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  • Learning through Gamification

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jan 02, 2019

    Over recent years, our study methods show a growing recognition of learners’ desire for flexible learning. The success of this proves that ongoing  innovation in learning technology helps deliver the best educational experience.

    During last October’s webinar, Stuart Pedley-Smith, Head of Learning at Kaplan UK and Alan Hiddleston, D2L Enterprise Account Executive, discussed our transformation of the online learning environment using gamification.

    Gamification has evidently boosted our learner experience. Through it we can observe how students ‘play’ the game, and use that information to nurture useful characteristics such as diligence, determination and drive.

    This sophisticated and optimised approach shows just how far things have evolved. But it’s happened in stages: from early days of online course material, to today where learners are digitally savvy. Our platform has had keep up with demands of today’s employees.

    Gamification for learner engagement

    By tapping into models familiar to digitally savvy learners, our platform delivers enhanced learning experiences for higher levels of engagement and success.  Our gamification model provides a range of tools and techniques that helps them progress through their study programme.

    Stuart explains that we wanted our learning to be more ‘evidence-based’ and ‘personalised’. We began applying gamification by improving learning outcomes and through rewarding positive behaviour. It recognised actions that led to progress.

    “In the exam world, league tables are seen as a bit of a hero and villain thing - where the academically bright sit at the top and the academically not so bright sit at the bottom,” explains Stuart. “We wanted to explore the league table by rewarding behaviours that would in principle lead to better learning and then to better results.”

    A unique method

    This approach fuses aspects of technology-enabled learning, game-design principles, and behavioural insight to reveal how learners approach study and their character traits. An innovative blend of artificial intelligence, human impulse, and fun.

    Stuart is now turning his attention to the small changes that make a difference to learner outcomes, including how tweaks to student communications can maximise their efficacy. This could involve looking at the time of day emails are sent out, the length of the email, and the wording that’s used.

    Predictive analytics and monitoring enable administrators to build a detailed picture of the online learner and keep them on track.

    To find out more about gamification and how we’re using it to help evolve our learner experience, access the webinar recording.

  • Xero: Certification course for Kaplan AAT students

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Dec 18, 2018

    For the first time ever we’re giving our AAT students the chance to get free certification for Xero: the fastest growing accounting software in the UK.

    The online training course is proactive, flexible and accommodating. Once completed, learners receive a full Xero Advisor Certification.

    In this fast paced and ever changing world, use of Xero’s cloud accounting software is increasing rapidly  with more than 300,000 Xero subscribers in the UK and over 1,400,000 worldwide.

    For our learners who don’t currently use Xero, it’s increasingly likely that they will need to, so the free certification offer is a genuine benefit.

    Xero’s success is down to the simplicity of its software. Its customer service and advancements in technology mean that more providers are opting to transition from other software providers.

    There's never been a better time to learn Xero...If you want to be more employable in the age of cloud accounting you need to be Xero certified

    Mike Day, Xero Director

    Small investment, big reward

    The entire course takes only 6 hours, and you’re given up to three months to complete it.

    Demand for Xero skills have never been higher. The Xero partner network encompasses thousands of UK accounting and bookkeeping practices.

    Once you’ve completed the certification, if you start a Xero Practice, or work for one within 12 months, we’ll transfer your certification to that Practice. Xero allows accountants to access business finances anywhere.

    It makes businesses mobile

    Use the mobile app to reconcile, send invoices, or create expense claims.

    It offers faster payments with online invoicing

    Send online invoices – get updates when they’re opened.

    It provides live reconciliation

    Xero imports and categorises the latest bank transactions.

    Its focus is on real-time information. Giving a view of the current numbers, based on the most recent transactions, sat securely in the cloud.

    The software’s aim is to simplify financial administration and to make it easy to pull off the reporting and information needed to run a business.

    Time to get started

    Take advantage and benefit from getting Xero Certified when you purchase the Using Accounting Software (UACS) unit.
  • The Kaplan King: From AAT to CIMA, and fully Chartered

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Nov 28, 2018

    Tom Kelly is 24 years old, a Project Accountant and has fully Chartered status.

    He started out as an AAT apprentice with Kaplan, but the last two years have seen him progress to the CIMA qualification and move on in his career.

    When you tell them you have letters after your name, it definitely opens doors. 

    The Kaplan King

    Sticking with Kaplan throughout his accountancy voyage, Tom discovered that our teaching methods suited his approach to learning.

    The continuity provided a level of comfort and consistency that enabled him to flourish “Kaplan provided excellent training throughout and their teaching styles suited me.”

    The future after AAT

    As an Accounting Technician, there are a range of fulfilling career routes available. You could even be eligible for exemptions from some higher learning units, meaning you can gain higher qualifications sooner than you might think and boost your earning potential.

    Our studies show

    That one third of all AAT students go on to chartered status.  

    Like Tom, you may opt to study as an apprentice, rather than take the university route. With AAT you don’t need any previous experience or qualifications to start, just a willingness to learn!

    This attitude has taken Tom all the way to being CIMA qualified. 

  • Improve your chance of exam success – what the data tells us

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Nov 22, 2018

    Following a joint research project between Kaplan and CIMA, we’ve gathered evidence that highlights key factors behind exam success.

    On December 6th our Head of Learning, Stuart Pedley-Smith, in association with CIMA, will share these findings in a live webinar.

    The session will focus on:

    • When’s the optimum time to take your exam?

    • Does rescheduling your exam impact on success?

