EdVET 2017 Recap

The EdVET 2017 conference was held on Friday 29 April 2017 in Docklands, Melbourne. A month on and the eWorks team are still thrilled by the success of the day. Here is a short summary of the conference.

In April, eWorks held the inaugural EdVET conference together with the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS) and Chisholm’s Professional Educator College in Melbourne. After many years hosting the Converge conference the eWorks team was excited to be back in the conference space with some great speakers lined up.

International guest speaker Trina Hoefling kicked off the day with an enlightening keynote panel discussion alongside Phillip Murphy and Geoff Young. Trina engaged the audience with a highly informative panel style presentation discussing how a student focused approach and simple effectiveness strategies will guarantee positive outcomes.

The agenda for the day then saw a range of topics covered, from using social media to attract and support learners, and using technology to meet student expectations through to developing training to suit industry needs and quality assurance. There was truly something for everyone.

Andrew Douch closed the day on a high with his keynote on technology that amplifies learning in the classroom. Andrew, as usual, delivered his highly polished showmanship combined with a sound understanding of issues facing contemporary educators and innovative solutions, leaving the audience with much food for thought.

What did the attendees think?

We have received a lot of positive and helpful feedback following the event, including:

  • “Words cannot describe the excellence and generosity represented by these two exceptional speakers / facilitators!”
  • “Andrew has inspired me to make my students become self-directed learners.”
  • “An inspiring, light bulb moment filled day of learning and sharing knowledge.”
  • “Enjoyed the day on a whole host of levels and went away inspired.”

What’s next?

eWorks are excited to be working with ISS Institute and Professional Educator College again later this year to host blog and RSS pioneer Alan Levine. Watch this space!

Support your professional currency through LinkedIn

Allison MillerAllison Miller is a regular contributor to eWorks’ blog who is passionate about engaging learners, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world of work. Here Allison talks about how LinkedIn can be used to support professional currency.

The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Clauses 1.13 & 1.16) are very explicit about the need for trainers and assessors to undertake professional development and have current knowledge and skills in vocational training, learning and assessment.  This knowledge and skills also needs to inform their training and assessment, including competency based training and assessment.

While the onus of these clauses tends to lay with the RTO to ensure that trainers and assessors have this currency, there is one simple way in which you can contribute to their own professional currency through being a LinkedIn member.

What makes LinkedIn so special?

LinkedIn identifies itself as the world’s largest professional network where you can connect, learn and share while powering your career.  LinkedIn is backed by Microsoft and has acquired Lynda Online Learning. This is enabling LinkedIn to position itself as one of the world’s leading providers of online professional learning through its recent launch of LinkedIn Learning.

While this fee for service professional development program offers many premium professional learning opportunities, it is still LinkedIn’s free services which offer trainers and assessors many opportunities to maintain their professional currency in vocational learning, training and assessment.

How can I use LinkedIn to support professional currency?

The first way to support your professional currency is through viewing SlideShare resources.  Slideshare is an online site where people freely share their learning content as video, presentation slides and supporting documents. With over 18 million uploads, Slideshare offers content for every major industry, including Education, and many resources on how to develop competency based training and assessment.

The next way is to connect with or follow vocational education and training experts as there are many active trainers and assessors using LinkedIn.  For example:

By connecting or following people like Gina, Michael and Sandie on LinkedIn, you are able to stay informed about what is current and best practice in vocational training, learning and assessment.

The final way is to join and participate in relevant online groups.  These online groups are the real gem of LinkedIn for supporting professional currency.  They have been started organically by LinkedIn members looking to support communities of practice and knowledge sharing, while enabling professional conversations around vocational training, learning and assessment.  For example:

What are the benefits of a LinkedIn Membership?

While you cannot solely rely on using LinkedIn for supporting your professional training and assessment currency, you can use it in the following ways as a strong basis for this currency.

Staying informed The only consistent in life seems to be change, so using LinkedIn as a one stop shop allows you to find out information and have discussions about current issues in training and assessment
Networking with others Connecting with others through LinkedIn allows you to also connect with people in your industry and stay informed in the same way which has been described above about this industry.  These connections could lead to information about jobs or grants for students.
Offering support People often use LinkedIn to ask questions or discuss issues.  This provides you with the opportunity to offer workforce development and training advice which may lead to work / training contracts.
Getting advice Information in Training Packages/Units of competency can often be ambiguous or difficult to interpret, so you can also use LinkedIn to seek advice in any area of training and assessment by drawing upon the experience of your LinkedIn connections and groups by posting a question or seeking advice.
Sharing your own expertise LinkedIn thrives through people sharing information and links, so you should do the same with information about what you are passionate about in the area of training and assessment.  This will help you to get requests from other LinkedIn members who are also interested in these areas.
Building partnerships Often tenders, training and/or workforce development opportunities come up which may be beyond your current scope of expertise or your ability to staff.  LinkedIn offers you a way of building relationships with others that when these opportunities arise, you will be able to form partnerships or collectives to work on them together.
Keeping your professional profile current Often people do not keep their resume up to date, but through active LinkedIn membership you will be ‘prompted’ to do update your LinkedIn profile.  This profile will also list your activity in LinkedIn, providing you with a record of your activity to support your currency.

