Spent a day listening into a wholly online training ‘learndirect’ service on basic numeracy and literacy where there is ZERO face to face interaction. You sign-on online, get a telephone call, do a diagnostic online, choose a course and get online and telephone tutor support. TESTMYPC checks their PC operating system, browser etc and the learners also get support from others where experiences are shared.
What struck me about the learners was how grateful they were for the service. They mostly want to get some basic qualifications to get a job and clearly had a bad time at school. This is their second chance and they’re motivated.
The tutors are excellent and know how to motivate and help with problems the learners experience. This is the way to go. Why get people to turn up to institutions at place distant from their home at specific times that may not suit them? In this service mothers with young children do their work at all hours. They like the fact that they’re not getting loads of face-to-face stuff. There’s even specialist tutors for those with problems such as dyslexia.
The only time they see a real person is when they have to turn up to an assessment centre to sit the exam, and it’s this that causes most fear. The assessment process is primitive and does more damage than good. Rather than accepting a more continuous form of assessment, it’s all down to this exam in a centre that can be up to 30 miles away. Curiously it’s this one face ton face experience that causes most problems.