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LSC calls for public – private partnership to broaden access to e-learning


The Learning and Skills Council has called for public and private co-operation in working to develop e-learning opportunities for post-16 learners in a new report.

The report, published by the LSC's Distributed and Electronic Learning Group (DELG) which was set up 12 months ago, marks a move by the LSC to increase its remit to influence the development of e-learning within the workplace and place e-learning at the centre of its activities.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Professor Bob Fryer, chairman of the DELG, said: "We need to focus on the requirements of the e-learner, to support, invest in and plan effective e-learning provision, to understand where distributed and electronic learning can make its greatest contribution and to focus resources there. We also need to set standards that rationalise the provision of e-learning, to invest in the workforce that provides the teaching and to establish mechanisms to ensure that momentum in the development of e-learning is maintained."

The publication of the report follows the unveiling of the e-learning strategy task force's own report last month, with the Learning and Skills Council and the Department for Education and Skills due to produce a further plan together to outline their priorities for the next three to four years.

The report highlights the potential for costs and risks associated with e-learning to be shared between public and private sector organisations, and also for the public sector to become involved in developing e-learning where it might not be commercially viable for private providers to do so. It also notes that, 'while being careful to ensure that its role is complementary to that of commercial developers and other public-sector funded developments,' the LSC should make provision to help develop effective e-learning and should look at developing a 'comprehensive online resource' together with the DfES.

Keith Duckitt, head of ICT at the LSC and a member of the DELG, said: "This vision cannot be delivered without the full co-operation of both public and private sectors. For example, the BBC and commercial publishers were represented on the DELG. Potentially, this is something with significance for big business, such as those companies producing e-learning resources. The DELG is calling for partnership action with other agencies and bodies active in this field."

The DELG draws its members from the LSC, Ufi, E-skills NTO, DfES and non-government organisations and private providers including Microsoft UK, Pearson Education, Reading College, the BBC and Smartforce.

TrainingZONE says: With a number of private training providers already expressing concern about the government's influence on providers such as learndirect, the publication of this report is likely to be seen as controversial. It's unclear from the report exactly what form this co-operation would take, although the report calls for a feasibility study into how the LSC can best work with e-learning content providers. It's also unclear how the work of the E-learning Strategy Task Force and the Distributed and Electronic Learning Group fit together.

You can read the full report in Word format here or in PDF format here.


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