Going the Distance
- April 8, 2019
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Training
At Side by Side we’ve always been somewhat wary of distance-learning. Apart from the fact that it goes against our ethos (the clue is in our name), more significantly, statistics from years gone by have shown that distance-learning is not as successful for learners as traditional teacher-led (same applies for assessors) training. Often learners miss the social interaction with other learners and the teacher as well as the regular face-to-face support and guidance. Moreover, from a distance it is difficult for the teacher to build that relationship with the learner which enables the teacher to motivate and inspire. When you meet a learner week on week you get to know what ‘makes them tick’ or ‘lights their candle’ (whichever metaphor you prefer!!). All teachers know that keeping that momentum going through a course or qualification is absolutely vital and crucial for success. As soon as there is a lapse in attendance, assignment submissions slow down or stop and then as the learner falls behind it becomes more and more difficult to re-ignite learner interest let alone progress. This lapse may be due to a number of factors, the majority of which are totally plausible; heck, life just gets in the way…. especially for adult learners!!
We specialise in sectors which are traditionally female-dominated (no sexism intended, it’s a fact!!) and, ironically enough, we have found the most popular reason for stopping or losing interest in a course, can often be pregnancy or child-care related… the number of times we’ve heard ‘don’t worry, ‘I’ll do my work when the baby’s asleep’ – obviously a first-time mum with best intentions… but no experience!! Whatever the reason may be, it’s difficult to get back on track and needs all the teacher’s negotiating (nurturing) skills for a successful completion.
Nevertheless, in these ‘global’ days of internet and electronic devices, we must change our ways, expand our options to reach a wider audience and meet varying needs. And so, we have of course done this through the introduction of our virtual learning resource, SBSOnline. This resource enables us to deliver qualifications such as Level 4 Certificate for the Early Years Advanced Practitioner, L3 Award for SENCO in Early Years Settings, Level 3 Award in ICT in Early Years and even our Apprenticeships for Business Administration. However, we still retain that strong ‘human touch’ with regular contact via email, telephone, skype or even long-distance visits to ensure our teachers/assessors can develop that supportive relationship with the learner which is so vital to achievement. Its important to add that learners on a distance-learning course who miss that group or ‘class’ interaction in which they learn so much from one another’s experiences, can overcome this by using group chats on social media or using the SBSOnline forums……where there’s an internet, there’s a way!!