Last updated: 05.07.12

Wales 'should become world leader in online learning'

A new scheme aims to increase the use of e-learning tools in Welsh schools.The plan of action comes after the publication of the Digital Classroom Teaching Task and Finish Group's report Find it, Make it, Use it, Share it - Learning in Digital Wales, which evaluated how the Welsh government can improve digital learning and the materials that work within the classroom.This document claimed the nation must tap into the world of online learning by setting up some necessary frameworks, principles and processes, while equipping pupils and teachers with some of the skills likely to be needed in the future.Education minister Leighton Andrews said he wants Wales to become a "world leader" in this sector, claiming the policies suggested in the e-learning report will help it to achieve this goal.Online learning enables young people and children to access "tremendous" academic resources, he stated.Students need to be supported in developing the maturity, skills and confidence to safely use the internet and take advantage of the opportunities this "new world" provides, the minister asserted."We will be encouraging schools to make full use of social technologies to engage learners and improve learning outcomes," Mr Andrews noted.Virtual learning environments are likely to be desired by the youth as well, with the politician noting young people and children "want to learn using the latest technologies".The expectation that digital technologies, which are now used every day, should be also utilised in academia is "not unreasonable", he continued.Innovations play a "crucial" role in driving up the performance of learners and giving them the most relevant skills for later life, the minister added.The plan from the government will involve establishing a National Digital Learning Council, which will provide specialist guidance on online training throughout Wales.Furthermore, a bilingual e-learning platform will be established and a National Digital Collection will support online learning by providing students and teachers with good practice and curriculum resources.Digital leaders will be appointed, educators will be trained so they can lead e-learning courses in information technology and computer science and an annual National Digital Event will be held to recognise achievements and raise the profile of the distance learning sector of the country.