. Employers who have invested in the skills of their people in the past will be better placed to respond to the economic challenges, and they will also be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities in the next period of growth.

“B&Q has helped to mark a milestone for this service. Only two years in, a hundred thousand businesses have benefited from Train to Gain. Now more than ever, employers need to ensure they are getting the best from their staff by taking advantage of the range of training and funding opportunities available through Train to Gain.”

Martyn Philips, HR Director, B&Q said:

“Good skills at all levels are essential to our business if we are to continue to thrive in an exceptionally competitive market and we currently invest a lot of time and effort in ensuring our staff receive the training they need in order to be the best at their job. Train to Gain means we can now do this even better than before and helps us to really identify our employees’ individual needs. Over the next 12 months we anticipate around 35 per cent of our non-management population will be awarded the NVQ Retails Skills Level 2. In addition we will be launching an apprenticeship programme early next year.”

Miles Templeman, Director General, Institute of Directors (IoD) said:

“Skills and training have never been more important to UK businesses. In the ever-intensifying heat of global competition, skills are a critical factor in determining business success. IoD members are fully committed to this agenda – over 90 per cent provide training for their employees. Services like Train to Gain will help to maintain this encouraging trend. It has made a very positive start and there is clearly considerable potential to build on this foundation by continuing to raise its profile in the business community. It is there, after all, for employers to take advantage of.”

Richard Thorold, principal at Gateshead College, said:

“In the past two years since Train to Gain was introduced, as one of the North East’s leading training providers we have met with more than 116 employers. Train to Gain has turned out to be the success we hoped it would be and employers share our view; feedback from the businesses we’ve worked with has been very positive, with many of them reporting an increase in productivity, profits or efficiency as a result of our training.

“Train to Gain has enabled us to use our expert knowledge to develop bespoke training packages that identify skills gaps, build confidence, motivate teams and deliver immediate results.”

A spokesperson for the British Chamber of Commerce said:

“Businesses’ ability to grow and succeed is dependent on its staff. Professional development – both in terms of skills levels and management capabilities – is crucial, and business is committed to providing employees with the training they need. Train to Gain is a tangible embodiment of partnership between employers and the Government to training, and one which we hope to progress as Train to Gain evolves as a service to business.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary said:

“Where employers and unions work together Train to Gain produces great results both for employers and workers. Union Learning Reps know that access to learning changes lives and are keen for their employers to sign up to Train to Gain”.

John Vigar, Continuous Improvement and Business Coordination Manager, Lotus Group, commented:

“It’s great to see what an improvement the LSC initiatives like Train to Gain has made to our business’ performance and to the staff themselves. We have been able to further improve our performance measures as well as provide worthy recognition of our employees’ efforts.”

Through Train to Gain, the London-based construction firm FM Conway Ltd has trained 250 of its employees in a range of qualifications including Operatives and Masons through to Plant Operators. One employee, Sharon Field, completed a range of training starting at A-level equivalent, progressing through to postgraduate degree equivalent in Management. This helped her earn a promotion to director level.

Sharon Field said: “Getting the training to improve my skills has renewed my self-confidence. I’m sure that it will strengthen my ability to support the company in its future growth. Training has also improved the performance and loyalty of my other colleagues – ultimately benefiting our company’s bottom-line.”

Employers wanting more information on Train to Gain can either call 0800 015 55 45 or visit traintogain.gov.uk.

National Skills Academy for IT given the green light in UK

Friday, October 10th, 2008

UK – 7th October, 2008 –  A National Skills Academy for IT, announced today and due to open in 2009, will bring together an unprecedented, sector-wide collaboration of employers, educators and stakeholders to meet the skills needs of the IT workforce.

Information technology (IT) skills are critical to the growth of the UK economy. There are currently over a million IT professionals in the UK, with 141,000 new recruits needed every year. The IT industry is predicted to grow at five times the rate of the workforce as a whole and recent research suggests that optimising the ICT capabilities of the UK economy is worth as much as £35 billion a year.

Karen Price, Chief Executive of e-skills UK said: “e-skills UK is delighted to be working with employers across the sector to get the skills academy off the ground. It offers a unique opportunity for employers to take collective responsibility for the skills and accreditation of the IT workforce, with innovative development programmes and qualifications that are valued by the sector. I believe this will play a major role in helping the UK become a world leader in IT in the coming years.”

Peter Butler, Head of Learning for the BT Group, said: “BT’s engagement with the National Skills Academy is based on the premise that by collaborating with other employers we can take a significant step in ensuring that the sector develops the skills of its people in order to remain competitive in a global economy. We are delighted that the government has acknowledged the important role that the IT and Telecoms sector plays in the success of UK PLC and is supporting the further development of the National Skills Academy. We are looking forward to working with e-skills UK on this exciting agenda.”

Skills Secretary John Denham said: “Now, more than ever, we need to develop innovative training that inspires and empowers a new generation to realise their ambitions. A new National Skills Academy for IT will help build a world-beating workforce that will improve productivity and competitiveness – not just among new recruits but within the existing workforce.”

The National Skills Academy for IT will focus in particular on accelerating the productivity of new recruits into the workforce, addressing the training needs of the existing IT professional workforce, and enabling the workforce to achieve external recognition of skills.

Through the skills academy, employers will have access to high quality, cost-effective programmes, and be able to source training and internationally-relevant qualifications from trusted providers. Employers will be able to share proven training across the sector and have their own training accredited. Providers of education and training will find it easier to understand and respond to employer demand, and individuals will be able to achieve accreditation and more easily access valued training and qualifications.

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.