Last updated: 30.04.14

Further education's future 'lies online'

The future landscape for educational delivery may still be somewhat unclear, but it is becoming increasingly evident that digital learning will have a key role to play. 

That is according to David Grailey, chief executive of the NCFE (Northern Council for Further Education), who believes that the provision of digital learning tools enables educators to reach a greater number of people and ensure that a higher proportion of them have opportunities to achieve and succeed.

This is broadly in line with the publication of a new report by the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), which concluded that new learning technologies can improve an individual's chances of reaching their potential in a further education environment, when they are deployed effectively.

"In the fast paced modern world, people want flexible learning at a time, place and in a style that suits their needs and their lifestyle - an online learning experience can offer this, engaging learners who have otherwise lost interest," he said.

According to the FELTAG report, which lays out its recommendations for enterprise and skills minister Matthew Hancock, the entire workforce must now be brought up to speed so that they properly understand the potential of learning technology - this is something that also applies to policy-makers, school heads, teachers and senior and middle business management 

The NCFE, too, has cast its support to digital learning, which it believes provides a more learner-centric approach to education. "What's more, it can support and empower teaching staff to further strengthen their teaching," Mr Grailey added. For this reason, the organisation has moved to offer its members a variety of online resources for learning, assessment and certification.

While the education sector is constantly evolving, the business expert said that the rapidly accelerating pace of technological development is making it ever-more important to embrace digital change, adding: "It's not just exciting. It's vital."