Welcome to the September issue of our Vocational Learning Resources newsletter. As we’re going into a very different and challenging new academic year, this month we’re looking at how FE organisations can embed their digital resources to further enhance teaching and learning in both face to face and blended learning environments.
Using digital resources in teaching and learning
Last month, we asked you to think about how you were planning to embed our digital resources into teaching and learning. Here are some ideas to consider, along with a top tip from our August voucher winner, West College Scotland:
Start early and plan ahead
Start by doing an audit of your digital resources. What content is available (for example: videos, guides, interactive activities, quizzes) and what areas of the curriculum do these resources cover? This is where LRC and library staff can work together with teaching practitioners to look at what is going to be taught during the course and what resources are available to help support these teaching aims.
Be sure to embed using digital resources with learners early and be consistent in using them: make students aware of what is on offer and regularly signpost them to where these resources can be accessed. The more aware students are of what resources exist and the easier it is for them to find them, the more likely they are to benefit from them and engage with them throughout their course.
Think about how to use them effectively
A huge benefit of digital resources is that they are so varied and can be used to enhance teaching and learning in so many different ways.
Videos and infographics can be used to introduce new topics or learners can use guides as background reading in preparation for their next class.
Interactive activities can be set as homework so learners can reflect on what they have learnt in class at their own pace and quizzes and games are a great tool for recaps of topics and for revision purposes.
Think about how digital learning resources can be embedded into lesson plans and take advantage of the range of resources available to make sure you are catering to a variety of different learning styles.
Keep your resources organised!
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to organise your digital resources in an easy and accessible way and it’s a great idea to have a centralised place to collate these resources so learners know exactly where to go to find the resources they need.
West College Scotland have been creating subject guides on Wakelet that include links to relevant digital resources connected to a particular subject as well as guides on what digital resources are available and how to use them. These guides can then be easily embedded into Moodle or Microsoft Teams.
West College Scotland have mostly linked to e-book services but the same approach can be taken with our Vocational Learning Resources too: links to resources can be inserted into guides or directly into an organisation’s VLE and organised by subject area or module.
If you want to get ahead and embed a tool that does this for you, then consider licensing the Virtual Library which brings together content from e-books for FE, Vocational Learning Resources and licensed collections and makes them available through a single plugin that integrates directly into your VLE. To learn more about the Virtual Library, click here.
Digital Learning Resources in FE Teaching Toolkit
During the recent unprecedented shift to online learning during COVID-19, it’s clear that digital learning resources have been a fantastic tool to support teaching and learning and to keep students engaged. But even as we transition back to face to face teaching, digital learning resources still provide a huge amount of value to the learning experience but are often not used to their full potential.
To help and support teaching practitioners using digital learning resources, we have created the Digital Learning Resources in FE Teaching Toolkit. The Toolkit can be used as a continuous professional development activity for teaching practitioners and aims to help build confidence and understanding of digital learning resources and how to implement them effectively.
The Toolkit is split into four sections:
• Discovery – an overview of different types of digital resources, the benefits of using them and what to consider when selecting resources to use.
• Planning – what we mean by the ‘digital learning experience’, how to develop your learners’ digital capabilities and how to make sure your online teaching is accessible for all.
• Delivery – what to consider when creating your online classroom and how teaching can be delivered online, how to use digital resources effectively in your teaching practice and how to keep learners engaged when learning online.
• Assessment, feedback and reflection – the benefits of online assessment and how to design them, how assessment can affect student employability and the rise of e-portfolios and how technology can be used to offer effective feedback and encourage learner reflection.
The Toolkit is non-linear so you can pick and choose the areas you want to learn more about and there is a Further Reading section at the end of each page so you can explore the topic further through websites, articles and activities.
The Toolkit is due to go live very shortly and we will keep you updated on when it will be available.
Shaping the digital future of FE and skills
In collaboration with the Association of Colleges (AoC), Jisc have been working on a project entitled Shaping the digital future of FE and skills, focusing on realising the potential of technology to further benefit the further education sector now and in the future.
The project has brought together college leaders, teaching practitioners, learners, sector bodies and edtech experts and the group has shared examples of best practice of innovative teaching, learning and assessment practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, Jisc collated this research and published the group’s first report which includes a series of recommendations for the government, sector bodies and colleges. To download and read more about the report, click here.
A reminder that our next webinar clinic will be on Wednesday 30 September from 2-3 pm, on the theme of Digital Skills. The three areas we will cover are as follows:
• E-books and mobile devices
Given the requirements for off-campus learning, we will be discussing the implications and practicalities of accessing e-books for FE on mobile devices, the issue of digital exclusion, and how services are responding.
• Digital Toolkit
We’ll be introducing the Digital learning resources in FE teaching toolkit and looking at how it can help and support teaching practitioners using digital resources in online learning.
• Vocational Learning Resources
We will be giving an overview of our Vocational Learning Resources, outlining the new pricing model, and answering any questions you might have about using this service.
The clinic can be accessed at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/training/e-books-for-fe-online-clinic
Win a £30 National Book Token
Congratulations again to West College Scotland, winners of the August book token!
Remember, each month we will ask a question relating to using our digital resources and invite you to respond on Twitter. The winner will then receive a £30 National Book Token.
Our September question is:
“How are you promoting your resources to students and keeping them engaged with digital learning content?”
Deadline: 30 September.
The winner will be announced in the October newsletter. Good luck!