Friday, November 14, 2014
As a leading provider of online learning technologies to Health, Social Care and Housing sectors, Edgeworks is ideally placed to assist colleges, prime contractors and forward thinking private training organisations ensure they are well placed to take advantage of the Governments response to the proposed Further Education Learning Action Group (FELTAG) recommendations.
Whilst the recommendations are likely to result in significant changes in terms of policy, regulation and funding, they perhaps form just a part of the ongoing turbulance the sector is experiencing. Some of the key drivers underpinning these changes include:
- Continued pressure on Adult Skills Budget with colleges and providers challenged to deliver 'more for less'.
- Cuts in learner funding resulting in pressure to increase learner numbers just to maintain existing levels of funding.
- Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) recommendations for the effective use of digital technology.
- Government response to FELTAG including specific plans to increase use of digital technology by:
- Introducing an on-line only funding rate in August 2014.
- Setting a minimum threshold for new and revised courses from August 2015.
- Moving towards a 10% on-line minimum for all courses moving forward.
Against this background of constant change, colleges, prime contractors and private training providers will need to consider some specific funding and regulation changes including:
- Preferential funding rate for online delivery from 2015/2016.
- From 2015/2016 approved qualifications will be subject to new business rules focussed on online funding threshold.
- Likely focus on developing online delivery models for courses accessed by adults and unemployed.
- GLH (guided learning hours) definitions will be revised to encourage online learning.
- The 10% threshold is likely to just be the starting point – most observers expect to see this increase over time.
- LEP’s will have a focus on digital technology provision and support.
- Regulatory barriers that inhibit the use of e-assessment will be removed or reduced.
- In some sectors there will be an expectation that up to 50% of all assessments are completed via online technology. Apprenticeships and Work Based Learning programmes will especially be expected to move towards this assessment model.
- Organisations will be expected to support the digital skills development of staff.
How can we help?
Edgeworks has been developing easy to use online vocational training, assessment, qualification and compliance solutions for many years. We are the only company in the UK to have successfully created a technology platform capable of delivering fully regulated QCF qualifications within an innovative online environment. Our first qualification (Level 2 Diploma: Working in Care Services) was developed in response to demand from our exisitng clients and is now fully regulated by Ofqual and has also been approved for SFA funding. We currently support over 25,000 learners across a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations and continue to build market share, especially within the highly fragmented SME sector.
Since 2012, we have been working with our college partners to deliver QCF qualifications using a range of funding streams including, Adult Skills Budget, Innovation Code Funding and ESF Workplace Funding. During this period we have continued to develop and refine our approach to ensure our technologies, policies and procedures deliver a truly blended approach and comply with both funding and inspection requirements.
Commercially, our approach is simple, we work closely with our partners to ensure we deliver a quality learning experience with a particular focus on driving improvements in learner engagement and simultaneously increase cost-efficiencies through the use of online learning technologies. This approach delivers significant advantages to our partners including:
- Increase in geographical reach - our partners have access to a wider pool of learners.
- Access to increased volume of learners - both large employers and SME's.
- High quality fully accredited learning and e-assessment.
- 24/7 "on-demand" access to candidate reports and tracking.
- Increase in capacity without any significant additional overhead - our solution is fully scalable and we are able to support thousands of learners at any given time.
- Increased margins and a greater contribution to overheads - we are able to deliver a high quality learning experience with lower operational cost. These savings can be shared with our partners resulting in increased revenues.
- Potential to attract additional commercial "full-cost recovery" training revenue - many of our clients require access to additional classroom based training and we are happy to encourage cross-referrals.
In conclusion, there is no doubt the sector is moving towards a ‘blended’ delivery model where the use of online technology and self-directed study will play an increasing role. Irrespective of how long some of these changes actually take to materialise, they present a number of real threats to current delivery models. Both colleges and private training providers need to consider how to adapt to the challenges if they are to remain competitive. The option to develop a range of online learning content, e-learning assessment and associated Learning Management Systems, whilst achievable, will be time consuming and costly. A lower risk and perhaps more pragmatic approach will be to partner with existing online providers already operating within this space and leveraging their knowledge, experience and technologies to develop your own bespoke 'Blended' approach.
Here at Edgeworks we are keen to work closely with colleges, prime contractors and private training providers who recognise the value of our partnership approach and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.
Feel free to call us on 0161 228 1712 or complete our online form and we will be happy to share our experience and help you make sense of the challenges ahead.