Professor Phillip John
Executive Chair, SCHOLAR Forum

The SCHOLAR programme is one of Scotland’s most successful teaching and learning initiatives.

The strength of SCHOLAR has been the underpinning ethos of partnership with all sectors of Scottish education and the willingness to innovate and anticipate the needs of the learners. Perhaps the telling feature is that there is no longer the need to use the word ‘e-learning’ and simply use ‘learning’ instead. The pervasive nature of technology influences our society and not least in education. But still at the heart of education are the teachers. The online materials are designed to permeate to all aspects of teaching, learning and assessment. The successful and effective teacher will bring to bear all the techniques at their disposal including educational technology to equip students with 21st century skills so vital for the well-being of Scotland’s economy.

I have been proud to be associated with SCHOLAR since its beginning. With portfolios of subjects in maths and the sciences, business subjects and languages Scotland is in a unique position, leading the world in making available to our young people the learning resources to achieve the best they can.

SCHOLAR can confidently look towards the future and build on its achievements within the Curriculum for Excellence.

Our Approach

SCHOLAR materials have been specially written by subject specialists from schools, colleges and the university. They bring together the best of innovative learning with tried and tested educational approaches.

SCHOLAR’s approach is focussed on independent learning and formative assessment with an emphasis on providing students with repeated practice and immediate feedback.

The main purposes of the learning materials and assessments are to:

  •  enhance the student learning experience by providing a range of learning approaches;

  •  allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding;

  •  motivate students by providing an opportunity to review and consolidate what they have learned;

  •  inform students about their strengths and weaknesses so that they can improve their performance.

The structure of a typical SCHOLAR course is made up of Units consisting of self-contained topics, which cover particular areas of the curriculum. By means of collaboration with subject authors and specialists, the development team creates effective e-learning content to support individual and classroom learning. As a student progresses through a topic they will be provided with theory, interactive exercises and tests. Stimulating visual materials are developed in the form of static illustrations, interactivities, simulations and videos. Audio resources have also been integrated into some courses to help provide a diverse range of media suitable for all types of learner.

These components are followed by an end of topic test where the learning objectives are covered. This enables students to receive feedback on their individual progress and reflect on their understanding of the subject matter. End of unit tests are also included and provide students with the opportunity to practise for their upcoming summative assessments.

For teachers, we provide detailed feedback on their students’ results for the end of topic and end of unit tests. This allows teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses which can help to support the teaching and learning process.

SCHOLAR Forum

The SCHOLAR Forum is a legal not-for-profit partnership between Heriot-Watt University and ADES, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, with the Education Authorities as members paying an annual subscription. Key stakeholders, including Education Scotland, SQA and School Leaders Scotland, are part of the Forum’s consultation framework.

The SCHOLAR Forum provides high quality web-based courses and a ‘virtual college’ support network. Designed to improve student choice and flexibility, it helps students progress between school, college and university.

A number of boards and committees support the work of the Forum outlined in the organisation chart.

Forum Partnership Mangement Board relates to Academic Policy Board relates to Advisory Committee The Forum Partnership Management Board oversees the governance of the partnership in terms of legalities and finance.
The Academic Policy Board is consulted on the academic development of the Forum. The Board reviews and advises on the Forum Development Plan.
The members of the Advisory Committee are mainly representatives of the Authorities including, from time to time, other key stakeholders.