Over Half of Further Education Colleges Fail to Benefit from Digital Tools Says Report

Educators in FE colleges are overwhelmingly in favour of greater use of digital learning tools to ease pressures on daily workloads, however over half (58%) of FE colleges report that they don’t currently experience any increased efficiencies from their investment in digital, according to new research by YMCA Awards.

Many professionals reported an urgent need and willingness to make use of digital solutions (all but 4% of people were open to greater use of digital learning) to help meet current and emerging challenges.

However, despite the Government’s focus on increasing digital skills and digital inclusion, and a pressing need in many organisations to increase efficiencies in the face of budget cuts, the majority were not yet feeling the potential benefits.

44% of institutions admitted having access to digital tools, but using them infrequently. While, 12% reported not using digital tools at all.

The Unlocking the Potential of Digital Learning Report from international awarding organisation YMCA Awards, is based on a survey carried out with staff in 26 FE colleges in May 2017 and accompanies the launch of a range of digital learning tools designed to address the needs expressed by FE colleges.

According to the survey’s findings, the most obvious issue that needs addressing is the ability to make basic tasks (such as marking) more efficient, with many staff reporting that lack of time was their most pressing challenge on a day-to-day basis (62%) and over half (54%) saying that, as a result, they regularly worked on weekends or evenings out of their contracted hours.

Commenting on the findings, Adam Williams, Awards’ Head of Products and Services, said: “What we hear regularly from FE colleges is that investing in digital doesn’t automatically mean feeling its benefits. What’s crucial is linking this with guidance and support on how to integrate digital learning into the classroom.

“Over a third (39%) of those surveyed admitted that one of their biggest daily challenges was incorporating digital learning tools into lesson plans, with a similar number (40%) highlighting this as one of their major concerns for the future.

“We’ve addressed these issues within our package of digital learning tools to help immediately ease this problem for FE staff.

“We believe that partners of FE colleges need to become better at listening to feedback from staff about their experiences with digital learning and where they most urgently need its help.”

In response to this need YMCA Awards has launched a package of tools {insert link to product / service page when available] designed around the needs expressed by FE college staff as well as providing the support to implement these tools into daily routines.

Williams comments: “We’ve looked at areas where our tools can have most impact on saving time while also enhancing and preserving the standards of educational experiences.

“Perhaps our most impactful innovation is Y-Mark {insert link} a self-marking workbook to support internal assessment and free up a huge amount of time that could be better spent engaging directly with learners.

Other free tools included in the YMCA Awards package include an online assessment platform for online booking and sitting external examinations, as well as mock assessments to help prepare learners for their exams.

More details on transforming your delivery can be obtained by visiting the website, www.ymcaawards.co.uk/promo/transform-your-delivery