In the third of his blog-series, Education Consultant Walter Patterson provides an update on CDN’s research into staff digital capability.

Does using an app in the classroom make it a ‘blended learning’ experience? What would you call a learning episode with students in a physical classroom and others joining the class virtually? These and other questions around nomenclature have surfaced in CDN’s engagement with the sector on approaches to staff digital capability.

CDN has engaged researcher Dr Nuala Broderick, who is looking at the terminology used in Scottish college publications and cross-checking with other glossaries related to digital capability, to create a useful reference document that will aid the exchange of best practice in Scotland. The round of interviews with colleges regarding their former and current approaches to supporting staff in the move to remote delivery is nearing completion.

An encouraging picture is emerging from the evidence. College staff who lacked confidence around adopting digital approaches have risen to the challenge and made their best efforts to harness the potential of the virtual classroom. A range of innovative solutions has been found for practical learning, from providing food to allow cooking practice at home, to supplying model heads for hairdressers to practice styling and then showcasing student work on a digital channel.

Now that the building blocks for remote delivery are in place, colleges are turning their attention to the importance of learning design in securing engagement and stimulating motivation. Ensuring that course materials meet the standards for accessibility and promote equity is also a (legal) priority. Colleges are carefully monitoring the growing range of apps that support learning and advising staff on the best choices to constrain the demands on students to learn yet another user interface. Importantly, the need for carefully planned induction to college digital systems is a paramount consideration for the new academic year.

Engagement with colleges elsewhere in the UK to confirm best practice is at the planning stage and should be completed by the next blog post. Coming soon!

Read Walter’s second blog here

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