    • Do the seasons affect your chances?

    • Performing practice exams – does this really have a noticeable impact on achieving exam success?

    Stuart Pedley-Smith has been involved with training and educating finance professionals for over 20 years and is the author of two books, ‘The E word’ about how to pass exams’ and ’A student’s guide to writing Business Reports.’

    Register now, for essential info leading to exam success.
  • OnDemand is in demand - Learning Technology Awards

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Nov 16, 2018

    OnDemand has been Shortlisted for the Best Online Distance Learning Programme at the Learning Technology Awards.

    In the run up the event, Head of Instructional Design and Development, Amanda Healey-Browne reveals the significance of it, and why the unique study method deserves  recognition.

    What does it mean to get recognition for OnDemand?

    There’s a lot of competition in the professional qualification area - and Kaplan works hard to maintain its lead. All of the staff involved with OnDemand are dedicated to making this product the best it can be.

    To be recognised by the Learning Technology Awards allows us to compare the platform to our competitors. It will help us to understand our strengths and weaknesses in a wider context.

    A win would give us a big seal of approval. It would make all the staff involved feel proud of their work and the daily contribution they make to Kaplan. There’s no doubt it would also help also to attract new talent.

    How does your role in Instructional Design apply to OnDemand?

    Kaplan Content Specialists are tutors or authors with substantial experience in the classroom or print. The Instructional Designers (IDs) help them understand how to adapt to online delivery. 

    We have a thorough understanding of what works best for online learning, and the types of activities that can reinforce learning.

    We like information in short chunks, at any time. We like control! OnDemand fits well with current trends.

    Is OnDemand new to Kaplan?

    We initially rolled it out for CIMA Certificate and Professional in 2016. The teams then began work on AAT Foundation, Advanced and Diploma – which took all of 2017! 

    This year we have rolled it out for ACCA  Skills, Essentials and Options. We’re currently working on ACCA Knowledge and ICAEW ACA Professional. Over the next few years, we’ll complete the roll out for ICAEW ACA Certificate and Advanced.

    How has it developed?

    OnDemand has evolved in different ways.

    For CIMA, the product was primarily video driven.

    Then with AAT, we incorporated more interactions and online exercises for students to complete.

    For ACCA we split the content into Knowledge and Application modules. The Application gave learners detail on complex areas of the syllabus. It showed how topics can be applied to practical, real-to-life, scenarios.

    In ACA, we’re currently making use of forums and tasks that consolidate and stretch a learner's understanding of a topic.

    What’s the unique benefit of OnDemand?

    It offers learners the benefit of being taught by Kaplan tutors in their own home or workplace.

    They’re given a range of support options and have access to: online e-learning modules, assessments, mock exams, revision cards, study texts and Integrated Workbooks.



    The learner takes control of their own education and uses methods unique to them.

    How does it suit today’s learning habits?

    Gone are the days when you’d go to a library to find out how to do something. We rely so much on Google and YouTube for support. Our culture is very video-centric. We are used to information in short chunks, at any time. We like control! 

    OnDemand fits well with current trends as it’s primarily video driven, that can be accessed over multiple locations, with frequent tests to check knowledge is embedded.

    What are you looking forward to in regards to the awards evening?

    These awards are a very prestigious event. I’m really excited to represent Kaplan and have all my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll win!

    Any future plans for further development with OnDemand?

    Of course! I know that OnDemand will continue to evolve. We’re always looking at feedback from students and clients, and running trials based on different ideas. Technology continues to move, and so will we.

    For more information on the study method, and to see how this ground breaking approach can boost your career prospects, try our free demo.

     

  • 6 Ways Accountants Changed The World

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Nov 09, 2018

    International Accountants Day is celebrated every November 10th, and we wanted to acknowledge it by listing ways in which the profession has impacted the world.

    Firstly, why November the 10th?

    On November 10th, 1494, Venetian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published an unprecedented look at bookkeeping practices.

    This leads us onto our first example...

    Al Capone is taken down by Tax

    De Pacioli’s system of recording company transactions still, to this day, underpins all financial statements. If were to single out a historical moment it impacted then we’d pinpoint the imprisonment of Al Capone. 

    In 1931, he was found guilty of evasion for not paying taxes on his ill-gotten wealth. Only accurate financial statements could have provided evidence to sentence the world famous gangster.

    Luca de Pacioli’s work became the foundation for more essays on accounting which led to his title as “The Father of Accounting.”

    The modern age is born

    Without the evolution of banking and accounting the Industrial Revolution could not have developed at the rate it did in the 1700s. The increasing demands of entrepreneurs in industries like steam led to a huge expansion of the financial system.

    Prior to 1750 gold and silver were preferred for major transactions, and copper for daily trading. There were banks already in existence, but only in limited numbers.

    The Industrial Revolution in the UK brought significant social changes. Industrialization increased the population and led to urbanization, resulting in the formation of modern towns and cities we see today.

    Mick Jagger

    Legendary ‘Dinosaur hips’ did indeed train to be an accountant. 

    According to sources, Jagger studied accounting and finance at the London School of Economics. However, his accountancy journey was cut short after crossing paths with a certain...Keef.

     

    Their inventive re-interpretation of American blues music caused them to be recognised as pioneers of early rock and roll.

    With classic albumns such as like Exile on Mainstreet, and record breaking mega-tours that continue to break records, it’s easy to see their influence on the world of pop culture.

