Hopwood Hall College: making remote learning a success in uncertain times
Have you faced any challenges as a tutor working from home and how did you overcome them?
Well yes, I was unsure at first as I’ve never worked from home in teaching before. OneFile has been especially helpful to me, adapting to a new way of teaching and using all the communication features. I also liaised with colleagues who were a great help as were the team meetings along the way.
Hopwood Hall College have OneFile champions within the team to help mentor and support those tutors who have less experience. We have used the time to develop reports and communication links to all apprentices and employer mentors.
The main challenge has been ensuring all learners are comfortable and able to continue to progress in an online situation. I feel for some learners not having the tutor in the room and at hand was a challenge to start with, but with the learning resources and technology available. As my learners and I use OneFile to communicate and record anyway that this has made the transition smoother as a certain amount of online learning was already in place. We’ve also added short videos and PowerPoints to support learners that need it.
What do your learners think about home learning?
Learners are enjoying using OneFile more to help them complete set work. The idea of remote learning isn’t new to apprentices, keeping them engaged during uncertain times has been challenge. Motivating them to use this time to learn, earn and return for business is critical.
My learners have been accessing OneFile and like it – our learners are actually 37% more engaged since we transitioned into home learning thanks to OneFile! They like the way it condenses their apprenticeship standards work and also Functional Skills too. They also like the choice of links to message tutors and to be independent. It was a little strange at first but they feel a lot more independent and focused now.
The majority of my learners were happy and relieved that the college work would continue and not just lose momentum. There was a lot of apprehension in the beginning, but we kept their normal day release days to set online work to try and keep that routine and normality. The work set by tutors explained how it would contribute to their final grades to help with motivation and to set goals. I think for some, the apprehension died down when they could see that through technology, the support and contact would still be there, and they weren’t on their own. I speak to them all on their college days as I would if they were in college just to make sure that they have no concerns – again keeping as much normality and routine as possible is key for everybody.
How have you used OneFile to support your remote working?
As OneFile is the tool that we use on a day-to-day basis, it has helped our tutors and learners continue as normal as all meetings, tasks and progress reviews are pre-planned through OneFile as standard anyway. Having a system that they are familiar with has most definitely helped. Using OneFile to isolate any gaps in learning has helped to produce individual learning plans for apprentices so they can still continue to progress and also gives me the opportunity to provide any support. OneFile gives the learner opportunity to take more control of their apprenticeship as they can see exactly where they are up to percentage wise and also what needs to be done to complete. They can also look over completed tasks to recap on any skills that they have already obtained. I think having the ability to see their own progression through OneFile gives learners confidence and motivation.
Are there any features in particular that have helped?
Remote working has furthermore highlighted the importance of set progress reviews. These reviews are not just in place to track progression in learning but to monitor the welfare and safeguarding of apprentices and give the opportunity to make sure they are safe and happy in both the workplace and at college. They also provide the opportunity to set new goals and targets which will help to keep the learners engaged whilst remote working.
Your learners are more engaged than ever. How has OneFile impacted this?
OneFile is having a huge impact on remote learning. For a learner to able to access a system anytime anywhere to see their progression and to also keep that contact with the college and their tutors is playing a big part in keeping them engaged. All my learners have the OneFile app for their phones which makes it even easier for them to keep that contact. Motivation is key at the moment and having the facility to still set tasks, work and goals through OneFile is keeping the learners on track.
How are you tracking engagement?
On OneFile, I can see who has logged in and when. Also I can track when reviews and planned tasks for the learners are due which help me plan learning and learner engagement.
The learning journal is a great way of tracking engagement. It gives learners the chance to reflect on the work they have completed and to see the learning that has taken place and how it will be used.
We are using the reports within OneFile to monitor reviews, 20% off the job and interaction with OneFile and completing weekly comparisons to drive up momentum in the teams.
What advice would you give to other centres to help them adapt to remote working?
Keep as much normality and routine as possible for both yourself and the learners. Utilise the technology that we have at our disposal, using the OneFile app is an great way of keeping learners engaged. Also use tools such as Skype or Zoom to hold reviews, meetings or just to have a catch up with colleagues and students.
Use social media to share the positive approaches that staff and learners are using to adapt to remote learning. We are providing weekly updates on social media to showcase how apprentices are continuing to study and encourage employers that now is the time for them to learn, earn and then return for their business.
Tracey Wood, head of business development | Hopwood Hall College
This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.