An educational software company founded by a former schoolteacher from the Isle of Skye has signed a collaboration agreement with Scotland’s largest college that will help students and tutors to exploit the benefits of online learning.
Glasgow-based Klik2learn has developed a digital Learning Hub with City of Glasgow College that will allow students to take courses and gain certification remotely.
As part of the deal, covering 915 different licenses, the company aims to digitise popular content from the College’s suite of vocational educational programmes for both the UK and overseas markets. The technology will also be made available to other educational institutions and training providers across the UK to purchase under license.
The first courses to be developed as part of the collaboration are aimed at students of English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) to allow the College to meet local demand and continue recruiting students from overseas during the pandemic and afterwards.
Company founder Ann Attridgesaid:“Our collaboration with City of Glasgow College is a giant step forward in recognising the benefits blended learning can offer in terms of individualized learning and faster progress.
“This deal also reflects the huge demand from students and tutors for accredited online learning content.
“Together, we’re pushing the boundaries of online learning and demonstrating how our products can optimise tutor time, raise attainment levels, enhance vocational skills and close the employability gap.”
Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Glasgow College, added: “Our College offers an extensive portfolio of online and blended learning programmes to meet business and industry needs. I welcome our new partnership with Klik2learn which will further enhance our offering and add to our range of digital options for students.”
Students using Klik2Learn’s Learning Hub will be guided through courses remotely, with access to digital, audio and video source material as well as being able to collaborate with other students and communicate remotely with tutorial staff in real time.
Klik2learn’s new product, Journey2BasicSkills, fills a gap in the market for learners with no prior knowledge of English. Combined with Journey2English, all levels of English language are covered from pre-beginner to upper intermediate levels. The software, which can be downloaded onto smartphones, has already been used by refugees from Syria and Iraq in the UK to learn English.
Journey2English has been accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and City and Guilds and can be delivered with or without any tutor involvement.
Journey2English gives students the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills necessary for studying, working, and living in an English-speaking environment.
Students who complete the course will have an English proficiency level aligned to CEFR Level B2, certified by City & Guilds along with a Digital Credentials Badge to add to their CVs.
Ms Attridge, who was a chartered teacher in English at Portree High School before winning a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship and embarking on a business career, said: “City of Glasgow College is leading the way with digital innovation. It recognises the opportunities presented by digital education, particularly in relation to international students.
“We are not just selling individual licenses to courses; we are putting everything together in a digital Learning Hub that will include a variety of other innovative multimedia resources and enable tutors to access all the data they need to track progress and support students.”
While the collaboration agreement is aimed initially at providing courses for non-native English speakers, other digitised courses for a range of technical and vocational courses will also be available through the Learning Hub.
Ms Attridge, who has a post-graduate degree in Linguistics, added: “The Hub will have a learning management system, reporting dashboard functionality and the ability for tutors to connect with students on group chat.
“The software we develop does a lot of the teaching for them. That’s been the main problem, everyone has been in panic mode, trying to find and post content onto platforms — a quiz here, a video there – understandably because it’s all teachers could do in the circumstances.
“One company was required to produce around 180 online activities in two weeks, but if you look at pictures of students using it, they all have their books open.
“It has taken a long time to put together learning that works in a structured way and also engages students.”
Cathy Glover, Head of ESOL Curriculum at City of Glasgow College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to make ESOL learning more relevant and accessible to our many students, both at home and abroad; while increasing employment opportunities. The learning hub will also provide up to date resources for teachers and trainers that can support learning in an innovative and stimulating way.”
Jacqui Massie, Head of Business and International Development said: “We recognise the importance of developing online and blended learning opportunities to meet the changing study and skills needs of our learners.
“City of Glasgow College has a large global footprint and we are already in discussion with our partners across the world to deliver our suite of online and blended learning programmes to meet and address identified skills gaps.”