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CDSM Insights Wales

Brexit – A CDSM Perspective on the British Referendum

What is ‘Brexit’?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is facing unprecedented times as the country awaits an in-out referendum on its membership of the European Union. The term ‘Brexit’ has been coined to describe the event since its inception in the Conservative government’s 2015 general election manifesto pledge. In the referendum, British citizens will be asked the question ‘Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave?’ [1].

The benefits of remaining in the EU have been relayed many times by the remain campaign; although the exit campaign has been gaining momentum in recent months outlining how Brexit would benefit the country. The effects are completely unknown as world powers including influential member states of the EU such as France and Germany along with the United States of America are urging British citizens to vote remain citing many negative impacts for our country’s economy, political status and place in the world.

Graphic depiction of Brexit - the UK within the EU

The CDSM stance

If CDSM could vote in the upcoming referendum, it would vote to remain in the EU. Wales as a constituent country of the UK is highly dependent upon European funding to drive economic stability and growth. The funding available to Welsh SMEs via a range of EU programmes is crucial to enable the creation of high value jobs and employ a skilled workforce throughout the region.

CDSM has been the beneficiary of these programmes through schemes like Go Wales, where we were able to recruit local graduates and provide them with an excellent opportunity to learn a profession in web technologies – one of the key emerging industries in Swansea Bay. Additional programmes have also enabled us to maintain technical hardware and to receive non-financial assistance through business support services.

It is still unclear what funding and programmes would be available if Brexit were to take place.

Graphic depiction of economic disparity that could occur upon Brexit

It’s your choice

For an employer in Wales, the choice in the upcoming referendum could not be simpler:

Leave, support Brexit and risk a generation of underfunding with increased economic disparity with southern England or remain, disregard Brexit and give our country the investment and opportunity it needs to continue to grow and fulfil its potential to compete on a global stage.

CDSM recommends voting to remain a part of the European Union.

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Authored by Richard Hart, Account Manager, CDSM Interactive Solutions

Sources:

[1] BBC News, The UK’s EU referendum: All you need to know

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #5

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #5

Let us introduce Andrew, the final participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Andrew is a Senior Product Designer at CDSM.

Andrew Evans, Senior Product Designer at CDSM

Andrew is a Senior Product Designer at CDSM. His role is to work with our customers and users to understand their needs and design suitable solutions to those needs in partnership with our project management and development teams. Andrew’s is currently working on Hwb, the Wales national digital learning platform and school improvement tools for regional education consortia.

We asked Andrew – what did you learn at work this week?

“A big part of our job is to work with our customers and users (not always the same people but that topic if for another blog post) to understand their goals. Once we understand their goals we set about generating ideas on how we can help people achieve their goals.”

“A prototype can vary in fidelity from paper-based sketches to a polished interactive on-screen application. Our go-to tool is InVision for stitching together prototypes.  We can work in Balsamiq Mockups to put together rough screens and as our ideas develop we will replace the rough screens with screens we design in Photoshop/Illustrator.”

“Another approach is to build functional prototypes to test a more complex workflow.  This involves building the user interface in HTML and JavaScript and producing a prototype that you can perform basic tasks with.  This is particularly useful when designing Web Form and how they behave.”

“I’ve started learning various coding frameworks and tools that will help us build functional prototypes fast.  The frameworks include JQuery, Backbone.js, Meteor.js, AgularJS, and React.”

“In a previous role, I was a web developer so these frameworks are not intimidating but are still challenging to learn.  I’m not trying to become an expert developer and build the most elegant and efficient code when prototyping.  I just want to build something good enough that I can test our ideas with.  We have far more talented developers who will build the finished article.”

“I have started using a website called CodeSchool to learn the frameworks I mentioned.”

“Prototypes are for testing ideas and to do that you need to test with your target audience.  Once we have a prototype we start User Testing where we will ask users to complete certain tasks and see how well the prototype performs (note: we are testing the prototype, not the user – this is an important distinction).  Functional prototypes will give us more options when testing ideas and give us more depth when experimenting with how our users experience our products.”

“Ultimately it will help us validate ideas before we start building the feature or product in a production environment.”

That’s it for our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series, we hope you’ve enjoyed. Have you participated in at Learning at Work Week too? Tweet us at @CDSM_eLearning.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #4

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #4

Let us introduce Anna, the fourth participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Anna-Marie Rakic - Office Administrator at CDSM

Anna-Marie Rakic, Office Administrator at CDSM

Anna is the Office Administrator at CDSM. Her role encompasses everything from being the first point of contact for our customers / public, to general office duties such as taking meeting minutes.

