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How learner centred Apprenticeships can help businesses address skills gaps.

schedule 28th March 2019 by Melanie Thompson in Virtual College Last updated on 28th March 2019

how can a learner approach help

How can a learner focused approach help me?

By adopting a learner-centered blended training approach combining face to face facilitation with online live sessions and e-learning that gives employers and apprentices control over their own training and ties into real world benefits you can create an unparalleled apprenticeship programme.

 In a learner-centered training programme, employers and apprentices are in control of their own learning experience. With Virtual College Apprenticeship programmes, all of the online live and e-learning training activities and materials are designed to cater to a wide range of learning needs. As such, each apprentice and their employer has the opportunity to take an active role in the training process.

When creating our technology driven flexible Apprenticeships we considered the following: 

Context - All of the learning activities included in our learner-centred strategy are relatable and relevant for the learner. They are tied to real world context and enable the learner to fully connect with the subject matter.

Construction - We acknowledge that a key component of a high quality apprenticeship programme must be equipping our apprentices with the skills necessary to tie the subject matter to real life situations or problems they have faced (or are currently trying to solve). They must also be able to put past experiences or already acquired knowledge to use when absorbing new information.

Collaboration - Our apprentices are given the chance to use their own thoughts and opinions to solve problems while collaborating with their peers and sharing insights. At the completion of each collaboration exercise, the apprentices are able to come to their own conclusions and tie the training experience into their own real life work experiences. Our apprentices attend online live classrooms with other apprentices studying the same programme across a range of different employers and work on group projects together benefitting from peer to peer support.

Conversation - By taking part in conversations with their peers, or even engaging in an inner dialogue with themselves, our apprentices are given the opportunity to absorb new information more effectively and gain an in depth understanding of their subject matter.

The Benefits of Learner-Centered Blended Learning Approach

  1. It offers a fully personalised training experience. Above all else, learner-centered blended training allows for personalised and powerful learning experiences for all apprentices.
  2. It boosts knowledge retention. Learner-centred blended training courses give apprentices the opportunity to not only acquire new information more effectively, but also to retain that knowledge for later use. A learner-centred approach gives FE professionals the opportunity to design online training experiences that challenge the apprentice based upon their personal and/or professional needs, rather than creating “one size fits all” approach. Our apprentices are encouraged to access previously acquired information and then put that knowledge into action, so that they can commit it to long term memory.
  3. It improves on-the-job performance. There are a number of job performance benefits that come from effective learner-centred blended training courses. First and foremost, this approach empowers apprentices by encouraging them to not only think for themselves, but to understand that all of their decisions have consequences and rewards. This boosts on-the-job performance because it puts them in control of their own skill set development. They are no longer passive observers who have no power over their training, but they are in fact active participants who have the ability to achieve their professional goals and reach their full potential.
  4.  It builds teamwork and critical thinking skills. Despite the fact that learner-centred blended training sessions may give the power back to the apprentice and employer it also involves a great deal of group collaboration. We encourage our apprentices to interact with other apprentices studying the same programme through group exercises. This enables them to benefit from the experience and knowledge base of other apprentices in other organisations through social interaction and collaboration, while still having control over the blended training experience.
  5.  It creates a blended training environment that ties into a real world context. The simple truth is that no matter how much time you devote to carefully crafting your content or designing visually striking learning resources, you just aren't going to offer any real value to your apprentices if the blended learning activities fail to offer real world value. There are plenty of opportunities to integrate real world benefits and challenges into a learner-centred blended training deliverable. You could for example create branching scenarios or simulations that are focused around on-the-job situations that they might encounter, or activities and real world examples that make them see how the subject matter directly relates to their real lives outside of the virtual training classroom/face to face workshops.

Those are just some of the benefits the learner-centred, blended learning approach to apprenticeships brings. This approach can be used in virtually all employer environments and subject sectors which can turn potentially boring or tedious subject matter into an engaging and immersive apprenticeship training course.

If you would like to find out more about our learner centred, employer led, technology driven apprenticeship programmes, please get in touch:

t: 01325 328827


Melanie Thompson Author

Author: Melanie Thompson

Melanie leads the apprenticeship division for Virtual College and prides herself on operating a high-quality provision. She has a wide range of qualifications, including a degree in Education, and keeps up-to-date with educational reforms. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters.

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