How do you get started or improve your LinkedIn profile?

  1. Sign up as a member or login to LinkedIn at linkedin.com
  2. Update your profile with:
    – a professional headshot of yourself
    – information about your professional profile as a trainer / assessor eg Educational background and work experience
  3. Request to ‘connect’ to at least 50 people by finding and connecting with people you know on LinkedIn. Then view the connections of your connections and request to connect with some of them.  LinkedIn will also suggest people you should connect with through what’s on your profile and who you are already connected with in LinkedIn.
  4. Join at least 5 groups which are related to your training and assessment interest areas, as well as industry groups relevant to these areas.  In the first instance, watch and see what goes on in these groups.  Then once you know the ‘netiquette’ and you see what threads of conversations are popular, you should contribute to these discussions through responding to other people’s posts, and posting your own information and questions
  5. Follow at least 1-2 companies relevant to your interest and industry as these LinkedIn profiles also share useful information, including when jobs and tenders become available.

Like any other online space, people in LinkedIn do not want to be ‘spammed’ with useless information in their feeds or groups, nor do they want to be solicited about your services or ideas through the LinkedIn messaging service.  Behaviour in LinkedIn like you would in your staff room and at staff meetings, and act in the same professional and proactive way that you would in these locations.

Here are some more ‘do’s and dont’s when using LinkedIn.

Get people loving your RTO through social media

Allison MillerAllison Miller is a regular contributor to eWorks’ blog who is passionate about engaging learners, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world of work. Allison will be presenting at the upcoming EdVET 2017 conference on ‘The many faces of social media: Attracting, supporting and retaining learners’.

Social media is fully ingrained into lots of people’s lives with some Australians spending more than half a day per week (12.5 hours) on Facebook alone. This frequency of activity presents you with lots of opportunities to get people to love your training organisation through social media. The following information shares how you can capitalise on this opportunity.

Take an outwardly and inwardly perspective

There are two ways you can be using social media to get people to love your training organisation, through an:

  • Outward facing perspective – where you create a social media profile/page as a communication tool to build your training organisation’s brand awareness to encourage potential students (and employers) to choose your training organisation
  • Inward facing perspective – where you create a social media group as a community of practice for existing and alumni students to share experiences and new opportunities with one another, ensuring people love you while they are with your training organisation, and once they have left

It’s all about helping your students succeed

Whichever approach you select, you will need to consider why potential, existing and alumni students want to engage with your training organisation through social media. This is best done by knowing how your training organisation is helping people getting their training ‘job’ done.  According to Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Professor, the job of education and training is to help people feel successful.

What feeling successful looks like for your students can vary from wanting to:

  • find a job or get a better job
  • start their own business or improve the one they have
  • get into a higher qualification
  • improve themselves out of self-interest
  • meet compliance or legislative requirements

Once you determine which of these jobs you are helping your students achieve, you can then consider how to communicate and connect with them on social media.  If your students fall into more than one of these categories, you will need to tailor different interactions in social media to meet these different needs.

What types of communication works well on social media?

An analysis of various successful training organisations’ use of social media uncovered that the following are key ways to communicate with students in social media:

Topics Activities
Student life while studying with your RTO or afterwards Share photos and video of cool stuff that students have done:

– Industry visits or work placements
– Awards won
– Stuff they have produced

Industry specific information Set up a Google Alert which notifies you by email of hard to find information on topics relevant to your area and re-share this information, such as:
– Upcoming important dates or regulatory changes
– Funding opportunities
Job, work experience or internship opportunities Subscribe to job finding websites which send you emails when jobs in your industry/location are advertised and then share this information
Course content Share your own content (or that of others) which is hard to find elsewhere – Video works best here if it is practical topic, but so do blog posts, checklists and reports etc.  Live streaming from events is also becoming very popular.
Course information Share how your upcoming training programs help potential students get their ‘job to be successful’ done
Team fun Share photos and video of what happens ‘behind the scene’ in your organisation, and at organisational events, which show the ‘human’ side of your organisation
Voting and polling Involve students in decision making from anything from helping to choose your next logo or to voting on key policies effecting students

When using students’ work or including imagery of students in posts, make sure you have them sign a media release form.  If you do not already have one of these, do a quick web search to find lots of examples on which you can base one on.

Which social media site?

Whoever said “build it and they will come” never worked online.  While Facebook is still “King of the Mountain’ with the largest number of social media users, there are a number of other places where your students could be frequenting including: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

If you are not sure which one to start with then, generally speaking, start with Facebook as it does have the largest pool of people.  Also consider:

  • surveying your existing students to find out where they hang out online
  • checking out where people in your industry hang out online

Tweak to be unique

To ensure that your training organisation has a ‘return on investment’ in the time and money spent getting people to love your RTO through social media, ensure you set a goal of what your training organisation is trying to achieve through social media (e.g. getting more people to your website or contacting you about your courses).