“I love my role, as my priority is other people, and assisting others where I can. As a Welsh speaker I help out on a number of different projects if any Welsh work is needed, meaning I get to work with almost everyone in the office!”

We asked Anna – what did you learn at work this week?

“Due to being a fluent Welsh speaker, I have had the privilege of recording voice overs for help videos for our Welsh projects. I have thoroughly enjoyed this, however I have had to re-master the Welsh language in order to correctly and fluently deliver the voice overs. Having not corrected my Welsh since secondary school, it has been a challenge to rebuild my confidence in speaking and writing in the Welsh language.”

“To help me out with this project, members of the Welsh Government kindly sent across some tips, and these were fantastic aids. I also had the opportunity to work closely with a colleague here at CDSM who had some previous experience in voice overs! We sat together and worked through the material until I was completely comfortable with it. I even went back to some of the voice techniques I had learnt as an A-Level Drama student.”

“Not only has this dramatically improved my confidence in speaking Welsh, but I also feel more confident in my own abilities. When I was first asked to help with the voice overs, I was very excited but obviously quite nervous at the same time, but I have learnt that with the right advice and guidance, you can succeed. This is a lesson that I can take with me in everything I do here at CDSM.”

Check back tomorrow for the final instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #3

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #3

Let us introduce Darren, the third participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Darren Wallace - Chief Technology Officer at CDSM

Darren Wallace, Chief Technology Officer at CDSM

Darren is the Chief Technology Officer at CDSM. In his role, Darren sets the strategic, technical roadmap for the business. “My primary goal is to monitor and understand the latest and greatest developments in web application development on behalf of the business and to evaluate how we can apply these technologies to further our ambitions to be the greatest learning technology company in the world!”

“I regularly liaise with all our product stakeholders, both engineers and muggles alike, often acting as a translator between the two. With varying success.”

We asked Darren – what did you learn at work week this week?

“I’m currently learning to use Docker (www.docker.com) which allows me to run multiple, isolated development environments on a single machine, non-destructively.”

“More and more often, YouTube is my first stop when learning a new skill. There are a lot of very clever people out there documenting their experiences, and I find video content really easy to absorb. Of course, I always have the documentation open in one browser, and StackOverflow.com in another, which is a fantastic resource.”

“I’m often required to evaluate a new technology, development tool or technique. So I’m constantly installing / uninstalling software or tinkering with my system configuration. I’m using Docker so I can make these changes in an isolated, virtual environment without the risk of turning my main development environment into a very expensive aluminium brick.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #2

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #2

Let us introduce Rebecca, the second participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Rebecca Picton-James - Project Manager at CDSM

Rebecca Picton-James, Project Manager at CDSM

Rebecca is a Project Manager at CDSM. As Project Manager, Rebecca’s role entails managing a project team, resource and schedule planning, customer relations and communications, reporting project progress to senior management and identifying and resolving project risks. Rebecca is currently working on the Mitsubishi and Boots projects, which involves producing e-learning content for the retail divisions of the respective companies.

We asked Rebecca – what did you learn at work this week?

“I am currently working towards a level 5 qualification in Management and Leadership. I’ve been given two different text books in work which describe how to be a good project manager in an agile project environment.  I also have weekly 1:1s with my line manager to ensure I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses each week, to allow me to continue improving.”

“Being a young project manager, I had little experience when starting my job. As time goes, I am learning more about the day to day management of a project, from project initiation to final delivery.”

“My training course is encouraging me to do more independent research and in turn, improving my understanding around areas such as strategic and operational management, which is something I had little knowledge of a few months ago. As well as this, it has given me more confidence when communicating with my team and customers.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016 #1

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Learning at Work Week 2016 #1

Let us introduce Natalie, the first participant in our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

Natalie Ann Holborow - Instructional Designer at CDSM

Natalie Ann Holborow, Instructional Designer at CDSM

Natalie is an Instructional Designer at CDSM. Her role is to create the content for the e-learning programmes and work closely with the graphics designers to get the design right for the customer. At the moment, Natalie’s current focus is the Honda PLCC project, which allows her the opportunity to work very closely with the customer, a very helpful and rewarding experience.

We asked Natalie – what did you learn at work this week?

“At the moment I am learning to use Honda’s PLCC system, a program which allows the user to manage appointments and contacts throughout the Sales and Aftersales processes. Though challenging, this project has allowed me to build a good rapport with the customer and help me to get to grips with a system in exactly the same way the user would be experiencing it which has helped me to work out exactly how to structure the module in a way which is most engaging and accessible for a new user.”

