Inspiring Induction Practices

My favourite time of year is upon us again – the beginning of the ‘extended induction period’.

I remember inspecting a work-based learning provider in London and asking about the way they created a learning culture at the start of learners’ programmes. The head of quality said: ‘Ah, we used to run a two-week induction, but when we surveyed learners they told us it was too long. So we reduced it to one week. We recently surveyed learners again, but they said the same thing – “It’s too long!” – so we’re reducing it to just two days’.

This is a lovely example of jumping to an improvement action before taking time to find the root-cause issue. I strongly suspect the learners didn’t like the two-day version either.

Too often, induction experiences are driven by a ‘checklist’. Do you have one of these? Checklists can lead to dull, provider-centred activities that staff tick off (audit) as they work through the list. If this is you, then you might find this next bit a little provocative.

The way to design a wonderful, transformational extended induction period (which should ideally be around 6 to 8 weeks long [depending on your type of provision, of course]) is to set down as clearly as you can: how you would like learners to be different as a result of the experience.

For instance, if you want learners to hate your initial assessment of English and maths skills, then: sit them in front of a computer, preferably in a large room with lots of other learners and very few staff; don’t waste any time creating any sense of ‘value’ around the exercise; and do all of this in the first few days of their course. A perfect recipe for an awful start to the year – in particular for those who most need the experience to be wonderful.

This is what we’ll be looking at this Friday, September 3rd, from 1pm. Not the above, of course, but setting out exactly what skills and attitudes you want learners to have in order to be able to get the most out of your course. We’ll also be looking at some extremely provocative ways of achieving it. Do join us if you can, and do please forward this to anyone else who may be interested. Hope to see you Friday. Best wishes, Tony.

More details here:


Here are a few delegate quotes to give a sense of the impact this session can have:

  • An inspirational session this morning! Thank you. I took my induction idea to the JOYFE ideas room tonight and explored it further with a group from around the country! Watch this space🧚‍♂‍we are collaborating across colleges👍 Chesterfield College
  • This was an amazing session. We have now written our own quality induction standard. So inspiring and informative. Hopwood Hall College


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