Nelson College London (NCL) is an independent college of higher education founded in 2009 and operating in the London Borough of Redbridge. Awarded Silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2019, NCL have been offering Higher Nationals in Business for over 10 years.

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One of the college’s strategic priorities is about bringing innovation in its teaching and learning to provide an inclusive environment for their students, while keeping it career-focused and meeting the demands of their students.

In early 2020, NCL decided to implement HN Online to deliver HNs in Business using a blended learning model.

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The balance of online and offline

The delivery is split in half, with students completing learning activities on HN Online 50% of the time, with the other 50% spent in face-to-face class sessions. One member of staff monitors all student activity on a weekly basis, evaluating their progress and time spent on the platform.

At the beginning of the term students needed more support to understand how to organise their studies to make the most of blended learning.

However, once they learnt to manage their time between completing some of the study online and some in person, they were able to enjoy their studies more. Students also appreciated the class sessions as time to clarify any ideas or concepts they learnt at home.

After the introductory period, NCL directed the study time by giving students tasks to complete on a weekly basis. The tasks were generic at first but, as the time went on, each student was given individual learning plans based on what content they completed on HN Online the week before.

Designing a new system for learning

Pearson provide support with LTI integration, which meant that NCL were able to embed a link to HN Online in the college’s Moodle (VLE) to make it easily accessible to students. Staff who were involved in delivering the programme were given appropriate level of access to track students’ progress and support them.

The support lecturer designed a session plan for each student to follow, which outlined tasks for students to complete in their own time but within a specific timescale. The staff then prepared weekly progress report to ensure all the students were up to date with their learning.

Supporting delivery of HNs in Business

HN Online provided the necessary resources to support blended delivery of HND Business and it gave students a chance to manage when and where they would study. However, it was important to keep track of students’ progress and to support them in case they were falling behind.

The HN Online platform allowed the support staff to keep track of students’ progress on each unit and the tasks within each unit. It has a feature which enabled staff to see how much time learners spend on each task as well as the progress on the task. It also informed the staff if they student has spent minimum required time on the tasks.

Helping students succeed, at their own pace

NCL run a survey at the end of each term to help evaluate student satisfaction. Following the first semester of blended delivery using HN Online, the survey showed that the students were very happy with this delivery model as it allowed them the flexibility to study in their own time and at their own pace.

Students, especially those with disabilities, felt more satisfied and more confident to work on their assessments while make use of blended learning platform. The flexibility to work on tasks in their own time gave them the opportunity redo the task as many times as necessary until they understood it completely.

Several learners were shielding during the coronavirus lockdown period and having access to HN Online enabled learners to continue to access their programmes with as little disruption as possible.

What is more, it allowed them to better understand the class-based sessions. Students worked on their assessments alongside completing the tasks with ideas still fresh in their minds, which resulted in a higher success rate.

HN Online allows you to deliver BTEC Higher Nationals using a blended learning model. It gives you the flexibility to save time and resources by giving your students the ability to learn part of the curriculum outside of the classroom.

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