Digitally Agile National Principles Training Course Youthlink Scotland

The Gathering 2018

Youthlink Scotland

Charity registered in Scotland SC003923

  • From 30th March 2015 to 31st March 2016
  • Award: £9,260 via Call 2

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Project plan

Project description

The development project will involve YouthLink Scotland (YLS) staff working in partnership to support CPD for staff and volunteers to effectively use digital technologies and social media to enable digital participation as a key part of community learning and development (CLD):

A training pack published under a Creative Commons licence for use by the CLD sector.. Some materials will be developed through online collaboration tools like Basecamp or Yammer. Training sessions with youth workers will test the draft materials and inform adaption as necessary.

The project will involve YouthLink Scotland staff working in partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College staff and other experts to develop training materials with the writers group, making a significant contribution from the youth work sector to the adult learning and community development aspects of CLD.



Developing a training course for Community Learning and Development practitioners; staff and volunteers on the use of digital technology and social media in their work based around the Digitally Agile National Principles.

This project is part of and will be informed by a broader piece of work developing training on the Digitally Agile National Principles in a partnership between College Development Network, Glasgow Kelvin College, YouthLink Scotland, Learning Link Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC), convened as a short life working group.

This partnership will develop a training course and will assign certain elements to YouthLink Scotland to work with young people and youth workers to inform and develop.

YouthLink Scotland will facilitate consultative workshops with young people and youth workers to develop elements of the training that young people and the youth work sector can make the strongest contribution to.


Workshops with Young People and Youth Workers:
Run consultative workshops with young people and youth workers to inform training.

August - October 2015:
These workshops were delivered with young people and youth workers from Glasgow Kelvin College’s Youth Access Project. The young people who attended were aged between 11 and 17. Four sessions were delivered by YouthLink Scotland with some additional preparation and follow up time by Youth Access.

The workshops involved discussion with young people about what the most used social media platforms are and what they used the different platforms for. We looked at which platforms are most suitable for use within a youth work or community learning and development setting and encouraged the young people to come up with their own ideas about how to use digital tools or social media platforms within youth work. They had some fantastic ideas about using web based research within projects and developing bespoke platforms for the youth work sector and pitched these to a Dragons’ Den.

We looked at the key issues that young people faced when navigating the online aspects of their lives. The young people came up with quite an extensive list of concerns and considerations. We discussed which areas were the most important for youth workers to be able to support young people with and they identified their top priorities as:
Online Bullying - its significance alongside physical bullying.
Privacy and online reputation - the importance of young people making informed decisions about whether to share something publicly and an understanding that to ‘post’ is actually to ‘publish’.
Terms and conditions - young people need help understanding and recognising the significance of the terms they are signing up to on social platforms for example ownership and copyright issues surrounding content uploaded onto sites.
Considering the skills, qualities and knowledge that youth workers might need to support young people with these issues the young people developed a presentation about online bullying to include in the Digitally Agile National Principles Training Course.

Writing training
November 2015 - January 2016:
Training was developed and course was planned to include one day of face to face training followed by four weeks of online learning. The content was sourced from resources relevant to the Digitally Agile National Principles, digital skills training courses and informed by the consultation sessions with young people and youth workers as well as learning from other networks and projects that the partners are involved with. The writing was led by YouthLink Scotland in partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College, Learning Link Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre. This blended learning approach was a new experience for YouthLink Scotland.

The online learning section of the course would be delivered with training materials available on the Digitally Agile CLD website,!training-resources/c8t7, and group discussion and trainer input on i-develop,, the online continuing professional development platform for Community Learning and Development (CLD). Each week’s materials and questions would focus on two or more of the Digitally Agile National Principles and would be released to the participants. Participants would then engage with the materials, try things out in practice and contribute to the group discussion in their own time.

Glasgow Kelvin College offered to support certification for the training course - a Certificate in Digital Planning. In order to obtain certification participants will be required to contribute to the group discussions, try using digital tools in their practice and complete a Self-Assessment and Action Planning tool, looking at their organisation’s practice against the Digitally Agile National Principles.


