Chisholm Institute has a great success story on using TrainingVC to increase access, and subsequently enrolments, on their Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing. A story by Charles Crouch.
Changing course delivery from a traditional weekly evening class to a blended model using recorded presentations, online discussion groups, and a Saturday workshop has re-energised the Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing program at Chisholm.
In 2011-2012 Chisholm foresaw a critical need for courses in Digital Marketing. Local businesses were searching for proficient marketers who could navigate the online world, but both skills and knowledge were lacking in the workforce. The Institute gathered a passionate team of industry stakeholders and built a completely new course cantered on the latest in digital marketing, 10151NAT – Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing. With local demand in south-east Victoria, a team of skilled instructors from industry, and courses focused on critical marketing skills, Chisholm felt the course would fill a critical need and quickly become a winner.
Alas, coming into the 2014 educational calendar year, the course was in danger of being cancelled for several reasons. Reduced state funding had impacted marketing qualifications, and a major restructure at Chisholm Institute jeopardised this sought after qualification. In addition, push-back from prospective students was increasing as their busy schedules made coming to class every week for over thirty weeks a daunting challenge. While the instructors and key staff at Chisholm still believed in the worth of the program, they knew that drastic changes had to be made if the certificate was going to continue to be offered.
Realising that converting prospects to actual students was key, the team completely redesigned the delivery method to accommodate their principle concerns of time and distance to class. A blended model was developed using principles of e-learning to design a flexible program composed of five units which students can enter at any time. Key attributes of the new program include:
The Certificate is composed of five units which students can enter at any time, rather than wait for the next cycle to begin.
A single evening class begins each unit, followed by an intensive period of online delivery. An all-day Saturday workshop several weeks later closes it.
Recorded presentations with accompanying handouts are used to deliver the core material for the unit.
Two online seminars via webinar are scheduled during the online period to provide experience in this medium as well as student interaction.
An online discussion group with frequent postings is run using LinkedIn to encourage student discussions and introduce short topics not covered in the regular class material.
The Saturday workshop focuses on student projects, a guest speaker, and assisting students to complete their assessments.
Course material is made available through a dedicated portal using TrainingVC.
Several units have now been delivered using the new model, and they are already showing positive results. The focus on a flexible delivery mode using some class, recordings, webinars, and TrainingVC has been positively received by both current and prospective students. The digital marketing certificate has now become a successful program going from strength to strength, and thanks to the dedication of our passionate teachers and industry guest speakers, the feedback is fantastic.
What is the best Moodle course? The e-learning industry has been asking this question for more than 10 years. And there is no absolute answer, as different businesses have different goals, needs and resources.
There are, however, some Moodle golden rules—simple ways to quickly improve your courses. Here is what the experienced team at eWorks came up with:
Part 1 – Engaging your learner
Rule #1 – Brand your Moodle
We all understand the importance of branding, of consistently representing the look and feel of your organisation to your clients and potential customers. So why would your Moodle course be any different?
The theme doesn’t need to be fancy or an award-winning design, and there are many good themes that are available by default in your Moodle. The eWorks team recommends the Clean theme. As the name suggests,this one comes with a clear font type, text size, block element, buttons, etc. Moreover, it is a responsive theme that allows your Moodle to be viewed across multiple devices such as mobiles and tablets. Adding your logo and using a few of your primary brand colours in the theme setting will quickly make your Moodle look professional.
Rule #2: Introduce your Moodle
Such a simple thing to do, but many Moodles are missing this crucial summary. Without it, you risk losing your students before they even know what your course is about. Adding a short introduction to the front page of your Moodle will help your learners understand the objective of your LMS, what they will learn and what you expect from them. Giving your learners a goal is the key to motivating them, and will result in higher course completion rates.
Rule #3: Track learner progress
Most learning happens via activities in Moodle, in the form of resource documents (PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.), SCORMs, assessments, quizzes, surveys and more. The learner’s completion of these activities can be tracked by enabling this function in activity completion settings. This tool benefits both the trainer and the learner because:
Trainers can run an activity completion report to review a learner’s progress across all activities.
Learners can track their own progress within a course.
The use of the certificate activity function is also a good idea. Not only does it provide proof of completion for learners, which is another way to motivate them, it also notifies the trainer via email when a learner has completed a course.
And finally, don’t forget to find out what your learners think! Using the feedback module, you can create a survey for your learners. This will help to improve the quality of your course content as well as the usability, accessibility, design and structure of your courses.
If you are an administrator, you may need to create two separate surveys: one for learners and one for trainers.
Making your Moodle course the best it can be is quick, easy and rewarding. In this article, the eWorks team has offered some simple ways to improve learner engagement, based upon years of experience working with online training providers. If you have any queries about how to implement these tips, or the functionality of Moodle courses in general, please contact us.
Look out, next month, for the second part of this Making Moodle Magic series. It will give you insight into making your Moodle courses easier to use.
Update: eWorks is pleased to announce that the TrainingVC e-portfolio feature has been upgraded to Mahara 1.9.2.
TrainingVC is a fast, reliable and low-cost learning management platform that provides users with a seamless learning experience. But our clients do not always unlock the full feature set of the system. This may be due to a strategic focus on a specific set of requirements, or an incomplete understanding of the system capabilities and their value. It’s a little like owning an amazing camera with a bunch of functions that you never use—with just a quick look at the manual you might be surprised by the difference those attributes can make to both your experience and the experience of your clients.
A good example is how often the integrated e-portfolio application, Mahara goes under the radar. Mahara is an extremely powerful e-portfolio system, which offers support to learners in many ways. eWorks’ clients use this feature to:
Manage recognition of prior learning (RPL) and assessment evidence
Manage learner CVs and resumes
Organise wide networks for current learners, staff and alumni
Facilitate reflective journals
Create group assignment hubs.
Upcoming improvements in Mahara 1.9
An e-portfolio provides the perfect opportunity to add value for your users, and with an upgrade to Mahara version 1.9 pending, the following improvements will shortly be available to TrainingVC clients:
Full-text search support for MySQL with Elasticsearch
A series of accessibility improvements to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
Feedback feature to give and receive feedback on portfolio pages
Profile completion progress bar, to encourage users to provide their full details
Spam protection enhancements and improved security in general
Support for Creative Commons 4.0
Enhanced file sorting function in the Folder block: ascending or descending, with an option to set the default sort order
Option to download an entire folder of files as a ZIP file.