ALTC 2013 conference report

The annual conference for the Association of Learning Technology was held this year at the University of Nottingham.

Rachel Wenstone, the NUS Vice President gave the first key note and spoke about student expectations and partnerships and for the first year, there was a dedicated day for Further Education with presentations from FELTAG (Further Education Learning Technology Education Group) and a report from a college involved in the JISC Advance FE and Skills programme.

Rachel Wenstone: Vice President, National Union of Students

Rachel spoke very strongly how the NUS can help shape a new culture of learning in HE between students and educationalists and how the partnerships had to be based on more than pure mechanisms, for example surveys and focus groups, and that for student engagement it was imperative that students should be active participants in the not passive receptors. Although the focus was on HE, Fe can also take lessons from this presentation, especially the idea of building a culture of partnerships and how this will positively impact on the learner experience. Rachel’s final point was that a true partnership is one where student’s ideas are welcomed and actively encouraged. You can watch and listen to Rachel’s full speech here





FELTAG: Further Education Learning Technology Action Group


The FELTAG group, convened by Matthew Hancock, MP, Minister for Skills, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills held an open session on the FE day at ALTC 2013. The groups remit is to “make practical recommendations to enhance the effective use of technology in learning, teaching and assessment in the FE sector”. The session was a Q&A to garner topics and concerns from the audience about what the group could do which would make a difference or influence policies and strategies. A contentious issue was one around GLH’s and what this means for blended/e/distance learning. There was no definite answer but the group promised to take it up with the relevant body and report back.




JISC Advance FE and Skills programme
This parallel session dealt with the lack of pedagogical and technology related research in FE and the reasons why this may be. The culture in FE is different to E with FE not having designated research departments, funding or dissemination channels. Therefore research tends to be undertaken on an individual basis (normally to do with a teaching qualification). As the traditional forms of research have been disbanded (BECTA, ERL, LSIS etc.) the project report that it would be useful to have someone in the institution that could investigate the funding opportunities and identify research opportunities that will be useful foremost to the institution and can offer help with writing the bid, evaluation and methodology.


The project conclusions were that in order to increase the success of FE research, there needed to be;
  • Better funding
  • Ring fenced time
  • Flexibility
  • Support from HE


Timmus were asked to do an evaluation of the effectiveness of projects in FE and especially “What makes a successful technology project in FE?” Read the blog report here


College Lecturer Survey undertaken in 2011 by LSIS


This year’s college lecturer survey was advertised at the conference. This is a survey to ascertain trends of digital literacy and capabilities of lecturers in FE. Read feedback and reflections on the 2011 survey here: The 2013 survey is now live and can be accessed here

Additionally, this presentation from Geoff Rebeck exploring what eLearning brings to the table in FE may be interesting


FE News produced a special edition with articles about the Technology in FE and skills which can be downloaded here:



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