     

    So, technically Mick did not change the world with his accounting skill. However, he did train to be an accountant, and he did change the world – just separately.

    America win the war of independence & George Washington publishes his accounts

    During the American War of Independence (1775 – 1783), George Washington - the first US president, published his personal accounts. This was in response to his enemies, who accused him of profiteering

    A rich farmer, Washington’s accounts revealed his enjoyment of the finer things of life:  wine, luxurious clothes and expensive food. 

    Publishing this information was risky and threatened to undermine his position in wartime. To avoid criticism, and potentially boosted morale, however, he refused to accept a salary as commander-in-chief of the army.

    He then led the Americans to fight off the British, and became the republic’s first elected president.

    The enrichment of Holland in the 16th century

    By the early 16th century, the Netherlands was the richest European province of the Spanish Empire. As their economy grew, accounting became a central element of Dutch education.

    Strong trust between government, businesses, and people developed from consistently good financial management. That gave the Dutch the faith to take massive financial risks, investing in stocks and ships that traded around the world.

    Accounting knowledge wipes British debt in the 1720s

    Sir Robert Walpole, arguably our first prime minister, was a brilliant accountant and used his knowledge to save financial markets when the South Sea Company scheme collapsed in the 1720s.

    As first lord of the Treasury, Walpole negotiated a bailout involving the Bank of England. He reduced national debt at a time when public confidence had plummeted and businesses faced ruin.

    How are you going to change the world?

    Accountants continue to be the cornerstone of society – across the world. The opportunity for the profession to influence world affairs remains. 

    Kaplan also has a rich history, and can trace its roots back to the very beginning of accountancy training in the UK. To learn more about the accountancy qualifications available visit our site.

    Thanks to Kaplan’s Head of Learning Stuart Pedley-Smith, and John Bennett for their contributions.

  • Learn smarter and pass faster with these techniques

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Oct 18, 2018

    We now have evidence as to the most effective learning techniques. Here we give an overview of the findings, revealing how you can learn smarter and pass faster.

    Top proven study techniques

    Although a relatively new field, there are a group of cognitive and computer scientists, linguists and educational psychologists who have united. They collectively call themselves Learning Scientists. By gathering data about student learning they’ve been able to draw conclusions that are “evidence based”. 

    Here are some of the top 6 “evidence-based” study techniques they found:

    1. Spaced practice (distributed)

    Evidence shows that if you revisit what you have studied over time it boosts your retrieval and storage strength. Studying in a short period of time, as is the case with cramming, improves retrieval strength but reduces storage strength. 

    2. Interleaving

    Interleaving is the study of different subjects as opposed to studying one topic very thoroughly - before moving to the next.

    One proven technique is for students to alternate between attempting a problem and viewing a worked example. This is much better than attempting to answer one question after another. It’s simply about switching activity.

    But be careful, interleaving is best done within a subject, for example  it's best to stay with Financial Reporting rather than swapping to Tax or Financial Management .

    3. Retrieval practice

    The process of reflecting back and having to retrieve a memory of something previously learned is very powerful.  There is also an added benefit. If you are told there’s going to be a test, the increased test expectancy leads to better-quality encoding of the new information.

    Did you know?

    The OnDemand study method has been designed using evidence, to improve the learning experience.

    4. Elaboration

    Elaboration, or, adding something new to what you already know.

    This might be students asking “how and why” questions in groups and answering them either from their course materials or memory. 

    5. Concrete examples

    Concrete examples make something easier to understand and remember, largely because the brain can recognise and recall concrete words better than abstract ones. It’s been proven that information that is more concrete and imageable enhances the learning of associations, even with abstract content.

    By using concrete examples, it makes it much easier to concisely convey information that can be remembered and visualised. It is a good example of Dual coding.

    6. Dual coding

    When accompanied by complementary visual information, text enhances learning. Dual coding is the use of both text and visuals, replacing a word with a picture is not the same.

    Evidence based

    At Kaplan, our OnDemand course has been designed using evidence to inform what works best from a learning perspective. It's a new flexible way of learning, combining the principles of instructional design with the convenience and flexibility of virtual study.

    Instructional designers follow what is proven to work for learners and incorporate many of the principles in the courses they build. Kaplan's Instructional team have done exactly that, through Duel coding - by presenting both text and images on the screen, Retrieval practice - by using knowledge checks, and Elaboration - by making reference to content previously learned.

    All of this makes the Kaplan OnDemand course better by design.

    For more information on this topic, register to attend a webinar delivered by CIMA and our Head of Learning, Stuart Pedley Smith. October 30th.

  • You’re guaranteed to pass ACCA with a Complete Course

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Oct 03, 2018

    Up to 32% better chance of passing

    Give yourself the best chance of ACCA success when you combine Tuition, Revision and a Question Based Day.

    Our Complete Courses package gives you the best, and most efficient way, of passing.

    The stats prove it

    For Classroom and Live Online, the Complete Courses package is made up of all the study options: Tuition, Revision and a Question Based Day. Giving you everything you need to be fully 'tooled up' for exam success.

    Our stats team recently looked at our ACCA results and found that those who took out all three options had a significantly improved % chance of passing – over all papers.

    This has been a consistent pattern for the past three years.

    Did you know?

    Based on 2018 figures, those who took the Complete Course had a 21% higher pass rate than those who took Tuition and Revision, and a 32% higher than just Tuition.* 

    This is due to the comprehensive nature of the three pronged approach:

    Tuition
    – Work your way through the full syllabus and focus on the key areas likely to come up in the exam.