“I was lucky enough to go and complete the training at a Honda training centre in Belgium with the customer and my project manager and am now writing an instructional module on how to use it. I regularly have phone calls or the occasional meeting to plan out the structure and work through any difficulties quickly to allow for efficient completion of the project and it’s allowed me to work in a way which is more ‘hands on’ than previous projects, where often I’ve simply worked from the source material in text format.”

“I thoroughly enjoy working with customers – to me, building good rapport ensures that the key messages are captured and understood in a way that can often be clearer than just through email or a third person. Getting to grips with an unfamiliar and complex system from the end user’s perspective has allowed me to experience things first-hand as a learner, and has helped me to shape the content in a way I can certainly take with me into future projects.”

Check back tomorrow for the next instalment of our Learning at Work Week 2016 blog series.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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CDSM Learning At Work Week

Learning at Work Week 2016

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Learning at Work Week 2016

Next week from 16th to 22nd May 2016 is Learning at Work Week, this is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning since 1999 [1]. The campaign aims to spotlight the importance and benefits of learning and development for staff and organisations. It is out to promote an inclusive approach to opportunities for all to learn, upskill and develop to lead highly rewarding careers.

At CDSM, we are participating in Learning at Work Week and we are encouraging staff members to look at what learning and development opportunities they have been undertaking and how this will benefit them and the company. As an award-winning digital learning services agency, learning and development opportunities are at the core of CDSM’s pedagogy, which is to create and deliver industry-leading education technology products and services for the private and public sectors [2].

Training and development opportunities are available to all staff at CDSM, ranging from apprenticeships and level 4-7 leadership and management qualifications with the Institute of Leadership and Management to PRINCE 2 project management training. A learning and development opportunity does not essentially have to be formal training or lead to a qualification. They can range from practical experience in obtaining a new skill, working with a client at their premises or developing product knowledge ready for a launch. Each member of staff has regular 1-to-1s and performance development reviews with their line manager to create a plan of action to allow them to capitalise on the learning and development opportunities available to them.

Each day next week, a new post will appear on the CDSM blog interviewing a member of the CDSM family on a current learning and development opportunity. Regular updates will also be posted on social media; you might even catch a blog in your email inbox!

The first blog post will be live at 9AM on Monday morning.

To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our quarterly e-zine.

Authored by Tom Coleman, Marketing Executive, CDSM Interactive Solutions

Sources:

[1] Learning at Work Week 2016 – Essential Facts

[2] CDSM – Who We Are – Our Story

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CDSM Education Insights

Essential to the Learning Experience: Digital Competence in Teachers

CDSM believe that developing the digital competence of teachers is vital to support the raising of standards and attainment levels in schools.

CDSM designs digital tools for teachers. Tools that enable teachers to create and assign high quality e-learning and assessment resources for students. So it stands to reason that developing the digital competency of teachers is something that CDSM supports tremendously.

Good teachers have always used their skills, imagination and ingenuity to deliver their commitment to children and young people. To deliver the richest of learning experiences. This is one of those eternal truths, sacrosanct and enshrined in public sector UK education.

Good teachers adapt to environmental, political, socio-economic and technological phenomena. They seek to understand, assess and realise the resulting output of such change to enhance their practice, design and shape the curricula they deliver and ultimately sharpen their learners ways of seeing and understanding the world.

Teaching digital competence to young learners

Education in the 21st century is dynamic, demanding and standards-driven. Our good teachers continue to have the very best ambitions and commitment to their students. Today, for those ambitions to translate into high quality contemporary teaching and learning practice, we have to ensure that our schools’ digital capability is about infrastructure, access and their teaching and learning staff’s digital competency.

So CDSM innovates, design and supports digital tools that serve teaching and learning communities.  So that schools can have a cost effective capability to develop and assign quality digital learning and assessment resources. A capability that is able to respond immediately to the changing world we all live and participate in.

Digital Tools

Teachers are the most important agents of change in developing our young people and children because they are instrumental and expert in the design and development of:

  • Challenging and effective curricula
  • Metacognitive skills
  • Specialist subject knowledge
  • Delivering effective teaching and learning strategies

Our digital tools are designed to support, develop, and in competent hands, enhance these important educational activities. It is our digitally competent teaching communities that make our schools effective 21st Century learning organisations.

This blog is the first of several looking at why and how CDSM’s tools effectively support teaching and learning in 21st century learning organisations.

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Authored by Dan Sivak, Managing Director, CDSM Interactive Solutions

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