Applied learning helps to make the Diploma a new and engaging choice for learners. Diploma learners benefit from learning by doing – in situations that reflect the working world.
A minimum of 50 per cent of principal learning must be made up of applied learning. The teaching of personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS) and functional skills should to be planned as an integral part of applied learning activity. Practitioners can support applied learning by involving employers in the planning, content and delivery of assignments that use real working briefs.
For examples of how applied learning sits within the Diploma, download our case studies booklet. It illustrates good practice in applied learning at each level in:
• construction and the built environment
• creative and media
• society, health and development.
We've also produced a series of short videos to illustrate applied learning in action.
Shot in the Nottingham consortium, our IT video shows how realistic working contexts can be achieved through engagement with local employers.
Information Technology - Transcript
Nigel Akers (Line of learning lead for IT, Nottingham City Consortium) I’m the line of learning lead for IT across the Nottingham City Consortium. We have a facility here with the BETA Centre, that we call it, the Business Enterprise Technologies and Applications centre. All of the activities that we do are based around business challenges. They last between six to eight weeks and it’s real businesses who have a need for the skills and talents that the youngsters have.
IT teacher And what they’re asked for is a poster and also a website.
Nigel Akers Since September the youngsters have been involved in three business challenges. The first business challenge was working for Express Lunch, a curry delivery business. The second business challenge was around the rock band and looking at the costs of where they would record, but also producing a promotional video for them. On the basis of that we then hooked up with the tram in terms of producing a film for them for business challenge three.
Within each business challenge there are a number of learning outcomes from a number of different units; that’s the approach that we adopt here in Nottingham. So with the tram film, for example, we covered skills for innovation where we looked at the legal constraints, we looked at project management – the whole putting the film together with a review at the end. We looked at multimedia, which is to produce a multimedia project and video fits within that category.
We have a business champion from Toshiba who gives us one day a week in terms of helping us develop the teaching, contacts with other employers in the area.
The software packages that we use are really up to the students wherever possible, and this is something that the business adviser from Toshiba has impressed on us, we try to use business software rather than what you would traditionally find in a school situation.
Diploma students have some basic skills in web design and using multimedia products and so on but it’s putting those in to practice in a real live context.
It just brings learning to life and prepares them for the world of work.
Creative and media
A demonstration of how learning in a consortium can be planned to support effective applied learning while offering choice and flexibility.
Creative and media - Transcript
Klare Murray (Director of Community Arts, Halewood College) The consortium is made up of three schools and a sixth form college and basically we’ve all taken a lead on various disciplines within the Creative and Media Diploma. So here at Halewood College we lead on the performing arts.
Anna Jackson (Director of Arts College, Halewood College) Basically it’s their first week of their third unit, which is 'Artefact'. So they’ve just arrived this morning, it’s their first session in Halewood and they’re not Halewood learners, they’re from a different school.
Adam Conway (Student) Well I had the choice of animation at Robey College and music at our college, but I don’t really do much performance so I thought I’d try it.
Klare Murray A learner can choose between four different centres and actually between the 20 different disciplines across the two years so they can support the areas that they really care about.
Anna Jackson (speaking to class) The unit is about creating your own artefact…
Now they're going to use their research next week when the go to the local Liverpool museums to actually choose an artefact, base a story and then a script on that artefact, and then with an artist create that artefact for their performance; so either their piece of costume or their prop that they need to use within their play or their performance.
Phil Green (Media Studies Teacher, Knowsley Hey Arts College) We’re doing acting unit 3 'Artefact' for the Edexcel board and we’ve come to Sudley House and we’re actually looking at this place as an artefact itself. Our brief is to produce an activity pack that can be given to families when they come along, to enrich and enliven their experiences of Sudley House.
Klare Murray One of the things that learners often say to me is the other projects we do are just made up by a teacher. We’re actually giving that real life element – all of our units end in a real-life outcome.
Phil Green We’ll you’ve got to look at the personal learning and thinking skills, you’ve got to look at functional skills; you’ve got look at embedding those two things within the way you plan. And you’ve also got to bring in to account the assessment because the students need to constantly question what they’re doing and why they’re doing, what’s working well, and how can it be better.
Sophie Witham (Freelance artist) (speaking to class) No, she didn’t marry, she’d no children, so when she died the house was bequeathed to Liverpool.
Particularly to be in a place, historic place of interest, just brings the whole subject to life. It’s not just doing academic sort of classroom theoretical work, but you can begin to see how Victorians lived and the decisions that they made and the buildings that they built.
Reece Desmond (Student) I think it’s good because it’s more hands on. You get to do something more practical.
Phil Green They are much more involved, they are much more motivated. They work to deadlines. They approach it in a much more mature and sophisticated way.
Kevin O’Connell (Media Studies Lecturer, Roby Sixth Form College) These guys are 14 years of age, they’ve come from local schools and they’ll be studying unit 3 'Artefact'. The idea for the brief came from the Doritos’ website whereby they put out a competition to local schools and colleges to come up with an advertisement for Doritos. And given that our expertise is in interactive media we thought the Doritos design brief would enable us to give learners the experience working with graphic design, working with animation.
Teacher (speaking to class) So what I’m going to do, I’m going to point to this person here, he’s going to stand up and show his picture and then explain his past, present, future.
