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Hopwood Hall College, itslearning’s first UK eLearning Centre of Excellence


Achieving £1.4million of savings and driving learner success up by 10%


The College

Hopwood Hall is a further education vocational college with campuses in both Rochdale and Middleton, North-East of Manchester.

The College, which has a strong track record on innovation and development, was shortlisted in 2015 for a prestigious AoC Beacon Award in the JISC sponsored category for the effective use of Technology in FE. An investment programme in excess of £30million over the last few years has seen the complete remodelling of the Rochdale site and a new Technology Centre at Middleton.

In order to keep its technologies and teaching methods at the leading edge, Hopwood Hall was seeking a partnership with a provider of a cloud-based learning platform capable of supporting its teachers and students across a huge range of courses and levels, from Accounting to Uniformed Public Services, Art & Design to Plastering.

eLearning Vision

As part of its mission, Hopwood Hall College is committed to a clear objective under the heading “eLearning Vision”

“To create a culture of innovation and creativity that delivers high quality, flexible, engaging learning opportunities, one that enriches and enhances the learning experience”

Putting technology at the heart of the learner experience

To attain itslearning’s Centre of Excellence status a series of demanding accreditation criteria was met by Hopwood Hall College, based upon its declared education goals.  

These included the following:-

  • To be a learning organisation that utilises eLearning and technology to support collaboration, participation and knowledge sharing
  • To harness eLearning and technology to deliver effective and efficient high quality learning opportunities which have a measurable impact on outcomes
  • To develop and implement a physical and virtual learning environment that enables 21st century next generation learning
  • To put technology and eLearning at the heart of the learner experience
  • To provide all full-time learners with an eLearning entitlement based on their qualification level
  • To ensure that eLearning content developers collaborate with and support curriculum staff in the sourcing, developing, re-purposing and utilisation of eLearning material
  • To make eLearning an integral component of the study programme.




An eLearning Centre of Excellence in Action

Hopwood Hall College, through a dedicated team comprising a Head of eLearning, a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) co-ordinator, eLearning coaches and a content development team, now delivers a comprehensive programme which includes:-

  • College induction delivered to all learners through an interactive online module;
  • College information, training and learner engagement accessible through the student Virtual Common Rooms;
  • Online curriculum learning and assessment delivery.
  • An eLearning planned entitlement of:
    • Level 1 learners have 3 hours per week
    • Level 2 learners have 2 hours per week
    • Level 3 learners have 3 hours per week

Results that speak for themselves

In addition to achieving £1.4 million in savings over the last three years, itslearning’s collaboration with Hopwood Hall College has helped to drive up learner success rates by 10 percentage points, propelling it into the top quartile of the UK FE sector.

By May 2015 the College was established as having the strongest performance in the Greater Manchester area and it now sits in third place nationally for vocational performance at Key Stage 5.

Spreading the word

As the UK’s first fully accredited itslearning eLearning Centre of Excellence, Hopwood Hall College will host 3 events during the academic year for other colleges and private sector providers to showcase the benefits of the collaboration and introduce others to the programme.

“Listening to our learners is often the key to success and that’s exactly what we did before choosing itslearning to work with.  Students’ ambition and increasingly sophisticated demands are reflected by itslearning’s own approach which sets a very high standard that our College will match.  We are delighted to have been chosen as the first UK eLearning Centre of Excellence by itslearning” 

Derek O’Toole, Principal, Hopwood Hall College


“Our choice of Hopwood Hall College has been based on its outstanding track record and absolute commitment to deliver the best outcomes for its students and staff using our cloud-based learning solution.  We are confident they will be champions and ambassadors for our brand, helping us to bring more and more users to the world’s next generation learning platform, joining millions across the globe who are opting for personalised instruction” 

Barry Smith, UK Managing Director, itslearning

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