Llandrillo Menai College Case Study – Plumbing Department
The plumbing department at Coleg Llandrillo in Wales has been using the Ecordia e-portfolio system with great success. We spoke with Chris Walling about the impact that Ecordia has had with assessors and candidates in his department.
Your experience before using Ecordia
● A tendency for candidates to not engage with the portfolio.
● Candidates & assessors find it a laborious and uninteresting task to compile evidence “Portfolios can be difficult to assess, if only because of their bulk” (Scales; 2008)
● The evidence referencing was also confusing as it would be hard to relate it to the photographic evidence, the assessor’s records and the candidate’s written evidence.
● Frustration from assessors with the repetitive paperwork and vexatious delays between observations, assessments and reciprocal feedback.
Additionally, much resistance and unwillingness to look at and use electronic methods of any kind.
How has the Ecordia system specifically addressed those problems?
Being online and instantly accessible, the Ecordia system had an instant impact on engagement from the candidates and assessors. Everything is much easier to access and to navigate as the portfolio is intuitively laid-out, online. With candidates and assessors becoming more responsive, the work-rate increases and so does motivation and engagement—it becomes a positive cycle.
What were the results?
A group of candidates, who completed their NVQ L2 with a paper portfolio and their L3 using an Ecordia online portfolio, were asked about Ecordia:
● Definite increase in the engagement of learners with the portfolio.
● Even the most technology-weary staff members are engaging with it and are more involved with the QCF/NVQ process.
● The feedback from both the learners and staff is almost exclusively positive and the increase in engagement from both sides of the assessment ‘ping pong’ net indicates that the implementation of the strategy was a success.
What are the features you love about Ecordia?
● As an assessor the transportability of an e-portfolio over a paper-based one is the biggest benefit. Learners who are harder to engage no longer have the excuse that they can’t attend tutorials for paper-based work etc.
● The other big bonus for us as a plumbing department (or any other none office-based learning environment) is that photo evidence can easily be captured at work and then learners can work on written work either at break times on their phones or after work wherever they have internet access.
● The online solution makes learner engagement much easier for us. There are monetary and time savings on tutorials, printing portfolios and photos etc as well as the environmental savings.
● The recent addition of iphone and android apps will make engagement even easier for students.
How has Ecordia provided solutions to problems your department faced?
The biggest problem we encountered was our own ineptitude with most things ICT related. Fortunately the Ecordia support team has been very understanding (and patient) and have always resolved any issues we have had. It took a few attempts to setup the e-portfolio and get it running the way we wanted it, but the system seems to be very customisable and doing “dry runs” with dummy student logins helped enormously. We were able to layout the portfolio in a way that learners could follow intuitively and tucked away most of the “NVQ speak” into separate reference sections to keep things simple.
What is the biggest reason you would recommend Ecordia?
I would have to mention two!
1 ● Once you are set up and have invested a small amount of time in getting to know how things work, the time saving is probably the biggest benefit. This is gained from not having to set up folders, print photos etc plus you can chip away at students assessments pretty much anytime and anywhere – which means you don’t have to remember that you have to assess student X’s work next time you have the files out etc. Internally verifying is also done easily from your desk rather than spreading files out all over the office!
2 ● The other big reason has to be improved learner engagement which ultimately leads to more timely completion.