Flexible delivery fast tracks learning
To ensure Teach First met everyone’s requirements for the new learning platform, the team supplied D2L with a range of use cases. They covered support staff, who need insight into learner engagement, programme owners, who need to create courses simply, and learners who want clear and comprehensive learning pathways. Teach First’s trainees value flexibility and the capability to fit their learning around time spent teaching. This called for effective asynchronous learning delivery as well as support for learners accessing course material from a range of locations and devices. D2L demonstrated its understanding of Teach First’s requirements by proposing an outcomes-based solution to meet all needs.
“It was important to us that our learning platform provider really understand our objectives and what we stand for,” says Helen Farmer. “We wanted a partner, someone who listens, who would help us visualise how the learning pathways would look, and who would move forward with us.”
The immediate priority was to accelerate the platform rollout to provide distance learning to the summer intake. Teach First credits the close working partnership with D2L, together with the flexible and proactive ‘can do’ attitude of the team, with shaving three months off the delivery timeframe.
“We succeeded in fast tracking many deliverables,” says Christina Tidy, Learning Tools Product Manager at Teach First. “We weren’t expecting to have what we had until the following year, so the achievement was significant.”
Starting from June 2020, Teach First steadily introduced new trainees on the Brightspace platform and migrated existing learners over until the 10,000 strong cohort were all accessing courses seamlessly online. The programme is on track to increase this still further to around 20,000 in the autumn of 2021.
Teach First makes full use of the functionality of the Brightspace platform to engage learners and provide clear navigation through course content and assignments. Quizzes and discussions aid support roles in checking learner understanding and generating a collaborative atmosphere in which trainees are able to put their new skills into practice. The interactive platform provides a forum for the trainee teachers to ask questions and learn from others. In time, video notes and assignments will contribute to the rich multimedia experience through easily recorded visual feedback and comments.
Automation was another end goal achieved. Administrators use the application programming interface (API) tools to maintain licences and accounts, create new users on the platform, audit existing groups and keep user attributes up to date. Streamlining administration in this way helps Teach First alleviate time pressures on support and teaching staff.