ACPET Conference 2014 – MOOCs, VHS and craft beer

On the 28th and 29th of August, Bernadette Parry and I went to the ACPET Conference to represent eWorks. Fremantle was an opportune locality, with a great selection of fresh beers within walking distance of the venue—at The Sail and Anchor, Little Creatures and The Monk. I took the chance to introduce a few ACPET members to the finer points of craft beer at The Monk brewery.

Pot of craft beer

My presentation on MOOCs in the VET sector on the second day of the conference showcased the Australian Childhood Foundation which hosts a MOOC via TrainingVC. I discussed MOOCs in general as an overview, and then focused on the possibilities of technology to scale education. Don’t get me wrong, while I do identify as a geek, I am not proposing that every learning outcome can or should be delivered digitally. From my discussions with many ACPET members I noticed that the perspective of many educators of what e-learning is about focuses on digital delivery of course material. While the CBT (computer based training) of the early internet ’90s did focus on a click next style of theory delivery, modern LMS systems like TrainingVC provide so much more opportunity for improving education models outside the area of delivery. An LMS, when exploited effectively, can be used to measure learning outcomes, synchronous educator to learner or peer interactions and so much more.

I also spoke about other industries and how internet connectivity has impacted them. We only need to look at the changes in the music industry to see significant change to models. Using home video as an analogy, the audience and I took a trip down memory lane, remembering large VHS cameras and running out of tape halfway through holidays. Post internet and mobile device disruption of video, YouTube now has 100 hours of video uploaded every minute. Generation Z expects to be able to broadcast publicly as fast as it takes them to upload their video.

The ensuing Q&A session was great fun, with lots of questions on how the revenue models for educators will change in the future. If we look at the large scale MOOCs of Stanford and Harvard, an early model seems to be taking shape. Offline learning material scales really easily when delivered by the internet, and modern consumers know this. Training content, thought of by many in the past as a significant proportion of your training intellectual property (IP), is being expected for free because consumers realise the cost in delivery via digital channels is low. This has led companies like EDx to shift the revenue generating focus to where the work becomes unscaleable (i.e. 1:1), which of course is assessment, accreditation and certification. While this has a lower price point and the margin will be smaller than the massive-scale music industry for example, successful companies have the opportunity for much larger audiences.

All in all, ACPET 2014 was an awesome event with lots of great discussions on education and interesting, passionate people to meet. Thanks ACPET — we look forward to next year.

Moodlemoot Australia 2014, #mootau14

Three-hundred and twenty delegates (at least that’s what I was told) flew to balmy Cairns in North Queensland where smiles are abundant, time slows down and winter bones are warmed.

The conference opened with Alec Couros’ stimulating talk on Embracing Open & Connected Learning. Alec demonstrated some extraordinary examples of web connectivity and crowd sourcing for ideas and support. There were big laughs, ooo’s and ahhh’s, but the example that delighted me the most was a simple YouTube video of a young boy trying his best to make fire with the bow drill technique. Being unsuccessful, he shot the video and posted it on YouTube to ask for help: “If you have any suggestions can you comment below?” Well he did receive comments, and plenty of them for that matter! The most extraordinary thing is that there seems to be many fire bow experts out there, who knew exactly what the boy had to do for his method to succeed. Education by collaboration—excellent!

The conference theme, the evolution of Moodle, was really more about the evolution of education. This was proved out in a presentation by Mark Harwood from World Vision titled Helping African farmers with Moodle that was one of my favourite presentations from the Moot. With the help of Moodle, the PAL project helps group farmers together so they can sell their produce collectively and make a better living.

The other excitement was, of course, the subject of my own presentation: the national release of VET Commons, a ready-made content tool that plugs simply into Moodle. This wasn’t the only presentation focused on ready-to-use content. Others talked about the need for such content in the community, to support practitioners building better and more interactive courses. VET Commons has 15,000+ learning resources already, and keeps on growing. Anyone out there with content is more than welcome to become a publisher and help us support the Moodle community!

The closing keynote of the conference starred Martin Dougiamus, Moodle’s founder and CEO. Martin philosophised about why we educate, what shape we want to give education in the future, and ultimately what we want Moodle to be. While we considered these questions, he showed us the actual future of Moodle: the upcoming improvements in version 2.7, as well as what to expect in versions 2.8 and beyond, including Moodle 3. Help drive the development of Moodle and have your say at moodle.org!

Moodlemoot 2015? Moodle HQ will be taking over. Nothing confirmed yet, but it looks like it could be held in Melbourne, July 6-9. See you next year!

eWorks sponsors 2013 National VET Conference

eWorks is proud to be a gold sponsor of VELG Training‘s 2013 National VET Conference on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September in Melbourne.

Evolve, Adapt, Embrace - 2013 National VET Conference - 19-20 September Melbourne

To learn about AFL SportsReady‘s use of e-learning, and for a chance to win a 12-month TrainingVC e-learning delivery package for 1000 students, don’t miss Matthew Hetherington’s presentation and the handball competition during the lunchtime break on day two of the conference.

About the 2013 National VET Conference

The theme for the two-day conference is Evolve, Adapt, Embrace and will focus on three distinct streams including:

  • Policy & Compliance,
  • RTO Business Management, and
  • Teaching & Assessing.

The conference is for all VET practitioners from RTOs, including policy managers, teachers and trainers, instructional designers and managers. Delegates will be exposed to informative presenters and a wide variety of topics. They will also have opportunities to meet with product and service providers, and network with peers from across Australia.

For more information about the TrainingVC, visit the eWorks booth where you will find special introductory offers for conference participants, as well as the chance to win a TrainingVC starter package by entering the handball competition.

For regular e-learning news and updates, subscribe to eWorks’ e-learning newsletter eLink, or follow us on Twitter.

conVerge13 registrations open!

eWorks is excited to announce the opening of registrations for the conVerge13 e-learning conference in Melbourne, November 2013.

With four excellent keynote speakers confirmed, a range of presentations and workshops, and an entertaining networking function planned, we are confident that new and returning delegates will leave the conference informed and inspired.

At $395 plus GST per delegate ($315 for speakers), this two-day conference represents outstanding value for money. Take advantage of your 2012-2013 budget and register before the end of the financial year.

If you are interested in sponsoring conVerge13 please see our invitation to sponsors or contact eWorks to discuss your sponsorship options.

And don’t forget the deadline for our call for papers – Friday 2 August 2013.