I have never done a PEST analysis before – and after reading this you may well conclude that I still haven’t! In the time available I have just chosen a few sources of information and comment which perhaps throw just a little light on the wider context in which my study of feedback and collaboration in the teaching and learning process in Further Education.
- FE and its political and economic context:The paper LSIS makes the point that to underline its value to the economy, the sector “must broaden its approach”. This is largely in the context of local employment issues and catering for local needs but there is one aspect which it could be argued is in step with the idea of using online technology for increasing student interaction: “the young people of 2020 will have been brought up in environments which are “strongly participative” and “knowledge is becoming more participative”. I would see that as being in step with some of the characteristics of what I have been examining.
We are told “The more-for-less drivers are strong.” What are the cost implications of a feedback approach which encourages collaboration and uses technology to achieve it?
The OfSted FE Handbook stresses the importance of a range of features of effective teaching and learning such as:
- the use of technology in assessment
- the extent to which learners understand their progress towards their learning goals and what they need to do to improve
- how well progress is recorded in feedback to learners
- learners’ understanding of what they have to do to improve their skills and knowledge, which is checked and reflected in subsequent tasks and activities.
- marking and constructive feedback from staff are frequent and of a consistent quality, leading to high levels of engagement and interest.
This does at least reinforce the idea that an effective feedback process is seen as important.
2. Schroeder et al.(2010) take a broad look at the strengths and weaknesses of using social software in further education. Their list of software includes many of the vehicles used in online collaborative activities, such as discussion forums, blogs, video conferencing, podcasts and videocasts. They suggest that improved learning, enhanced communication between students and tutor and the building of social relationships are among the advantages. Weaknesses include what they call workload issues such as waiting for the contribution of others and perceived limitations in the quality of interactions.
Buddery (2011) The further education and skills sector in 2020: A social productivity approach. London: Public Services Hub at the Royal Society of Arts, and Coventry: Learning and Skills Improvement Service, LSIA, 246.
Schroeder, A., Minocha, S. and Schneider, C. (2010) ‘The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using social software in higher and further education teaching and learning’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(3), pp. 159–174.