I was particularly pleased to see the government’s industrial education strategy published last month (July 2013), finally giving long overdue recognition of the importance of this sector to UK PLC.
The strategy highlighted the UK’s world leading expertise in educational technology, noting that “UK companies are among the most innovative in the development of digital learning resources in schools and colleges.”
Virtual College has certainly been at the forefront of innovation in developing digital learning resources in the UK, having started delivering training via laser discs before moving on to online e-learning and latterly mobile apps.
In reading the strategy it is clear that the government has belatedly recognised that if that innovation is to continue, it must maintain the environment that supports it, and appears to be focusing on a number of themes to achieve this.
Two of the themes, collaboration and skills strategy, strike me as being crucial to the success of the whole approach.Collaboration
The emphasis on collaboration between organisations, like how Virtual College collaborate with colleges and universities, is crucial to the development of the sector and has proven that there are opportunities to work together with education providers when creating innovative learning solutions. With all the attention given to MOOCs, we are in danger overlooking a source of growth and support for the UK economy.Skills strategy
The importance of stimulating the UK’s domestic skills market by using education should also not be underestimated.
The minister responsible, Matthew Hancock, seems committed to getting employers to drive workplace skills, with employer ownership schemes being good evidence of this approach. Combined with the intention to increase the use of education technology, this part of the UK skills strategy is very welcome.
Indeed, Virtual College has been working with many employers to introduce learning technology into their workplace for many years. Learning Management Systems allow employers to own their training provision and ensure it is aligned it to the needs of their organisation. After pioneering this approach since 1996, I know it really does work.
We have also worked very hard to develop e-Apprenticeship solutions. This initiative was designed to improve the provision of apprenticeships by increasing the relevance of the learning to the workplace and at the same time reduce the overheads and bureaucracy associated with traditional paper based delivery.
As we said in our recent press release , we really do welcome this government’s strategy as we see the education technology market becoming increasingly important to UK PLC.By Rod Knox,