Thursday, 13 October 2016

2015/2016 in summary

As I do every year, I like to summarise my professional successes and experiences in the last year.  However, this will be the last summary I do as I have done previously.  So here we go…

Achieved lead internal verifier qualification

During October 2015 I achieved my lead internal verifying qualification.  I love ensuring quality and development, so this qualification proves that side of me.  I have been coordinating assessment and feedback on our apprenticeships, internally verifying assessor’s decisions, monitoring apprentices work and arranging external verifier visits.

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2015

In October 2015, our learning company Elephant Learning Designs received Highly Commended for the Digital and Creative Award at the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2015.  It was a great night to be a part of, but very formal as it was a black tie event, so I had to look super smart.  Some other pictures are here and here.  We also had a celebrity host – Clare Frisby.  I ended the night by saying “thank you to those who believe in our work and most importantly our apprentices hard work.

TES FE Awards

After a lengthy submission process, in April Elephant Learning Designs and overall use of learning technology was shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding use of technology for improving teaching and learning’ at the TES FE Awards.   This is a very prestigious award to have been recognised and shortlisted for.   So here are some pictures from the evening.  Unfortunately we didn’t win this category, but it wasn't a loss; “congratulations to all the winners! It's been great to see so many successful and inspirational educators. Unfortunately we didn't win, but being invited and a finalist means just as much as winning.

Jisc case study

An opportunity arose to share my digital technology practices.  I decided to share how I assess and give feedback to our Digital Learning Design apprentices with digital technology.  The 'Rethinking assessment of work-based learning' case study was used in a number of Jisc's FELTAG publications and shared through social media channels.

Writing a book

This year I decided to condense all of my knowledge and skills of learning technology and eLearning into a book.  The working title is ‘Digital Learning Design: Principles and practices for eLearning and learning technology’ and supports the Digital Learning Design suite of qualifications.  The book provides experience, knowledge, practice and general advice for anyone working towards these unique qualifications, delivering and assessing them, or wanting to learn knowledge and skills or gain employment in this area.  The book is mapped to qualification standards and aims to increase reader’s knowledge and skills of creating engaging and interactive eLearning materials and successfully implementing learning technology into reader’s lesson(s), course(s) and curriculum(s).  The book offers examples of work, activities and resources for further reading to encourage knowledge and skills development.  The book was also inspired by the increasing interest from many individuals in the region who came to see how I was running the programmes.  This would be a good equivalent to doing a PhD!

Digital Literacy skills qualification

As I was a part of the Level 4 Technology Enabled Educators reference group with Coralesce.   I was asked if I wanted be a part of a new Level 2 Digital Literacy qualification.  I provided critical comments of the learning outcomes and criteria.  One of my considerable comments was renaming and refocusing the qualification to digital literacy skills in the workplace, which was agreed and changed.   It was a good feeling to be part of creating a new qualification and shaping it around my knowledge, skills and experiences.

Course Tutor

In June I took on an extra job on the side of online tutoring.   I had expressed in this role to Coralesce a while ago, but an opportunity came up sooner than expected.  I had a caseload of learners who were teachers in adult and community settings that were learning how to implement learning technology more effectively in their practices.   I was supporting them through their tasks and assessing their work. It was a wonderful experience to be teaching teachers again but online.

Completed my Technology Enhanced Learning MSc

I’ll keep this short and simple as I have talked about it here and here.  I am extremely proud, happy and grateful that I have achieved such a huge qualification that means a lot to me both personally and professionally.

Winner of the Learning Technologist of the Year Award 2016

Again I have talked about winning this extremely prestigious award here.   It was an incredible achievement that is a major milestone in my learning technology career.  Since winning I have been invited to write blog posts on my job role, participate in a ALT community call, facilitate social media chats and webinars.

A press release was kindly produced by Barnsley College and sent out to local news.  The University of Huddersfield also made a statement about it.  I even featured in FE Week!


I have completed and achieved all of our 2015/2016 apprentices' qualifications and apprenticeship programmes.  After the EQA visit we also got recommended for Direct Claim Status for both Level 3 and 4 qualifications due to having robust assessment and internal verifying plans and having no actions.  Our apprentices have now flown the nest and some of them have gone into eLearning, graphic and website design jobs.  It was hard to see them go, especially the Level 4's who have been with us for two years.  I have watched them grow in knowledge, skills and confidence in themselves which was a wonderful thing to witness.  Moving forward we will be having only two apprentices, one Level 3 and one Level 4.  This allows me more time to focus back on my learning technologist role and get back to researching, developing and evaluating to create innovation.

In September I expressed my interest in being a member of the Membership development Committee at the Association for Learning Technology and was successfully appointed.   Also last month, I joined the MA Suite and MA TESOL Course Committee at the University of Huddersfield.

I will publish my dissertation with Association for Learning Technology to record the research I did.  I feel I need to get it out there after all the hard work I have put into it.  It needs to be known and seen.  In the new year I will start to write my book with the aim of releasing it in 2018.