A collaborative collective working together to share and develop digital and blended learning practices.
This project brought together all nine colleges that serve the ten boroughs of the Greater Manchester City Region. Managed by a small central team at LTE Group and The Manchester College, the project was steered by senior leaders from GMCG and further supported by Claire with Chloë as specialists in the field of digital and blended learning in Further Education. The project took place between August 2020 and March 2021 through the Department for Education’s ‘College Collaboration Fund’ (CCF).
The Greater Manchester Colleges Group (GMCG) Digital and Blended Learning Project brought together all nine colleges that serve the ten boroughs of the GM City Region. Managed by a small central team at LTE Group and The Manchester College, the project was steered by senior leaders from GMCG and further supported by specialists in the field of digital and blended learning in FE. The project took place between August 2020 and March 2021 through the Department for Education’s ‘College Collaboration Fund’ (CCF).
The overall objective of the project was to bring together subject experts in a ‘Communities of Practice’ model to identify, evaluate, develop and deploy the most impactful digital content and resources for FE students through the recruitment and development of Digital and Blended Learning Champions (DBLCs) in each college. The project also had ambition to work at a strategic level to influence, inform and shape the mid to longer-term development of digital and blended learning strategies of colleges across the partnership.
As well as a vibrant community of DBLCs, who have continued to work collaboratively and support colleagues across their organisations to become ‘digitally confident’, a key output from the project was the development and co-creation of an online Digital and Blended Learning Teacher Toolkit, to support FE teachers’ CPD and to share resources and emergent effective practices across the community. You can access the Toolkit below – it provides a wealth of freely-accessible CPD and resources. The project’s final evaluation report may also be of interest as it shares lessons learnt from a year of developing digital and blended learning approaches in FE during the pandemic – and what a year it has been!
Findings from the evaluation, led by CCC, centred on 3 key areas (details of which can be seen by reading the full evaluation report).
1. Quality of Education
2. Digital and blended learning design
3. Leadership and management
Next steps and recommendations taken forward by the nine colleges that serve all the Greater Manchester City Region included:
- Develop blended learning models
- Focus on English, maths and digital literacy and independent learning skills
- Build on sector specific innovation and development
- Build capacity and digital expertise in sector/subject areas
- Work collaboratively with education technology providers
- Work collaboratively with commercial software companies
- Maintain sector/subject communities of practice for digital and blended learning design
- Further develop research links
- Focus on digital strategies and accompanying needs for digital inclusion
“Building on the momentum generated by the project not only to ensure sustainability of our collective work on blended learning and teaching but also to promote this model of collaboration in other GMCG activities”
– Senior Leader
“Our Learning Tech Group… maximises on our college expertise when we’ve got everyone from all 9 colleges, we’ve got a real resource base to draw upon”
– Project Manager
“Stakeholders can work together to produce a comprehensive end product when honesty, determination and trust is apparent”
– Digital Blended Learning Champion
“It gave an insight into the breadth of activity already undertaken, the amazing expertise within the colleges and their willingness to work together. This enthusiasm has clearly driven the project much further than originally anticipated and shown the wider benefits of collaboration.”
– College Principal – feedback from the Leadership of Learning Conference, Feb 2021