Torch Hub shines light on TAP
Recent investments in the development of learner support skills are contributing to higher learner completion and achievement rates within the Torch Hub network of forces learning centres.
The Torch Hub includes over 120 Army and Navy on-line Learning Centres where military and civilian personnel, and their families, can undertake learndirect courses world-wide.
Every course is supported by a Personal Tutor based at the Learning Centre and in some cases by an external subject specialist on line tutor depending on the type of course. The range of courses is very wide and includes Skills for Life; Computer skills including the European Computer Driving Licence; Specialist IT Courses; and Business and Management which can all lead to nationally and internationally recognised qualifications. In the Academic Year 2004/2005 over 18,000 learners completed over 37,000 courses which exceeded the previous academic year.
The learning centre staff need to have the necessary knowledge and skills to support every learner as effectively as possible whatever their skill or ability level and whether they learn from home, in the work place, in the Learning Centre or elsewhere.
This is why the Torch Hub has integrated the TAP Learning Centre Support Skills course provided by The Training Foundation into its Learning Centre Staff Training Programme. There has been very positive feedback from the members of staff who attended the TAP Learning Centre Support Skills courses.
Without exception, they praise the quality of the trainers and find they can easily relate to the relevance and benefits of the training. They also seem to have fun! Those who have attended the training feel better able and more confident to provide effective tutor support to learners whether they are learning in the Learning Centre or elsewhere. These benefits are now showing up in higher learner completion and achievement rates in those Centres where staff have received the training.
Offering a Level 3 qualification in Learner Support as part of a programme of continuing professional development acts as an effective aid to staff recruitment and retention. Alan Cardy, Quality Assurance Manager for the Torch Hub is convinced that the TAP Learning Centre Support Skills course is already making a difference: "I believe we made the right choice. We are constantly evaluating options and believe the Training Foundation currently provides the most cost effective solution for training our staff for the role of e-learning tutor support."