Core QA 5: Teaching and Learning, the WWETB Learning & Training Experience
One of WWETB’s four main values is to be Learner Focused. This means, our focus is on enabling our efforts in the identification of learner needs and maximisation of their potential. This works by being inclusive, supportive, dedicated, professional, responsive, innovative and caring. (WWETB Statement of Strategy 2018 -2022)
Goal 1.2 as outlined in the Statement of Strategy is to develop new initiatives that reflect the needs of the learners in WWETB. Goal 1.5 is to promote/support the wellbeing of students through quality and active social inclusion.
Learners engaging with WWETB generally make with our programmes through either self-referral or referral by another agency.
Self-referral is the most common approach within the Further Education sector, with most learners engaging with Adult Literacy, BTEI, Community Education, PLC and VTOS identifying the programmes and option most appropriate to their needs, and engaging directly with the programme providers/centres.
A wide range of referral agencies, groups and partners refer learners to WWETB, including the DEASP, HSE agencies, community development groups etc.
Second level guidance counsellors provide a referral mechanism for students into some FET programmes, in particular PLC course, apprenticeships and traineeships. WWETBs Adult Guidance Service would also refer learners into a variety of FET programmes.
Management of learner admissions policies and procedures remain at centre level across WWETB centres. No single learner admissions system in operation across all WWETB services at this time.
There are some legacy VEC admissions policies in existence, which are still partially being applied where needed in the relevant regions.
The further rollout of the referral/applications mechanisms in FETCH and PLSS may provide a route to a more standardised approach in the future.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
WWETB does not currently have agreed quality assured processes to support the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for any purpose other than access. Where a learner has previously achieved a non-CAS module that has been migrated to a component listed in the programme structure (i.e. old FETAC/NCVA) that is not more than 5 years old, they may receive an exemption from that module. Applications for exemptions using certified learning from other non-CAS awards will be processed in line with the QQI list of exemptions.
A collaborative ETBI working group is current developing RPL guidelines and WWETB we look to implement these when finalised.
All WWETB learners should receive an induction session in which they receive general information about the centre, as well as course-specific information such as modules to be covered, the course calendar and timetable, assessments and assessment deadlines, centre attendance policies and procedures, assessment policies and procedures, supports available to learners, SUSI grants, code of conduct, complaints procedure and other relevant information. These induction sessions are facilitated and managed by the local centre. In most cases centres and programmes have locally developed Learner Handbooks. Upon receiving notification of final results, learners are informed of their right to appeal their grade in accordance with the WWETB Appeals Policy.
All learners are encouraged, upon application for admission, to disclose any special needs or disabilities they may have, in order that appropriate supports or reasonable accommodations may be put in place. Where such a disclosure is made, an appropriate staff member will meet the learner to discuss the nature of the supports that may be required. Depending on the nature of those supports, and the centre in which the course is being delivered, that staff member may be the centre manager/deputy centre manager, guidance counsellor, the FE/course coordinator, or the class teacher. The nature of the supports may vary from one-to-one learning supports around additional literacy or maths needs, other additional tutoring where this may be required or other reasonable accommodations, such as extra time in an exam or reader/scribes. Every effort is made to accommodate learner with disabilities or specific needs.
New guidelines around reasonable accommodations are being developed by the ETBI Assessment Procedures Working Group, and these will be introduced as common WWETB policy on reasonable accommodations.
Learners in full time training programmes, PLC, Youthreach, VTOS, or BTEI may be eligible for low-cost childcare under the Childcare in Education and Training Scheme (CETS), operated by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).
The WWETB Adult Guidance Service offers educational and career guidance counselling to both public and WWETB learners. This facilitates learners to make informed decisions about accessing education and training, transferring within, and progressing from WWETB.
The WWETB Adult Guidance Service employs 3 Adult Guidance Counsellors and 2 Information Officers across service.
Learner feedback is an essential element to the life cycle of a course within WWETB. Feedback is sought for most courses through mid-term and end-of-term evaluations, and the information gathered can be used to address issues arising throughout the course, and informs future iterations of the course. In addition, learners can raise any concerns or feedback they may have with either the course teacher or course coordinator at any time between the formal feedback opportunities. Currently there is no process to review learner feedback at ETB-level on a systematic basis.
Learner Complaints WWETB has a Code of Practice for dealing with Complaints made by Parent/s, Guardian/s of a Student or by a Student (who has reached the age of eighteen). Training Services currently has a separate Customer Charter and Customer Complaint Form.
The teaching methodologies selected by the learning practitioner depend on the level of provision, learner needs, nature of the programme etc. The learning methodologies generally include a combination of:
- group discussions/group interactions
- practical sessions/workshops/laboratories/studio
- simulated work environment/work
- tutorials/ one on one supported learning
- field trips
- on the job training
Staff Training and CPD
WWETB has an Access & Continued Professional Development Officer to review and support the teaching and learning activity of FET staff.
The QA Team would provide extensive ongoing training and support in the areas of assessment and the quality assurance of our programmes and provisions.
WWETB has undertaken an extensive training programme around consistency of assessment and a consistency of understanding of the assessment process. We have undertaken assessment training workshops covering;
- Assessment Process & QA Procedures
- Understanding the Standard
- Devising Assessment Instruments, Exam Papers, Marking Schemes and Solutions
- Academic Writing, Referencing & Plagiarism
- Multiple programme or centre based tailored workshops
We have undertaken the standardisation of a large number of our assessment forms and documents, for example;
- Standard Assessment Brief Template
- Learner details sheets
- Portfolio receipt sheets and exam attendance records
- Certification Estimates
- Appeal handbooks and form
- IV reports
- EA reports
- RAP reports
Where the process is now largely consistent across the entire WWETB, there is still work to do to fully standardise all appropriate documentation.