Harnessing Technology Review 2009: The role of technology in FE and Skills

Becta’s  Harnessing Technology Review 2009: The role of technology in further education and skills was published earlier this week on the 1st February 2010.

In this review Becta brings together a range of research evidence and data from England (mostly collected during 2009).

Emphasis is given to the  importance of e-mature providers realising the efficiency premium – by integrating systems  that can support and streamline a range of processes, including assessment processes.

The review also stresses the role of leaders and managers in achieving changes in practice to achieve benefits:

“However, as yet the issue of technology-related cashable efficiencies is not high on the agenda of most institutional leadership teams. Thus it is likely, where there is a good degree of technological maturity, that opportunities are being missed to reduce energy and printing costs, save on space, reduce administrative overheads and realise efficiencies in delivering learning.”

The strength of leadership in e-mature colleges rather than the strength of the e-maturity overall, is also seen as the key predictor of better Ofsted results.

Some other key points from the Review:

  • Steady increase in FE Colleges classed as e-mature since 2003 with now around one third of FE Colleges e-mature.
  • Use of VLEs has risen steadily since 2003. Now in use in 92% colleges and 36% WBL providers.
  • Indications that problems around the  integration of management and learner systems are reducing with the proportion of learning platforms which integrate with their MIS  rising in one year from 47% to 63%
  • Identifies that still a need around learner experience of technology at the transition points between sectors, and between stage, especially secondary and college.

The broad questions covered are:

Technology-confident effective providers
Can learning and skills providers make effective use of technology to achieve the best outcomes for learners?
Engaged and empowered learners
Are learners and employers able to access technology and the skills and support to use it to best effect inside and outside formal learning?
Confident system leadership and innovation
Do FE and skills leaders use technology to support their priorities and deploy innovative solutions to improve services?
Enabling infrastructure and processes
Does the technology infrastructure offer learners and practitioners access to high quality, integrated tools and resources?
Improved personalised learning experiences
Do technology-enabled improvements to learning and teaching meet the needs of learners?
Impact of technology
To what extent does technology impact on the broader aims of raising achievement, supporting the vulnerable and improving quality and efficiency?

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