Grifﬁth College is Ireland's largest independent third level institution with locations in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Established over 40 years ago, Grifﬁth College enjoys national and a growing international reputation for student success. The College has gained an enviable, award winning reputation for providing students with ﬁrst class programmes and excellent learning facilities .
Ireland's recently appointed Minister for Higher Education and Innovation, Simon Harris, intends to expand the apprenticeship model of award delivery into a wider variety of sectors within the Irish economy as it recovers from COVID-19. The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 was recently launched. There are currently 18,000+ people under the apprenticeship scheme, which is oriented towards a wide range of occupations
Griffith College is the coordinating provider for the Advanced Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship programme. The consortium steering Group includes representatives from Nursing Homes Ireland, Home and Community Care Ireland, the Private Hospitals Association and the Alliance of Healthcare Assistants in Ireland.
Griffith College is also the coordinating provider for the Bar Manager Degree apprenticeship programme in Ireland and it intends to expand into other disciplines in the future.
During the development process Grifﬁth College was challenged with how students could evidence the achievement of learning outcomes in the workplace, when they are off campus. Grifﬁth needed a digital platform where students could evidence their workplace learning and assessment and their achievement of the workplace learning outcomes, to take the place of a paper book system used previously.
After some research, Grifﬁth College decided to utilise the SmartEvidence feature in Mahara to create a structured ePortfolio where apprentices could easily evidence their achievement of the workplace learning outcomes.
Through an iterative process Griffith College was able to build draft structured ePortfolio templates using pages and collections attached to SmartEvidence frameworks; however, there were a number of unresolved issues with the structure and workflow. Griffith College quickly realised that they needed some specialised support to complete the implementation project. Staff from Grifﬁth College had seen Sam Taylor, one of our eLearning Consultants, at a recent MoodleMunch event presenting work on Moodle and Mahara, and promptly got in touch.
Grifﬁth required guidance on site set-up and structure, user journeys for each stakeholder, onboarding, course design, landing pages, and pushing of SmartEvidence collections to apprentices accounts. They also wanted help with Groups and submissions of assignments and the process of transitioning between Moodle and Mahara.
Catalyst advised on how to set up the site into institutions. Learners were issued with portfolio templates that matched the competencies they needed to evidence. This constituted a SmartEvidence framework for each portfolio. Catalyst advised on how to set up module groups for apprentices to submit their portfolios to for marking and how to manage users and roles.
We cannot sing Catalyst’s praises highly enough. We achieved a 6 month workload in just 6 weeks, (32 hours consultancy package). Without Catalyst’s input, we couldn't have got up and running so quickly. We would welcome the opportunity to work together again with a further Mahara support package.
Jonathan Murphy, Head of Apprenticeship Department
The creation of help resources for apprentices followed. The theme conﬁguration used for Grifﬁth to facilitate the development of this new feature, will be integrated into core Mahara. Many institutions therefore will beneﬁt from these portfolios adapted for the apprenticeship award delivery model.
Catalyst and Grifﬁth College were involved in frequent workshops where the journey of each role was designed to be seamless. This applied to apprentices, teachers, workplace mentors, site administrators.
The developmental strategy of using the ﬁrst three staged modules, visible to the learner, avoided overwhelming the students.
The Digital Learning department at Grifﬁth College were impressed from the outset with the meetings and the training provided by Sam.
Grifﬁth College’s aim is to now grow IT skills with learners and mentors in as many subject disciplines as possible, for example expanding to hospitality as a next step and other faculties within the College. IT literacy skills have also been signiﬁcantly improved for both staff and students.
The process is now much clearer and swifter for external examiners and moderators to view the portfolios and assess them.
Ultimately Grifﬁth College wants to promote and invest in lifelong learning for their students and provide the opportunity of sustaining a professional Mahara ePortfolio, evidencing the continuation of their professional journey.
Contact us for our tailor-made Mahara training packages.