Shared posts

18 Jun 17:54

‘£3.8bn needed to reverse school cuts’

by Nathalie Richards
The BBC is reporting that a one-off increase of £3.8bn would be needed to reverse 8% cuts in per pupil school spending, new analysis shows.… Read the rest
15 Jun 10:44

6 steps to establishing a digital workplace

Businesses intent on digital transformation are gaining that advantage by adopting a digital workplace to build cutting-edge teams.
11 Jun 18:13

Salesforce to Acquire Tableau: Why Now and What’s the Path Forward?

by Doug Henschen

Another big money development where long term value will only really come in real integration.

By Doug Henschen

Salesforce $15.7 billion mega acquisition will add revenue and blunt a Microsoft competitive threat, but long-term benefits will depend on deeper integration and additive innovation.

Salesforce is spinning its mega acquisition of Tableau Software as the number-one CRM vendor buying the number-one business intelligence (BI) and analytics vendor. It’s a big deal that was likely hastened by last week’s acquisition of Looker by Google. In the short term, it will give Salesforce more revenue, but in my view, the success and ultimate value of the proposed $15.7 billion deal will depend on what Salesforce and Tableau can do together and whether Tableau can accelerate its move into the cloud.

Tableau fills a competitive gap for Salesforce that Einstein Analytics hasn’t filled. Einstein Analytics (which originated as Salesforce Wave Analytics in 2014) is still very new, and it’s not widely adopted by Salesforce customers. What’s more, Einstein Analytics has been largely aimed at CRM-centric analytic needs, whereas Tableau gives it broad, multi-purpose analytical capabilities that are already widely adopted and highly regarded.

A key challenge, however, is that only one third of Tableau customers, at best, are running in the cloud. So either Tableau has to accelerate its move into the cloud or Salesforce has to develop more of a hybrid strategy. The latter would go against Salesforce’s longstanding “no software” ethos, although even cloud player Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made accommodations for on-premises deployments in recent years.


One thing that Salesforce and Tableau have in common (other than tens of thousands of customers) is Microsoft as a formidable rival. Microsoft goes after Salesforce primarily with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and it goes up against Tableau primarily with Power BI. In both cases, Microsoft stresses its broader platform, including Office 365, Azure, the LinkedIn graph, and its broad data-management portfolio, but the real weapon on both fronts is the blunt instrument of competitive pricing. Microsoft effectively discounts its CRM and analytics offerings knowing it can count on long-term benefits, stickiness and profits from each customer and byte of data that ends up on Azure.

Competing against Microsoft Power BI is one thing, but cloud competition is about to get tougher with Google’s acquisition of Looker, announced last week. And with both Google and Microsoft now strongly pursuing the BI and analytics market, it likely won’t be long before AWS steps up its game from its current, less-than-competitive QuickSight offering.

Tableau needed a deep-pocketed parent to help it compete against these new competitors. A key area of investment important to both Salesforce and Tableau is augmented analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Microsoft has been adding augmented capabilities to Power BI, and it highlights the connection to the rest of its AI portfolio. Leveraging one set of AI and augmented analytics investments across Salesforce and Tableau should provide economies of scale that will help both parties innovate.

MyPOV on How to Better Serve Customers Together

I appreciate that Salesforce is promising to maintain Tableau as an independent business, just as it did when it acquired Mulesoft last year. Salesforce is far better than most companies at retaining the leadership, talent and values of the companies it acquires. A big part of Tableau’s strength has been its culture, and I see Salesforce as more likely than any other suitor to retain that energy.   

As I noted above, investments in AI and augmented analytics are an obvious place to start on future innovation. But with trends moving toward low-latency demands and predictive and prescriptive recommendations, I see analytics as destined to be more frequently embedded into applications. Not just OEM apps, but software apps that customers build themselves. Salesforce and the platform are both good fits for accelerating Tableau’s embedding strategy. Microsoft is pursuing these trends with its Power Apps, Flow and Power BI Embedded capabilities, and Salesforce and Tableau would do well to exploit their strengths.

As for how Salesforce and Tableau could improve and take advantage of integration, a few areas should be addressed to better serve customers. For starters, Tableau must evolve its self-service strengths and provide more tools and controls for centralized governance. The company started down this path a few years ago with data-certification capabilities, and it’s expected to add a data catalog this year.  Salesforce and Tableau together could do more to address centralized data modeling, ensuring reusability and a single version of the truth. Here’s where Looker has strengths, offering an old-school semantic modeling environment built for modern cloud data architectures.

The addition of Tableau also raises questions anew for Salesforce as to how deeply it will invest in data-management capabilities. Last year’s Mulesoft deal upped Salesforce API-oriented integration capabilities, but AWS, Google and Microsoft offer end-to-end database, data warehouse, data integration and high-scale data platform capabilities that give customers one-stop-shop opportunities while also fueling AI capabilities. Salesforce has to decide whether to take a Switzerland approach -- working with all the major clouds and third-party vendors -- or whether it’s going to also offer its own data platforms and services. Perhaps it could choose a middle ground by focusing exclusively on analytics, acquiring, say, Snowflake, and perhaps a bit more in the way of big data and data integration capabilities.

These are interesting times, and I am hearing echoes of the BI and analytics consolidation that happened just over a decade ago. There is a danger that history could repeat itself, as when BusinessObjects, Cognos and Hyperion were acquired in 2007/2008 by SAP, IBM and Oracle, respectively. Back then, many predicted that these massive consolidators would push independents out of business, but that’s not what happened. That’s exactly when Tableau, Qlik, Spotfire and other innovators emerged and it was mostly downhill from there for the incumbents.

The lesson for Salesforce is that it can’t count on the power of its platform to retain and win new Tableau customers; the product must remain competitive on its own merits, and that will require investment and the spark of innovation that got Tableau where it is today.    

Related Reading:
Google to Acquire Looker: First Salvo in a New Round of BI and Analytics Competition
Tableau Advances the Era of Smart Analytics
MicroStrategy Embeds Analytics Into Any Web Interface


10 May 13:25

Instructional Design Hourly Rates and Salary

by Christy Tucker

What is your hourly rate as an instructional designer? How much do you make if you’re a full-time salaried employee? What about freelance or consultant rates? People frequently ask me these questions, and I always refer people to the same resources. Use these benchmarks to use as a starting point, but you’ll need to adjust for your experience, education, skills, industry, whether you’re a full-time employee or independent consultant, etc.

Note that since I’m in the US, all of these resources are US-centric. Hourly rates and salaries outside the US will vary, although Canada seems to be pretty comparable.

A pile of 50 and 100 dollar bills.

Salary: Around $80,000

The eLearning Guild Salary Calculator is one of the best tools for comparing the variables that affect salary in the US. Enter your location, education, job focus, experience, etc. and get a benchmark salary to compare. The 2018 report puts the average salary for elearning professionals in the US at $84,421.

Members in the eLearning Guild (including a free membership) can access the 2018 salary report for more detail, including international data. The 2019 salary report took a different approach since salaries have been fairly stable, focusing on job roles and trends.

ZipRecruiter lists the average salary for instructional designers at $78,699.

Hourly Rates: Around $37/hour puts the hourly rate for instructional designers at $32-39, with an average of $35/hour.

ZipRecruiter lists the average hourly rate at $38/hour.

Don Clark has collected highlights from several sources on how to estimate instructional design cost and time. He lists the rate for an e-learning designer as $37/hour, based on a salary of $78,000.

