City & Guilds have a common challenge when it comes to further education.Typical adults studying Maths and English at City & Guilds are 16-25 years old whom have missed out on these qualifications at school. They might have had a negative experience with traditional education in the past or feel disengaged and demotivated.
Our challenge was to create engaging, online resources that turn this attitude on its head. The resources had to be suitable for both independent study and supported use in the classroom and couldn't assume reading ages as high as the qualifications being studied for. They needed to be accessible for learners, relevant to their everyday lives and available on the go.
We used a learning model that followed the approach of See It, Try It, Test It. This provided learners with the opportunity to understand and engage with concepts, then get an opportunity to dive in deeper and find out more, before being tested on their knowledge.
The model not only built understanding but also allowed us to tailor the learner’s path based on their ability. Short, audio driven animations and videos were used to bring concepts to life for learners studying for Entry level 1 and 2 qualifications. Tutorials were kept short and easy to read with optional supporting audio and scenarios stretched learners working towards Level 1 and 2 qualifications.
The 'See It' conveyed a concept to the learner clearly and succinctly. We used very simple explanations and chose the most appropriate resource type depending on the content. So for concepts that lent themselves to being illustrated, such as measurements or signposts, we created mini animations with an audio narration. For some of the more complex learning objectives we included tutor led video clips, which were more like mini-lectures. Sometimes we used props or physical locations to help get across the point.
We created two resource types within try it that give learners an opportunity to delve deeper into the concepts and start putting what they’ve learnt into practice. Firstly, tutorials walk learners through the learning objective, adding details to help them not just to understand the concept but to know how to use the skill, whether this is a Maths objective such as understanding decimals, or an English objective such as recognising facts from opinions.
The scenarios were about contextualising the content in real-life situations and allowing learners to practise using these skills in a safe environment.
Quizzes provided the final 'Test It' element. They were created in our Adapt HTML5 framework (as were all the resources), ensuring they utilised a responsive design approach. The level of support here was much less than in the scenarios and tutorials of the 'Try It' section, so there wasn't scope for multiple attempts, detailed feedback or opportunities to view more information. These resources gave tutors a true indication of learners’ knowledge around each of the subject areas.
They could also be used as a diagnostic, so tutors who were unsure of a learner’s ability could set them a test. Their score would determine whether they needed more support and should complete the 'See It' and 'Try It' elements.
We found this approach to be highly effective and suitable for both the content that we were considering and the specific needs of our audience. The flexibility of the resource types, within a more rigid model, allowed us to ensure we could target learner’s ability directly, and not be concerned that they were positioned as too easy or too difficult.
At the end of the project we had created a total of 85 resources including videos, animations, tutorials and scenarios across two subject areas and five qualification levels. These are now being used by students studying for a wide range of apprentices and qualifications in centres across the UK, and the tutors that teach them.
We’re proud to play a part in the modernisation of functional skills teaching; increasing the appeal of Maths and English for a young, tech-savvy generation.