VET students and financial capability

Ben LawBen Law is a Financial Education Officer for the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). His main role is developing online professional development for teachers to assist in effectively teaching young people about money. In this blog post Ben tells us about an online resource for students, teachers, trainers and community educators, to assist in developing and teaching critical money skills.

Financial challenges for students

For students personally and those considering self-employment or starting a small business after finishing school, understanding money and finance is vital. The financial decisions young people need to navigate are becoming increasingly complex and the money choices they make now can have a real and lasting impact on their futures. ASIC have therefore developed an online resource for students and a complementary professional development module for teachers, trainers and community educators, to assist in developing and teaching of these critical money skills.

What does the research say?

Research undertaken by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) in 2012 informed the development of the Be MoneySmart Certificate III unit of competency FNSFLT 301, which aims to build financial capability in students completing a trade qualification.

The field research included:

  • an online survey with over 1300 apprentices, trainees and field workers, and
  • phone interviews with key stakeholders including Industry Associations, Group Training Organisations, Business Enterprise Centres and Industry Skills Councils.

The research found that most apprentices and trainees want simple, clear and engaging online learning delivered in sessions of less than one hour. Access to a mentor was a consistent message that came out of the study as well as the need for the information to be kept current and relevant.

ASIC’s Be MoneySmart online training resource

Following on from the research, ASIC worked with a steering group with representatives from the Australian Taxation Office, Group Training Australia and Innovation and Business Skills Australia to develop ‘ASIC’s Be MoneySmart, an online training resource to help VET students (including apprentices and trainees) develop money management skills.

ASIC’s Be MoneySmart offers five video-based online modules:

  • Saving, budgeting and spending – Students establish savings goals, create a budget and a savings plan.
  • Personal tax – Students establish a system for storing receipts and work through tax topics so they can prepare a return.
  • Superannuation – Students compare super funds, work through a super statement and learn how to keep track of their super.
  • Debt management – Students compare debt products, learn to manage credit cards and find out what to do if debt becomes a problem.
  • Insurance – Students investigate car, home and content insurance and learn how to choose the right type of insurance and level of cover.

Each module features real life examples and video case studies of young people from a range of occupations, and a mentor who provides information and money management tips on key aspects of each topic. The modules support one hour of online activity and two hours of offline study. Each module includes a student workbook and there is also a trainer/assessor guide for the entire resource. The resource can be delivered as an accredited elective unit of competency or as individual modules as part of non-accredited courses or training.

Delivering ASIC’s Be MoneySmart

ASIC has developed an online professional development module to assist teachers, trainers and community educators in using ASIC’s Be MoneySmart resource with learners. It is designed to help trainers gain a detailed knowledge and understanding of ASIC’s Be MoneySmart resource, consider strategies to deliver the resource in both accredited and non-accredited settings, and understand how the program aligns to the unit of competency FNSFLT301 Be MoneySmart, which is part of Financial Services training package.

Want more information?

For more information, contact us at moneysmartteaching@asic.gov.au, and have a read of our previous blog post.

E-learning for Government : Ask the right questions

Lisa WaitLisa Wait has held key roles leading national digital education initiatives for government. She knows how challenging yet rewarding it can be to run a project that will be under the spotlight – especially if you’re responsible for public state-wide or national e-learning. That’s why it is so important to ask the right questions at the very beginning, which can be tricky when you don’t know what those questions are. Have you thought to ask these questions?

With which technical standards does the e-learning solution need to comply?

Answer: Find out what delivery system will host the e-learning solution.
In government you are likely to be using a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Web Content Management System (WCMS). Check with the business unit responsible for the LMS or WCMS for the standards to include in procurement documentation, including any standard operating environment and supported file formats.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) apply to all online government information services (external and internal) including e-Learning content. Information for WCAG2.0 and government departments and agencies can be found on the Digital Transformation Office website and guidance on implementation can be found at the E‑standards for Training website.

Credits: Question Mark Cookies 3, by Scott McLeod

Are there any government policies I need to know about?

Answer: This answer will depend on the scope of the e-learning project.
Procurement policy
guides any government project requiring purchasing of goods and services. Privacy policy needs to be considered if you plan to store end user personal details. If your e-learning project requires hosting, your department/agency will have a position on security and solutions such as cloud hosting. Explore relevant government policy with the business unit responsible for ICT and consult your legal team for advice on any risk management strategies required.

What about copyright?

Answer: Commonwealth or state copyright is generally used by departments and agencies. Consider if Creative Commons (CC) licensing might be applied. A CC license is ideal for e-learning resources designed to be customised and shared by end users such as schools, TAFEs and the community sector. One example of a Creative Commons license is BY NC SA. This refers to accreditation (who the work was BY) for non-commercial (NC) use which must be shared-alike (SA) – that is under the same licence. A CC license such as BY NC SA protects intellectual property and branding, yet enables ‘free for education’ flexible content. More information about Creative Commons licensing in government can be found on the Creative Commons Australia website.

Copyright Agency Licensing (CAL) exemption notices could also be considered. This means that copyright fees will not be collected from the use of the e-learning resources that your department or agency publishes.

What quality assurance processes do I need to put in place?

Answer: e-Learning content can be checked in-house.
This process will require someone who has the time to work through every screen including all interactions. Documentation of any issues needs to be thorough.

What type of testing needs to be conducted?

Answer: Consider contracting an external testing company to conduct technical testing to ensure compliance and as a risk management strategy. Compatibility testing needs to be conducted on each of the different browsers, platforms and devices defined in the technical standards. Functional testing will check the resource works as planned. Testing for WCAG 2.0 compliance will ensure that the e-learning resource is accessible.

What are the ‘whole life’ costs of the e-learning project?

Answer: The project cost will include the price of goods and services and should factor in maintenance, future enhancements and transition costs (at end of life). You may also need to include external testing costs, licensing and hosting fees.

Who do I need to ‘friend’?

Answer: Make sure that you have good working relationships with your Procurement Manager, LMS/WCMS and other stakeholder colleagues. For complex projects have an early meeting with your legal advisor.

So take a deep breath…

And get the ball rolling. We now have the questions to ask and the best foundation on which to build our projects. What is holding you back? Lisa is here to help.