Consultant and Freelance Rates

The quick way to calculate a freelance hourly rate is to double your W2 or full time hourly rate. When you work independently, you have to pay additional taxes and buy your own software. You also spend a lot of time that isn’t billable (proposals, marketing, professional development, etc.).

Writing Assistance Inc lists rates from $70-105+, with an average of $90.

Harold Jarche’s “So You Want To Be an ELearning Consultant?” article is now 10+ years old, but the idea of ranges of rates for different activities is still relevant. Click the table at the bottom to expand it and see the details, adding $5-$10/hour for current rates. Design tasks are $50-100 on his chart; development tasks are $30-60 (I would update this to at least $40-65). Technological and business analytical tasks can earn you up to $200. Ray Pastore created an updated version of this list in 2014 showing rates from $35-$250/hour depending on the task.

Freelance Rate Calculators

Richard Watson’s How to Become an eLearning Freelancer site has numerous articles and resources, including a quick calculator to get a rough hourly rate.

Although it isn’t specific to instructional design or e-learning, Flying Solo’s Hourly Rate Calculator is a useful tool to determine your hourly rate as a freelancer based on your expenses. This calculator is more detailed that the one listed above.

Here’s another similar rate calculator from Use Pastel.

Jeffrey Rhodes’ presentation on how to price consulting work explains how to determine your hourly rate as a consultant and how to estimate and price services.

Instructional Design Careers

Want more info? Check out my other posts on instructional design careers.

Looking to hire an instructional designer?

I help organizations who need online learning that gets results and changes behavior. Interested in learning more? Check out my portfolio and the services I provide.

Originally published 9/3/2013, last updated 5/2/19

The post Instructional Design Hourly Rates and Salary appeared first on Experiencing eLearning.

25 Apr 09:08

Apprenticeship levy usage rockets from 5 to 22% in second year but only 15% since launch

by Billy Camden

Employers used 22 per cent of their apprenticeship levy funds in the 12 months to the end of January 2019 – a huge fourfold increase from the 5 per cent drawn down in the first nine months of the policy.

The skills minister Anne Milton revealed in a parliamentary answer yesterday that between May 2017 and the end of January 2019, levy-paying employers “utilised £601 million of the funds available to them to pay for apprenticeship training in England”.

This amounts to 15 per cent of the £3.9 billion total funds entering employers’ accounts in the same period.

In a separate parliamentary answer from last week, Milton revealed that in the 12 months from February 2018 to January 2019, £523 million, or 22 per cent, of the £2.36 billion received into employers’ apprenticeship service accounts had been drawn down.

FE Week analysis of the figures used by the minister shows that in the first nine months of the levy, from May 2017 to January 2018, £78 million of the £1.54 billion (5 per cent) paid into employers’ accounts was used to cover training costs (see table below).

Levy funds usage has therefore increased fourfold, but apprenticeship starts have only increased by one fifth (21 per cent).

Funding is automatically drawn down every month for the duration of the apprenticeship so as new starts are taken on the monthly usage, percentage rises much faster than the starts as it is includes some of the cost of the starts in previous months.

This monthly funding and the fact that on average apprenticeships are now costing more than double the forecast, goes some way to explain why the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and the National Audit Office warned of a budget overspend in the future.

Milton explains in the parliamentary answers that the figures do not include other costs that the levy pays for, such as funding apprenticeships for small, non-levy paying employers, for English and maths qualifications and for extra support for apprentices who are care leavers or have special needs.

Large employers have been made to pay the apprenticeship levy since it was launched in April 2017. After a deduction for non-English employees and a 10 per cent top-up the monthly levy value appears in the employer apprenticeship system account, which they have two years to use.

In March, Keith Smith, the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s director of Apprenticeships, told the public accounts committee that employers are expected to lose around £12 million in May, or 9 per cent of what they paid in April 2017, when the first ‘sunset period’ arrives.

And in a webinar with FE Week during the Easter break, the government admitted for the first time the vast majority of the £400 million underspend from the Department for Education’s apprenticeship budget was taken back by the Treasury.

Asked how much cash the Treasury clawed back in the financial year to April 2018, Milton replied she “can’t give exact figures”, and referred the question to Smith, who said it was “just over £300 million”.

There’ve been many concerns raised that employers are not spending their funds quickly enough. The NHS, for example, told FE Week in March that it expects to lose a fortune when unspent apprenticeship levy funds begin to expire from May.

Recent policy changes have aimed to increase levy spending. From this month, levy-paying employers will be able to share more of their annual funds with smaller organisations, when the levy transfer facility rises from 10 to 25 per cent.

The 10 per cent fee small businesses have to pay when they take on apprentices has also been halved this month.

The government had hoped the apprenticeship levy would encourage more employers to invest in training and help it hit its manifesto target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020. However, starts have fallen dramatically since its launch.

The latest figures, released on March 28, revealed that apprenticeship starts for January were down 21 per cent on the same month in 2017 before the levy was introduced.

FE Week analysis shows that an average of 85,246 starts are needed every month over the next 15 months to reach the three million starts target. Since May 2015, the average has been 38,251.

22 Apr 11:17

social learning is innate

by Harold Jarche

Social learning is a key theme of mine because imitation is how we learn as a species. Social learning is best explained by Albert Bandura, recognized as the most eminent psychologist of the modern era.

“Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” —Albert Bandura

Making our organizations open to social learning fosters innovation. Nobody works in a vacuum and we all build upon past ideas and achievements. Open structures that distribute authority can lead to more transparent knowledge sharing which promotes social learning. This open sharing can foster more diverse perspectives which can fuel active experimentation. Innovation emerges from this constant flow of ideas and experiments.

Social learning is not a ‘nice-to-have’. It is not something bolted on to formal education or training programs. Social learning is how humans have evolved in order to survive and thrive. Social learning is a major factor in what makes humans unique. Many organizational practices — separate departments, chain of command, job descriptions, individual performance measurement, focus on task at hand — all block social learning. Without social learning, there will be no innovation. So don’t appoint a head of innovation. Remove barriers to social learning and let people do what we have evolved to do best — learn from each other.

“How are we to learn from each other? How are we to acquire novel information? How are we to work together to establish the truth of our environment if we don’t affirmatively foster and support this rather wonderful innate quality that we have to teach and learn from each other. We are innately a friendly species, but we need environments which allow us to optimally express our inclination to be friendly. We don’t want, for example, environments in which we’re pitted against each other, where we have leaders that are kind of saying, these people are responsible for your problems. We want environments which say, we can be united in our common humanity. And analogously, we want environments which are supportive and conducive to teaching and learning. We want environments — we want to create environments in which we maximize the flow and the spread of information.” —Nicholas Christakisvideo


21 Apr 14:49

46th HeLF meeting: "TEL Roles and Structures"

by Xavier Briche

The 46thth meeting of the Heads of eLearning Forum was hosted at City, University of London, on 27th February 2019.

"Gene Davis finishing Franklin's footpath painting", 1972 - orphan work | CC0
T he event kicked off with HeLF's Steering Group chair, Brian Irwin, sharing a pre-meeting survey of the membership on job titles, reporting lines and location in their organisation's structure, steps away from senior decision makers and key committees, team sizes, etc.Head of Educational Technology at City, Julie Voce, followed by welcoming meeting participants to her institution and giving a brief overview of her Technology-Enhanced Learning department structure (TEL) - one of the biggest central TEL teams in the UK. This was swiftly followed by Dr Peter Bryant, presenting by video link from Sydney, who discussed delivering Connected Learning at scale, missing his large TEL team at London School of Economics (LSE), following a pedagogy-before-technology approach at Sydney's Business School and asking What’s best for the students’ learning? - all aimed supporting the findings of the making education better initiative (#makeEDUbetter). His final piece of advice to Heads of eLearning was to evaluate, do small scale research and share, share, share to develop their understanding and those of others at their institutions.

