Becta call 13

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If you are interested in bidding for this then feel free to discuss it in the ICT in Education discussion board.

Research 13: New models of learning provision for KS3 and 14-19: potential of online learning

Becta invites tenders for a research project which aims to investigate models of use of online learning to support formal learning at KS3 and 14-19. Formal learning is defined as that which leads to accreditation. The study will address the potential of, and models for, online learning operating outside institutions (eg schools and Further Education (FE) colleges). Online learning may be the sole method of providing learning, or it may be part of a blended learning strategy.


Becta's role involves shaping and delivering the government's Harnessing Technology e-strategy. Several of the outcomes of the strategy's implementation (as articulated on the 'balanced scorecard' in the Harnessing Technology Delivery Plan, could potentially be supported by greater provision of online learning, including:

  • Greater choice in learning opportunities and modes for all learners (3.1)
  • Learners have increased motivation for and engagement in learning (3.2)
  • Fewer learners under-perform or fail to succeed in education (3.3)

The government's personalisation agenda sets out an aim to provide learners with greater choice over how, when and what they study (See eg 2020 Vision - Evidence shows that school-based learning does not suit all learners and that some learners become disengaged. Exploring how feasible it is to provide school-aged learners with alternative routes to gaining qualifications is therefore desirable. Technology already facilitates the extension of learning beyond the classroom and greater personalisation of learning within school-based learning and teaching. This research project aims to identify whether ICT can providing an effective learning experience for KS3 and 14-19 learners outside of the school or further education college.

The Project

Becta wishes to commission a suitably-qualified research organisation to investigate the role of formal online learning for KS3 and 14-19 learners. The contractor will be required to conduct a literature review of the research and grey literature of the role online learning currently plays in education provision. This literature search will identify current examples and approaches for supporting formal learning via remote online delivery. These examples and models may be drawn from education sectors other than KS3 and 14-19, providing that they are transferable into these education phases. International literature may also be drawn on, though its applicability to the UK context should be explicitly considered. The researchers will then engage in fieldwork in selected institutions to research their use of remote online provision of learning, and interview key stakeholders.

A research report(s) or other outputs will detail the literature review and fieldwork and include robust models for successful online learning for KS3 and 14-19, which are to be well grounded in educational theory. The final report(s) will be delivered to Becta during summer 2008. They will be written in a style that is appropriate to policy-makers, in order to inform and shape policy development in this area. The following questions will be answered:

  • Is provision of formal online learning for KS3 and 14-19 learners feasible?
  • What models of formal online learning for KS3 and 14-19 currently exist?
  • What models of formal online learning exist outside of KS3 and 14-19, which are transferable into these phases?
  • Are current examples of provision of formal online learning scalable?
  • What evidence exists as to the effectiveness of providing formal learning online outside of the institution? In what respects is it effective or ineffective, in terms of personalising learning and leading to improved attainment, motivation and other learner outcomes? Is it effective or ineffective for particular categories/types of learners?
  • What are the issues associated with remote online provision of formal learning for the institution, for the teacher, for the learner, for parents and for industry?
  • Does engaging with informal online learning impact on the learner's willingness to engage in formal learning either contemporaneously or later or in life?

Expressions of interest are particularly welcomed from organisations that:

  • have a good track record in conducting research for policy-makers
  • knowledge of ICT-facilitated learning outside of the institution
  • knowledge of multiple education sectors and a particular expertise in KS3 and 14-19.

Project Size (£)

A     0 - 50k
B    30k - 80k
C    50k - 100k
D    80k - 150k
E   100k - 180k
F   150k - 230k
G   200k - 300k
H   250k - 350k
I   300k - 400k
J   350k - 450k
K   400k - 500k

This project is in band D. Note that these bands are indicative. Tenderers will have the opportunity to offer options that have prices both within and outside the band indicated.

Expressions of Interest

Pre-qualification questionnaires can be obtained via email from stating in the subject header 'PQQ Request Research 13: New models of learning provision for KS3 and 14-19' and must be completed and returned by no later than 13:00 hours on Thursday 5th July 2007 Following evaluation of questionnaires received Becta expect to issue a copy of the invitation to tender to selected parties around Wednesday 11th July 2007 with submission of tenders around Thursday 26th July 2007.

If you are interested in bidding for this then feel free to discuss it in the ICT in Education discussion board.

Go back to the Becta funding calls page