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Fitness education ‘lagging in uptake of technology’

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Fitness training providers and colleges are failing to capitalise on the benefits of integrating technology-enabled learning into the curriculum, according to a new report.

The Lessons in Technology-Enhanced Learning study from YMCA Awards – the result of interviews with a group of major UK colleges and private training providers – suggests the health and fitness education sector has ‘a long way to go’ before it is fully harnessing the benefits of digital learning.

The report reveals that while providers involved in the study are hungry to modernise learning, many feel they are being held back by a lack of resources and the necessary funds needed to meet the essential costs of development, setup and maintenance

The report highlights a number of persistent barriers to adoption, such as compliance issues and financial restrictions, as well as the surprising digital illiteracy of many vocational students. Meanwhile, participants complained that they were hindered by ‘supplier hype’, overwhelming choice, and off-the-shelf eLearning products being too inflexible.

These issues aside, tutors and participants alike said they found eLearning beneficial. YMCA Awards piloted an eLearning course as part of the study and found it helped support flexible learning, with 26 per cent of students choosing to learn outside normal classroom hours in addition to face-to-face learning, while 14 per cent opted to work at weekends.

“Our research found strong examples of innovation in digital learning, but many participants suggested that this was often occurring organically, in pockets, and was down to the drive and passion of project managers rather than systemic culture change,” said Rob May, director of YMCA Awards.

“We found that wholesale adoption of digital learning – which requires experimentation, risk, change management and capacity building - remains elusive whilst institutions are being driven hard by compliance and cost-reduction.”

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Fitness training providers and colleges are failing to capitalise on the benefits of integrating technology-enabled learning into the curriculum, according to a new report.
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eLearning can be particularly useful for facilitating flexible studying / Shutterstock.com / Syda Productions
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