In a recent article in The Guardian John Cridland, Director General of the CBI, shared his perspective of the role Universities play in economic growth.
Over the last decade I think we’ve seen a revolution in the collaboration in business and higher education, but it’s been particularly focused on research collaboration. What I think will begin to happen now is more businesses will get involved in the curriculum side of universities, saying we will sponsor some students through a course, and help design STEM or computing courses – but we need it more relevant to the world of work.
Jisc, in responding to this challange, completed in 2012 a major initiative in the areas of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. This work was co-funded by the Jisc e-Learning and BCE programmes.
There were 13 projects in the programme which developed and implemented appropriate technologies and processes to enable HE-level learning services that meet the needs of learners in the workplace, and of their employers. Examples include
- the use of social networking platform Ning by the University of Bradford to implement the Develop Me! platform which allows students to make friends with their peers, sharing their hopes and fears about studying in Higher Education
- use of e-portfolios in work-based learning by the University of Wolverhampton, providing short units of online learning that can be combined into different awards offering learners and employers choice and flexibility
- providing feedback via web conferencing at Cardiff Metropolitan University, delivering contact time via Adobe Connect Pro directly to students in the workplace
- investigating the accreditation of prior experiencial learning (APEL) at the University of Plymouth Colleges and partners, resulting in the development of a web-based development and tracking tool which brings clarity to the APEL process
12 synthesis reviews are available on the Jisc website, in addition to the overall programme publication Learning in a Digital Age. This publication demonstrates, through a range of case studies, how institutions are using technology to atract and retain diverse groups of learners, offer professional development opporunities for their staff, and enhance engagement and collaboration with employers and other organisations with a stake in effective lifelong learning.
Supplementary resources, including video case studies and extended versions of the case studies are also available online at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digilifelong and http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digilifelongresources