How Corndel is using CENTURY to enhance learner experience, save tutors’ time and promote self-directed learning

Posted on 2nd November 2022

Posted by Rob Darlington, Director of Skills for Business, Corndel

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes


Corndel is an award-winning management and technology training provider that focuses on delivering the highest quality programmes throughout a learner’s career. They began using CENTURY’s content for maths and English in May 2022.

We spoke to Rob Darlington, Corndel’s Director of Skills for Business, about the positive results they are already seeing.

Why did Corndel choose CENTURY?

A lot of our highly-qualified tutors tell us about the amount of time spent on marking, admin and extra preparation for sessions, so we decided to see what technology was available that could help them be more efficient and streamline our approach. 

We focus on high end professional leadership, management, data, software and fundraising apprenticeships. Our average learner is about 35 years old, so we also wanted a platform that had a professional feel for adult learners, which encourages engagement too. CENTURY’s interface has that level of professionalism, and CENTURY’s pathway is a safe environment to try, fail and retry, allowing learners to progress at their own pace with confidence. Learners love independence, knowing as they progress they are building their skills in a structured way.

The other thing we really liked about CENTURY is that you can tell the curriculum has been developed by teachers. It's very easy with the limited funding attached to Functional Skills for apprenticeship providers to do surface level learning and just get people ready for assessment. CENTURY helps to embed the knowledge and make sure that there's a deeper level of understanding. Its pathway brings the nuggets back around and changes the questions, so the learner is not answering through familiarity, they have actually learned the technical skill.

The suggested pathway isn’t completely prescriptive either. The tutors in my team love the way it gives them autonomy to decide whether to follow the algorithm or set up their own assignments. The pathway knows the learner’s curricular content needs, but the tutors understand the learner’s personality. CENTURY provides flexibility to our learners, who are expertly guided by our tutors while also in the safe hands of CENTURY’s artificial intelligence.

What impact has CENTURY had?

The system is brought to life by the tutors. The two go together, hand in hand. Our goal was to reduce administration and preparation time for tutors by up to 10%, which is something that we are now starting to see. The platform is very easy to navigate and the tutor can access all of the material and content simply, which helps efficiency and we spend less time sourcing products.

We have begun to intertwine CENTURY with our existing in-house materials and resources. We still use them from lesson to lesson, but then we can use CENTURY as a follow up resource, where the learner can go away and do some formative and summative assessment practice questions. This gives us a consistent check-in that the learner has retained that information on a long term basis. CENTURY is really developing a deeper level of learning and understanding in our apprentices.

CENTURY saves time in one-to-one sessions too, as it is easy to find the correct answers rather than time being spent bringing up work and annotating it manually. It identifies what learners know and what they struggle with. Lots of our learners come to us with an existing skill set, and CENTURY helps with a focused approach. It helps us zone in on those key areas, and makes the sessions more efficient because we are not guessing what a learner needs.

Since we started using CENTURY in May 2022, we’ve already seen a 2.8% increase in pass rates and a 7.7% increase in engagement. Our learners have answered over 80,000 questions and attempted over 8,000 nuggets, and that level of engagement is increasing.

Does CENTURY help with self-directed learning?

The great thing about CENTURY is it puts the power in the learners’ hands. If you want this qualification, if you want to develop, if you want to complete your apprenticeship, you've got the tools at your disposal to do that. With CENTURY, learners are no longer waiting for a teaching session to make progress. Our apprentices are actively choosing to do the nuggets set by the tutor and then one or two more from the recommended pathway as well. It's really nice to see the learners take ownership.

CENTURY’s system is very intuitive and simple to operate. The learner clicks on a nugget and it comes up with a video or a written resource, followed by questions. There’s even a really good way to record if you were satisfied or dissatisfied at the end. With previous systems, learners have become frustrated because their answer to a question wasn’t recorded, they’ve dragged something to the wrong place, or the platform has reset, and they’ve received lower scores than they deserve. 

We used to run sessions to help learners become comfortable on the platforms, but CENTURY is so easy to use that we’ve not needed those sessions. The tutor gives a quick ten-minute demonstration at the start of the first lesson, and then the learner can be left to their own devices on the platform. We set up our learners on the system on a weekly basis. It’s very easy. It’s been a very pain-free process to get to the stage where all learners are using CENTURY, and now it’s great to see that grow with every apprentice that starts.

Many of our learners are on the move today, and a positive for them is that they can use CENTURY on a phone or tablet taking their learning with them. Other resources we've used don’t give the same level of experience unless you're on a desktop or a laptop. The biggest compliment I can pay CENTURY is no matter what device you use, you have that consistency and level of quality.

How have you found support from CENTURY through the process?

It's been brilliant. Right from the very start, we were really impressed with the personal approach. It showed that there was a real commitment to wanting to work with Corndel, and we recognised there was an alignment of the business and vision that we were both committed to: delivering world class products and world class services.

The set up was very straightforward and CENTURY was very accommodating when we requested several separate demonstrations. Our tutors even felt one of the nuggets could be tweaked, so we reported that to CENTURY, who listened and said that's a change that they're going to make. We appreciate working with a provider who is willing to listen to feedback, whether that's from learners or tutors. 

We see this as a long term partnership and CENTURY as something that is going to be around in Corndel for a very long time. It's the best system out there for maths and English. It’s having an impact, and as long as our learners are enjoying it and getting the best out of it, then we're all for it. We want to see learners have success and continue to progress, and one of the major factors behind that is using CENTURY.

Learn more here about how CENTURY is helping Independent Training Providers supercharge their teaching and learning.

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