Northern Training Academy

Increasing Learner Engagement During Lockdown

Learners are taking responsibility for their own learning

Learners are taking responsibility for their own learning, working at the pace that best suits them, whilst still receiving the support and guidance they need from their learning coaches.

Back in March when restrictions were put in place, many organisations had to rethink their operations and how to overcome the barriers that Covid-19 introduced. Swift action from one company resulted in a 90% retention rate of learners during lockdown.

Northern Training Academy (NTA), based in Lancashire, provide apprenticeship services nationally to employers. NTA  knew the outline of how they wanted to support their apprentices during lockdown, but it was evident from the start that it wasn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all journey.

The project that NTA delivered with funding from Ufi was focused in the retail sector and  implemented e-portfolios for apprentices, enabling them  to take responsibility of their own learning and access learning resources at their own pace.

The technology also allowed NTA coaches  to access the learners’ portfolios to monitor progress and  achievement, and to talk to learners through a learner notepad.

The development of the e-portfolios identified the need for content creation because contact and communication with apprentices was now being delivered remotely.

  • Rather than use just ‘off the shelf’, content, NTA decided to use their own team to develop learning videos. NTA’s strength has long been the relationship between their learners and coaches, and using familiar faces helped them maintain and build those relationships, while all face to face contact was restricted. By using their own team, as opposed to professional speakers, meant learners identified more with the active coaches that NTA employ.

  • Multimedia learning offered a more engaging learning experience than traditional textbook training.

Thanks to Ufi’s project management support we were able to quickly unpick the issue of this lack of technological understanding and to focus on keeping things as simple as possible to make our project as accessible as possible to our learners.

Jo Roche, Managing Director for Northern Training Academy

Findings from the Ufi-funded project have given NTA more confidence in working remotely with learners – the new normality will be that remote working will be part of their delivery structure. 

Where do we all go from here?

The impact of the pandemic on vocational education continues to be felt far and wide. With an economic downturn, large scale job losses, and a recession widely predicted, Our CEO, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, reminds us why change is needed.