Farzana Latif, University of Sheffield and Santanu Vasant, University of East London ran the next, largely interactive session entitled ‘Steps on the TEL Ladder’ focusing on TEL roles, the core offer and career progression. It was interesting to get replies from such a wide, diverse and experienced group managing TEL teams and Services. (See the summary of the questions and replies here).

We then had a series of fifteen minutes sessions exploring career development outside an institutional context in Higher Education. Matt Jenner from FutureLearn, (who didn’t use slides!) gave a thoughtful reflective account about changing roles and organisation from UCL to his current position at FutureLearn.
This was followed up by Professor Manuel Frutos-Perez from the Cambridge Education Group, who presented the eLearning roles framework he developed whilst working at University of West of England (UWE). The framework provides a continuum for career progression enabled across academic and technologist practices and role-types. Academic development and technologist families of roles are increasingly working together in TEL teams to support new delivery modes, teaching and digitally enabled practices. A central principle of the framework is that well-designed staff development is central to a well TEL team cohesion. Other findings from implementing the framework at UWE cohesion in TEL teams requiring Heads of eLearning giving a voice to their teams and service areas at strategic level and targeted communication to engage a wide range of staff and services at all levels across institution.

Colin Heron, from Glyndwr University, presented on distributed Academic development and embedding eLearning expertise and staff in key partnering services and communities of practice at departmental levels for leading educational change. This approach led to the creation of informal Academic Development networks existing alongside more formal structures of the institution. He advised not to take the contribution of eLearning teams to policy development for granted despite their expertise and ensuring that successes are celebrated and publicised across the institution.

Next, in a quick 15 minute session, Jane James, Associate Director of the Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi) at University of Birmingham, presented on HEFi and eLearning team structure and how a centralised approach can deliver consistent digital experiences that students want across their academic programmes.

At lunch, the participants were given a tour of City’s well-known Learning Spaces by members of the Department for Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD). The tour included visit of City's newest active learning spaces and discussion about their operational use and the feedback received from teaching staff and students.
Xavier Briche - "Learning Spaces tour at City", 2019 | CC-BY-SA
After lunch, Brian gave a brief business update including the next HeLF meetings in Birmingham and in June and Glasgow in November and asked representatives if their institutions would like to host future HeLF events - thanks to those who have already got back to the steering group on this. He also mentioned surveys and research and how topics are sought from the mailing list via a poll. This was followed up by Julie Voce returning to lead an interactive session on TEL structures influence and reach with the institution based on her ongoing research. She asked participants to draw out their institution TEL structures and governance from TEL working group or committees through to Academic Board and Senate. She also mentioned that it is key that Heads of eLearning think analytically about their influence and interaction with other services and decision makers. She has developed a quadrant to highlight these interaction and a SWOT-type instrument based on the location of their teams and services in their organisation - i.e. Library, Teaching and Learning Unit, IT Services, Student Services or other like HR. It appears that, given the choice, a majority of heads of eLearning think that their teams should be located in their institution's Teaching and Learning Unit and should have strategic voice, which many delegates present did not have.

The final set of 5 minutes lightning strike were from Ruth Powell, University of the Arts, Santanu Vasant, University of East London, Peter Roberts, Goldsmiths University of London and Catherine Naamani, University of South Wales, on their TEL structures, service remits in their institutions and where they were located.

Thank you to everyone who attended this popular, oversubscribed event at City (46 attendees), thank you to Julie Voce and City, University of London, for hosting and to the HeLF Steering Group for organising. All presentations from the event can be found here.

The next event will take place on 13th June at University of Birmingham

21 Apr 14:46

800 Medieval manuscripts now available online

by Archivist

Over the last two years the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France worked together to catalog and digitize 800 medieval manuscripts.

The project called, The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200 was created to make the manuscripts freely available online for the general public.

The site is now live! With works from Bede the Venerable,
William of Malmesbury, Gregory of Tour and Thomas Becket there is something for everyone!

Visit the site at: and prepare to lose yourself for hours in the great collection!

“By providing online access to the digitized versions of 800 of some of the finest of these manuscripts we hope to transform awareness of this period of close political and cultural entwinement between our two countries, when scribes moved between England, France and Normandy, working in Latin, French and English on manuscripts of unparalleled beauty and sophistication.”

~Kathleen Doyle, Lead Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library

The post 800 Medieval manuscripts now available online appeared first on Medieval Archives.

21 Apr 14:43

Curriculum or pedagogy?

by Clark

In a conversation today, I mentioned that previously I’ve thought that perhaps the best next ‘man in the moon’ project would be to put an entire K12 curriculum up online. And, I’ve also thought that the only way to really fix things is to train trainers of teachers to learn to facilitate learning around meaningful activity. And, of course, both are needed. What am I thinking?

So, there are huge gaps in the ways in which folks have access to learning. For example, I worked on a project that was trying to develop some K12 curricula online, to provide support for learners in HS that might not have sufficiently capable learners. The project had started with advanced learners, but recognized that wasn’t the only gap. And this is in California!  So I have argued for a massive project, but using advanced curricula and pedagogy.

And, at the other end, as I spoke at a conference looking to talk about improving education in India. There, they have a much bigger need for good teachers than they can reach with their education schools. I was arguing for a viral teacher prep. The idea being not just to train teachers, but train the trainers of those teachers. Then the training could go viral, as just teaching teachers wouldn’t go fast enough.

And both are right, and not enough. In the conversation, I resurrected both points and am now reflecting how they interact. The simple fact is that we need a better curriculum and a better pedagogy. As Roger Schank rightly points out, things like the quadratic equation are nuts to keep in a K12 curricula. The fact is that our curricula came from before the  Industrial Age and is barely adequate there. Yet we’re in an Information Age. And our pedagogy is aligned to tests, not to learning nor doing. We should be equipping kids with actionable knowledge to make meaningful decisions in their lives, not with arbitrary and abstract knowledge that isn’t likely to transfer.

And, of course, even if we did have such a curriculum online, we’d need teachers who could facilitate learning in this way. And that’s a barrier not just in India. The point being that most of the world is suffering with bad curricula and pedagogy. How do we make this change.

And I don’t have an answer. I think we should put both online, and support on the ground. We need that content, available through mobile to reach beyond the developed world, and we need the facilitators. They can be online, as I think about it, but they need to understand the context on the ground if they’re not there. They are context-specific necessities. And this is a massive problem.

Principle says: start small and scale. There are institutions doing at least parts of this, but scaling is a barrier. And again, I have no immediate solution other than a national (or international) initiative. We don’t want just one without the other. I don’t want teachers facilitating the old failed curricula, and I don’t want current pedagogies working on the new curricula. (And I shudder at the thought of a pre-college test in the old style trying to assess this new model!) I welcome your thoughts!

The post Curriculum or pedagogy? appeared first on Learnlets.

18 Apr 17:36

Four lessons from 20 years of analysing thought leadership

by Ella-Sian Jolley

Source has been analysing the quality of thought leadership for 20 years and White Space subscribers can access our reports from the past six years. As we pulled together our report for 2018 H2, we reread our comments from earlier years and reflected on why firms have moved up, and down, our table. Here are four messages that stand out for us:

18 Apr 17:32

Ancient History Family Trees Poster

by Randy Krum


Ancient History Family Trees infographic poster from Matt Baker at Useful Charts

Matt Baker from UsefulCharts has launched a KickStarter campaign to release the fourth poster in his family tree series. The newest poster is the Ancient History Family Trees poster and focuses on the time period between 1600 BCE and 100 CE. It includes historical dynasties (shown in color) as well as a few sections based on legend and/or religious traditions (shown in grey).

