James Luscombe with Craig Smith (CRS Editorial)
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on us all. In our collective time of need we focus more than ever on what really matters to us. This blog showcases the round-the-clock work we have undertaken at Study Active to maximise opportunities for our number one priority – our students.
When we learnt about the severity of the situation back in March of this year, we had obvious concerns about what the impact would be on our students. The word ‘unprecedented’ has been much used in 2020, but the challenges faced have been exactly that.
We realised very quickly that if we wanted to be able to continue to offer a first-class service to our students, we would need to be more flexible and agile than ever before.
What adaptations to our existing service were required?
As pioneers of online and blended learning, we had solid foundations on which to build. That’s not to say it was a case of feet up on the desk, job done. Far from it (we never rest on our laurels nor indeed put our feet on our desks)!
We recognised the landscape was changing and wanted to build on our already strong relations with our students.
Action plans and contingency scenarios were worked through (and continue to be) to ensure we could respond and act accordingly at the drop of a hat in this ever-changing situation.
Early on, we engaged in discussions with Active IQ (our awarding body), with protocols needing to be adapted and assessments, learning styles and the use of digital resources reviewed to ensure they remained fit for purpose and compliant with the exam board.
Any adaptations made must be done in compliance with Active IQ, and for their continued help, we salute them!
On behalf of our students and us here at Study Active, we would also like to extend our warmest thanks to CIMSPA (for up-to-the-minute guidance on regulations, compliance and training providers) and ukactive (for their really useful guidelines and unwavering support of our mission).
The challenges faced
The thirst for learning has witnessed an increased desire throughout the pandemic.
With people being furloughed from work, it has proved a popular time to begin a course, or complete it with the extra time available.
Our students have faced the predicament over the summer of the gyms being closed, which has meant they have been unable to complete the practical aspects of their qualifications.
As gyms have started to reopen, with COVID-compliant measures in place, we have been able to progress our students under the regulations of a ‘new normal’.
What does the future hold?
If we had the answer to this question for the whole of the UK, we would list a crystal ball among our office furniture. We can, though, fill you in on what the immediate future looks like for our students.
There will continue to be lots of support for our students. Even though they may have been studying in a more remote fashion, the contact with them will continue to be as high as ever.
How things were done and how courses were delivered before the pandemic hit may not be how things will be done in the future.
That said, it has not been a case of having to reinvent the wheel due to our prominence in online and blended learning.
We will continue to use online learning for our blended learning courses.
Students can still expect some exquisite digital resources, and continuous ongoing support in the form of webinars, Zoom, and over the telephone.
For the practical element of the learning journey, there are options to do things more remotely. Practical tuition could be delivered via Zoom or a webinar, and students would have the option of recording their assessments in a local gym and sending them to us.
Our preference is to always get students coming in and seeing us though, especially if they are struggling with something. The face-to-face element will always be a component of studying with us, as we are firm believers in interaction, resulting in a superior learning experience.
Moving forward, we will be looking at practical sessions with a smaller group of students, with a lot more being done on a one-to-one basis to ensure we remain COVID-compliant with national regulations. Operating this way, we can also ensure that the times students do come into us, they continue to receive a high-quality learning experience.
The general message is that education will keep going but it may look a little bit different across the board in the future.
We promise to do as we always have done, which is to put the education and well-being of our students at the very top of our priority list.
Are you a student enrolled on one of our courses? Why not get in touch and let us know how you have found our service throughout the pandemic and if there is anything more we could do for you.
#student #learning #COVID