Chartall Business College
Category: BANKSETA Accredited Training Provider
Chartall Business College’s Interpretation of Good Practice in Skills Development
Chartall Business College believes that, in modern society, Good Practice in Skills Development differs to what it was even 10 years ago. The college states that modern learners are demanding more personalisation, more applicability, up-to-date learning methods, books and materials that are easy to read and use, mobile learning that is always on and available, and one-on- one coaching and collaboration. They want all this at a cheaper cost and lower engagement rate.
The college has embraced these ‘good practice’ trends and built them into its online learning platform without jeopardising quality, validity and reliability. Chartall Business College is at the forefront of this development and now offers online learning for full and part qualifications in both the FET and HET sectors (with a new Bachelor of Business Administration with a Banking Stream currently being launched). Its online coaches and facilitators run regular skype sessions and discussion groups to ensure everyone is on track and feels they are being listened to. This combination of support, coaching, guidance and teaching allows the development of the holistic person - which is the ultimate good practice in modern skills development.
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTION (EMPLOYED ONLY)
The average employee is stressed and has minimal amount of time to devote to learning (some experts say as little as one hour a week on average). Often these over- stressed employees have no option but to learn because of the rapidly changing knowledge economy.
Chartall Business College has embraced online learning as a delivery methodology because it allows for flexible delivery - any place, any time, at any pace. Chartall uses a blended approach with Learnerships which reduces the time in the classroom. The e-learning component is designed to address what each individual learner needs, when they need it (personalised) and it is chunked into short bursts of knowledge to match the average (and diminishing) attention span of our learners. Every class session is recorded and made available for those who miss it or who want to repeat it (especially convenient for learners who do not have English as a home language).
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONS (UNEMPLOYED ONLY)
The unemployed youth are the biggest group of unemployed people in South Africa. Research has shown that having workplace experience is the surest way to gain employment. To assist with this, Chartall Business College has teamed up with employers in the banking sector to take on unemployed graduates as interns. The employer gains from the B-BBEE points and the youth gain from the workplace experience. Through research, Chartall realised that employers are not looking for ‘hard’ skills, the graduates have those already. Instead, employers are looking for ‘soft’ skills like; problem solving, team work, research skills, analytical thought and innovative thinking (these are the top skills sought by modern day businesses).
As a result, Chartall puts all interns through a two-month internship programme where these skills are developed in a blended way (lectures for practical work and online for theory). The classroom interactions are case study based with group or individual problem solving in a variety of disciplines. Participants learn by doing, and once they can do they become employed.
Chartall Business College is an innovative user of technology, both for its learners and its staff. To support its internal staff, Chartall has developed an online learning ecosystem. The business is changing rapidly (from mainly face-to-face to online delivery; from FET to FET and HET; from groups to individuals, etc.) and with this comes the constant pressure on staff to stay up-to-date with policies and knowledge.
The online ecosystem allows subject specialists within Chartall to record short videos or write short blogs and share them internally with other staff. This allows for shared learning and enables a knowledge management system within the organisation; and because the articles or videos are short, staff can access information in bite- sized chunks, just-in-time and when-they-need-it. This, in turn, leads to greater uniformity in how the college manages and deals with its learners and clients.
Chartall Business College staff are mostly all graduates with ongoing CPD requirements from various professional bodies. Staff are given one hour of learning time per week, which they can use to do research or complete a short online course as part of their ongoing learning and development. If they discover something of interest, they can summarise it in a video or blog to share with their colleagues in-house. In addition, the college’s Academic Director, Dr Karen Deller, is involved in an ongoing community of expert practice in RPL with both SAQA and DHET.
SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (PWDS)
PWD development is an important part of Chartall’s mandate as a provider. Its move to online learning has allowed it to accommodate PWDs far more holistically. For example:
- Sight impaired learners are able to hear the recorded lectures and repeat them as often as they like
- Hearing impaired learners are able to see the e-learning with sign language and repeat it to embed the concepts
- Physically challenged learners are able to learn online without needing to travel to a classroom that more often than not does not accommodate their needs
- Learners with reading difficulties and illiterate learners are accommodated by being able to engage in online learning that ‘speaks and shows’ them the material in videos which can easily be translated into any language
- The use of technology is being harassed by Chartall Business College to assess learners - by using e-PoEs that can ‘read’ the questions to learners (if the software is enabled) and allow the upload of sound bites instead of typed answers
The problem is not the disability, its society’s reaction to the disability - by harnessing technology we are able to overcome many learning obstacles.
CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC OBJECTIVES
One of the shareholders of Chartall Business College, Crystal Meyers, has started a reading and literary centre in Eldorado Park. Chartall has become a co-sponsor of books, librarian, shelves, furniture, computers, and other necessities to keep the centre alive. Staff also volunteer to read to the children over the weekends. The Literary Centre encourages young people (mostly pre-teens) to love reading in the hope that they will stay at school and not join gangs and get involved with drugs. The centre also plans to become a safe haven for homework and care as the parents are often either working (and unable to support the children in their learning) or unemployed and uncaring as drugs and despair have upset their lives. Chartall has also made its entire FETC: Generic Management qualification available online for free in the hope that it will inspire those unable to attend any training due to location and/or cost to at least complete the online course and gain the knowledge from it. Tracking shows that over 200 people have accessed and completed most of this online qualification in the 12 months since it has been made available online.
Chartall Business College is truly a pioneer in RPL. Its Academic Director, Dr Karen Deller, completed her doctoral thesis on RPL and the college has been able to use the model she developed to the benefit of the wider banking and financial services sector. The RPL process involves mediation, where an experienced RPL adviser works with the RPL candidate to assist them in unpacking what they know and can do. This applied competence is then linked to the outcomes of the selected unit standards and qualifications.
Where RPL candidates are unfamiliar with academic terminology, this is scaffolded and mediated until they can use the language of the academy with ease. They are then ready to be assessed. Dr Karen Deller was co-author of a book on RPL called RPL as Specialised Pedagogy: Crossing the Lines, edited by Ralphs & Cooper (available on HSRC Press). Her chapter in the book described a case study where RPL was used to assist non-matriculants earn the promotion they deserved, but were denied from achieving, due to their not having matric. This case study informs our daily practice - RPL is empowering for the individual if it is done correctly.
OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS DEVELOPMENT
Chartall Business College has not been involved directly in the BANKSETA workshops to develop QCTO approved qualifications, as those selected to date were outside of the college’s key competencies. However, Chartall has worked with the QCTO to develop RPL policies and processes (Dr Karen Deller was on the RPL committee to develop the QCTO’s policy for RPL). She has also played an active role in assisting QCTO staff to understand and embrace online learning as a viable pedagogical approach. She has presented online learning theory, development techniques and applications to the QCTO on two occasions. She is very active in advocating for RPL, CAT and online learning.