Technology Enhanced Learning, in short, is any technology that enhances the learning experience. The term can be used to describe both analogue and digital technologies, but more recently, we see that digital TEL is taking over education in the form of different types of educational software.
TEL is transforming and enhancing vocational training and education (VET) and training institutions beyond recognition. This has been an exponential growth in new education apps, software for trainers and teachers, and e-learning services. We are entering a phase of education where technology is not just a valuable resource, but an essential tool helping to improve the experience for both learners and training and education centres.
Technology Enhanced Learning is important for many reasons. It is not only important because it is the standard that is expected today – learners, customers and stakeholders demand the use of digital technology. More importantly, when used effectively, it can also improve the quality and impact of training and education.
Today, learners are more tech-savvy than ever before – much of their day is spent interacting with some form of technology. The ease and at which they navigate technology and their comfort level mean that in a society more and more dominated by ever-developing smartphones, tablets, computers, and more, learners today expect and indeed thrive when interacting with technology.
Exponential Training has been an early adopter of many digital tools over the years – indeed the company’s first on-line 360-dregee assessment tool, Perspectives 360, was launched as long ago as 2002! Since then, the Exponential Training team has sought to use technology to improve learner interaction and support, learning engagement, and understanding using webinars (12 years before the Zoom phenomenon), e-learning, e-portfolios, and e-assessment. It has helped to transform the quality and effectiveness of Exponential’s training programmes resulting in:
- The increased use of remote and hybrid learning
- Learners being able to plan when and where they learn and complete assessments
- The introduction of thousands of more learning resources
- Increased levels of learner engagement and completion levels of its suite of Chartered Management Institute qualifications
- Keeping Exponential at the forefront of new trends in vocational training and education.
In addition to Exponential’s Perspective 360 on-line assessment system, its e-portfolio platform – LEAP and its own bespoke Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), ManagementDirect, the Exponential team has been pushing the boundaries with other new digital learning tools. In partnership with a dozen European VET centres and IT developers, the Exponential team has been developing PRONTO and PROSPER.
The Erasmus+ PRONTO innovation project has resulted in the development of a new ‘lite’ project management system for use by smaller enterprises. Most project management methodologies and platforms are often too sophisticated for the smaller business. Through PRONTO which is short for ‘Projects On Time and On Budget’ is a simple intuitive tool enabling small business owners to implement mini business improvement projects. By the end of the Erasmus project in 2023, partners will have used the PRONTO tool to help their own VET centres to develop an organisation-wide Technology Enhanced Learning strategy and project plan.
The E-Growth Erasmus project is all about how ensure vocational training centres can implement digital learning technologies into existing and new training programmes. The project has resulted in set of seven Learning Journeys exploring different TEL tools. The range of tools includes:
- Simulation and gaming (serious games)
- E-assessment and e-portfolios
- VLEs and LMS
- E-learning and digital learning tools and
- Collaboration tools and social media.
To demonstrate the power of TEL, project partners have developed a business simulation called PROSPER. PROSPER involves teams of learners setting up a restaurant and wine bar and growing their business. The simulation enables learners to understand the relationship between multiple variables ranging from pricing, marketing strategy, innovation, and operations management.
Exponential Training Quality Manager, Anne-Marie Daly, commented:
“To integrate as many learning points into a conventional training course would be challenging. The experiential nature of PROSPER means that learners can experiment and have fun whilst exploring multiple complex variables and the relationship between variables. This simulation enables learners to understand finance and ratio analysis, stock management and procurement, sales and marketing and the importance of customer service and quality on business performance.”
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