The role of edtech in advancing social mobility

Mindful Education Marketing team

With the cost of living crisis showing no signs of abating, adult education is starting to see the ramifications of learners’ financial struggles. As learners increasingly feel the pinch, there are serious implications for the future of the workforce and the economy. However, colleges and training providers who adopt flexible learning strategies are well-positioned to support learners who may otherwise be unable to start or continue their studies.

Learner attitudes towards further education have changed considerably in recent years, thanks to a need to increase income rather than skills. While this may seem short-sighted given that new qualifications often improve earning power, the ‘hidden’ costs of education such as childcare, textbooks or frequent travel to college mean that further study is simply unaffordable when times are tight, despite government incentives and bursaries.

What’s more, many learners are taking on additional hours at work or multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, meaning that they simply don’t have time to attend set college classes, which are often multiple evenings a week.

However, online or blended delivery can make it possible to continue learning despite financial and time constraints. 

Reducing the amount of time spent in a physical classroom allows learners to study on their own terms – at a time or place that suits them. Perhaps this will mean lunchbreak learning, or studying at home in the evening without having to find the money for a babysitter. It also gives the flexibility to work overtime or pick up extra shifts without it impacting on their studies.

However, colleges and training providers should remain cautious about the online resources they offer. Many have fallen into the trap of simply sharing recorded powerpoint presentations and expecting this to be sufficient for learners to progress away from the classroom. But without a strong support network and adaptation for different learning styles, learners often flounder and ultimately drop out – wasting both their time and money. 

Providers who offer their students purpose-built blended learning resources – such as our Online and On Campus courses and apprenticeships – see far greater results than fully online or traditional face-to-face study. With achievement rates consistently above average, learners and providers enjoy a better return on their investment, while maintaining close links to a college and classmates.

Embedding technology in education has the ability to be truly transformational. By ensuring that learners can continue their education despite challenging financial circumstances, colleges are not only supporting individuals to grow their career and earning power, but are also positively impacting their families, communities and the economy.

Posted on: 5 April 2024

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