Lessons of Lockdown: Has lockdown changed the face of learning delivery? - Harrogate, North Yorkshire | FW Solutions

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Lessons of Lockdown: Has lockdown changed the face of learning delivery?

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When the country first went into a national lockdown we had to act quickly to find a solution to continue our learning delivery and keep connected with our learners and employers. We knew we had to adapt to keep going forward and create an easy transition for our learners and employers. We also wanted to ensure no one was left behind.

The first and most pressing challenge was to convey the message to all learners and employers that we were still there! Communications were increased via our Teaching and Learning Co-ordinators and Social Media. We immediately began to research online delivery platforms so we could conduct lessons remotely and registered with Zoom. It is easy for the learner to use with minimal technology requirements and can be used on a smartphone.

We faced some other hard challenges to overcome:

  1. Learners being super keen – TLCs not having time for all the extra work being submitted or extra lessons that the apprentices wanted
  2. Fake News – learners being told that using online platforms aren’t safe and refusing to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams!
  3. Reassuring employers that learning was still taking place. How could their employees continue with a work based apprenticeship if they were not working?

How did we overcome these new challenges?

  1. Resequencing of curriculums – we agreed with employers that lockdown learning would be theory over practical for a few months.
  2. Working hours – we are not standard 9-5. Our Teaching and Learning Co-ordinators made themselves available to suit the needs of their learners. For example, they conducted Zoom meetings on Saturdays and late at night to fit with learner’s work patterns and home life commitments.
  3. As a company we understand that one fit does not suit all. We don’t offer a blanket fit, we tailor our delivery to the needs of the individual and have always offered one to one support. This was an opportunity to engage differently away from the pressures of the working environment. What the learner gained was more privacy away from a busy workplace. The learner was more relaxed and therefore more engaged.
  4. We could now offer group sessions that we could not offer before, encouraging learner to learner discussions.
  5. Using more Ed-Tech – sharing of online quizzes and extra CPD courses like the Government skills toolkit to improve maths and professional development https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/
  6. We are flexible for those that are scared to use Zoom – we have used Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp Video and Facetime, plus an old fashioned call on the phone as a last resort!
  7. We already had VQ Manager (e-portfolio) in place and could therefore monitor learner progress and address things quickly if they fell behind.
  8. We produced an immediate online safeguarding response (see SG annex on our COVID response website page). We quickly put work in to make sure learners knew how to keep themselves safe online.
  9. Support for redundant apprentices – we post all our vacancies onto the government platform to enable apprentices who have been made redundant from their position to find a new one.

As we enter the next phase, remote learning is normalising. The technology we have introduced enables more frequent support for our learners and they are overall more engaged. We have seen an uptake on employers advertising for new apprentices and have several new learner appointments planned for the coming months.

So has lockdown changed the face of delivery? Yes and in a positive way! We have learnt a lot over this period and will continue to adapt to change as the situation evolves.

A couple of reflections from our learners:

“There is a lot of platforms available through studying and FW Solutions have been amazing, providing weekly updates on new and exciting articles to read to really keep the passion burning.”

“When we went into lockdown, I was really worried how I would carry on with my apprenticeship. I was furloughed from March and thought that I would not have contact with Jill my tutor. Luckily, Jill called and explained how the teaching and learning lessons would be held using video calling called Zoom. I had never used this way of teaching but after the first time really enjoyed this way of learning. As you can share documents, I found it very useful.  Another advantage was that we could arrange our meetings any time of the day and I could also have 2 meetings a month instead of one. The meetings on zoom were also less intrusive, when learning in the setting we sometimes must move rooms or can get disturbed by members of staff.”