The Functional Skills in ICT award is to be replaced, ensuring that more learners are equipped for the modern digital-first workplace. With first registrations from 1st August 2023, the new Digital Functional Skills award is a fully funded replacement, with funding for 2023-34 remaining the same and enhanced funding from 2024. With final registrations accepted up to 31st July this year, and last certifications by 1st August 2024, bksb’s new Digital Functional Skills solution is now available to help providers prepare learners with the new, updated and more workplace-relevant standard.
While the Digital Functional Skills standard is not currently included in the apprenticeship standards, some of these are being reviewed and may be updated.
Either way, the new standard is more workplace-focused than the previous iteration and is designed to prepare learners for the digital skills they will specifically need for work or further study. bksb also offers the Essential Digital Skills award, which covers the sorts of digital skills people need in everyday life, ensuring providers can prepare more learners for the digital world they now inhabit. Both courses cover the same modules, but there are differences in topics and content. Essential Digital Skills takes around 45 hours of study to complete, against 55 hours for Digital Functional Skills as it includes more tasks and activities with more complex assessments.
What’s the solution?
As with all bksb’s functional skills solutions, Digital Functional Skills helps learning providers address key challenges including:
- Building and maintaining learner engagement with a rewarding learner experience.
- Helping providers manage learning effectively in online, classroom and blended environments with an easy-to-use platform.
- Access to accurate, insightful learner assessments that inform effective individual learning plans for more successful outcomes.
- Progression monitoring with proofs of progression using powerful digital data.
bksb’s solution is mapped to the UK government’s Digital Functional Skills Framework, introducing learners to the digital world with content ranging from working with everyday devices through to solving technical issues. It is based upon the same five key modules found in Essential Digital Skills but a deeper dive into the resources reveals significant differences focused on employability. These are:
- Using devices and handling information – includes how to use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearable technology.
- Creating and editing – covers office-related applications such as word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and uploading photos and other documents.
- Communicating – focused on online video conferencing such as Teams, instant messaging, emails, and WhatsApp.
- Transacting – includes online purchasing and banking.
- Being safe and responsible online – covers passwords, online security, awareness of phishing and malware attacks.
There are three stages within the bksb Digital Functional Skills platform. The first, Diagnostic Assessment, is a blend of the initial and diagnostic assessment stages that users of bksb’s maths and English solutions will already be familiar with. This is an intuitive and responsive assessment that generates bespoke questions based on the level of previous answers, so that more advanced learners are stretched and the less digitally experienced are not overwhelmed by questions that are too difficult. The result is a score and a generated individual learning programme (ILP).
Learning Resources are provided according to need, priority and level. The engaging content is delivered in small, easy-to-process chunks that really help learners improve their skills and understanding, using resources including videos. The third stage is Progress Checks, embedded in each module, with automated functions that continuously recalculates the learner’s ability score and updates their ILP. Tutors can review individual learner profiles and change the targets according to progress, monitoring progression through the levels – Entry Level 3 and Level 1, ensuring that they are fully prepared for final assessment.
Like all bksb’s products, this solution is all about data-driven decisions, so reporting is easy, providing access to actionable insights. Learning providers can drill down into an individual’s learning, seeing when and how they completed each activity, or look at a group by employer, enrolment date, tutor, course and more. It also works well in a blended delivery environment, so that learners can complete some modules online and access other resources and learning in the classroom, further enhancing engagement.
bksb’s Digital Functional Skills solution is more than just learning software – for more information about the powerful features that sit within it, and to speak to one of our experts, visit our Digital Functional Skills page.
bksb is part of Advanced, the UK-based digital solutions and services company that offers a full range of market-leading technology for the education sector including ProSuite, Smart Apprentices, and PICS.