Tuesday, 8 September 2020

A digitally redefining conversation

Last Summer, in Organisational Development at Nottingham Trent University (NTU).  We had our training room equipped with a new Microsoft Surface Hub, described as an 'all-in-one collaborative canvas and meetings platform'.  Of which aroused much interest and curiosity in staff wanting to explore it and work out its purpose and potential in their roles.

In August 2019, I met up with a colleague who was naturally curious of the newly installed technology.  However, they were quite reluctant in its ability to work and be successful if used live with people.  The document below is an output from the initial conversation I had with my colleague, including an adapted version of the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model I developed.  To determine how their programme is currently offered/works (conventional), identifying digital technology options and potential  examples of application.  What started out as a light consultation on analysing digital practices turned out to be a redefinition and transformation of their digital practices.  My manager also made a comment: "Thanks Dan, looks very interesting and a great way of showing the enhancement/transformation of more conventional approaches through digital."

Looking back, it was a timely discussion to have as a few months later Teams would become the norm for all communication and collaboration!


Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Technology Enhanced Learning

Following previous projects on writing and reviewing digital learning, teaching and skills qualifications and my detailed review of the Digital Learning Design and Digital Learning for Educators qualifications - where I stated "Growing and investing in our future generation of learning technologists/digital learning specialists workforce has long been a passion for me."  I have developed, rewritten and re-titled a new set of qualifications 'Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Technology Enhanced Learning' with Ascentis - the awarding body I am an External Quality Assurer for.


The aim of these qualifications is to provide practical skills and underpinning knowledge required to fulfil a Learning Technologist type role.  They encourage career pathways in similar job roles and reflect the growing need to support educators in their development and delivery of digital and online learning.  They are primarily aimed at a younger market i.e. school leavers and apprentices but do not exclude adults.

Originally pitched as 'Technology Enhanced Education, Training and Innovation', these new qualifications replace the Level 3 Award and Diploma in Digital Learning Design and Level 4 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Digital Learning Design, which I previously taught, assessed and internal quality assured.  As a whole, this qualification is better aligned to the Learning Technologist role and more current than it's predecessor was.

Below are some extracts that I originally wrote in the qualification specification, whilst maintaining Ascentis' standard text:

Introduction

The aim of these qualifications is to provide practical skills and underpinning knowledge required to fulfil a Learning Technologist type role. Learning Technologists are specialist and critical in education and training organisations to design, implement, improve and innovate digital and online learning solutions.  In modern education and training organisations, you will often find Learning Technologists or with a different title/guise such as: Instructional Designer; Learning Designer; eLearning Developer; Educational Developer.
 

“Learning technologists are people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.” Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

“They develop digital learning materials for blended and online learning and will work with you to plan, create and support you in the use of innovative learning materials and course design.” Scott, D (2018)

These qualifications create fundamental career pathways to the aforementioned roles or similar.  The qualifications train and develop individuals on a diverse range of subject specialisms in: education and training; current and emerging digital technologies; eLearning design; website, audio and video production and graphic and imagery design, that are required for an occupation in or related to digital and online learning.  The variety of specialisms are what make a Learning Technologist role attractive and fulfilling as it includes responsibilities around education and training (learning delivery/developing people), technology (technical) and design (creativity).

There are several features of these qualifications that make them appropriate for its target learners:

  • Ideal for an apprenticeship programme and suitable qualification to offer as part of it
  • Flexible delivery: online, blended or classroom-based learning programme
  • Evidence can be generated within a wide range of organisational contexts allowing the qualification to meet the specific occupational requirements of the learners
  • Unit certification is available for each of the units
  • Verification and certification can be offered throughout the year, allowing maximum flexibility for centres


Aims

The aims of the qualification are to enable learners:

  1. To equip learners with the essential knowledge and competencies specific to a Learning Technologist role or similar
  2. To allow learners to study a diverse range of units, combining them with a portfolio of evidence to complete a qualification
  3. To prepare learners for employment, progression into a higher role, further training or study

Target Group

This qualification is aimed at a range of learners, including:

  • Young people aged 16 + including those at 17 or 18 where there is a duty for them to participate in education and/or training
  • Young or adult learners who want to apply their existing computing, multimedia production or graphic and imagery skills into a new context
  • Young or adult learners who have an interest in learning technology and/or digital and online learning design and want to develop their knowledge and competence of working in this occupation
  • Young or adult learners who want to support educators in their development and delivery of digital and online learning
  • Learners who are currently in a Learning Technologist role or similar and wish to undertake training or accreditation of their knowledge and skills
  • Learners who are employed in a non-academic role in educational establishments who may wish to move into this sector
  • Learners who are currently employed as teachers / lecturers and who wish to undertake training in this area as Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  • Unemployed learners wishing to enhance their work-related skills

Rules of Combination 

...The Diploma has themed pathways that the learner can choose from:

  • Learning delivery/developing people (mandatory) – education and training based units
  • Technical (optional) – technology based units
  • Creativity (optional) – design based units.

I recommend the Diploma for the learner to acquire the full experience of the qualification.

