Integrating digital technologies: Babington Group's experience

Jannike Ohsten, Digital Marketing Executive at Babington Group talks about their experiences of integrating digital technologies.

01 June 2015 / Jump to comment (1)

The Babington Group has transformed its offering. From providing tuition solely through the classroom and workplace, we now have almost 800 learners actively using our virtual learning environment, BabingtonOnline.

The recent Techno-logic report from City & Guilds stresses the importance of integrating digital solutions into training provision, and I would like to share our experience of doing so.

Barriers to a digital approach

The road to developing a robust technologically integrated approach is complex, and we still have a long way to go.

The first barrier to overcome was getting tutors on board. Time, relevance and the impact for the learner were all concerns demonstrated by staff, with many considering it to be another “technological fad” that would soon pass, and some even raising concerns that the technology would replace them, making their roles superfluous. While this was overcome to some extent by extensive staff training, full acceptance did not come until the positive results were clearly visible.

It then came down to practicalities. There was now an extra step in the process of delivering qualifications, and it was no longer simply a case of using tutor-written materials to plan and provide training. Blending each course to incorporate appropriate use of technology involves hours of development time, which meant recruiting new digital development staff, and making them an integral part of the team.

Benefits of digital integration

Like any other training provider, we face pressure to make financial savings through our delivery. We have found that, not only has digital technology helped, but it has allowed us to market an innovative offering to a new audience.

Despite initial worries about introducing new technology, for many tutors it has eased the daily challenge of giving sufficient attention to all learners.

Incorporating digital technologies has had a huge impact on productivity. Far less travelling is required, and time spent teaching and marking is greatly reduced, due to features like pre-recorded lectures and self-grading assessments. The need to plan lessons has been diminished, as the full course structure is already in place online, with automatic progression tracking.

Distance learning also means engagement with learners in geographical locations that were previously untouched, allowing us to market to a much wider audience. As found by 88% of training providers using e-learning, increased accessibility of training is a key benefit.

With the use of digital technologies, caseloads have increased threefold. But unlike so many financial saving initiatives, this one doesn’t come at the cost of quality for learners: in fact, both pass rates and learner engagement on e-learning programmes currently outperform the more traditional delivery methods. Reducing time spent on unnecessary tasks has allowed tutors to give far more one on one attention to learners, addressing their individual challenges.

As indicated by the report, e-learning has encouraged learners to take full responsibility for their own learning, gaining an independence that propels them ahead. Interactive features bring learning to life, and involve more learner participation than is possible in the classroom.

Initially, concerns were raised about the de-personalisation of learning through integration with digital technologies. In fact, e-learning has allowed a style of tuition that is more learner-centric than ever. Learners now have control over when and where they learn, and can utilise resources that encompass a variety of learning styles, ensuring their understanding.

All in all, we have found that integrating technology into course delivery greatly improves the experiences of both staff and learners. The key challenges lie in adapting the organisation to the transformation; giving ample staff training, and investing in the necessary resources early on, are critical.

Find out more about the City & Guilds’ Techno-logic report.

Comments 1 Comment

Stewart Segal

07 July 2015

This is a very helpful argument highlighting the benefits of digital technologies. It is clear it needs a long term commitment to a different approach but the payback can be huge in terms of cost savings and improving the learning delivery.

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