January - March 2016
Face to face sessions were delivered in January:
Glasgow - 20th January
Aberdeen - 21st January
Edinburgh - 29th January

The course was extremely popular: the Glasgow and Edinburgh sessions attracted waiting lists with the Glasgow course being sold out after 2 days of publicity and the Edinburgh session after 4 days. The high demand for training in this field among CLD practitioners is an important learning point from the project.
The face to face training days were delivered by representatives from YouthLink Scotland, Glasgow Kelvin College, Scottish Community Development Centre and Learning Link Scotland. (2-3 trainers per day)
During the face to face sessions we explored the different social media that practitioners already use and spent some time investigating new tools and considering how they could enhance practice.

We had opportunities to share practice and hear from colleagues.
We explored the ethical considerations and professional boundaries surrounding CLD practitioners’ use of and engagement with social media and digital technology.
And we identified the role of CLD practitioners as digital participation champions and the onus o us to help break down the barriers that those we work with may face in access and engagement with the internet and the increasing need to be able to function online.
Participants also heard what the young people had to say and explored online safety considerations including child protection issues, viruses, phishing, hacking and more.

Online Learning then followed for four weeks looking at the Digitally Agile National Principles, their application in practice and relevant resources to support learning.
Week 1 - Practice, Policy, Professional Guidelines
Week 2 - Resource, Inclusion
Week 3 - Evaluation, Digital Literacy
Week 4 - Learning and Development, Co-production

Engaged with young people to influence the development of a training course for Community Learning and Development (CLD) practitioners based on the Digitally Agile National Principles. Practitioners from across Scotland took part in the course and through the process reviewed and adapted the way they use digital tools in their work and support those they work with to develop digital skills.

In terms of outputs we delivered:
A short training resource created by young people for youth workers and other CLD practitioners highlighting the severity of online bullying and its importance to young people.
A ‘blended learning’ training course to 53 CLD practitioners from across Scotland. Participants were from all the three strands of CLD - youth work, adult learning and community development staff and volunteers. Some participants have gained a Certificate in Digital Planning at SCQF Level 5 from Glasgow Kelvin College – the optional certification for the course.

In terms of outcomes, the project has:
Encouraged a group of young people in Glasgow to consider and share what their (and peers’) needs are from youth workers when navigating their online lives and explore ways they could use technology creatively in their community. The feedback they gave from the sessions was that they found them enjoyable and interesting. They were excited to have created a resource that would be used in youth worker training. Their youth workers were also involved in these sessions which gave an opportunity for them to review their service and practice in light of the young people’s input as well as feed in content from their perspectives and experience.
The feedback from evaluation of the training days and the content of the online discussion forum showed that for CLD practitioners the outcomes were: increased knowledge of digital technologies and social media, increased confidence in using these in practice, increased confidence to explore and try out new platforms, better prepared to plan the use of digital technology within practice and incorporating ethical, safety and resource considerations.
Those who completed the skills survey at the end of the course showed an improvement in their own perceived skills, knowledge and confidence to use digital technology and social media in their CLD practice.

It is too early to see the full impact of this training on the young people, adult learners and communities that the practitioners work with, but some examples so far range from setting up Facebook pages for groups of learners to building regular digital tutoring sessions into practice.

Participants incorporated the drive for digital participation and supporting people to gain digital skills as a key part of CLD values and practice in the digital age.


Things that worked well:
Bringing young people’s voices and priorities into the training
Partnership brought a good range of skills, expertise and opportunities to the project development and delivery.
We verified that there is a significant demand for training of this type in the CLD sector
Training sessions were successful and participants gained knowledge, skills and confidence from the course

Things that we would do differently next time:
Work with a broader group of young people for consultation sessions
Identify level that training is pitched at more clearly and stream participants
Build in guided practical session for novice users
Further develop the structure of online learning and build in more tasks
Consider a call back day after or during online learning weeks.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: