Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4th January 2021 confirming a new national lockdown, Eden Training Solutions and our employers must ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges in the delivery of face-to-face teaching, learning and assessment. As a result of these challenges, Eden Training Solutions has switched to a blended learning approach that integrates online teaching, learning and assessment with traditional face to face delivery methods.
This blended approach relies on the involvement of the learner, Skills Tutor and employer using conferencing software (Microsoft Teams) at a time and pace that is suited to the learner.
Face-to-face training and assessment can continue in premises for vulnerable young apprentices who need it, but only by exception and following a completed risk assessment of the employers’ setting and where it is safe and practical to do so.
End-point assessment (EPA) and Functional Skills assessments can continue at employer premises where it cannot be undertaken remotely.
Eden’s objective is to support employers and learners to start, continue and complete their apprenticeships wherever possible.
Teaching, learning and assessment in the workplace
There are exceptional arrangements for the training and assessment for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it; and for learners who are due to undertake End-Point Assessment (EPA).
We recognise that for some apprenticeship programmes which normally involve substantial use of practical equipment and demonstration of applied knowledge, this new guidance will be particularly challenging.
At Eden, our virtual learning platform managed via Microsoft Teams provides a practical learning experience when on-site training isn’t possible under the current climate. This approach will continue to be taken to ensure that training can continue, and learners are able to keep progressing towards their own learning goals.
Training and assessment in the workplace and educational settings for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers
Face-to-face training and assessment will continue for vulnerable young learners and the children of key workers who need it (as defined within the critical workers and vulnerable children who can access educational settings guidance). The definition of vulnerable young learners includes those
16-18 year-olds who may have difficulty engaging with remote training and assessment at home (for example due to a lack of devices, connectivity, or quiet space to study).
Where face-to-face training and assessment continues onsite (employer premises) for vulnerable apprentices, it will be undertaken on a 1-1 basis, following a completed site risk assessment, and with social distancing in place. The guidance on how to minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible within the Further Education (FE) national restriction guidance must be followed where training and assessment continues onsite.
Learners in the workplace
Learners should only attend workplaces where they cannot work from home and it is essential for them to do so. Where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, apprenticeship training and assessment will be delivered in the workplace where that workplace meets ‘COVID-19 secure’ government guidelines.
Disruption to training
Due illness, having caring responsibilities and/or any severe operational disruption, apprentices may be unable to attend training with Eden Training Solutions.
- For an individual, this might be necessary due to illness or self-isolation, or challenges in getting to their place of employment or location for training
- For an employer, this might be necessary due to a temporary need to redeploy apprentices to different roles, staff absences or closure of facilities
Changing apprenticeship learning arrangements
Eden’s blended learning approach enables our learners to continue in training and complete their apprenticeships in line with their planned end date.
Eden’s blended learning approach to education combines opportunities to learn online with the traditional face to face classroom/workplace methods.
Distance Learning & Assessment
Face-to-face sessions in the workplace have been replaced with the use of video conferring software (Microsoft Teams), making learning more accessible and convenient during government lockdown whilst still supporting a diverse and engaging learning experience.
Distance Assessment is a method of assessment where the assessment is designed to be carried out remotely. Distance Assessment enables learners to be assessed even if they are in situations/settings where traditional methods of assessment may be difficult to facilitate.
In the current climate there are exceptions to normal practice that can be applied on individual basis for learners that are not able to meet with the exacting requirements of their end point assessment (EPA) due to Covid-19 restrictions and current government guidance.
There are scenarios where distance assessment will not be possible and not appropriate where:
- Where practical skills, interaction or performance need to be directly observed by the Skills Tutor and/or End Point Assessor
- Where the observation requirement cannot be replaced by another form of evidence in line with an exception to normal practice, such as witness evidence or a reflective account
When using distance learning and assessment as part of the blended learning approach, Eden will ensure that:
- Blended learning delivery meets the guidelines set by the Awarding Organisation
- The blended learning and assessment approach is valid, reliable and does not disadvantage any group or individual learners (ensured equality of access)
- Policies, processes, and structures are available that reflect the blended learning and distance assessment models of teaching, learning and assessment
- Delivery staff will have sufficient time allocated to support blended learning for learners that are out of the workplace and are working remotely
- Delivery staff will provide feedback on evidence captured/assignments and provide support and feedback in a timely manner for learners that are not in the working environment
- The setting of evidence capture/assignments will be undertaken in the video conferencing sessions so that the learners are clear on the requirements and so that deadlines are clear
- Delivery staff receive training to detect any instances of malpractice which may arise due to the different delivery/assessment methods chosen
- When learners submit evidence, it will be checked to ensure that the work is valid, authentic, reliable and current and that it is the learners’ own work
- Learners are fully aware of the need to ensure they avoid any forms of malpractice (for example plagiarism) and the consequences should they commit it
- Maintain and store securely all assessment, evidence and Internal Quality Assurance records in accordance with Awarding Organisation Centre Agreements
- All learners and uses of the system are supported in terms of E-safety training, which is tracked via the central quality team
- Clear IT policy for users of this process
- Support and guide learners in ensuring that their computers at home are secure from any sort of compromise
- Clear boundaries and rules for contacting learners at home
- IT support and assistance for learners who need extra guidance
Remote teaching, learning and assessment is monitored via the Internal Quality Assurance practices which includes the Observation of Teaching, Learning and Assessment via remote Teams webinar in line with Eden’s Quality Monitoring strategy.