Help support Matt launch the new poster on KickStarter by Friday, March 29, 2019!

The full list is as follows:

  • Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)

  • Assyria (Middle and New kingdoms)

  • Babylon (Chaldean dynasty)

  • Carthage (Barcid dynasty & its Phoenician roots)

  • China (Legendary origins; Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Early Han dynasties)

  • Egypt (Dynasties 18-31; Ptolemaic dynasty)

  • Greeks (The Iliad; Sparta & Athens; Alexander the Great & the Diadochi)

  • Hittites (New Kingdom)

  • India (Ramayana & Mahabharata legends; the Buddha; Nanda & Maurya dynasties)

  • Palestine (Selected bible characters, Israel & Judah, Maccabees, Herod the Great)

  • Persia (Median, Achaemenid, and Arsacid dynasties)

  • Rome (Generals of the republic; Julio-Claudian dynasty)

  • Syria (Seleucid dynasty)

You can see the new chart up close in Matt’s YouTube video:

You can see the rest of Matt’s posters from UsefulCharts on the Cool Infographics Infographic Posters page where I have links to over 100 posters from designers all over the world! Once this poster is released and available, I’ll add the link to it on the Posters page as well.

18 Apr 17:12

Do Immigrants Trust Trade Unions? A Study of 18 European Countries

by Anastasia Gorodzeisky, Andrew Richards


Migrants form growing proportions of national workforces in advanced capitalist societies. Yet little is known about their attitudes towards the principal agents of worker representation in their host countries, the trade unions, much less via cross‐national research. Using European Values Survey data, we redress this imbalance by examining migrants’ levels of trust in unions, compared to native‐born. We find higher levels of trust in unions by migrants (compared to native‐born) in general and especially by migrants during their first decades after arrival and whose countries of origin are characterized by poor quality institutions. These findings have significant implications for unionization strategies towards migrants, especially given received wisdom portraying migrants as indifferent or distrustful towards unions.

18 Apr 17:12

Why Do Employers Provide Health Care in the First Place?

by Melissa Thomasson

A historical perspective

18 Apr 17:03

Your Role in Innovation Depends on Where You Sit

by Leading Effectively Staff

It’s obvious that leaders in different levels of the organization have to lead differently — think about how different the leadership challenges are for a line supervisor than the CEO.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that leaders who are looking to drive innovation have different challenges depending on their position. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Given that schedules are too full already, it’s useful to know what to do, and this helps shape what not to do, as well.

Here’s a rundown of the roles and responsibilities by leader level specific to innovation:

Leading Self — Creating

At the level where you don’t have direct reports — but serve as a role model or perhaps a leader of project teams — the responsibilities around innovation fall mainly into the realm of knowing how to generate creative solutions and having a keen interest in participating on a team made up of diverse participants.

Core to this is the ability to find sources of inspiration for new approaches, whether that means looking at other industries, engaging customers and stakeholders, or exploring patent databases for similar challenges that have been solved by others.

Leading Others – Facilitating

Team leaders or line supervisors need to possess additional skills. They must know how to lead the group process, which requires special facilitation skills on top of those necessary for being an effective team leader or project manager.

And for innovation to take root and spread through the organization, these leaders or supervisors need the ability to obtain resources from outside their unit.


Leading Managers — Advocating/Bridging

When you lead people who are leading others, a key value you bring to the challenge of innovation is supporting and protecting the team from superiors or other parts of the organization.

Great leaders create a protective umbrella over their people to ensure that the discomfort, risk, and potential disruption of the business don’t cause others to try to shut down these efforts.  These managers also have to build a case for grassroots innovation and bridge groups that are working on similar challenges to ensure constructive cooperation.


Leading Functions – Directing/Protecting

Leaders of a function or significant silo need to provide clear direction for the scope of the innovation efforts and also need to manage conflicting demands for resources.

They must initiate strategic and structural changes to accommodate promising innovations and establish a strategy that bridges the silos.

As if that’s not enough, they are critical to modeling behavior and driving communication that sets the organizational tone that determines the support of innovation. They’re also critical in the management of innovation pipeline and balancing the portfolio “bets” that help determine the future direction of the organization’s innovation.

Leading the Organization – Mandating/Fostering

Finally, we have the top of the organization. These are the people who have the critical job of setting a strategy to ensure that the organization has clear direction on where it’s going.

More than that, they are the keystone for fostering a culture of innovation, a big part of which is modeling behaviors to ensure that the walk matches the talk, which sometimes means showing support for different, new, or disruptive ideas.

Like other top leadership responsibilities, it’s imperative that they communicate the vision over and over and over again.

Perhaps the hardest job is finding ways to hear and see unfiltered concepts, since the further you go up the hierarchy, the less connected to “what’s really true” you become.

For more on innovation and how your organization can embrace disruption, explore our Trends Report.

Emerging Leadership Trends Report

The post Your Role in Innovation Depends on Where You Sit appeared first on Center for Creative Leadership.

18 Apr 17:03

Trends in Project Management

by Nadine Rochester

The latest Project Management Trends for 2019 from Strategy Execution highlight the complexities and uncertainties that many businesses face today. With portfolio, programme and project management being the driving force behind successful business change, it will be the practitioners that work in PPM who will steer organisations through the choppy waters ahead.

In this year’s trends technology features heavily – not just about technology being major deliverables on programmes and projects but also how project-based work utilises tech. There are complexities in business such as outsourcing and supply chain – and adapting to different ways of delivering change as Agile transformations become more popularAgile transformations become more popular and programme management approaches deepen in their maturity.

Here’s to 2019 . . .

Project Management Trends

 This post first appeared on PMO Perspectives Blog.

18 Apr 16:13

Higher education under fire: implementing and assessing a culture change for sustainment

Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 32, Issue 1, Page 164-180, February 2019.
Purpose Leadership development is a significant organizational investment and is considered a foundation for a culture change process. In a highly disruptive environment, higher education administrators are investigating the potential benefits of this investment. Specifically, while the great recession was underway in 2010, and with a backdrop of continuous enrollment decline, a business school in a public university in the USA utilized an experimental design to test a globally recognized business model for leadership development and its impacts on leadership effectiveness. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach The intervention included a two-day training session followed by a year-long process for cementing in learning, while examining ensuing leadership effectiveness. Potential control variables in the model included measures of four dimensions of leadership fitness which were defined as the physical, socio-emotional, spiritual and mental dimensions. When the leadership development intervention showed promising results the business school forged ahead to implement a culture change process based on the leadership development intervention to foster teamwork and innovation. Findings As a longitudinal implementation and assessment process, subsequent results of the culture change process spurred year over year increases in enrollments, student retention, student placement, along with consistently escalating faculty research and academic program rankings. The culture change process spread organically from the business school throughout the university as a whole with similar positive impacts. Research limitations/implications Implications, including an assertion that leadership development is a viable tool for higher education’s organizational sustainment are discussed. Originality/value Future research opportunities of institutional outcomes in higher education due to a systemic investment in annual culture enhancement are also discussed.
18 Apr 16:13

Differences in management styles, levels of profitability, and performance across generations, and the development of the Family Business Success Model

Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 32, Issue 1, Page 32-50, February 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to, first, investigate the differences between generations in family businesses and, second, develop and verify the Family Business Success Model ability to improve the probability of business success measured by perceived profits, growth and meeting the owners’ expectations. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected through questionnaires and personal interviews. Overall, 98 usable questionnaires were collected for statistical analysis with a response rate of 82 percent. Findings One-way ANOVA hypotheses testing of the variables found four significant differences between generations. Regression analysis found the Family Business Success Model to be significant. Family business owners can improve the probability of success by utilizing a team-management decision-making approach, effectively handling conflict effectively, formulating specific succession plans, developing strategic plans, using sophisticated financial management methods, dealing effectively with the founder’s influence and if they seek to grow, they should consider going public. Practical implications This study provides family business owners, managers, educators and public policy makers with the means to help family businesses survive and grow effectively throughout generations by using the Family Business Success Model. In addition, this study can help consultants and advisors of family businesses to understand the differences between the first, second and third generation family businesses from a holistic perspective and help them implement the family business model. Originality/value This study contributes to the literature as one of the few studies in the Lebanese emerging market that examines how the first, second and third generations of family businesses differ. More importantly, it develops a Family Business Success Model that improves the probability of success.
18 Apr 16:12

New model of managerial education in technical university

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 511-524, April 2019.
Purpose A modern trend in the educational environment in recent years has been the permanent education system with the involvement of online study modes. It is based on multidisciplinarity and adaptivity of educational technologies, starting with the basic level of education – bachelor’s degree, and ending with gaining competences in the field of engineering and economics throughout the whole professional life of a student. The purpose of this paper is to perform a detailed analysis of development of permanent education in Russian universities, focusing on statistical data on popularity of jobs as to professional groups among employers and determining peculiarities of permanent education, based on the distinguished peculiarities of permanent education and requirements of business to develop a model of engineering and managerial education that would integrate two blocks of the educational process – engineering and economic, as well as include modern technologies of teaching. Design/methodology/approach The authors propose the modern model of engineering management education that is implemented in the Russian technical universities. Its distinctive feature as compared to the conventional educational technologies is gaining competences in the field of economics and management at the same time with engineering education at the second stage of education – the master’s program. The proposed model of engineering and management education results in obtainment of two diplomas by the student who is awarded with a master’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in economics. A difference of the offered model from the traditional educational technologies is obtaining competences in the sphere of economics and management together with engineering education at the master’s program. The result of the offered model of engineering and managerial education is graduate’s receiving two diplomas with master’s degree of engineer and master of economics. The paper shows the existing mechanism of implementing the model of engineering and economic education in a technical university by the example of the master’s program in Economics “Evaluation of economic risks during technological decisions (in oil processing and oil chemistry).” Findings The offered model of engineering and managerial education will allow training the engineers of a new type, who will be able to adapt to new tendencies and initiate the changes that are necessary for effective functioning of business in the conditions of digital economy. Originality/value The offered model of engineering and managerial education should be acknowledged as an innovational educational project that raises demand for graduates through their adaptability to employer’s needs and their usage of new tools of management that are based on exchange of information data and that form managerial task for information provision of the process of decision making and their further execution.
18 Apr 16:10

Teaching and Learning with Twitter

by Britt
Yesterday during a web conference with faculty teaching in the Creighton University Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Leadership, we were discussing andragogy – the teaching of adults.  Jeff Miller noted that one practice he used was to add Twitter to his classes.  In an email later following up with me, he shared his rationale that is in… Read more Teaching and Learning with Twitter
18 Apr 16:07

E-learning in higher inclusive education: needs, opportunities and limitations

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 424-437, April 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the limitations, opportunities and conditions for the development of e-learning in the inclusive education system in the universities. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews the literature dedicated to e-learning, its application and adaptation in higher inclusive education. Systemic and social approaches were applied to the perception of higher inclusive education for the purposes of this study. The principles of evolutionary economics and institutional theory were used for determining the possibility of using e-learning in higher inclusive education. The findings are confirmed by an empirical study of the integration of e-learning into the higher inclusive education system by the example of Russia. Findings It has been shown that the development of e-learning in the national higher education system and its perception by the higher inclusive education system depends on the level of development of social and information interrelation in the society. In addition, e-learning can only be used in higher inclusive education when it is interrelated with traditional learning. The efficiency of e-learning in higher inclusive education depends on the systemic institutional environment which was formed both at the level of the state and at the level of a particular university. In this case, the institutional environment should be focused not only on the development of e-learning and inclusive education, but also on their collaboration. Practical implications The results of the study, which identified special aspects, opportunities and limitations of e-learning in higher inclusive education, can be applied to improve its effectiveness both at the level of individual universities and at the level of formation of national strategies for the development of higher education. Originality/value Given the growing relevance of higher inclusive education in the contemporary world and the limited number of studies of adaptation and the use of e-learning in it, the results obtained can contribute to the implementation of strategic planning of this direction at the national and local levels.
18 Apr 16:07

Application of remote technologies in education

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 503-510, April 2019.
Purpose At present, the development of information technologies changes the whole system of public functioning. Special attention is paid to the system of higher education, as it forms future highly qualified specialists, who will become the basis of digital economy. According to this, new remote technologies are implemented into the system of education each year, which are a basic prototype of smart technologies. The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of remote technologies in the development of the system of higher education and to form skills with the students. Design/methodology/approach Based on this, it is necessary to solve the following tasks: view the aspects, peculiarities and possibilities of remote education; distinguish the main tools of remote technologies in education; offer electronic final program as a remote method of evaluation of students’ knowledge. Findings In this study, the following methods are used: analysis, synthesis, logical method, abstraction and comparison. Scientific novelty consists in performing research in the sphere of significance and implementation of remote technologies in the system of higher education of the Russian Federation. Originality/value This research could be useful for public officers who form programs of development of higher education and for academic staff of higher educational establishments.
18 Apr 16:06

Confessions of a teacher

by (Steve Wheeler)
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
During the life of the Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCon), we tried to be innovative, introducing new features over the ten years the event ran.

One of the most innovative (and perhaps controversial) was the inclusion of a confessional booth during the final PELeCon. The idea was simple, and a counterpoint to the sometimes congratulatory culture seen in many conferences. In many other events, all delegates tend to hear are the success stories, and how great everything is.

But all those of us who have been engaged in education at any level will know that not everything goes smoothly and teaching and learning is not a bed of roses. It can be messy, divisive, disappointing, even heartbreaking.

The idea behind the confessional booth was to introduce some reality and honesty to the conference and to encourage teachers to share. The idea was simple, and my learning technology team made it happen. They built a small booth large enough for a person to sit inside, with a curtain at the back.

The delegates were invited to sit inside the booth, and use a web cam and microphone to record a short 'confession' of something that went wrong - with some commentary about what they had learnt from the failure. If they felt confident, they could then tap a red button, and the entire recording would be published on YouTube. 

Several delegates recorded 'confessions' and posted them to YouTube. Many didn't take up the offer, and it was a one-off event, because my university cancelled funding for any future events, and PELeCon was no more. Who knows what library of confessionals we might have generated. The last element was the most important - we can all learn from success stories, but it is often the failures we learn the most from. 

Sharing is a big component of collaborative culture, and learning from each other should be a normal activity for all teachers. Reading Richard Gerver's latest book Education: A Manifesto of Change triggered further thoughts on this idea. He writes: 

'Collaboration will always suffer if there is an underlining lack of respect and trust. Many teachers feel vulnerable and actually quite insecure about their own practice, even the greatest ones, and this means that as a profession, we are sometimes nervous of sharing.' (Gerver, 2019, p 19)

Gerver documents some of the issues around teachers trolling each other and being openly hostile if they see ideas that they cannot agree with on social media. He maintains that there should be a balance between echo chambers (where everyone agrees with each other and there is no learning) and hostile, fear ridden environments where people feel they cannot speak out for fear of being humiliated by stronger voices. 

