Hopwood Hall gets up to speed with itslearning in just six weeks
Hopwood Hall, a further education college in the UK, used a learning platform for several years, but user adoption was worryingly low among staff and students – and entire departments refused to touch the ‘cumbersome, inflexible and uninspiring’ learning platform. Everything changed when they switched to itslearning.
Hopwood Hall started using itslearning, a cloud-based learning platform, in September 2011. Already after six weeks from switching to itslearning, the amount of teachers and students regularly logging on each week had more than tripled compared to the college’s previous system. So why were teachers and students so keen to use itslearning considering their reluctance to use the old learning platform?
Because itslearning offers endless possibilities for creating engaging lessons and resources and it’s also very simple to start using, says teacher Becki Bork. In fact, Becki was blending classroom and online instruction with itslearning within just a few weeks of getting started.
“I teach Level 2 and 3 beauty therapy, and my students have to keep practising the skills they learn in college when they get home,” she explains. “Historically, this was done with pen and paper but with itslearning, I can easily record live demonstrations in class and put them on itslearning for my students to watch and re-create at home. My students prefer this to simply finding videos on the internet, as it’s a real demonstration directly linked to what they learned in class.”
Keeps students interested longer
Becki also found that itslearning enables her to create activities that engage her students more than previously.
“My students love using interactive games and watching videos on their mobiles and laptops. It keeps their interest much longer than more traditional methods,” she says. “I’ve also found that activities such as discussion forums encourage greater collaboration. My students use forums to share resources and ask questions about assignments and homework – and I’ve noticed that my quieter students contribute a lot more online than in a traditional classroom setting.”
Reducing costs and saving time for the entire department
Becki says itslearning also helps her save time by automating many routine tasks. At the end of each unit, her students complete an assessment test to ensure they are ready to move on. These are automatically marked by itslearning and the grades are automatically transferred to the student grade books, saving Becki from going through papers.
And, because all assignments are sent and collected online, Becki finds that she now spends far less time chasing after students for their assignments.
Becki’s department shares all its resources online through itslearning. This ensures that everyone always has the latest materials at hand – including students who missed class – and has also reduced department costs. “We now share materials with each other and with our students digitally, and this has helped to reduce printing costs,” Becki says.
Helping students take ownership of their education
According to Becki, it’s the students who benefit most from her use of itslearning because it gives them more control over their education. “itslearning enables students to take greater ownership of their learning. They can access materials and resources from anywhere – even using mobile devices – and can set their own pace as they learn,” she explains.
About Hopwood Hall College
Hopwood Hall College is situated on two campuses near Manchester in the UK. It offers a wide range of courses to students from 14 years of age up to university level.