Contact FutureLearn for Support Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsIn this video, you will hear individuals across the VET sector discuss culture change. They'll identify a number of key factors for successful culture change. In the discussion aspect of this step, we'll explore these factors and your experiences.

Skip to 0 minutes and 26 secondsEmbedding blended learning in a college environment is all about challenging the culture which currently exists. It's not an easy process, and you need support from your senior management team. You also need to take on board the concerns that your teaching staff have, to listen to them and work with them to build their confidence.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsIt has to be modelled by senior managers, to begin with. We talk a lot about curriculum staff embracing technology and bringing technology into the classroom. Yet we often forget that the leaders have to model that use of technology. Failure to do that will always stymie the culture change at an organisation. So there's a real need for staff development, not necessarily just at the curriculum level, but also at the leadership level to appreciate what staff should be doing in the classroom. And then we can get them on the board. One of the most important things is to develop an enthusiasm within the organisation.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 secondsTo have a sense, within the organisation, that from the top, people are interested in taking this way of learning forward. My approach has been to harness the enthusiasm. So where we've got people who want to take things forward, creating an environment when they feel that's possible to happen. Secondly, I think we have to create the opportunity for people to learn. I think senior leadership needs to get involved because otherwise you are dependent upon the self-motivated enthusiasts to lead everything themselves. And the refuseniks, or the people who don't want to get involved, won't get involved because there's no imperative. What senior leaders can do-- and I believe must do-- is set that direction of travel.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsSo my approach has always been to say, this is about learning. It's not about technology, it's not about gizmos, it's not about being flash, it's about learning and making learning more effective.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 secondsIt's really important to have a number of criteria in place. One of them is a culture of enabling, and rewarding, encouraging risk taking and innovation within the classroom. So teachers don't feel that they're going to be told off for something that goes wrong in the classroom. They're encouraged to use that technology. It is tricky. It is challenging. You have to get people to buy into the culture change. You have to have early adopters, but then you can't relax concentrating on early adopters. You have to kick on to get that early majority. And then the late majority join. You always have to expect that there will always be people who will not engage.

Skip to 3 minutes and 15 secondsAnd in that instance, then you have to decide whether their culture fits the culture of the organisation. "I haven't got time." That's the message that people say. "I just haven't the time."" "I'd love to do it, but." So then you look at, well how could we make this easier for you? What in this could save you time? Where will you get the time back. And I think, increasingly, people are seeing that return for their initial commitment. They're saying, well this has made things better now. This has made things easier. This was worth doing. What we had to do, we had to sit with those people and show them what was possible. It was very small wins.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 secondsAnd slowly, by showing them what was possible, that was the thing that made the biggest change. The thing that got in the way was trying to persuade them that technology, per se, was a good thing. The thing that helped was showing them that learning was enhanced by technology. It's about confidence and about not losing control within the classroom. I think that's what the issues come from a lot. So to get around that, quite often, it's worth talking to small groups or individuals if they're very resistant and giving them a bit of support and a bit of confidence to try out some of those tools, and working with them directly.

Skip to 4 minutes and 36 secondsAnd explain to them how helpful these tools could be to them as a teacher, and how it would make their life a lot easier and a lot more interesting if they could make those tools work. I think the key lessons that we've learned here are to work with our lecturers and with our students to look at what everybody wants and what they're comfortable with. It's no use in pushing technology onto people, they have to understand the pedagogy behind blended learning and see that technology is a solution to some of the teaching issues they have. How is using that tool going to impact on the pedagogy and curriculum that they deliver? That's the key to getting buy in from staff.

Skip to 5 minutes and 19 secondsOne of the most important things that managers can do is make technology part of the conversation. So actually asking their teams, how are they using technology in their teaching and learning. Also embedding it as part of the quality processes. So when we're doing, say lesson observations, to have a look at how the virtual learning environment is being used, make sure it's being used effectively, talking to learners and trying to understand their views of what is working well. We use conventional workshops. We use large scale presentations. Or you meet with people one to one. It might be just over coffee, or you arrange a formal meeting.

Skip to 5 minutes and 59 secondsBecause sometimes, what happens with the new technology is somebody will adopt it, work with it a little while, and then it'll not be working too well. They'll hit a frustration. The Wi-Fi is not that great in their classroom, or whatever. And so they stop. So, going back to them and say, how's it going? Is it working for you? And hearing, "no it's not, I've got a real frustration, I'm afraid I've given up". And then helping them fix that is key. Another one of our key activities is actually to setup breakfast and twilight sessions that will support teachers. It's a space for them to ask any questions, to overcome any barriers that they have with using technology in their classrooms.

Skip to 6 minutes and 39 secondsAnd one of things we've done is celebrate the success of our number of key members of staff who've really used technology, and used it well. We've encapsulated that using best practices and showing those out through our blog and through CPD events. I like the idea of showing teachers simple, straightforward tools to use and have a go at. And if it's straightforward and simple, and they can have a two minute play with it, they can then use their creativity to think, how that could affect my learners. And really try it out in action, either in classrooms or workshops. And from that point on, the others around that teacher start saying, oh, that worked really well.

Skip to 7 minutes and 21 secondsAnd they can see the benefits from it, and it starts to move. It's a bit of a culture change within the team, within departments. And then sharing good practice back into the organisation, others start seeing how that could be really effective. Changing culture is all about taking small steps, making small changes which people are comfortable with and not expecting everything to change overnight. It's a huge process embedding blended learning. And it's not just going to happen quickly. You have to accept that and take on small projects with little wins, where people can see the real benefit of what they're doing.

Managing a culture change

In this activity, we aim to illustrate a range of techniques and approaches that you can use to support a culture change towards blended learning in your institution or setting. You may be a practitioner or a senior manager in the VET sector, so we have tried to provide examples of how staff at different levels of the organisation can effect change.

In this step, the video includes interviews with a range of practitioners and senior managers in the VET sector who have experienced or led blended learning culture change projects. This video should serve a good introduction to some of the ways that the VET sector can support a change towards embedded blended learning.

In the video, the following key factors for successful culture change are identified. These are common across the education sector when implementing change with technology. We have also provided some other important considerations.

  • Leadership - leading by example, directly supporting culture change

  • Vision and strategy – demonstrating the reasons for change

  • Developing staff buy-in – overcoming barriers with individuals, demonstrating the value of technology

  • Using champions – sharing good practice between colleagues and teams to encourage positive change

  • Reward and recognition for staff – showcasing good practice, rewarding innovation and risk-taking

  • Working with students and other stakeholders – asking students, employers and professional bodies what they want, and involving them in change

  • Using evidence to support change – making sure that pedagogy drives the use of technology, not the other way round

  • Providing a supportive environment – encouraging a safe environment for colleagues to experiment, ask questions, develop confidence

  • Developing skills – providing opportunities for professional development

  • Providing a robust technology landscape – ensuring the infrastructure is robust, fit for purpose and easy to use

Have your say:

  • What techniques and approaches have you experienced that result in positive culture change?
  • What advice can you give to others about how to support colleagues in your setting about embracing and embedding blended learning?
  • What barriers to positive culture change exist in your organisation?
  • Did any of the interviews in the video strike a particular chord with you?

This video is from the free online course:

Blended Learning Essentials: Embedding Practice

University of Leeds