    Revision – Apply your knowledge to exam questions, learn how to structure an answer and how to understand a requirement.

    QBD – Practice questions taken under exam conditions. Get personalised feedback and recorded debriefs.

    The key benefits of Question Based Days

    QBDs are conducted a few days before the real exam, making sure you're exam ready. The questions are exam standard - not found anywhere else in Kaplan’s study materials and completed on real computer exam software.

    They structure your last few days of revision and highlight final areas of weakness to focus on.

     

    Students really notice the benefit of seeing a complete course through from start to finish - learning the concepts in tuition, exam technique in revision and then applying their knowledge in QBDs

    - Andrew Mower, Kaplan ACCA Tutor.

    Guaranteed to pass

    Some of our students choose to opt for just one of the methods (Tuition), this could be seen as a cost effective way to learn. But this can be short sighted.

    With the Complete Course package, initially it will cost a little more, but statistically, it's proven to increase your chance of passing, and therefore less chance of incurring resit costs.

    In the unlikely event that you fail and have to resit, this package includes aPass Guarantee, meaning that you can be put through the whole process again, until you pass.

    Easy to activate**

    Arm yourself with the Complete Course in just a few easy steps. 

    Simply visit the Classroom or Live Online ACCA pages, add the Tuition, Revision and QBD courses to your basket. Any problems call our customer services on  0161 259 7400.


    *Figures based on an average taken from 2018 June sitting for F8 and P4 papers.
    ** The Complete Courses discount package only applies to the Applied Skills and Strategic Professional levels.

  • Webinar: Why study AAT online?

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Sep 13, 2018

    We recently hosted a webinar with AAT, on the benefits of studying online. Register to see it here.

    The number of students taking online courses only continues to grow as more options become available.

    With students citing flexibility as one of the key benefits to online learning methods, and people working longer hours, it’s not surprising that the need for flexible study has increased.

    Whether you are studying online, or thinking about it, this webinar focuses on the advantages of studying online and help you to decide whether it’s for you.

    It also offers a particular focus on Kaplan's award-winning study method OnDemand - exploring:

    • Why online learning needs to be taken seriously
    • Explore the benefits of studying via an online method
    • Explore what type of student is most suited to online learning
    Delivered by National product AAT manager, Sally Brummit.

  • Everything you wanted to know about OnDemand - Q&A

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Sep 13, 2018
    What study method works best for you? Have you considered OnDemand?

    OnDemand allows you to study when and where you want, using bite-sized, tutor-led online resources. These are designed to keep you motivated and the integrated practice questions make sure you stay on track.

    It was first launched for CIMA in September 2016, followed by AAT in May 2017, and has now been released for ACCA students.

    With leading pass rates (i.e. 88% for CIMA) it’s helping more students progress quicker and qualify faster.

    Here our award winning tutor talks about the study method and how it works in practice. 
  • The Kaplan Siblings - an AAT family trait

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Aug 30, 2018

    Meet the Qureshi siblings, or as we like to call them: The Kaplan Siblings.

    Tehreen, Bisma and Sahir are a close family. They get on well and live together, but there's an extra common thread: they all studied AAT with Kaplan.  

    At 25, 22 and 20 each has followed a similar path, and helped each other along the way. The eldest, Tehreen, takes credit for shaping her younger siblings’ careers "Yeah, I like to think they followed me".

    Watch the video for their unique story.

    A future you can count on

    AAT is a great stepping stone in the world of finance and accountancy, and can secure your future in a stable and growing industry.

    Everyone needs accountants, so you'll be spoilt for choice. Whether you're dreaming of a career in Football or Fashion, the opportunities are ripe. You just need the right qualification.

    Respected by businesses worldwide, an AAT course can help you to build a future you can count on. For more information visit our site.

  • Opening doors – AAT student story

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Aug 28, 2018

    Charlotte Woodworth is a great example of an AAT student who discovered the perfect way to study. After gaining her qualification her career has gone from strength to strength.

    Discover for yourself

    Before I started, people also told me all sort of things that proved to be untrue, for me. “The books are expensive” It’s difficult”, “Classroom learning is what you need” were the things being said. So I followed their advice and booked myself into classroom learning.

    However, the advice did not reflect my experience. For me, I found fitting study time around home and work life was restrictive. After a long working day, sitting in a classroom for 4 hours was hard work. I felt like I was being rushed and taught only what I needed to pass exams.

    It was only when I decided to buy a Kaplan text book that I realised I'd been missing out on a much better, fuller, learning experience. With this, Kaplan provide context for work that's in the syllabus – you get the whole picture (the WHY as well as the HOW). The scenarios and questions really make you think and apply your knowledge.

    AAT is useful if you're not 100% sure what area of Accountancy you want to specialise in.

    I'm looking forward to studying with the "On Demand" study method later this year. Whilst it's pricier than classroom learning, I think I'll reap the rewards. I’ll get access to all the resources and be able to study at my own pace.

    A talent for numbers

    I studied the AAT qualification when I worked in retail banking. The more I learnt about teaching customers to manage their money, the more I realised how good I was with figures.

    It became clear that Accountancy would be the perfect profession for me. I even help my friends and family budget now, and work out ways for them to save  - my nickname is "Spreadsheet Charlotte".

    Kaplan provide a context for the work – you get the WHY as well as the HOW. 

