Programme Activity Builds - Creating Manual Activities

Introduction

This article will guide you through how to create manual activities within a programme. When building standards programmes, you have two options for adding activities:

  1. Create an individual, bespoke activity for that specific programme manually
  2. Via the activity library

Bud recommends building your activities in the activity library to enable the same activity to be used across multiple programmes. 

User Role

  • Programme Contributor
  • Programme Manager 

How to: Create Manual Activities 

The following video covers everything you need to know about creating a great learning experience. If you would prefer to read through the process, please see the detailed steps below the video.

 

How to Create Activities - Written Steps: 

This section will cover how to input and develop activities in Bud. Click on each to find out more

Adding Activities

Please note that the process of adding activities is identical whether a framework or a standard. The only difference in the process is mapping the activities which we will cover in the mapping section.

Navigate to the “Activities” tab within your programme and select “add via manual entry”:

activity

The Activity Selection Dialogue box will now open. Scroll through the list until you find the appropriate activity type and then press the “Select” button:

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The activity details page will now open. You will notice the activity type has been populated at the top of the page. This can be changed before you save the activity.

Activity Name

The first text field to complete is he “name” of the activity. It is worth considering the following when deciding the name of the activity:

  • This part of the activity states “what” the activity is.
  • This must be meaningful to the learner.
  • No jargon or assessor terminology
  • We’ll use an example of a Personal Development Plan throughout the rest of this document:

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Suggested Durations

Next, you need to adjust the “suggested duration” target months for the activity. These boxes suggest at what point of the programme and activity should be completed. Please note that these are just suggestions. It doesn’t mean that an activity can’t be set at a different point or that it will be “overdue” if not set by the suggested target month.

The months that you put in the drop-down boxes will determine the order of activities within the programme. For example, an activity that is targeted for month 1 will sit above an activity that is targeted for month 3.

We highly recommend being as specific as possible with suggested durations. If you were to put all activities to start in month 1 and finish in the last month, there would be no clear structure or order to the apprenticeship. Think about the order you want activities completed and which months they should start and finish. 

This is extremely important for showing learner progress. The more specific you are for activity finish months, the more accurate you can report on whether learners are on target with progress. If you left all activities open until the final month, you won’t know whether a learner is making progress or behind.

The hours per week the apprentice works will significantly impact the duration of the apprenticeship. Consider this when setting the start and end date of activities. An activity set in months 3-5 of a 30-hour-per-week apprentice would more likely be completed later (such as months 5-7) for a < 16-hour-per-week apprentice.

If you only plan to enrol full-time learners, you can leave the <16 and 16-29 hours/week drop downs as “1”. The system will still generate the appropriate order of the activities based on the 30+ hours/week drop-downs.

 

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Activity Summary

This part of the activity explains to the learner “why” they are doing this activity. Any information that is provided for the learner to read should be clear and have no training provider jargon or terminology.

Imagine you are in conversation directly with the learner when creating this. Below is a good example of the type of information you could put in the summary:

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Detailed Learner Instructions

This part of the activity details “how” the learner should complete this activity. Really think about using motivational language in this section as this is where the learner will get the detail of the activity.

The best way to approach this is to imagine you are talking directly to a learner that has no previous experience in completing this activity. This is your chance to either get the learner prepared for a visit or learn between visits.

The learner instructions should be written for the learner to read without any further instructions being given by the Assessor/Trainer – whilst in many cases activities may be set whilst the Assessor/Trainer is with the learner, having activities that can be set remotely with all the instructions to the learner in one place (just in case they forget!) will provide greater flexibility in how the system is used over time.

This is also the section to attach URLs or Video links. YouTube videos can help to bring the subject alive and get the learner thinking and learning. We will cover this in the next section.

If you are attaching resources for downloading then make sure you explain what it is and what you would like the learner to do with them in this section e.g. the best-case scenario is getting the learner to download, complete and re-upload evidence so that the Assessor/Trainer can look at them remotely and give feedback. This allows more time for learning during face-to-face visits rather than time wasted uploading and reviewing work.

