A look behind the scenes at CABLE, our online learning environment

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By Roddy Munro, eLearning Instructional Designer

4 September 2017

You’ll all be familiar with CABLE, the CA Blended Learning Environment, as it forms a crucial part of some courses and is an essential study resource for others. Here, eLearning Instructional Designer Roddy Munro gives you a peep behind the scenes at CABLE.

How is the content created?

It depends on whether it’s new content or if we’re just updating an existing module.

If it’s a new module, the starting point is always the tutor’s course notes. However, we don’t just reproduce the notes online – that wouldn’t bring any additional value to the student.

The tutor will have a good idea about what they want to use from the notes. It could be something students find particularly difficult or something that needs more explanation.

Every module is different because the subjects differ enormously. For example, Principles of Auditing and Reporting (PAR) has a narrative, whereas Financial Accounting (FA) has more calculations and needs worked examples.

We try to make the modules as engaging and easy to absorb as possible

The basic structure is narrated slides, but enhanced features such as quizzes, videos, and interactions are included.

There are thousands of things you can do in an e-learning environment, and we try to work out what’s best for the students. We try to make the modules as engaging and easy to absorb as possible. We’re working on improving things all the time.

If we’re updating existing content, it’s a much more straightforward process of editing and amending our existing modules based on the newest version of the notes.

Do you track what students do on CABLE?

We have an extensive ability to track what people do when they’re on CABLE, but we don’t monitor it. At the end of the day, this is a resource to help business professionals to get the qualifications they want. 

Individuals with different learning styles will use the resources to different extents and we encourage that. It is our plan to make greater use of the available analytics to improve how we do things.

What do people talk about on the discussion boards?

Most of the questions are subject-specific. You can’t post details of questions contained within tests or mock exams (these should be sent directly to the relevant tutor), but you can ask anything else. We find that students are often happy to help their colleagues out if they know the answer.

If you come to CABLE with a question in mind, you’re probably not alone and it’s always worth looking to see if someone has already asked – and answered – the same question.

We are really pleased to see more and more students jumping in to get involved in discussions.

When should students get in touch?

If you’ve tried to find the answer in the relevant modules or asked via the discussion boards and need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us. We aim to respond as quickly as we can and always within a day during the week.

If it’s a subject-specific question we’ll pass it on to the most appropriate tutor. We’re aware of the course calendar so we know when there’s a cohort likely to be studying similar topics on CABLE.

If it’s about CABLE, we’ll deal with it as quickly as we can. We check and test every module before it goes live, but occasionally something slips through. We don’t mind it if students point out any errors or omissions. I’d rather that we can correct something as quickly as possible.

Has CABLE evolved?

Yes, it’s an ongoing process. We’re constantly looking to see what we could be doing better. In the last couple of years, we have added a calendar function for workload planning, the notification panel to alert students to news, tutor messages and discussion board posts, as well as the completion percentage roundel to show the student progress through each subject.

We’ve tried to give CABLE much more of a social media feel, with elements such as personal profiles. In many respects, online learning is just as good as a classroom experience. However, there is the potential for people to feel isolated. We try our hardest to make students feel like they’re not on their own by encouraging students to ask for help when they need it.

What’s in the future for CABLE?

We would like to ensure that pass rates are maintained and, hopefully, improve due to the quality of content and convenience of delivery. You can access CABLE and all the online resources from any mobile device.

Student feedback is an important part of this process - if you’ve got any suggestions or ideas please drop us a line at cable@icas.com. We aim to be real pioneers in the e-learning field.

Topics

  • CA Student blog

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