    Beating the challenge

    I've had a few obstacles to overcome, whilst studying. Some have been in my personal life, but my main challenge has been managing time. I work a full day and two evenings a week I be at a local college, whilst also trying to revise in my spare time.

    I'm hoping the flexibility of OnDemand will alleviate that.  So far it’s been a bit of a balancing act, but I've managed it!

    A door opener

    Studying AAT has given me a "foot in the door" and kick started my Accountancy career. I had to take on minimum wage work at a Bookkeeper's for a while, but once I'd taken the course I had recruiters use it as a bargaining tool for employers.

    Ultimately it got me into my current role as an Accounts Assistant. The pay rise alone made it worthwhile.

    AAT has kick started my Accountancy career.  

    Advice for those considering AAT

    Go for it.  It's a great qualification, with real life applications, and it's still respected in the field. It's particularly useful if you're not 100% sure what aspect of Accountancy you want to specialise in, as it gives you a solid foundation across the board.

    If you can team it up with some work experience, even better - that's a winning combination!

    Kaplan is the UK’s largest AAT training provider - over 7,500 students study with us ever year. For more information on our AAT courses visit our site.

  • The perfect balance – AAT student story

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Aug 22, 2018

    Joel Fraser is 26 and lives in Perth - whilst working for a small firm, run by his mother. After much consideration, he decided to combine full time work with further study. It appears to have paid off.

    I decided to study AAT after 3 years studying Physics. After the course, I was caught between wanting to either carry on with education or get a job. I wasn’t sure which path to take.

    Luckily, my mother invited me to work for her, as she knew I liked numbers. So that was the job sorted. But whilst I was there, I started to study AAT. I quickly found this was perfect as I could balance both really well.

    Kaplan was one of the first course providers I came across, and I could tell they were what I was looking for. The Glasgow centre was a great location, as I had been living there for 3 years.

    They offered day release courses, which was ideal for myself and our company. We had a meeting with one of the tutors, who was very helpful and explained the benefits of doing day release or evening courses over studying at University.

    Did you know?

    Kaplan has training centres in 24 regions across the UK.  

    Prepared for success

    For me, the easiest way to study was spending time after class making sure you understood everything. Simultaneously, working with my mum was great as she’d let me take study leave if I needed to. But this rarely happened. I kept on top of my course, and booked my exams as soon as I could. It hardly affected my social life at all.

    I enjoyed studying AAT. My tutor was fantastic, always contactable and happy to help - something you might not get at university. The exams are computer based, which suited me as my handwriting is terrible. The course materials were all easy to understand and gave you plenty of information and mock tests for revision.

    Confidence boosting

    I’m currently applying to study at ICAS this September. AAT helped me give confidence in applying to this, and also gives me some exemptions for the ICAS course.

    I would 100% recommend studying AAT to anyone considering it. I found that the course is accessible to almost anyone, as long as you’re willing to put the work in. Studying at Kaplan gives you a great support network too, so if you’re struggling someone will always help.

    Kaplan is the UK’s largest AAT training provider - over 7,500 students study with us ever year. For more information on our AAT courses visit our site. 

  • 10 ways we’re improving exam marking

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Aug 22, 2018

    Over the past year, we’ve listened to feedback from students and clients about the quality and speed of our marking. We recognise it wasn’t up to the high standards we set out to deliver.

    So we’ve been working hard on a number of improvements to increase both our marking speed and quality. And whilst we know we still have some way to go to meet those high standards, we hope you and your trainees will be able to see a marked difference.

    Here’s a summary of the improvements we’ve made so far.

    1. We’re increasing the number of markers including more of our tutors taking on marking responsibilities, when it fits around their teaching.

    2. We’ve limited the number of scripts a marker can be assigned, so they can focus on improving the quality of what they mark to ensure they meet deadlines.

    3. We've increased the rates we pay our markers, so they are fairly remunerated for the time we expect them to spend marking scripts, to the quality level you expect.

    4. Most mocks are now completed online, so we’ve removed the time taken to post to / from the marker’s address. This also means scripts cannot be lost, although it has created new challenges using ICAEW software and uploading exams.

    5. Improved guidance for students on using ICAEW software (for mocks), and on how to upload the scripts onto MyKaplan. If followed, these ensure students cannot lose all their attempted scripts and they should be able to submit the correct file to the correct place in MyKaplan. This maximises the chances of students getting their scripts marked on time.

    Did you know?

    Kaplan is the UK's largest accountancy training provider - 50,000 students studied with us in 2017

    6. Markers return the scripts themselves when complete, again reducing the admin and waiting time for students.

    7. All new markers go through a new improved QA process, with set guidelines issued and monitoring of complaints made against the marker.

    8. We can now see if  markers haven’t started marking scripts and are at risk of missing the deadline, so we can actively chase them and reduce the risk of delays.

    9. All our teams have got extensive detail on how to support students, offering advice on how to submit if the student is having technical issues. We also have extra staff in on Saturdays when weekend QBD’s are running to provide extra support if there are last minute emergencies.

    10. We now give automatic extensions to classroom ICAEW students if they miss a progress test exam day, with marking returned within the same service levels as if they had sat on the original date. That way they have an extra chance to submit and keep on track with their peers.

    Hopefully this shows our determination to improve the quality of our marking - in our drive for further student success. Please continue to give us your feedback so we can make further changes to improve your experience with us.

  • Webinar: What you need to know to pass the new SBR exam

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jul 27, 2018

    For students studying ACCA, the last P2 exam was just last month and that from September onwards students are required to take the new SBR exam instead.

