Research and analysis

Delivering online learning: SFA response to FELTAG report

Published 22 October 2014

The aim of the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) was to identify obstacles preventing further education providers taking full advantage of technology. The group’s recommendations were designed to remove these obstacles, and encourage the further education system towards the digital future expected by learners and employers.

This guide shows how the SFA will action the recommendations set out in the government’s FELTAG response.

1. Completing the ILR code

The 2014 to 2015 individualised learner record (ILR) includes a field which asks for the proportion of the curriculum design (scheme of work) delivered by computer-mediated activity rather than by a lecturer. This is activity which replaces face to face lecturing time including webinars, but not time spent on researching information on the web. The Agency will only be using this ILR data to gauge the current volume of online delivery and establish a baseline to inform funding policy development and implementation for future years.

2. Definition: 10% wholly online component

The FELTAG definition of a 10% wholly-online component relates to the proportion of each programme of study that could be moved from face-to-face delivery to online delivery. This online component could include time when learners learn online, interact with other learners online or use online content, systems, tools and services with little, if any, direct tutor support.

Ideally all courses should have some wholly-online elements, with some programmes having a more substantial proportion, depending on the range and type of provision. For example, higher-level programmes that involve a large proportion of learner-led independent study might include more online elements than programmes with learners who require more support or courses with a high level of manual skills training such as catering or forestry.

We are not expecting providers to convert 10% of learning delivery in each programme of study ‘en bloc’ to online to meet a ‘directive’. Rather, we are encouraging providers to establish a strategy to determine where the adoption of a greater ‘blend’ of delivery and assessment types adds most value to a learning programme; Providing learners with improved access to learning outside the classroom, increasing their ability to learn and to assess themselves at their own pace as well as to develop new digital skills and networking opportunities to enhance employability.

3. Temperature check survey

The Agency would like providers to complete a temperature check survey to indicate the current level of online learning in their existing provision. The feedback from this survey, together with AY 2014 to 2015 ILR data returns, will be used to gauge the current volume of online delivery and establish a baseline to inform funding policy development and implementation for future years.