Like him, I call for a better, more psychologically safe environment within which educators can discuss and share their ideas, hopes and fears with no fear of ridicule or humiliation. The only way we can achieve this is for all of us to separate ourselves from those who would seek to undermine, threaten and bully anyone who doesn't agree with their own views. We have had too much of this in recent years and it's time it came to an end. 

Teachers - we are all in this together, and we have the same aim in mind - to provide the highest quality learning experiences for our students, our community and our society. Let's be more tolerant of each other's views, and openly share and debate in a civilised, professional and caring manner.

Gerver, R. (2019) Education: A Manifesto for Change. London: Bloomsbury Education.    

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Confessions of a teacher by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 16:01

Learning Technologies Conference 2019

by Ian Blake
London Skyline

The Learning Technologies Conference in London is always an inspiring event, and this year was no exception.

This year they introduced “The Bridge” – 5 minutes of informal discussion at the end of each talk where we discussed in pairs / small groups “This session has been great, what are you actually going to do and take back to work with you?” A great concept as although being inspired at conferences is important, it is vital to take back and apply something that you have found.

I attended six sessions over the two days, I have summarised in this post the top three for me:

Learning Evaluation: Will Thalheimer

This session was very relevant to the work I am doing in a project as it focussed on how evaluation can be used for continuous improvement and drive learning transfer, the use of new knowledge and skills back at work.

Will has been reading the research done into learning and evaluation for many years and translating it into actionable ideas and tools to push the transfer of learning to people’s work. His talk was about two of his latest contributions to the area of learning evaluation in business:

1. an improved performance-focussed survey to use after a course to get people’s feedback (Level 1 Evaluation or Happy Sheets as it is often called) and a whole new model for learning evaluation,

2.  the Learning Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM), which focusses on enabling  continuous improvement of learning activities and the application of learning back at work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how to use LTEM and a new Level 1 survey
  • Ensure any data collected helps in decision making​
  • Send messages in Level 1 survey questions to nudge learners to the correct behaviour. ​
  • People are not often good judges of their own learning. ​
  • What “brand” do you want your learning and development organisation to have?  Have a question that reinforces this on your Level 1 survey.
  • Use delayed (sent out, for example, three weeks after the course) Level 1 surveys as well​

MOOCs (online video-based courses): Marlo Kengen; Petra Peeters; Gabriel Schaepman

We need to create dynamic and interactive learning activities that focus on adding value. Online video-based courses offer one way to do this.​

MOOCs are a very popular way for traditional universities to open up their learning to everyone, and at the same time earn money from it. They are becoming more common in business as the technology needed to create and host them is becoming cheaper. The speakers were from Han University and Swiss Re, so brought a balanced view of MOOCs.

Gabriel (Swiss Re) shared an important aspect of using MOOCs within a company – that the learners need to be taken out of isolation. Swiss Re achieve this by activating six networks of the participant including their manager and also pairing up people so that they have a learning partner doing the same course. Importantly they also focus on what the leaners will apply following the course, not on what they will learn. They apply three methods for their courses, Structured Learning, Social Learning and On-the-Job Learning with people beginning to apply what they have learnt very quickly in the on-the-job part. Interestingly Swiss Re host their MOOCs on sharepoint.

This way of presenting courses online can offer several advantages: allowing learners to do the course in small chunks when they have the time, letting people do some of the theory before attending a classroom session to allow more time for hands-on practice, and the content can be made available to everyone to use as and when they need it in their work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how we can use MOOCs to move from learning to value creation​
  • Make job specific tasks part of any MOOC​
  • Encourage social interaction, it makes all the difference. The experts running the courses must react fast to discussions, but not jump in with expert opinions; this could shut down the discussion
  • E-learning is learning in isolation, use MOOCs to get people out of isolation. ​
  • In commercial MOOCs completion rates is crucial as this is how they earn money (certification). BUT in business we should focus on people cherry picking the information they need and applying it
  • Click bait works – use rhetorical questions in the titles.

Data-fuelled Learning: Lori Niles; Nick Coley; Hannah Gore

In learning we need top “make data our super-power”. To be effective (in other words to help people improve their performance) we need to put the content where our learners are when they need it – looking at data will help us achieve this. One example, given by Lori Niles, of directing content to where people were, was a company that discovered its most popular intranet page was the restaurant’s menu page, and so added links to learning content there – leading to a 30% increase in engagement.

We need to be aware of Digital Body Language: “Every drop-off, click, or share, is a learner shouting their likes and dislikes. These actions are the eye-rolls, smiles and arms-crossed from the classroom, simply in digital format”. This originally comes from marketing, and although learning is not marketing, we are trying to change people’s behaviour through information.

In learning we should be smart in the way we use data – fitting into the workflow, identifying trends, making better design decisions and responding faster to performance needs. Hannah Gore encouraged looking into your company’s strategy to see how Learning and Development can “save the company”!

Nick Coley from Evans Cycles shared that they used to launch all their content on a Friday afternoon ready for the weekend (when the stores were open), however they found that their users were most active on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday around lunch time. They simply changed the launch of new content to Monday morning and saw the impact of that. Another finding was that their video content was usually around 5 minutes, whereas the average user was on the platform for about three minutes – shortening their videos to match this increased engagement and user perceptions of quality.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at business strategy and how to support it. ​
  • Make L&D data relevant to what the business wants to hear. ​
  • Use data as a diagnosis not an autopsy​.
  • Click-bait titles​ work but need to be truthful.
  • Know when and how users visit – and where do they “hang out”- put link to content there​.
  • Remember, high engagement is not the same as good quality content​ and business results.
18 Apr 15:57

The new talent management challenges of Industry 4.0

Journal of Management Development, Volume 38, Issue 2, Page 118-129, March 2019.
Purpose The transformational changes to business environments brought about by the fourth industrial revolution create a perfect storm for strategic human resource management, prompting a need to explore the implications of this context for talent management theory and practice. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach In-depth interviews were conducted with HR directors and senior leaders within engineering-led organisations to explore current challenges experienced across each stage of the talent pipeline: attraction and recruitment, training and development, career development, talent mobility and succession planning. Findings The speed of technological change brought about by Industry 4.0 had created a significant gap between current capability of employees and the rapidly evolving requirements of their roles, prompting a need to consider new and more effective approaches to talent development. Middle managers are increasingly recognised as overlooked critical talent within this context of unprecedented change, given their essential role in change management. In addition, whilst lateral hiring remains a common talent management practice, in the case of Industry 4.0 this equates to fighting a war for talent that does not exist. Practical implications This study suggests that there is a need for evolution of talent management theory and practice towards a more dynamic, systems-thinking orientation, acknowledging the interrelated nature of different talent management activities. Originality/value This paper provides an in-depth insight into the impact of the unprecedented change brought about by Industry 4.0 on contemporary talent management practice, considering how theory and practice might need to evolve to enable individuals and organisations to keep up with the rate of technological change.
18 Apr 15:51

Digital Learning in Organizations

by (Steve Wheeler)
Cover design by Kogan Page
My new book will be published on April 3 by Kogan Page. Digital Learning in Organizations has already been positively reviewed by several leading figures in the world of Learning and Development (L and D), including Jane Hart, Laura Overton, Charles Jennings, Edmund Monk and Richard Gerver, and it includes case studies and interviews with many more, as well as forewords by Donald H Taylor and Shelly Terrell.