    In response to this, we recently hosted a webinar on the new SBR (Strategic Business Reporting) exam. The content was aimed at those who failed their P2 exam or were due to take it, and forms an essential companion to this syllabus change.

    Delivered by SBR specialist Danny Beusch, the webinar covers all of the need to know areas. Highlighting the key differences between P2 and SBR, the new exam format and what resources students should use to prepare for it.

    At only 1 hour 15 minute, this Webex is a small investment of time given this exclusive insight.

    Danny’s position and experience makes him one of the most qualified experts on this change. He comments:

    “As a result of writing the new SBR material, we had meetings with ACCA along the way who told us a lot about the exam. We used this while writing the material,
    so we’re in a good place to talk about it.”

    Everything you need to know about the new SBR exam:

    Click here to playback the webinar.

    To learn more about our Strategic Business Reporting course, click here.

  • CIMA Renews Official Publisher Status With Kaplan

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jul 16, 2018

    Great news for CIMA students.

    Our CIMA Official Publisher status has been renewed for another 5 years.

    This continues our exclusive role as the only training provider to work with CIMA directly - in producing learning materials reviewed and approved by their faculty.

    CIMA are one of the main accountancy bodies in the world. Mike Smith, Director of Learning Solutions at Kaplan, explains the significance of this news:

    “What this means is that all our materials are examined by CIMA before we publish. This makes it certain that our learning resources are relevant and cover the syllabus. It’s a huge and unique benefit for our CIMA students.”

    This means students can be assured they are learning the key examinable topics, and they can be more confident going into the exams. So anyone who buys our materials, Kaplan student or not, they’ll have content that’s approved by CIMA. Mike was quick to highlight that:

    “We are the only publisher allowed to do this”.

    Our Kaplan Publishing materials are sold globally, from Sri Lanka to Poland. Giving the wider world of accountancy access to CIMA approved materials they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.  This renewal reflects the strength of our ongoing partnership. Mike comments:

    “It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement as CIMA aims to provide students with the best possible material. Ultimately they want pass rates to be as high as possible, and so do we.

    Here’s to 5 more years of CIMA success, for our students.

  • The most effective, and inclusive, way to study ICAEW

    by Kieron McDonnell | Jun 14, 2018

    We listened, we changed.

    Following feedback from our clients and students, we’ve redeveloped and enhanced our Knowledge phase of ICAEW courses to create the most effective and inclusive way to study.

    From 2019, each of our Professional Level Knowledge phases will comprise both classroom and personalised days.

    Starting with classroom days, the course will focus on new concepts where face to face learning can add most value. Innovative, adaptive online learning and testing after each day will direct students to content most relevant to them.

    Did you know?

    Kaplan students benefit from Academic Support by live chat, email and request a callback 7 days a week.

    This is followed by personalised days, which enable students to learn new content alongside testing and building on their existing knowledge. These personalised days contain market-leading “born digital” content that comprises a series of structured, tutor-led digital modules. With a clean and simple interface, they allow students to explore relevant content at their own pace. They can then focus on areas they need to work on and use their time more efficiently.

    The following principles have guided the design of our new approach:

    • The right topics studied in the right environment
    • Adaptive learning
    • Interactive, engaging content
    • Responsive, Expert Support
    • Diagnostic Client Reporting
    • Flexible Course Design

    These developments will ensure Kaplan continue to achieve market-leading success for trainees and clients. Continue reading to find out more about each concept, or check our timetables in the coming weeks to see the new courses.

    The right topics studied in the right environment

    Our Subject Matter Experts have used learning science to carefully select the topics that will be delivered on both classroom and personalised days in order to maximise learning efficiency.

    Adaptive learning

    Digital adaptive learning tests have been weaved into the fabric of the entire course structure, allowing students to test and consolidate their understanding of topics. They will then be directed towards extra supporting content if needed, or can move through topics more quickly if they’re well understood.

    Interactive, engaging content

    Our Personalised content is ‘born digital’ - designed specifically for remote learning.

    Each video is illustrated with key concepts and diagrams to aid understanding. Bite-sized clips help learners understand complex ideas faster, and keep them engaged.  Go at your own pace or spend more time on difficult areas.

    Responsive, expert support

    Students can contact our expert Academic Support team via LiveChat for an instant response, or request support through email or request a call back. This is available 7 days a week (8am-9pm Monday-Thursday; 8am-5:30pm Friday, 9am-1pm Sat-Sun).

    Diagnostic Client Reporting

    We’ll be reporting back student progress at regular intervals as the course progresses. The online consumption of content means we can provide improved visibility on student progress and performance, enabling the delivery of timely student interventions if appropriate.

    Flexible Course Design

    After consultation with clients we’ve decided to position the Personalised days at the end of the Knowledge phase.  This allows our clients to have the flexibility to move the Personalised days around to suit work demands, provided they have been completed by the time the Application Phase commences.

    We believe that these innovations in course design will lead to a more personalised experience for our students, thus affording greater student inclusivity regardless of background.

    Kaplan’s ACA Pass Rates v ICAEW’s average rate

    As the UK’s largest ACA training provider, we are very proud of the pass rates achieved by our students. And those studying the current Knowledge online route achieved on average a 3% higher pass rate than their classroom equivalents – furthering our belief that a redesigned Knowledge phase will not only enhance the student experience, but also improve student outcomes.