The qualification contains following units - I can't share the full learning outcomes and criteria openly in respect of Ascentis confidentiality.  However, I am happy to talk anyone through the units in finer detail.  Three units from the Level 3 Award in Education and Training have been included (*) and unaltered.

Group A - Mandatory Units (Education and Training): 

  • Understanding roles, responsibilities and relationships in education and training*
  • The online learning environment
  • Understanding and using inclusive teaching and learning approaches in education and training*
  • Understanding assessment in education and training* (does not appear in Ascentis overview document due to Guided Learning Hours restrictions, but may be added later)
  • Understanding and developing own and others digital capabilities
  • Professional and Personal Development

Group B – Optional Units (Technical):

  • Using Collaborative Technologies
  • Using Social Media Technologies
  • Using Mobile and Classroom Technologies
  • Using Immersive Technologies
  • Website Production
  • Audio and Video Production

Group C – Optional Units (Creativity):

  • The digital/online learning project lifecycle
  • Identifying and translating requirements for digital/online learning design
  • Using storyboards for designing digital/online learning content
  • Principles of digital/online learning design
  • Quality and Standards
  • Graphic Design and Imagery

Knowledge, Understanding and Skills required of Assessors and Internal Verifiers

These qualifications cover a range of areas of expertise including education and training; current and emerging digital technologies; eLearning design; website, audio and video production and graphic and imagery design.  Assessors making assessment decisions and those delivering these qualifications should hold a subject related Level 4 qualification in digital and online education and/or Information Technology/computing e.g.: Level 4 Diploma in Digital Learning Design; Level 4 Award in Digital Learning for Educators; Level 4 Award for Technology Enabled Educators; Level 4 Certificate in Technology in Learning Delivery; Level 4 Award in Teaching Online; Technology Enhanced Learning MSc; Level 4/5 Diploma in Education and Training; Certificate in Education (Cert Ed), Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE); Level 4/5 Certificate in Information Technology and Computing. Evidence of CPD is recommended to demonstrate competence in website, audio and video production and graphic design.

I hope that it will be popular with school leavers, apprentices and adults seeking to train in this increasingly demanding topic.  We need to grow our future learning technologists as well as the abilities of teachers and trainers!  I feel this qualification is more up to date and practical than the previous forms and should help those who are 'fatigued' by all the advice out there currently.  Plus it informs organisations on the kind of support they can offer their staff.  All reinforced in my recent articles:

Thank you to  Matt Griffin who I shared an initial outline with and thank you to the anonymous Ascentis reviewer, who provided invaluable comments for me to consider.

I initially shared some details through a conversation via Twitter, to which I responded with:

The new qualification is currently being finalised & needs to be approved. I'll keep you updated on it. I have better aligned it to a #learningtechnologist type role & would be an ideal qual to use in an #apprenticeship.

...if it's an #edtech role they are doing then a qualification in this would be more appropriate to reflect the knowledge, skills and experience they gain. Plus it allows those with graphic design, multimedia production and computing abilities to apply.

If you're familiar with Digital Learning Design quals, it's that but one at L3 redeveloped and aligned around the typical #learningtechnologist type role rather than just #eLearning. Has education and training in it too which it previously missed and from experience was critical.

...It'll not completely meet all institution or apprenticeship requirements, as each role will be different in context. But I'm confident in its purpose to develop individuals to design, support & deliver #edtech, #digitallearning, #onlinelearning & #digitalskills.

...There's an increase in demand and profile in the #learningtechnologist role so it's vital this new qual exists.

I also received the following comments through private message/Twitter/LinkedIn:

Scott Hayden - "If that was available I'd use it immediately. Great work. My Apprentices I developed 4/ 5 years ago are now going to be getting their own Apprentices - and we still don't have a qual that best suits the job. Yours is ideal."

"Seismic work, mate.  Well done.  This could influence the sector profoundly."

Khaled Al-ankar - "Keep me in the line up for updates also please?"

Paul Spearritt - "Now this is exactly what we would need and wish to use."

Peter Cannings-Bushell - "The new outline looks to cover everything I would like our team to be skilled in, particularly the importance of social and collaborative learning which are areas I want to encourage within the GMC."



Danielle Hallahan - "Good sound qualification."

Phil Whitehead - "Dan impressed!!"

Jackie Carter - "Interested in becoming a Digital Learning Technologist? Diploma in Technology Enhanced Learning. A new course from the talented Daniel Scott."


I'm pleased to see that my forward thinking has again been ahead of time in preparing for the growing demand in this type of role.

I ran out of contracted time to further develop the indicative content.  Hopefully I can be re-contracted to develop it to the quality set in Level 3 Award in Education and Training specification.  I'm looking forward to Externally Quality Assuring this qualification with centres once up and running!

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Blended Learning - sound bites from a panellist

On 7 July 2020, I was invited by Rosie Francis, Head of Teaching and Learning at City and Islington College, to be a panellist speaker for their staff online professional development day 'Blended Learning: A World of Opportunities!'.  I was sharing the panel with Julie Sinclair, FE consultant and Yousef El-foudeh, Director of Digital Strategy, Microsoft.



Below are sound bites of my responses to the questions asked to the panel: