Truro & Penwith College: OneFile made the transition to remote learning much smoother
How have you guys found the transition to home working and teaching?
It has been both challenging and rewarding! We made the promise that all scheduled teaching would continue as before, just via remote sessions. The effort required to make this change so suddenly and retain outstanding quality has been immense, but learner feedback has made this worthwhile. The teams that had fully adopted OneFile found the transition to remote delivery much smoother and less stressful.
Did you face any challenges as a tutor and how did you overcome them?
A big challenge for tutors has been maintaining engagement and interaction when teaching remotely. Learners tend to be less willing to answer or ask questions, therefore we have included quizzes to encourage interaction and are restructuring lessons so that they incorporate small group working. Following initial taught input, groups are tasked to work remotely and then feedback to the wider group. Tutors can drop into each working group to check progress, as they would in the classroom. This also helps learners to maintain social interaction, which many are missing, as they feel more comfortable in smaller groups. Some tutors have also left the remote session running over lunch and told the learners they can stay and chat. We have extensively used OneFile following the lessons for resources and homework requirements. We are also now looking to produce more pre-lesson resources on OneFile such as videos explaining key concepts and models.
What do your learners think about home learning?
Feedback from learners has been highly positive, I think they have really appreciated one element of their life continuing as normal.
We do have some learners who have struggled – some really miss the classroom experience, some miss the social elements, many struggle with motivation and self-discipline, especially where they are new to the workforce and now furloughed or working from home. We have also found that for some learners with anxiety, this situation has heightened their anxiety, and they have found it incredibly unsettling. Our team of training advisors that support apprentices have been working incredibly hard to stay in regular contact with all learners and provide extra support to those struggling. Going forward we are exploring offering both classroom and remote options so that learners can select the method that bests suits them.
How have you used OneFile to support your remote working?
We have used OneFile to set assignments and assessments, provide learner feedback, track progress, complete reviews and store course resources such as lesson PowerPoints and further reading. The Functional Skills team has used OneFile extensively. They have designed a diagnostic tool that produces a targeted action plan for each learner, which consists of; video tutorials, reading materials, worksheets and mock tests all set on OneFile. Remote triadic reviews have been carried out on OneFile as training advisors are able to share their screen and complete reviews remotely. Managers who have been furloughed are still able to access OneFile to monitor progress and view all the reviews completed in their absence. Programme leads can also keep track of learners and any progress issues arising from the current situation.
Are there any features in particular that have helped? eg. planning, communication, progress tracking, reviews?
The progress tracking feature ensures that all stakeholders can clearly see learner progress and any issues can be addressed quickly if progress starts to slip. Employers have access to their apprentice’s portfolio which has helped during review sessions as employers have clear visibility of progress and are better able to support where required. I also particularly like the fact that you can see who owns the assessment task (learner or assessor), so that you know how to support the apprentice.
Your learners are more engaged than ever. How has OneFile impacted this?
I think that having everything to do with the learner journey in one place allows learners to fully engage and take ownership of their apprenticeship. They are able to see not only their overall progress, but also the progress being made by learning aim.
How are you tracking engagement?
The reporting capability of OneFile is endless. You can track the engagement of both staff and apprentices in terms of system usage but also the quality of work submitted and the feedback provided.
What advice would you give to other centres to help them adapt to remote working?
We would definitely recommend OneFile but would also recommend that centres invest the time and effort to fully embed OneFile within the centre. To do this I have produced additional support guidance and videos, using OneFile’s resources and adapting them to fit our practices. I have also met with all departments to set up a five-stage adoption plan and guide them through each stage. Now that the setup is mostly complete, I am hosting monthly support sessions to address any teething problems and share features that are working well.
The other key advice would be communication, communication, communication. With remote learning we have found it is even more important to be really clear with learners on all aspects of the course and our expectations of them. We have also found that learners need additional support at the start to make sure their first engagement with remote learning goes smoothly. If learners haven’t met before, you need to build in ice-breaking activities to help the learners bond as a group. This ensures learners feel comfortable contributing and discussing issues they are facing or asking questions if they don’t understand.
Lisa Lawrence, OneFile co-ordinator | Truro and Penwith 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.