Apprentices working remotely are often dependent on email and text for feedback and advice from trainers prior to a review. How can digital technology do more to improve the delivery of feedback?
It is important for younger apprentices and their trainers to form a close bond and for feedback to be available in one accessible location, such as an e-portfolio system designed for the skills sector. These systems enable trainers to provide a continuum of feedback to their apprentices and in some instances to ‘meet’ virtually to discuss issues and give and obtain feedback.
The University of Dundee introduced a ‘team teaching’ approach to support learners on a course for FE teachers. By having a centralised blog, and a shared email and Twitter account, tutors are able to supply learners with prompt, efficient support remotely.
The centralised approach means that if one member of staff is ‘snowed under’ or unavailable through absence, others working in the team will pick up queries raised by learners.
As queries often relate to procedural matters, the responses need not be individual. What matters to learners is the timeliness of replies so that they avoid wasting time by taking the wrong approach.
Effort is saved as once one trainer has dealt with a question or appeal for advice, all trainers have access to that information (as of course do all the learners).
At Dundee, tutors, supporting 44 learners each, reduced time spent answering queries from 176 minutes per week to 60 minutes per week.