    2017 Exam Results

    Subject Kaplan Pass Rate ICAEW Pass Rate Variance
    Professional Level
    FAR (INT) 89.2% 80.5% +8.7%
    FAR (UK) 80.3% 79.8% +0.5%
    AA 89.0% 82.8% +6.2%
    TC 84.0% 80.9% +3.1%
    FM 87.2% 82.1% +5.1%
    BST 95.2% 90.6% +4.6%
    BPT 82.2% 79.7% +2.5%
    BPI 78.6% 78.2% +0.4%
    BPB 82.9% 74.6% +8.3%
    Advanced Level
    CR 91.4% 85.8% +5.6%
    SBM 91.9% 84.4% +7.5%
    ACS 86.6% 84.1% +2.5%

    (For some subjects, Kaplan’s market share is such that there is little scope for variation from the ICAEW’s pass rate e.g. for the BPI paper in 2017, 95% of students sitting the paper for the first time studied with Kaplan.)

  • Why Study OnDemand?

    by User Not Found | Jun 06, 2018

    It's been nearly two years since we launched OnDemand as a study method for our CIMA and AAT courses, and the results speak for themselves. It’s working, very well.

    This month, we’re delighted to announce that students will now be able to study ACCA modules F4 - F9 via the ‘Youtube style’ study method too.

    With just two years since its launch, OnDemand has produced some of the highest pass rates for both qualifications, with enrollment figures increasing every month.  Already, the number of students using OnDemand overall is reaching that of long established options, such as Distance Learning.

    We've invested millions into creating content that is easing the learning process for a growing number of students and we’re proud to say that we’re leading the way.

    Leading pass rates

    Soon after its launch, our OnDemand pass rates proved to be significantly above the global average for CIMA and AAT. They are also amongst the highest pass rates for any of our study methods (Distance Learning, Classroom, Live Online). And we have the same high expectations for the ACCA OnDemand courses.

    Why is it working?

    OnDemand’s tutor-led approach creates real impact with its combination of bespoke and structured learning.

    The content is largely tailored to the student and is specifically designed for remote learning.

    Designed specifically for remote learning, OnDemand’s short ‘Youtube’ style videos have been custom-made to make the courses as engaging and interactive as possible for the student.

    Did you know?

    OnDemand has now won two awards
    • PQ Online College of the Year 2018
    • AAT Awards Best Use of E-Learning 2018

    Created from feedback from ACCA students who had studied the course, the study method merges ‘formal’ learning with activities and tasks to test your knowledge and consolidate the learning process.

    Not a complete departure from familiar territory, however, the course provides the same structure and content as Classroom and Live Online. This therefore allows a seamless transition for students who use more than one method of study.

    However, despite being an online learning resource OnDemand doesn’t come without student support. Tutors are available when you need the support the most, whether it’s evenings or weekend you can request a callback or contact via Livechat or email.

    We’re proud to say that our OnDemand study method has recently won an AAT and PQ award. Back in February, Kaplan scooped the award of “Online College of the Year” for the study method. Moreover, just last month the study method won the ‘Best Use of E-Learning’ award at the AAT awards.

    It’s flexible: Our integrated programme clearly guides you through the whole syllabus, whilst giving you the freedom to work at your own pace.

    Online resources: From the MyKaplan online learning environment, to the digital study materials right through to the MyKaplan mobile app, there are numerous ways to learn on the move. Whether you’re on a train or at a coffee shop, you can study anywhere at any time.

    In depth exam preparation: Providing topic recap videos, question debriefs and mock exams to make sure you’re ready for exam success.

    An OnDemand success story

    One student who has made the most out of his OnDemand experiences is Jack. Setting himself the huge target of becoming CIMA qualified by 22, Jack chose the study method due to its flexibility.

    He deemed the classroom approach as not being intensive enough: ‘By the time I got to the exam, I’d forgotten everything’.  After choosing OnDemand for his CIMA studies, he never looked back.

    OnDemand offers a unique experience

    • Structured programme with flexible start times
    • Personalised feedback and guidance to keep you on track
    • Practice makes perfect: hundreds of mock exam questions
    • Online resources containing focused modules with tutor-led, bite-sized videos designed for online learning
    • It’s a new and multi-award winning study method
    • Recap Videos: revisit key topic areas, refresh your memory
    • Knowledge checks: reinforce your understanding, then move onto the next topic
    • Unrivalled guided tutor support, just like in the classroom: available 7 days a week with live chat
    • 365 start dates a year, choose the one that suits you and your staff

    It's available for CIMA, AAT and now ACCA

    See OnDemand in action. For more information on the study method, and to see how this ground breaking approach can boost your career prospects, try our free demo.

  • Kaplan Wins 2nd Award for OnDemand Study Method

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jun 01, 2018

    We’re delighted to announce that our OnDemand study method has won the ‘Best Use of E-Learning’ award at this year’s AAT awards.

    Picking up the trophy were some of Kaplan’s finest, Zoe Robinson, Director of Accountancy Product, Sally Brummit, Kaplan National AAT Product Manager and Nicky Fisher, AAT President.

    Zoe, who has played an integral role in the development of the two time award winning study method, was overjoyed at the team’s success.

    She said: “It feels great to get this award. It’s been a significant investment for Kaplan and is a reflection of our commitment to delivering high quality online learning to create success. To have this recognised by external judges is amazing.”

    This isn’t the first time the study method has picked up an award. Back in February, OnDemand won ‘Online College of the Year’ at the PQ awards.