The book is aimed at those working as learning and development professionals in industry, but will also be of interest to any, and all, those working in the world of learning technology, knowledge and education. It is available in paperback, hardback and Kindle (Amazon site) formats, and can be pre-ordered on the Kogan Page website (use the promotional code FHRDL20 and get 20% discount on the purchase price). The promotional text is below:

Technology holds vast potential for learning and development (L and D) practitioners. It can improve performance, productivity, engagement and knowledge retention. However, if employees aren't able to leverage the potential of these technologies, any investment in them is futile. Digital Learning in Organizations shows L and D professionals how to make sure that their workforce is 'digitally ready' and has the skills, capabilities and understanding needed to capitalize on the opportunities created by learning technologies and feel confident in their ability to get the most out of them. It includes guidance on how technologies can be used to improve both social and personal learning, how the increased flexibility created by technology enables a multi-located workforce to develop simultaneously and discussion of how to ensure that technology really does facilitate employee development and doesn't become a distraction.

Digital Learning in Organizations also includes comprehensive coverage of the ways in which L and D practitioners can engage with learning technologies and digital capabilities such as mobile learning, wearable technology, learning analytics, virtual presence tools as well as augmented, mixed and virtual reality. Packed with insights from leading L and D practitioners, this an essential read for all L and D practitioners needing to improve employee and company performance in a digital world.

NB: If you are interested in booking me for a keynote, workshop, seminar or corporate event, Kogan Page are able to print bespoke versions of my new book which can include your corporate branding, message from CEO and other company specific text and artwork. Contact me via email at

Update: A Facebook page promoting the new book is now online at this link. Check it out and like it (if you like)! Visit to get a 20% discount on the cover price.

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Digital Learning in Organizations by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 15:43

From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019)

by James Robertson

I was honoured to be invited (again!) to be the opening keynote of the always-enjoyable Intranet & Digital Workplace Congres, held in Utrecht each year.

In the session I explored the journey that organisations are on, as they deliver increasingly mature solutions and experiences to their employees.

The key highlights:

  • Modern intranets remain vital, as a provider of key content and services, as well as providing an enterprise front door to the wider organisation.
  • The five purposes of intranets provides a framework for assessing your current intranet, and then planning where to devote resources for improvements.
  • The annual Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards share a wide variety of modern intranets that deliver business value.
  • More broadly, the digital workplace consists of all the digital tools, platforms and environments for work.
  • Every organisation already has a digital workplace, since the introduction of email, but it’s in a poor state.
  • So the key question to ask is: what makes a great digital workplace?
  • At the most holistic level, the digital employee experience (DEX) encompasses all the digital interactions within the work environment.
  • A great DEX is required to deliver a great CX.
  • The DEX Survey conducted by Step Two sheds light on the current state of DEX maturity.
  • Every organisation should choose what they’re currently focusing on: intranets, digital workplaces or digital employee experience.

The post From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019) appeared first on Step Two.

18 Apr 15:36

Some facts about International GCSEs

by Kate Keating

A student at a desk writing on an exam paper.

Reflecting on recent interest in the comparability of GCSEs and International GCSEs, this blog provides further information about the two types of qualification and how they operate in England.

  1. International GCSEs and GCSEs in England are different qualifications. GCSEs are based on content specified by the government and must be assessed in line with Ofqual’s rules. The awarding organisations that offer International GCSEs each decide the content for those qualifications and how that content is assessed, which may legitimately be different to GCSEs.
  2. In England, International GCSEs have not counted in school performance tables since the corresponding reformed GCSEs became available. In the UK, therefore, International GCSEs are mainly taken by students in independent schools.
  3. International GCSEs are also taken by many thousands of students across the world.
  4. Awarding organisations can decide whether their qualifications are regulated. Our Register of qualifications shows the qualifications we regulate and, where relevant, the date at which we will cease to regulate a qualification. Some International GCSEs have never been regulated by us; some have been regulated by us in the past, but are no longer; and some are currently regulated by us (see list below). By 1 April 2020 we do not expect to be regulating any International GCSEs.
  5. On our Register of qualifications we describe the few International GCSEs we still regulate as ‘Level 1/2 certificates’, although the qualifications are still more generally known as International GCSEs. We cannot require awarding organisations to change the name of unregulated International GCSEs. Our description reflects our view that the qualifications, when regulated, are at levels 1/2, as are GCSEs. Like other qualifications at this level, the grades are not necessarily aligned with GCSE grades.
  6. We accredited new GCSEs to check that they covered the government’s expected curriculum and met the carefully designed rules around assessment we put in place. We can also be confident that grade standards between GCSEs offered by different exam boards align and that standards are maintained over time.
  7. Previously, when International GCSEs were taken by large numbers of students in maintained schools, we had information about their prior performance. We used this to compare some grade standards in International GCSEs and GCSEs for the qualifications awarded in 2015 and 2016. We found differences which varied by grade, awarding organisation, subject and year. For example, in one English/English language specification, the International GCSE was around two thirds of a grade easier at grade A and around a fifth of a grade easier at grade C, while in another specification the International GCSE was closely aligned at grade A and around a tenth of a grade easier at grade C. In English literature, on the other hand, there was a mixed picture, with evidence that some grades were set more generously but others were more severe. There was no systematic pattern.
  8. We cannot re-run this analysis now that students in maintained schools do not take International GCSEs because we do not have sufficient data on students’ prior performance – most students now taking International GCSEs did not take key stage 2 tests.
  9. Results for any qualification will reflect the cohort of students who took each qualification. For example, the most highly attaining students are likely to take physics GCSE rather than combined science GCSE. Proportionately more top grades are awarded in GCSE physics than GCSE combined science. This does not mean that GCSE physics is easier than GCSE combined science. We cannot draw conclusions from the grades awarded in an International GCSE and the corresponding GCSE because we do not have data on the prior performance of the International GCSE cohort. Even if we had such data, differences between the content and assessment arrangements of GCSE and International GCSEs mean that grades in the respective qualifications would not necessarily represent achievement of the same knowledge, understanding and skills.
  10. We have no powers to intervene in qualifications that we do not regulate. Organisations do not have to comply with our rules when they offer unregulated qualifications and we cannot consider concerns or complaints about such qualifications.

Amidst the recent discussion, it is important to remember that GCSEs and International GCSEs are not the same qualifications, and so we believe it is not possible to say with any precision how the standards of the two compare. Awarding organisations may of course conduct their own comparative analysis or benchmarking.

People should be careful when using GCSE and International GCSEs interchangeably if exact comparability matters to them. However, we recognise that such precise comparison might not be an issue for everyone. Universities and employers are used to seeing many different qualifications on applications and deciding what value they place on them.

International GCSEs can have a particular value for students outside of the UK for whom the content prescribed for students in England might be less relevant. We recognise the export market for English qualifications is vibrant and we are pleased to be working with the Department for International Trade to improve the information available to international purchasers about the range of those we regulate.



