DISCUSS: Is Ultilearn fit for purpose?

Maybe misunderstood. I queried the time it took for cadet exams to be marked, as the woman said like you results back from the OU in a week maybe two depending on the postal service.

Coding has been a bit of dark art and I imagine a GCSE wouldn’t get you in the door, unless they do apprenticeships from 16.

More jobs for coders in it world than anything else…if i was back at school id focus on software development and be earning 30% more money than i do now.

Job boards are full of developer and software/tech/infrastructure sales positions. The world is headed towards centralised hardware (cloud computing) and software processes. The Internet Of Things has arrived and is accelerating.

Mobile and games dev is huge too.

See my earlier post, I managed it just fine!

To an extent I agree, but that’s not an issue with Google. If the information isn’t there then you’re not going to find it. We’re not talking about researching your family tree with nothing more to go on than “We used to call him Uncle Joe and I think he lived in Swindon in the 50s.” We’re talking about finding the answer to a direct (and fairly basic in search terms) question - and to boot they are provided with 4 options from which to choose.
This is 5 minute stuff, not “spending hours sifting through random websites”. I say again that if people can’t find it then they a not using Google properly.

Prepare to be astounded… Millions of people manage it every day.

Well, you should know chap…

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Millions is hardly a convincing number when you consider how many people do internet searches each and every second on more than Google. Once you’ve ignored the adverts, seemingly obligatory amazon irritation and completely irrelevant returns, you might get 3 or 4 per page which imply relevance and invariably they don’t This gets worse when you are looking for specific technical information.

If a family history search was done like that you’d deserve all you get and it’s not like Ancestry imply in the adverts.

I didn’t know you were in the US Congress:

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I need to make a crust :wink:

Fine… Billions of people are successful every day. It was just a number I pulled out of the air.

Just because you can’t get it to do what you want doesn’t mean that nobody else can…

If you spent your life always trying to open a can of beans with a wooden mallet would you blame the mallet and find it “astounding” that anybody could ever open one in less than 20 seconds?


The original issue regarding ‘what’s the point’: well, this is the current system and at least it’s like for like across the Corps.

On our Sqn we only allow cadets to take exams on Parade Nights: this ensures (to a degree) they have actually learned? the material and are in a common ‘exam’ setting. We don’t actually permit access to reference materials during the exam - local call. When each cadet completes the test module, we review successes/failures in person between cadet/instructor and highlight the material to be revised for he resit.

Any cadet that attempts an exam outside the parade night schedule, we suspend their account for a month and make them
resit. To be fair, the very few who try to ‘cheat’ in this fashion usually still get a ‘fail’ result (so returning to whether or not they are truly ‘learning’), so the resit requirement is valid.

I have also personally lobbied for some of the syllabus content to be updated in order to validate and update the teaching material. I think that is where it collective voice can support the centre best - by all means complain and suggest other platforms (not sure Moodle is the most relevant these days) but to make it about process, people and competent syallabus content. We should focus on suggestions to improve the cadet learning experience and make it current. HQAC can observe the debate and advise when a system/platform change is funded to which some of us can contribute and beta test to check it is fit for purpose.

Sorry - started this reply with tuppence worth of input and it’s resulted in fifty bob!

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This has been my MO since we lost paper exams, for the sort of reasons stated.
I will not give the cadets the account details as I don’t think that between parade nights they should not be faffing around with cadet stuff, they have far more important things to be getting on with. I get moans from cadets and some staff as other squadrons do, but I am adamant that we should be controlling the learning and exam process.

Maybe we should take a leaf from education as it seems that it’s still teacher led, they use PPT as the basis for lessons, have text books and the kids all do paper exams. All the things that is supposedly bad in what we did, which led to the change. My wife and I have text books from school, that our kids used, the subject matter was still relevant and taught, as is the stuff we do, yet we can’t have books, which are a much more accessible, easier resource to use and base research on.

Personally I feel that in these cases an “open book” exam is ridiculous.
However, the ACTO is clear.

If you guys are making “local calls” to deny cadets the option of using online research material then you are in direct contravention of an order.
All fine until Cadet Bloggs hears that their mate at 123 Sqn is allowed to use Google and makes a complaint that they are not being given the same chance as the rest of the Corps.

As I heard it at the time, the “open book” option was not chosen by HQAC but forced upon us by EdExcel - this may or may not be true.


I’ve had the “they let them look at the internet to help answer the questions at xyz squadron” but I am unmoved.

If I got it in the neck for not allowing open book and forced to do it, it would mean the immediate stopping of classification instruction as this becomes pointless and you would only need to parade once a week, which seems to fit the model of other youth groups and activities, given that I have several cadets who only attend once a week currently as they are already involved in other things and the Air Cadets is part of the mix in their lives. This mirrors many adults including myself.

I would find it odd than an exam board would feel that open book is appropriate when the subject matter is so content light and well within the general knowledge of cadets. TBH the move to open book says more about adult staff than cadets, which is odd given that the sort of things we instruct doesn’t get much beyond what I was doing for O Levels in the 70s/80s. The loss of books is a contributory factor WRT staff as the majority could competently instruct and have cadets pass, just by applying what was in the book.

Of course you are…

Is given an explicit written order - doesn’t like that order - throws toys out of the pram and stops teaching cadets… Yep. That sounds like a fairly on-par Teflon style response.

Let me be clear - I am of the opinion that the classification exams should be ‘closed book’. I am of the ‘old-school’ mindset when it comes to learning a subject, and these are not reference type subjects where the ability to look up the answers in the relevant manual is expected.

However, the ATCO says we must allow it. The whole point is that it is meant to be equivalent across the Corps. To do otherwise, and further, to decided that if you can’t have it your way then you won’t do it at all is just one of the very many reasons why you should complete your resignation paperwork with all haste.

Yes. I would too… But that’s what we were told. As I say, it may or may not be true.

What? How? Not one of us is responsible for that decision.


I largely get around the “open book” issue by having plenty of mock exams (which aren’t open book), practise sessions, revision sessions, etc to the point at which I’m reasonably happy that the cadet actually knows the subject and could pass it with or without notes.

Then they sit the actual exam IAW the ACTOs, which is then essentially a box-ticking exercise.

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This I like and may steal

In addition of course we shouldn’t actually be entering them for the exams until we are satisfied that they are ready.
“Ready” being that they know the subject. How do we know if they’re ready? We carry out our own assessment of their knowledge at regular points.

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We’ve delivered the lessons. If they fail, we can go over what they were lacking and try again. This is one of the glorious advantages of no longer being beholden to somebody else’s exam schedule.

Stop over-thinking it. It doesn’t matter.

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It may also unfairly penalise cadets who require XXXX classification in order to attend specific cses / events.