    But what is it that sets OnDemand apart? Zoe explains…

    “Three things:  the design, the quality and the support. Every single module has been through a detailed instructional design process – so for each topic we consider how best to explain it, the format of the content to ensure there is variety and the length so that everything is concise bite-sized.”

    Despite being a study method with bite-sized learning, it’s safe to say there’s nothing small about the effort that has gone into creating the stalwart study method.

    Every module is scripted beforehand, and animations are created to link to what the student sees in their integrated workbook.

    “This is so much more than a recording of a live session, or a tutor simply highlighting words from a textbook and talking over the top. Those techniques have their place but it isn’t in a high quality online learning course designed to help students learn in the best way” Zoe said.

    Outside of the content offering, it’s also the student support from the Kaplan team that has cemented OnDemand as an effective learning source.

    What’s next?

    OnDemand is already available for CIMA and AAT qualifications and our pass rates show what an amazing product it is. In the past year OnDemand has produced the highest pass rates for CIMA, out of all study methods. For AAT it produced the second highest - after distance learning.

    “We’re about to launch OnDemand for ACCA, starting next week for Applied Skills with Strategic Professional following later in the year. We’re also using the exact same concept around design, quality and support to introduce online elements to our ACA Professional Level Courses in 2019.”

  • ICAEW: The Financial Accounting and Reporting UK GAAP exam is changing

    by User Not Found | May 21, 2018

    The ICAEW introduced a UK GAAP variant of the Professional Level FAR exam from the March 2017 sitting, alongside the existing IFRS variant. This allowed you to be able to select the most relevant FAR exam that complemented what your trainees see in the workplace.  Kaplan supported the ICAEW launch of the UK GAAP variant by offering it in every one of our ACA centres, online and Live Online.

    The Audit Qualification (AQ) and Corporate Reporting (CR)

    If your trainee has sat the FAR: UK GAAP variant in 2017, in order to be eligible for the AQ they will have to sit the Advanced Level CR: IFRS exam.  The ICAEW will issue an extra supplement in 2018 to help such students prepare for the CR exam. We will be supporting this with online content built into the pre-course work and we therefore recommend that no extra study leave is required.  

    As a result of this AQ eligibility issue the ICAEW will not be running a CR UK GAAP variant and therefore all students will be undertaking the CR IFRS exam.

    Introducing: The new FAR UK GAAP exam

    To meet long-term FRC requirements the existing FAR: UK GAAP variant exam will be available in its current form until the September 2018 sitting.  A new FAR: UK GAAP exam will be available from March 2019. This new exam will cover micro and smaller entity accounting including FRS 105, in addition to the current syllabus content focusing on FRS 102.  As before students who sit and pass this new exam, will continue on to the CR: IFRS exam and be eligible for the AQ.

    This therefore means there will be no FAR: UK GAAP exam for the December 2018 sitting.  If you planned for your trainees to sit FAR: UK GAAP to the December 2018 sitting we would recommend either undertaking the IFRS variant or undertaking the new UK GAAP exam in either March or June 2019.

    If you plan for your trainees to sit the FAR: UK GAAP variant in September 2018 you may want to consider whether they sit instead under IFRS; this will allow them to resit more easily, if required, in December 2018.  A student who did sit FAR: UK GAAP in September 2018 and failed would either have to retake under IFRS in December 2018 or resit under the new UK GAAP exam in March 2019.

    Support
    Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 259 7400 so we can help you to plan out your trainees pathway.

     
  • Learning through Gamification

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jan 02, 2019

    Over recent years, our study methods show a growing recognition of learners’ desire for flexible learning. The success of this proves that ongoing  innovation in learning technology helps deliver the best educational experience.

    During last October’s webinar, Stuart Pedley-Smith, Head of Learning at Kaplan UK and Alan Hiddleston, D2L Enterprise Account Executive, discussed our transformation of the online learning environment using gamification.

    Gamification has evidently boosted our learner experience. Through it we can observe how students ‘play’ the game, and use that information to nurture useful characteristics such as diligence, determination and drive.

    This sophisticated and optimised approach shows just how far things have evolved. But it’s happened in stages: from early days of online course material, to today where learners are digitally savvy. Our platform has had keep up with demands of today’s employees.

    Gamification for learner engagement

    By tapping into models familiar to digitally savvy learners, our platform delivers enhanced learning experiences for higher levels of engagement and success.  Our gamification model provides a range of tools and techniques that helps them progress through their study programme.

    Stuart explains that we wanted our learning to be more ‘evidence-based’ and ‘personalised’. We began applying gamification by improving learning outcomes and through rewarding positive behaviour. It recognised actions that led to progress.

    “In the exam world, league tables are seen as a bit of a hero and villain thing - where the academically bright sit at the top and the academically not so bright sit at the bottom,” explains Stuart. “We wanted to explore the league table by rewarding behaviours that would in principle lead to better learning and then to better results.”

    A unique method

    This approach fuses aspects of technology-enabled learning, game-design principles, and behavioural insight to reveal how learners approach study and their character traits. An innovative blend of artificial intelligence, human impulse, and fun.

    Stuart is now turning his attention to the small changes that make a difference to learner outcomes, including how tweaks to student communications can maximise their efficacy. This could involve looking at the time of day emails are sent out, the length of the email, and the wording that’s used.

    Predictive analytics and monitoring enable administrators to build a detailed picture of the online learner and keep them on track.

    To find out more about gamification and how we’re using it to help evolve our learner experience, access the webinar recording.

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