The DfE funded Side by Side course, teaching the FE Sector about Prevent duty, Extremism and Radicalism, explained

In this blog, ETF’s Selina Stewart and Pete Munday explain how the Side by Side modules are supporting providers with a resource which improves learners understanding of the dangers of radicalisation.

Selina Stewart
Selina Stewart

Pete Munday
Pete Munday

Our roles at the Education and Training Foundation involve supporting providers with their Prevent duty including updating the Prevent for FE and training website, providing training for providers across the sector, giving advice to the sector and supporting the staff and learner online Prevent duty awareness raising modules.

Last month, ETF were delighted to announce that our Side by Side modules had not only been shortlisted for both the ‘Best learning technologies project – public & non-profit sector’ and the ‘Excellence in the design of learning content – public & non-profit sector’ awards at the 2018 Learning Technology Awards, but also that the number of learners using the modules has passed 205,000.

What is Side By Side?

Side by Side is a free online resource for learners across the Further Education and Training Sector, funded by the Department for Education (DfE); it provides engaging learning modules which cover the Prevent duty through dramas and documentaries. The modules cover: extremism and radicalisation, staying safe online, deciding what you can trust and British values.

Why are the Side by Side modules needed?

Back in 2016, ETF were asked to develop the modules by the then Minister of Skills. There was a clear need which had been identified by Ofsted, and also by teaching staff, for an online resource for use across the sector and in particular by apprentices who have limited contact time.

Produced by Leo learning for ETF, the modules were designed to suit the needs of learners from Entry 3 to Level 3. We developed a series of four modules, which show through drama how people can be radicalised, to engage learners from diverse backgrounds whether in rural or urban areas.

The modules

The course was developed with input from sector staff, who advised us that some groups of learners felt that many of the materials covering these topics, at that time, targeted them because of their backgrounds. Equally other learners were turned off because they feel that they will never be vulnerable to the types of extremism named.

As a result, we decided not to set out what the forms of extremism were, but to produced resources that:

  • engage not alienate
  • impart key content
  • check understanding across a wide ability range

Staff reactions to the modules have been very favourable:

  • 93% agreed that the modules had improved understanding of extremism and radicalisation
  • 98% agreed that the modules had increased learn understanding of online safety
  • 96% agreed that the modules had improved learner understanding of how to make judgements about what they could trust
  • 90% agreed the modules improved learners understanding of British values

Feedback from staff and learners using the modules from providers across the sector

We surveyed participants and staff using the modules in January 2018, to find out how the modules had been received. Staff and provider feedback:

“The learners all really enjoyed Side by Side and said it gave them a better understanding in all areas. They were looking forward to the next sessions.”

“I found the ‘stories’ interesting and very relatable. The modules opened my eyes and made me realise this is not just an issue for the Islamic community- anyone could be targeted for different reasons.”

“The video clips are very well done. In the radicalisation and extremism module it was good that you didn’t know what the individuals were being exposed to, so all learners could engage with the material.”

“It is a good resource for students who are distant learners and do not attend College often.”

“I learnt a lot from the British Values modules, as I knew very little about that before.”

Learner reactions to the modules:

“The modules opened up my eyes and reminded me of the world out there. There are bad things that happen out there, so it reminded me to be careful what to put online and who might see it.”

“I like that they were broken up with quizzes, movie clips, reading & picture diagrams.”

“I found Extremism and Radicalisation very interesting as Extremism seems to be everywhere. I just didn’t really understand about the extremists and what their intensions were, and how they radicalise people. I now understand a lot more than I did.”

“I liked British values because it helped me get a better understanding of what it was about.”

About the Side by Side resource

The package consists of two introductory drama videos, four modules and four knowledge checks.

The dramas

The two introduction videos set the scene for drama modules 1-3. These modules tell the story of Mark and Louise and make it clear that both became involved in extremist activity (without specifying exactly what that is).

There are four modules:

  • Radicalisation and extremism
  • Staying safe online
  • What Can You Trust?
  • British values

There are screens with input and simple interactivity.

Plus videos with advice and guidance from experts in the field.
There is a summary at the end of each modules that uses animation to reinforce the key learning points.

At the end of each module there is a knowledge check consisting of 10 questions. If the learner passes they can go to the Certificate link and either download or print a certificate.

To find out more information about Side by Side visit the ETF learners website. Further information on Prevent in the FE sector can be found on the Prevent for Further Education and Training website.

Facilitator guide

There is also an accompanying Facilitator Guide with ideas about how the resources might be used and activities to develop and extend learning. The guide can be accessed and downloaded from the Facilitator and Staff area on the home page of the ETF Learners website.

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