Your social media goal will be used to:

  • set the call to action for your social media communications, for example, including links in your posts to landing pages on your website, as well as having your training organisation’s website link and contact details in your social media profile
  • monitor the interactions with your social media communications on a regular basis to determine how many likes, shares and comments different posts get, and then increasing those posts which get most engagement and help you achieve your social media goal

How do you grow your social media presence?

Use paid and targeted ‘boosts’ to get your posts into the steams of your ideal potential students.  With the right content in the post, this will encourage people to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your social media profile.  For example, regularly boosting your Facebook posts which have the right content for as little as $10 a day for a week or so will see a great return on investment over time.

Other ways to grow your social media followers is to encourage existing followers to share your posts through competitions to win stuff or by asking them to tag people into posts if they think the content is appealing e.g. tag a friend who should apply for this job.  Make these competitions fun and relevant to your followers, and to your social media goal.

And finally, use social media yourself to stay current about what is happening in your industry and as a form of professional development by following organisations and individuals considered ‘leaders’ in your field.  This activity will also give you ideas about what works and what doesn’t in social media.

For tips on using social media and ensuring you are meeting your ASQA requirements read this blog post.

Learn more about EdVET 2017.

Virtual Meetings – Optimise their effectiveness

bernadette-parry-headshot Bernadette Parry is the Client Support Coordinator at eWorks. Her role involves juggling all sorts of client-focused tasks including start-up TVC training, advanced Moodle training and support services. A self-confessed Moodle ‘geek’, Bernadette loves to discover new ways to navigate and make the most of Moodle and online facilitation. Today Bernadette offers advice on how to get the most of virtual meetings.

At eWorks we like to practise what we preach, so we have fully embraced the use of educational technology in our working lives, including the use of virtual meetings and flexible working arrangements. At any of our daily WIP (work in progress) meetings, staff join from interstate, from home, from their car… you get the picture.

Here are some great tips for how to get the most out of your virtual meetings.

Camera

Keep your camera on – you wouldn’t put a bag over your head if you were in the meeting room. Think you look terrible? You don’t! Seeing yourself on video is like hearing your recorded voice – it sounds or looks far worse to you than it does to others. And you will get used to it. You can always hide your image from yourself so that you don’t need to look at it.

Adjust the angle of the camera so that your colleagues or clients can see you clearly. The camera should be at eye level and on the monitor you are using. Other angles can be unflattering and off-putting for others.

bad-shots
Placing the camera on the screen you are using enhances the connection between you and your audience by giving an eye contact like effect. Your audience will feel you are looking at them just like you would in a face to face meeting.

Make sure you look into the camera when you are speaking – makes you more ‘engaged and present’ to your audience.

Sound

Test that your sound works – before going online!

The mute button is a great addition to virtual meetings. Turn your sound off /mute yourself unless you are speaking – background noise can be annoying and distracting, but remember to check your sound is not muted when you speak.
Speak naturally, not too quickly, and pronounce words clearly. Speaking to a screen can often make you think that you need to speak louder to ensure the audience can hear you but a good quality microphone can encourage you to speak more naturally and add to the feel of a normal face to face meeting.

Try not to speak over others. If this seems to be an issue with your call, perhaps use the ‘raise hands’ feature or messaging. Avoid side conversations – they don’t work well on a call.

And…

  • Behave as if you were in a physical meeting. Keep focussed, it’s easy for your audience to tell if you aren’t fully present in the call.
  • Limit excess movement as it can appear jerky on the screen.
  • Make sure your room is well lit and the background is appropriate for a work meeting.
  • Everyone’s time is important, so be respectful of this and be punctual.
  • If people don’t know each other, introduce yourselves.
  • Your clothing – stripes may play havoc with the camera. Pastel colours are usually recommended because red, white and black can also have distracting effects on the screen.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the software you are using, and double check your equipment before the call. Most webinar services will allow you into the room early for testing.
  • For large meetings, you may be advised to have a moderator to monitor chat messages.

Physical virtual room!

We do have a room permanently set up in the office. This suits our large meetings, and meeting with clients who come into the office – where some participants call in. If you are lucky enough to have a permanent room for virtual calls, then it is recommended that you have:

  • A booking system for the room! Make sure the room is available.
  • A PTZ camera – this is a camera that can Point, Tilt and Zoom. The camera can be controlled remotely with software such as Zoom.
  • The camera placed directly underneath the screen everyone is looking at – this helps the remote people who feel that the people in the room are looking at them when they speak.
  • Ideally two screens in each meeting room – have the faces of virtual participants on one, and screen sharing on the other.
  • Microphones hanging from the ceiling and over the table work well – they pick up voices without getting vibrations from people tapping on the table, etc.
  • If the room has lots of smooth hard surfaces that interfere with the sound (maybe an echo affect), then it may be worth investigating some form of cushioning for the walls.

When it works well, virtual meetings are fantastic! So get in and make sure your talented staff can make the most of this opportunity!

For further information, watch ‘Video Conference Etiquette for Dummies’.