Launching learning pathways

The Charity Learning Consortium has developed some fantastic new functionality for the Moodle learning management system that it provides. Josh Willcock, Head of Technology at the Consortium, explains how learning pathways will enhance the user experience. 

So what exactly is a learning pathway?
A learning pathway is a collection of courses, which can be grouped together in different ways to give direction and context. For example, a new starter may have a learning pathway guiding them through courses which are specific for their role. These courses could be made up of a number of modules, activities and resources. Over time, new sections could be unlocked or released, enabling them to progress further.

Why do learning pathways matter? 
Engaging your staff and volunteers to use eLearning requires solutions from all angles. With this plugin at your fingertips, it becomes even easier to keep your people compliant, help them upskill and guide them through your content more effectively.

Grouping existing courses together allows learners to follow a pathway from beginning to end, unlocking different sections as they go, with a clear direction and flow to engage and motivate them. 

How will learning pathways help L&D practitioners and their organisations? 
There are two really big benefits of using learning pathways. L&D practitioners can create pathways that really align to their individual organisation’s specific needs. And they can also delegate responsibilities and permissions, empowering managers to either allocate pre-made pathways or to create their own. With such granular permissions, organisations can really adapt who can create and allocate pathways. Both of these are really important for sustaining learning in charitable organisations. 

“Learning pathways will be very useful and have helped to aid my thinking regarding development for Ypeople. I think this will be really useful moving forward. It really is so valuable to think about mapping progression levels.”

Laura Sharpe, Learning and Development Lead, Ypeople

How do L&D practitioners use them? 
Setting up a learning pathway is quite straightforward: you choose a name for the pathway, select a set of courses and a start date. From there you can allocate it to specific individuals, or set up a simple rule – using our rule builder tool – to automatically allocate these. Learners will be notified of this and the process is underway. 

Before delegating the ability to create new learning pathways to managers, L&D practitioners will probably want to create a library of public pathways first. Managers can then allocate these public pathways to learners and report on them, before setting up their own. 

Will learning pathways make things easier for learners?
The main objective of this project was to simplify the experience for learners. In the past, a simple call to action ‘Please complete your learning’ might mean navigating through lots of courses and lists. Our approach was to ensure that a learner would be able to quickly see what they needed to do, when they needed to do it, and what they would need to do next. 

How long did it take to create this bespoke feature for the RoadMap Moodle LMS?
Learning pathways was originally proposed and sketched out some time ago. Due to the Pandemic though, this was put on hold, as we quickly reviewed our short term goals to best assist our members as they transformed to fully remote L&D. We’ve now had time to resume our normal development and reassess the project. We’ve dedicated four months to simplifying parts of the plugin and improving the experience. Altogether the plugin has been loosely in development for several years, in different shapes and forms, using member requests and industry trends to adapt and improve it throughout this time. It’s been a huge step in our development journey. Throughout this process we have continually come back to the objectives of creating functionality which was easy to understand and deliver something impactful to our members.

How have learning pathways been received?
Feedback from members has been really positive and some have volunteered to be our learning pathways champions. And we’ve already had some fantastic ideas of how we could expand this plugin, to make this tool even more useful. This is something we are committed to developing further. Throughout 2020 we’ve had a strong focus on bulletproofing infrastructure and improving security. Looking ahead, we want to continue adding key functionality through plugins like this.

Josh Willcock is the Head of Technology at the Charity Learning Consortium. 

“Just wanted to say, learning pathways is going to be a game-changer. Well done and thank all at CLC for me.”

Matt Shoemaker, Digital E-Learning Specialist, Rethink Mental Illness

Here are just a couple of features included in the LMS that we provide…

Intuitive layout

Customisable

Track, engage and report

Activities & Resources

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