Sparsholt College offers a wide range of further and higher education courses. It is one of the leading providers of courses about the land and environment in the UK. An assortment of degree courses are validated by the University of Portsmouth and ranked in the top 2% of world universities. There are currently 2658 full-time and 2332 part-time students including 356 at HE level.
Sparsholt College mainly operates from two locations: a 450-acre campus at Sparsholt (near Winchester) and Andover College (in central Andover). Sparsholt is the second largest college in Hampshire.
For this project, Sparsholt College acted as lead partner of the Innovation South Virtual Campus (ISVC), funded by the EM3 LEP.
Sparsholt College issued two invitations to tender; the first for the development of an online learning platform to deliver blended, vocational, online learning to their employees. The second was for twelve eLearning modules to be launched with the platform.
Initially, the college wanted to reach 2500 learners. This capacity had to be scalable so that the platform can support tens of thousands of users across the globe in the future. The college also required the facility to charge customers for accessing learning services.
SkillSet were subsequently successful in winning this tender for the LMS and six of the eLearning modules. We were then given a further three modules after successfully completing the initial six.
SkillSet employed an agile approach with this project to rapidly deploy the solution and regularly receive feedback from the college to ensure that the tight timescales could be met.
As with all our projects, we began with a joint project kick-off meeting. Here we agreed, and documented, ways of working on the project, the project review schedule, and key milestones. A project initiation document was created and distributed to all key stakeholders, detailing scope, timescales, and budget.
SkillSet used Jira (an online project management tool) to track progress on the project. The college’s project teams were given access and could therefore monitor progress continually.
SkillSet developed a Moodle learning management system for the college. This was installed in a secure Amazon Web Services environment in a UK data centre. The AWS platform will auto-scale to support the required number of users. This allowed us to deploy Moodle within the project deadlines, whilst also satisfying the college’s long-term scalability requirements. Amazon hosting is secure and supports our ISO27001:2013 processes.
The Moodle system was customised to match the branding for the college and configured to support the users’ accessibility requirements. Students are able to access the learning content from a range of devices, removing barriers to learning. They are also awarded digital badges on completion of relevant courses and activities.
SkillSet used Articulate Storyline 3 to develop the eLearning modules. The output was published in SCORM-2004 format. The material covered a wide variety of topics from cyber security to soldering.
SkillSet was able to meet the project timelines and launch the Moodle learning management system in March 2020. SkillSet continue to extend the functionality through custom plugins, new themes, mobile applications, and reporting. The system delivers blended vocational online learning to college employees. The next stage for the college is to provide access to their customers; the system has the facility to charge customers for accessing learning services.
“SkillSet have been a dream to work with. Their project management is watertight, and their can-do solution focused helpfulness and flexibility has hugely contributed to a smooth and successful project delivery.
I’m very optimistic that much more work will follow, and you guys will be my first port of call. As for Jemma, an absolute gem of a project manager!”
MARTIN SIMMONS, Project Manager