SAMSON – enhancing communication for work-based learning

Marc Dobson from the JISC Advance BCE Team recently attended the ‘Changing Times, challenging times: exploring the impact of new funding models on workbased education’ event at the University of Derby.

A key component of the event was to showcase the recently completed JISC Funded SAMSON (Shared Architecture for eMployer, Student and Organisational Networking) Project. The aim of the project is to provide a generic and evolving infrastructure for collaboration between universities, work based learners and their employers, resulting in enhanced communications in areas such as work placements and short courses for employees.

The project, led by the University of Nottingham’s Centre for International ePortfolio Development and involving both Nottingham Universities, provides a joined-up experience for students, employers and employees and for university staff developing employer engagement activities.

SAMSON uses the PebblePad ePortfolio system as a ‘portal’ to access the SAMSON service, using existing standards (XCRI and LEAP2A) to provide seamless interaction between multiple information systems and technologies. The model, based on flexible services, roles and processes, will transfer to other scenarios where relationship building can be enhanced by IT without compromising security.

Two work-based learners were present at the event to share their experiences of using the SAMSON system, who both found that it improved communications and allowed their employers to be much more engaged with their studies as they are better informed of their progress. Benefits demonstrated by the project include cost efficiencies, improved completion rates and an enhanced learner experience.

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