NVET 2014 – Making the impossible possible

Darcy at NVET 2014

Way back in September (how time flies!), three eWorks staff members set off for sunny Brisvegas to attend the 2014 National VET Conference. The theme for this year’s event was Impossible is Possible Together, encouraging all attendees, delegates, presenters and sponsors to consider:

  • the huge range of resources that is available to the VET sector,
  • upcoming changes in the VET sector and how to engage with each other to embrace these changes.

The Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, was a keynote speaker at the 2014 National VET Conference, where he addressed the future of the VET sector. He discussed the Australian Government’s plans to revamp the training system, suggesting that the proposed reforms are designed to elevate trades and vocational education to the centre of Australia’s economy.

There was a huge amount of excited energy throughout the two days in Brisbane, as you would expect when so many passionate VET practitioners come together. It’s tough to choose the highlight of the event – excellent speakers and workshops, or perhaps the masquerade ball! But this is definitely one to mark in the calendar for next year.

“We had such a great time at NVET this year”, says Darcy Nicolson, E-learning Consultant at eWorks.

“The feedback from people accessing ready-made content through VET Commons was incredible. It is so rewarding to hear that the work we’re doing is actually making life easier for busy VET practitioners”, says Darcy.

Register today to access high-quality, easy-to-use, free content from VET Commons.

eWorks finalist for eLearning Excellence Awards

Last week there was an extra buzz in the eWorks office after finding out that we are finalists for the 2014 eLearning Excellence Awards.

The annual eLearning Excellence Awards, hosted by the E-learning Industry Association of Victoria, recognise and celebrate the industry’s achievements in innovation and excellence, highlighting the top projects for the past year.

This year eWorks was nominated under the Community category, which recognises e-learning that is focused on a number of informal community situations such as health, self-education and skills development. The nomination was submitted based on some fantastic work the eWorks team did with the Australian Childhood Foundation, to create an online training system to support personnel working with children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma.

What is the SMART Program?

The SMART (Strategies for Managing Abuse Related Trauma) program is a suite of online learning tools and modules that focus on supporting children and young people in a range of educational and other settings. It is a state-wide initiative funded by the South Australian Government Department of Education and Children’s Services, as part of the Keeping Them Safe child protection reform agenda. It seeks to enhance the capacity of school and early childhood personnel to effectively respond to the needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma.

The SMART online training program consists of ten e-learning modules, each of which contains a small knowledge check which must be successfully completed (with the user achieving a score of at least 50%) in order to advance to the next module. Once the user has successfully completed the course, a certificate of completion is provided.

Why online?

The online delivery format for the SMART online training program removes the geographic and time barriers often associated with nationwide delivery, as users are able to access the training modules at any time from an internet-enabled device. Consistent delivery of information is also ensured, as all users receive identical information through the online learning portal; something that cannot be guaranteed during face-to-face delivery. Once successfully completed, the e-learning modules are available for the learner to review and re-attempt as many times as they like through the online learning portal; providing a convenient knowledge base accessible from all internet-enabled devices. All eleven e-leaning modules were developed in HTML to enable functioning on mobile and tablet devices, while the theme of the online learning portal was also developed to be responsive to different screen sizes and devices.

And the uptake?

The uptake of the program has exceeded the initial expectations of the Australian Childhood Foundation, with research showing the online learning modules are reaching staff and professional community members that would otherwise not have had access to the SMART program in a purely face-to-face format. This has increased the breadth of participants far beyond its original intention. The online learning program has been utilised across Australia and internationally with consistent positive feedback.

The SMART program made it clear why traumatised children act like they do, and showed a way to help heal these damaged and vulnerable children. Very valuable.

eWorks is thrilled to have been involved in this hugely successful project and looks forward to the Gala Awards Dinner in November. In the meantime plans are coming together nicely for the Annual eLearning Showcase on 9 October, so if you’re planning on attending please come say hi and show your support during this very exciting time!

Splash, Toolbox of the Month

The Splash Toolbox has been created to support the flexible delivery of the Certificate 1 in Water Sustainability. It provides a pathway into the water industry for, in particular, young people who are seeking an opportunity to gain experience of the industry while developing a set of valuable employability skills.

The Toolbox is designed for delivery either as a whole training course, in small sections, or as single units of competency. It can be used to assist in face-to-face teaching or for remote or online learning.

The Toolbox provides multiple learning pathways, which enable targeted delivery to suit learners’ needs.

The Toolbox has been designed according to these three main objectives:

  1. Practical tasks where the learner is encouraged to take responsibility for his/her own learning. Learners are given guidance to complete a practical task and access the appropriate resources to carry it out.
  2. Flexibility, providing you with more options for using the Toolbox to suit the different needs of your learners. Collaborative activities are included as part of the Toolbox content, including discussion topics and teamwork activities.
  3. Different learning pathways are offered, with learners being given the opportunity to complete structured activities or to progress straight to the project depending on their levels of prior knowledge.

Who is Splash for?

The diverse nature of the candidates undertaking this qualification may include students undertaking VET in Schools programs or people involved in other forms of pre-employment or early-employment programs.

A second learner cohort is mature-aged learners who may be seeking a formal qualification to align with volunteer work that they are doing. For this reason the Toolbox is structured so that learners with experience can proceed directly to the tasks or the practice activities followed by the projects, without first progressing through the Prepare sections. Learners with experience also have the option to check their suitability for recognition of prior learning (RPL) by following the express pathway link.

To purchase the Toolbox, or for the complete list of Flexible Learning Toolboxes, please visit the National VET Content website.

Build Green, Toolbox of the Month

Build Green

The Build Green Toolbox is an online learning resource that is designed to help tradespeople in the building and construction industry obtain skills and knowledge to:

  • effectively analyse, implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices and their effectiveness on the work site
  • support sustainable building practices by minimising waste on the building and construction site.

The Toolbox contains underpinning content, tutorials, activities and tasks that enable learners to examine the principles and concepts related to environmentally sustainable work practices and minimising waste on the building and construction site.

Each unit has a particular focus on compliance to sustainability codes and standards and the development of strategies and plans to ensure the ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement of environmentally sustainable work processes.

There are also opportunities within the Toolbox for learners to communicate and collaborate on activities and tasks with other learners and employees in their workplace.

To purchase the Toolbox, or for the complete list of Flexible Learning Toolboxes, please visit the National VET Content website.