Case Study: Blended delivery at Sunderland College
Sunderland College have been delivering BTEC Higher Nationals in Business for over a decade and were one of the first colleges to move to the blended delivery with the use of HN Online. The decision to adopt HN Online came after the college completed a pilot when the product was first released. Staff quickly recognised the benefits of the platform and how it impacts them and their learners.
The course used to be delivered twice a week in a classroom environment. Since the move to blended learning, students only attend class once every three weeks, with an option to have 1-2-1 time with their tutor when required. The rest of the time, students complete directed learning using a variety of resources.
Each week, students receive guidance around what is required of them to complete. This includes a variety of tasks, including recommended reading as well as completion of HN Online units.
Maddie, one of the students at Sunderland College, enjoys this mode of delivery because it fits well with her other commitments. Maddie works full-time so the flexibility offered through blended learning means she can complete her learning at the time that suits her.
The feedback from other students at the college, and the employers they work with, is similar. Both expect more flexibility of delivery and blended learning allows the college to meet this need.
With HN Online, students know exactly what is required from them to complete the qualification, as the content is aligned with learning outcomes. It also gives the students a framework which helps structure their studies while the tutor supplements HN Online content with other resources, as well as classroom teaching.
Joanne Martin, who leads on the delivery of BTEC Higher Nationals in Business at Sunderland College, believes students who study on their blended learning programme are better prepared for class as they review the content ahead of the scheduled sessions. This way they come in already equipped with the foundational knowledge, allowing to explore concepts in more depth during class.
Joanne also uses the instructor tools to evaluate students' progress, which means she can prepare classroom sessions based on this information. This way both the student and the tutor are proactive and, with additional data available, tutors are able to address the needs of both the group and the individual students.
One of the core professional values at Sunderland College is innovation, so it is important that the curriculum teams are forward thinking. Blended learning allows them to address this, as well as the ever-growing need for more flexibility and digital skills development. With a career-focussed curriculum and more flexible attendance options, the college offers students what they require to achieve their goals.