We’ll continue with the example of the Personal Development Plan activity. Below is a good example of detailed learning instructions:

 

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Adding Video and URL Links

To add a video link to your detailed learner instructions, click on the movie clip icon:

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The following dialogue box will now appear:

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Now navigate to the specific YouTube or Vimeo video you wish to link to and copy the URL:

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Now paste the video URL in the movie clip dialogue box and press “save”. This will generate a thumbnail of the video in the leaner instructions:

 

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To create a hyperlink to a web page, start by typing in your instructions for the learner:

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Highlight the relevant piece of text you want to make a hyperlink:

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Click the link button:

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The following dialogue box will appear:

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Now visit the relevant page and copy the URL:

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Now paste the URL into the dialogue box:

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The text relevant text in the learner instructions will now be a hyperlink:

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Another option is to paste the URL directly into the learner instructions and then follow this process. Just be careful that the URL isn’t long as it can make the instructions look messy. For example:

 

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Learning Materials

You have the option of uploading learning resources to Bud for your learners to download and use. Most popular file types are supported by Bud. The maximum size per file is 100 megabytes.

There are two ways to add your resources. You can either drag and drop them to the area highlighted below or select the “choose file” button to select them from your computer:

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Make sure you title the file in a relevant way before uploading it so that it’s clear for the learner. In this example of the Personal Development Plan you can see it’s clearly labelled “Personal Development Plan Template.docx”. Once uploaded, you will see it attached to the learning materials:

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You can attach multiple documents to this section. Please make sure you refer to these documents in the detailed learner instructions, so the learner knows they are there and what to do with them.

Trainer Instructions

This section of Bud is focused on supporting your delivery team. Spending time on this section allows new members of staff to feel supported as well as standardising delivery across your trainers. The great thing about this section is that the learner won’t see it. This means you can put specific notes that are targeted for the trainer.

It’s tempting to just input a few bullet points here with jargon and acronyms for your trainer. However, we would suggest always approaching this as an induction tool so that new staff know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. This will help with your on-boarding of new staff, reduction of support phone call traffic and ensure the quality of their delivery long term. Below is an example of the type of information you could give your trainer:

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Trainer Materials

This section is specific resources you wish to attach to Bud just for the trainer. Again, the learner will not be able to see or have access to these resources.

The types of resources that might go into this section are schemes of work, PowerPoints for presentations or quiz/test answers to name a few.

It is also worth considering if there are any resources that will support new members of staff completing the activity. For example, if the activity is a professional discussion, you may want to upload a document that explains the best practice approach to completing a professional discussion. Again, this will standardise approaches across your delivery team and reduce supporting phone call traffic.

As with “Learning Materials” the same rules apply. Make sure the format, size and file title are correct and clear. You can then either drag and drop the files or manually choose them.

Off the Job Hours

Every activity in Bud allows you to input the amount of planned off-the-job hours you think the activity will take the learner. We follow the definition of off-the-job hours defined by the ESFA in the funding rules:

Off-the-job training is defined as:

Training received by the apprentice within their practical period, during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship that is referenced in the apprenticeship agreement. By normal working hours we mean the hours for which the apprentice would normally be paid, excluding overtime.

 

Off-the-job training must deliver new skills that are directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard. It can include the following:
• The teaching of theory (e.g. lectures, role-playing, simulation exercises, online learning and manufacturer training);
• Practical training, shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and participation in competitions, where the activity has been agreed and documented as part of the agreed training plan; or
• Learning support and time spent writing assignments.

 

Off-the-job training must not include:
• Time spent on initial assessment and onboarding activities;
• English and maths training, up to and including level 2;
• Training to acquire knowledge, skills and behaviours that are not required by the apprenticeship standard;
• Progress reviews or on-programme assessments; or
• Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s normal working hours (unless the apprentice has been paid for these additional hours or been given time off in lieu).

Make sure you are realistic with your expectation of hours here. As a training provider, you will be held to account for proving how this activity equates to the number of hours spent throughout the apprenticeship.

 If this programme is based around a standard, once you’ve inputted the number of hours, press the “Save & Close” button:

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If the programme is based around a framework, hit the “Save & Next” button. This will take you to the mapping section for frameworks:

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Please note during activity configuration, you will be shown two calculations to reflect changes in ESFA funding rules: 

  1. For learners with a start date before 01/08/2022 where off-the-job training is calculated at 20% of working hours. 
  2. For learners with a start date on or after 01/08/2022 where off-the-job training is calculated at 20% of working hours but capped at 30 hours (learners working more than 30 hours are still only required to complete 20% of a 30-hour week) 

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The number of required hours will change depending on what you set as the suggested duration of the apprenticeship in the “settings tab” for the programme.

 

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