An LSIS service
 

NLN Materials

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Funded by the Skills Funding Agency and its predecessors to support learners and organisations in the post-16 sector, the NLN materials represent one of the most substantial and wide-ranging collections of e-learning materials in the UK.

The NLN Materials are small, flexible 'bite-sized' episodes of learning. They are not whole courses but are designed to support a wide range of subject and topic areas. The materials adopt a range of approaches involving some knowledge acquisition, a chance to practice and absorb, and some form of assessment to check that the learning has been understood and the learning outcome(s) achieved.

The materials give learners things to do and a chance to think for themselves. They are designed to be fun. Learners can make mistakes but can try again. There is plenty of in-built help if they get stuck and opportunities to go back and revise. Many of the materials include games or quizzes. Accessibility options are available on many of the materials to suit learners' individual needs. The materials are also designed to appeal to the different learning styles of students.

The materials were created by commercial developers in four separate tranches between 2000 and 2006. The commercial developers worked in partnership with subject matter experts and a wide range of colleges and adult and community learning experts. All the materials were trialled by tutors and students and tested for accessibility at the Royal National College of the Blind in Hereford.

The NLN materials service is now managed by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) following their transfer of ownership from the Skills Funding Agency in July 2011. LSIS undertook a survey in early 2011 to gauge levels of engagement with the NLN materials across the further education and skills sector. Despite the age of the materials, the results were very positive. The survey identified a wish by users to see those materials that no longer work as originally designed or which are no longer relevant or up-to-date brought up to scratch. Whilst there is no core budget for this endeavour, LSIS will be working with partners to encourage and, where possible, support members of the community to undertake these developments.

About this site

In October 2007 the contract for hosting and running the NLN Materials Service was awarded to Xtensis ltd. Under their stewardship, access for all sectors was successfully unified, enabling users from authorised organisations in education and training to access the NLN Materials.

From July 2011, Xtensis donated a license for the software that runs the site, to ensure users could continue to use the service uninterrupted.