These Cambridge International qualifications, described on our Register as Level 1/2 certificates, will be regulated by Ofqual until 1 April 2020

Qualification Name QN Number Syllabus Code
Certificate in Art and Design 500/5658/X


Certificate in Music 500/5679/7


Certificate in Information and Communications Technology 500/5649/9


Certificate in Business Studies 500/5702/9


Certificate in Enterprise 600/1959/1


Certificate in Geography 500/5652/9


Certificate in History 500/5656/6


Certificate in English Literature (9-1) 601/5295/3


Certificate in Computer Science 601/3120/2


Certificate in English as a Second Language 500/5653/0 0511
Certificate in French 500/5642/2


Certificate in German 600/0714/X


Certificate in Spanish 600/0769/2


Certificate in Italian 600/6585/0


Certificate in Greek 500/5680/3


Certificate in Mandarin Chinese 600/2572/4


Certificate in Biology 500/5871/X


Certificate in Chemistry 500/5701/7


Certificate in Physics 500/5660/8


Certificate in Mathematics (9-1) 601/5294/1


Certificate in First Language English (9-1) 601/5296/5


18 Apr 15:08

Reform of Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths

by Phil Beach

From 1 September 2019 a reformed suite of English and maths Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) will be available. This follows a decision made by government in 2015 to reform FSQs in English and maths. While the level of demand for the qualifications will remain the same, the reform process will ensure that these qualifications better meet employer needs in terms of the knowledge and skills that learners achieve. We know that when qualifications change, it can take some time for teachers to get used to the new versions, often because there are fewer resources available. We will expect Awarding Organisations (AOs) to take this into account when setting pass marks for the reformed qualifications so that learners are not disadvantaged. We will be publishing a further blog about how we will work with AOs to maintain standards later in the year.

From September, all new students starting an FSQ in English or maths will be enrolled onto the reformed qualifications. This blog will take you through some of the changes.

Biro pen on sheet of paper with sums written on

Content changes

The Department for Education (DfE), which is responsible for subject content, has introduced much more specific common content.

In this new content, there is more emphasis on the underpinning knowledge and skills that learners need. For English, this includes a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar, without the aid of dictionaries or spell checks. At Entry levels, there will be detailed reading and spelling expectations based on the structured teaching of phonics. For maths, the content draws upon the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to solve mathematical problems, both with and without a calculator.

You can find the full subject content for both English and maths on the DfE’s website.

Qualification design and structure

We have used the reform as an opportunity to strengthen the design and delivery of FSQs, better securing comparability between the qualifications over time and across different awarding organisations. In order to do this and make sure these qualifications meet DfE’s expectations, we have thought carefully and refined our thinking in response to consultation feedback about how to regulate these qualifications.

Based on feedback to our consultations, we kept some of the features that worked well in legacy FSQs, for example continuing to permit on-demand assessment and using a Pass/Fail grading system. We have also made some changes to the qualifications, including changes to the duration of assessments and, in line with DfE expectations, there will be an increase in the number of guided learning hours to 55. In addition, Level 1 and Level 2 assessments (with the exception of Speaking, Listening and Communicating in English) continue to be set and marked by the awarding organisations. Our rules also allow the context of Entry level assessment tasks to be adapted by teachers to reflect situations in which their students may use the skills being assessed.

Technical Evaluation

All new FSQs are going through our technical evaluation process before being made available, so that they are of high quality and support consistent assessment and awarding.  A combination of independent subject experts and Ofqual assessment experts have reviewed a range of materials against our rules. These materials include the specification and the sample assessments. During this process, we have considered issues such as level of demand, coverage of the DfE’s subject content, and the quality of questions and their associated mark schemes. We have also reviewed each awarding organisation’s assessment strategy, the key document in which they explain their approach to the design and delivery of their qualification.

We have already completed our technical evaluation for a number of qualifications, and many more are nearing the end of the process. The status of each of the qualifications in development is outlined here.


First teaching of these qualifications is 1 September 2019 and, from this date, new learners will need to be registered for the new versions of FSQs. Learners already registered on legacy English and maths FSQs will have until 31 August 2020 to be awarded their qualifications, after which they will be withdrawn.  A number of qualifications have already gone through technical evaluation and are ready to be made available to schools and colleges.  We have contacted all awarding organisations offering reformed FSQs and asked them to publish their draft specifications and sample assessment materials. This will give teachers a broad idea of the overall paper and mark scheme design to allow them to prepare effectively.

We continue to work closely with awarding organisations through our technical evaluation process to ensure high-quality, valued qualifications which learners and users can trust.

You can find more information about the changes to FSQs on our Functional Skills Collection page.

18 Apr 14:50

Exploring possibilities for the ‘critical’ in Learning Development practice & theory; critical academic literacies?

by Lee Fallin

Gordon Asher delivered a very thought-provoking session this afternoon at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education ALDinHE Conference. Here are my notes (in mindmap format) from this session, with the caveat, that they are but a small representation of what was a VERY deep discussion.

Session mindmap:

See below link for linear, accessible Microsoft Word version
Mind map of Gordon’s session

Broader conceptual framework:

Critical academic literacies are linked to critical university studies, critical/powerful literacies, popular education, critical pedagogy and academic literacies.
Critical academic literacies and the association with other related concepts/frameworks.
17 Mar 16:43

Teesside University hailed for ‘outstanding’ apprenticeship provision

by Olimpia Ades

Teesside University is setting the quality benchmark for apprenticeships having been among the first higher education institutions in the country to have its provision subject to full inspection by Ofsted.

The education watchdog examined the University’s Higher Apprenticeship provision across five categories, rating every area as outstanding, from leadership and management, to learner outcomes.

Teesside is one of the first universities to receive a full Ofsted inspection for its level 5 apprenticeships under the revised inspection framework and is currently the only higher education apprenticeship provider to be rated as outstanding across the board.

Inspectors praised the University’s “senior leaders’ strategic vision for apprenticeships” ‘a culture of high expectations’ and a curriculum that ‘meets the needs of employers and regional economic priorities.’

Teesside offers a varied range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships across its five Academic Schools.

They provide an ‘earn as you learn’ opportunity, combining vocational work-based learning with study towards a professional qualification and are co-designed with industry to maximise the benefits for both students and employers.

At the time of the inspection, Teesside University had just under 300 students enrolled on Higher Apprenticeships. Just over half of those were studying the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, while others were on Laboratory Scientist or Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeships.

Ofsted categorised Teesside as outstanding in all five areas:

·        Effectiveness of leadership and management

·        Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

·        Personal development, behaviour and welfare

·        Outcomes for learners

·        Apprenticeships.

Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University, said: “We are delighted with this outcome and are pleased that, as one of the first higher education institutions to undergo a full Ofsted inspection of its apprenticeship provision, the University has received outstanding feedback in every area.

“Our vision is to position Teesside as an international university with a reputation for academic excellence. Higher and Degree Apprenticeships are designed and flourish because of our exceptional work with business and our commitment to providing the very best student and learning experience.”

The Ofsted report praised Teesside University’s resources and learning environments and referred to how apprentices grow in confidence throughout their course.

“Apprentices make excellent progress in improving their skills, knowledge and behaviours – they make improvements to the quality of their work so that it meets and often exceeds industrial requirements,” the report states.

“Leaders and managers have very successfully established a culture of high expectations for apprenticeship provision. They place a high priority on ensuring that high-quality apprenticeships provide life-changing opportunities.”

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), leads the University’s apprenticeship provision.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive such fantastic feedback across all areas of our Higher Apprenticeship provision.

“The University is passionate about ensuring that what we deliver is relevant and of an extremely high quality. We are committed to helping businesses in the Tees Valley and beyond thrive and prosper and that can only happen with people learning the right skills to enable them to perform to the highest standard in their job roles. I would like to acknowledge the staff who have played such a fundamental role in this outstanding outcome.”

Natalie Harper was among the first students to graduate from the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship.

She said: “I would definitely recommend Teesside University to anybody. Doing this qualification has been an incredible experience. The staff have been really supportive.

“Having the academic support has made a real difference and will really help with the way we work with patients.”

Find out more about apprenticeships at Teesside University –