Jim Donaldson, the Further Education Funding Council's chief inspector, said at the launch of the Quality in Information and Learning Technology (QUILT) that many colleges had invested heavily in computer technology without ensuring staff could use it.
Many students were studying on their own in computer-based learning centres without receiving vital teaching support. "It cannot be enough to simply reduce the amount of contact between teachers and students and assume that the time spent in learning centres will fill the gap," he told principals and other college staff.
Improved staff development was one of the major recommendations in last year's Higginson report on IT in FE. Later research by the Further Education Development Agency (FEDA) showed that three-quarters of college staff wanted to be able to use IT better.
The five-year QUILT programme, run by FEDA and the National Council for Educational Technology, targets college managers, support staff and governors as well as lecturers.
About 50,000 college workers are expected to take part in training including residential programmes and one-day workshops. Colleges can bid for up to Pounds 5,000 to run their own development projects Education minister Lord Henley said students were often better prepared to "meet the demands of the information society" than lecturers.
TES february 14 1997 mike benson "We could do considerable damage to the FE sector and the HE sector if we don't get the balance right"