Wales – Background

The education system in Wales has been developing more individualised approaches to learning for a number of years. The Mapping Project has come at an important time in the development of education within the Welsh sector.

 

There are three strands of knowledge transfer that will be strongly influenced by the Mapping Project:

  • Strand One – Learning Coaching – influencing best practice in supporting learners individually to achieve
  • Strand Two – The Development of Initial Teacher Training Programmes to incorporate in depth understanding of Personalised Learning
  • Strand Three – The Embedding of Best Practice in Personalised Learning, maximising the potential of learning technologies via continued professional development for existing experienced teacher practitioners

Definitions – the concept of Personalised Learning used in this project is that of Barbara Bray, and the terms used will match the definitions supplied in Bray’s chart and Personalised Learning Toolkit.

 

Strand One – Learning Coaching - influencing best practice in supporting learners individually to achieve 

The key developments for the sector began from 2003, but by 2009 The Learning and Skills Measure set out in law 14-19 Learning Pathways, which enabled learners to take vocational routes at 14. Crucially, it also set in statute the right for every learner to have regular access to ‘learning coaching.’ This meant that all schools, colleges and training providers with learners up to the age of 19 were obliged to employ learning coaches, in addition to teachers. Schools were funded for this, all other providers were not.

What ‘learning coaching’ meant and looked like was very much up for debate, The effectiveness of learning coaching was reviewed in 2009 by The University of Newport, in the Learning Coaches of Wales Report by Danny Saunders. This report defines learning coaching as:

  • One to one coaching enabling learners to develop longer term goals and short term targets
  • Development of individual study planning
  • Developing learners’ skills to become more effective and independent learners
  • Advising,supporting and guiding learners to develop future career pathways
  • Enabling more detailed support via referrals for learners with more complex needs

The learning coaching programme was supported by a qualification which evolved and is currently run via the Qualifications Body, Agored. This qualification contains 12 units at Level 4 (undergraduate higher education level) to develop a certificate and also a diploma in Learning Coaching. All Learning Coaches in schools must be accredited and have achieved this qualification.

Therefore the impact of work on this strand will be:

  • All secondary schools in Wales
  • All colleges in Wales
  • All training providers in Wales with learners 16-19

Agored Cymru Level 4 Learning Coaching Qualification guide

Coleg Cambria is the only provider of this teacher training qualification in the North of Wales. This qualification is being renewed between September 2014 and July 2015 and the findings of this project will inform and influence the renewal of this qualification as the College is working directly with Agored Cymru on the review of this qualification.

Strand Two – The Development of Initial Teacher Training Programmes -  Incorporating in depth understanding of Personalised Learning

The current teacher training programme offered at the Coleg Cambria for teachers in the post-16 sector (via Glyndwr University) includes modules on:

  • Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning
  • Developing Teaching and Learning
  • Subject Specific Pedagogy
  • Individual Research
  • Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Organisation and the Sector

The programme is due for renewal by the University in 2014-2015. The work undertaken in the Mapping project, particularly on developing Personalised Learning approaches, will be taken forward into this review.

Therefore the impact of work on this strand will be:

  • All those training to become teachers in the post-compulsory sector in North East Wales (approximately 150 students per year).
  • Wider indirect influence on other university programmes in Wales, via sharing of best practice.
  • Strand Three – The Embedding of Best Practice in Personalised Learning, maximising the potential of learning technologies via continued professional development for existing experienced teacher practitioners

Coleg Cambria is committed to keeping its staff up to date with the latest and most effective practice and developments in teaching and learning, including embedding learning technologies. In order to do this, the College develops regular training programmes. Working with partners on the Mapping Project, it is proposed that the best practice can be refined into an OER MOOC, which will benefit all teachers from anywhere in the world who wish to access it. This will enable the widespread professional sharing of best practice and the knowledge developed.