Dale Roberts (Student) It’s more fun. We get to meet new people and you get to meet more people in different schools.
Kevin O’Connell What’s been good for us guys is we’re not used to working with 14-year-olds, so these guys have come in all fresh and they’ve taken on, you know, advice and guidance that we’ve given them and seem to understand the importance of working with employers.
Klare Murray So what we’ve tried to do for every single unit is cover the broad spectrum of creative and media and so a student had that level of choice so they can opt which centre they want to study in and how they’re going to study through which disciplines.
END OF PROGRAMME
Construction and the built environment
Shot within the Barnsley consortium, this demonstrates how in-house expertise and projects can be used to support high-quality
Construction and the built environment - Transcript
Steve Cook (Assistant Head, Kirk Balk School) We’re actually having a new school built on this site. It’s an ideal opportunity, with the new site being here, for the students to actually have hands-on experience and see the build being constructed.
We’ve just been laying out the outline of the new school. It’s quite an iconic design because it’s a triangular form.
Peter Andrews (Construction Manager, Kirk Balk School) And we’re going to base most of our principal learning units on the new build, which will give the students an insight as how a real build will take place.
Joseph Platts (Student) Well we’ve researched which site it’s going to be on, the ground levels that we’re going to put the school on.
Peter Andrews Recently we had the Head of Planning at Barnsley and he came in and went through the whole planning process and this was unusual in the fact that the kids know a little bit about planning but have never looked at it in that form of depth before.
Today obviously we’re following on from the lesson last week where you drew these roofs. One team will build a traditional roof, one a truss roof.
The Diploma is far more in depth than the GCSE Level 2. These students will go on to the higher level jobs in industry, primarily architects, surveyors.
The centre that you’ve seen today is an additional room, an additional area, where the students can come and we treat that as a building site. Everything that applies on a building site applies in the centre.
It gives the children and the students an insight into what’s expected of those in the real industry. Every man in that group, every child in that group, has been working on task, which sometimes in school we don’t always get; you can’t appeal to every child. But it does seem that this appeals to everyone in that group.
Daniel Davenport (Student) Practical I like most, to be honest.
Peter Andrews Applied learning, I feel, is a very important tool in any teacher’s box. If he can use that it’s relevant to the kids.
James Rymer (Student) What’s best is watching the new school being built.
Steve Cook There’s going to be a learning zone actually built on the site so that the students can actually watch the construction taking place.
Peter Andrews They love the designs of it that they’ve seen basically and they are keen to visit the site as it’s being constructed.
The benefits of the applied Diploma is that you’re getting children and kids involved with construction at an early age so they leave school with an understanding of the industry.
James Rymer It’s more fun and you get to learn a lot more.
END OF PROGRAMME
This inspiring subtitled video shows students from Westminster Kingsway College whose applied learning introduces them into the real work environments of the hospitality sector.
Hospitality - Transcript
We've known Westminster Kingsway for many years, apart from the fact that I used to go there when I first came in to the industry and it's our local hotel school.
When you're establishing the pricing strategy for your hotel, for rooms what factors do you take in to consideration. There's no exact science in setting the rate.
We are here ready, willing and able to assist what we think is probably quite a difficult task to ask a teacher to teach hospitality.
This morning's visit to the Churchill Hotel was to fit the needs of the unit investigating the hospitality industry so that they get a visual interpretation of an aspect of the industry. It gave me a really good insight in to how the hotel's run.
I thought It was really interesting and it was really good talking to the GM.
For me to actually have a conversation with them asking questions, to have them talk to me does give a lot of information on what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Linking on from this morning because he was talking quite a lot about pricing, Anton, particularly for you.
What they're doing today is pricing a menu, so we're embedding the numeracy skills that they're required to carry that task out which fits the functional skills requirements but also runs along unit line, the managing of food operation.
That's the formula you need.
I think the benefits of applied learning are all about putting learning in to a context. Learners really respond when they uinderstand why they're learning something.
I really enjoying actually. I think it's a really good course and I'm learning quite a bit.
The best thing so far is working in the kitchen, it's pretty good. And also working in the restaurants. So pretty much the practical side.
And it does allow the students to take the theoretical learning and apply it in a practical scenario, so it is a restaurant that's open to the public so they're paying customers and it is run as a real working environment.
The first half of the year is embedding the basic skills of working in a restaurant, so each student will move around job roles.
The second half each student will then run the restaurant for a service.
When designing this particular curriculum, I took specialists. They looked at actual awarding body criteria, went away, thought about it, wrote something. And then as a group of people we pulled that to pieces I'm afraid, and then we looked at new assessment methods, new teaching methods and getting the student to actually do things to develop skill.
From my point of view the Advanced Diploma gives us a great opportunity to work with industry, to engage young learners and to take them on a journey and to show them just where they might end up in terms of career progression.
I think I can honestly say that we in the hospitality industry think the Diplomas are the best thing that's happened to our industry for many, many a year. We catch people young. This industry derives much of it's success from the passion of the people who work in it. Normally we find them to be highly personable, to have a good deal of common sense and a combination literally of those two can make an excellent employee.
Last modified: 09 Apr 2010