NextGen: HN - Evaluation Activity for Pilot Centres

The Next Generation Higher National (NextGen: HN) project is taking an agile approach to development. This approach favours iterative approaches to design, that can accommodate the input of a wide range of stakeholders. The iterative design process is revisited and reflected upon regularly to improve and refine various design aspects, ensuring they meet the needs of the final user. In addition, it allows the project to adapt and evolve as it progresses, opposed to constraining it within a rigid method.

The changes made will be small and manageable as it will not be possible to action every aspect, insight, and perspective when testing and evaluating. However, as NextGen: HN developments progress it is essential that we learn from previous iteration(s). Therefore, as we progress through each phase change is likely to become more significant, building on the learning that has taken place.

Process for Evaluation

As part of the evaluation process, we have developed a specific strand for the pilot NextGen: HN qualifications.

Pre-launch Evaluation workshop

The pre-launch evaluation workshop is designed to review the Award prior to delivery. These workshops will provide an opportunity to discuss and review the qualifications against the original aims and ethos of the NextGen: HN program. External stakeholders will be invited to encourage robust discussion, allowing us to determine potential obstacles, gauge responses from employers, and gather views on the potential requirement for further support or exemplification.

Practitioner focus groups

We hold two workshops with the pilot delivery centres once delivery is live. Discussion guides are developed by the policy and evaluation strand with contributions sought from all strand leads across NextGen: HN. This is to ensure all aspects of the program are included in discussions at the most appropriate point. In addition, aspects of the development which were identified during the pre-launch workshops are included. Contributions from centres include those directly involved in delivery, or staff who support aspects of the qualification such as articulation and progression. The discussions focus on aspects such as:

We continue building evaluation activity and points for reflection throughout pilot delivery. This provides ample opportunity to address any emerging issues identified and allows us to make necessary modifications based on feedback.

Learner evaluation

Learners are central to the Next Generation of Higher National (NextGen: HN) developments. This allows new qualifications to equip them with skills to succeed and adapt to the demands of a changing workplace.

We are doing more case studies and they are interesting and engaging; I can see how it relates to real content; it feels more like the real world.

HNC Engineering (UHI)

We’re keen to get feedback from learners on the unique features of NextGen: HN qualifications and about the process of qualification development. This ongoing engagement helps to shape NextGen: HN developments, and highlight how we can provide further support to pilot centres to enhance learner experience.

Two rounds of face-to-face focus groups are taking place in session 2023 – 24. The first round took place from late October to early December 2023, and was conducted with 60 focus groups made up of 773 NextGen: HN learners. The second round is scheduled for April and May 2024.

We have also introduced a survey into the engagement process. The survey conducted in round 1 was completed by 595 learners, and the second survey will be issued during the second round of engagement.

More information on learner engagement can be found on the NextGen: HN blog.

Members of our learner engagement group have been supporting and informing our planning activity for the second round of engagement. They provided invaluable feedback on a range of topics, such as the types of engagement preferred by learners. The learner engagement group is made up of learners undertaking a NextGen: HN qualification.