Re-engaging school leavers

Re-engaging young early school leavers in education using online learning and digital technology

Researcher: Marianne Checkley

Supervisors: Dr Irene Connolly and Dr Marion Palmer

Innovation and growth rely on a skilled labour force, not only for high technology sectors but throughout the economy. Predictions of future skills needs in Europe suggest that in the near future only one in ten jobs will be within the reach of an early school leaver (European Parliament, 2011). This research looks at the learning and teaching experience on iScoil, an online learning community for young early school leavers aged 13-16yrs. The iScoil learning community is examined in the context of current good practice in creative learning design and engaging learning environments.
With their previous experience of mainstream education, iScoil teachers and learners participated in focus groups and interviews providing interesting perspectives on positives and challenges of working together online. Combining these views with results from authoring tools that analyse curriculum development and delivery, some key influences on impact emerging is the benefit of competency based learning in a flexible, self paced and personalised learning environment. Visual representation from learning design authoring tools also provide a good example of their potential use for reflection on good practice and to ensure digital media is used in focused, relevant curriculum design.