Free online learning content to enhance your green skills

Jo NorburyJo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. It’s good news as usual from Jo today, with more excellent resources published in VET Commons. And, even better, they are all entirely free.

New, interactive learning resources in VET Commons

eWorks has recently published five brand new, free, interactive learning resources in VET Commons. Covering a range of sustainability topics, the resources contain hundreds of pages of quiz content, assessments, images, downloadable references and multimedia – all entirely free. The content really speaks for itself.

1. Large scale solar heating/cooling systems

Everything you need to know about solar energy, how it is used to heat and cool, together with safe use of these systems and what to do when things go wrong. Part of the competency VU20472, these resources help to determine the characteristics of large-scale solar heating/cooling systems to be applied by technicians involved in servicing and maintaining them. The principles and operation of these systems, together with the unique safety aspects associated with their immediate environment are also covered.

  • Understanding solar energy: This learning object covers the fundamentals of solar heating/cooling systems, and provides an overview of solar electricity production.
  • Solar heating and cooling systems: This learning object looks at the components of large-scale solar heating/cooling systems, including thermal systems, and photovoltaic systems used to generate power that can then be used for heating/cooling.
  • Safety features: This learning object examines the safety features of large-scale solar heating/cooling systems.
  • Troubleshooting: This learning object considers troubleshooting issues for large-scale solar heating/cooling systems, including the identification of system problems and how to resolve typical system problems.

wind turbine history

2. Wind turbine operation and safety

Part of the competency VU20467, these resources evaluate large wind turbine operation and safety to be applied by technicians involved in servicing and maintaining large wind turbines at wind farms.

  • Modern wind turbines: This learning object provides an overview of wind farms with large wind turbines.
  • Wind turbine systems: This learning object looks at the systems and components in large wind turbines.
  • Safety features: This learning object looks at maintenance requirements of wind turbines, and safety issues when working on wind turbines.
  • Troubleshooting: This learning object looks at troubleshooting faults in wind turbines.

wind turbine components

3. Conduct annual functional testing of complex water-based fire suppression systems

Compliance, health and safety inspections and testing – these learning objects have you covered.

  • Compliance requirements: This learning object introduces legislative and organisational requirements, record keeping, and defects.
  • Inspections: This learning object discusses possible occupational health and safety issues during inspections, checks for compliance, inspections themselves, and recording information after completing your inspection.
  • Testing and results: This learning object looks at occupational health and safety issues involved with testing, yearly functional testing, test methods, testing complex components, documenting your results, and reinstating the system after concluding your test.

4. Applying Energy Efficient LED Lighting Principles

How they work, why they should be used, and how to maintain them – everything LED.

  • Determine requirements: This learning object will build up an understanding of how LEDs work, their potential energy savings, and how to best promote their use in lighting applications.
  • Promote LED: This learning object considers how to best promote the use of LED lighting in lighting applications.
  • LED maintenance: For this topic you will learn more about maintaining LEDs and how to create an LED maintenance plan for your client.

5. Install HVAC control systems

What are HVAC control systems and how do you efficiently install them according to design specifications?

  • HVAC basics: In this learning object, you will begin to learn the basics of HVAC, including an initial understanding of how to install HVAC control systems. HVAC controls, how split systems work, interface basic controls, and evaluating automatic control systems will also be covered.
  • Design specifications: This learning object covers HVAC central control systems – central controls, drawings, inputs and outputs, and meters.
  • Installation prep: This learning object starts to detail HVAC output equipment. While completing this section, you will begin to understand more about various kinds of output equipment, including fans and motors, critical applications, VSD control, air and water control, and wiring systems.
  • Installation: This learning object will continue to look at HVAC output equipment, including cover controls, systems, and chillers.
  • Commissioning: In this learning object we will consider how to commission a building, covering the steps you would need to take in a real-world scenario.

What is VET Commons?

VET Commons is an easy way to locate existing learning resources that are relevant to vocational education and training. VET Commons currently contains over 15,000 resources and is continuously expanding to include new material from a variety of public and commercial publishers. Search by discipline, training package or keywords for meaningful content including:

Ready to get started?

Join the VET Commons community today to access these sustainability learning resources and say goodbye to the hard work of searching, locating and technically matching content for your Moodle courses. And should you need any help, simply contact eWorks.

The power of video-based learning to educate

Helen Port

Helen Bitmead is the co-director of Training Snippets, an online library of mini videos that can be used to demonstrate workplace health and safety procedures, business development and soft skills. Helen has witnessed firsthand the power of video content to educate and is on a mission to get everyone on board. Recently becoming a VET Commons publisher was one big tick on the Training Snippets journey. Are you up to speed when it comes to video-based learning?

Videos are so 2015 (and beyond!)

Video content is emerging as one of the best forms of education no matter what age. This makes sense – for Gen Y and Z it is intuitive and a seamless way of learning. But even if you’re a little more ‘mature’ than that, I bet you have noticed that the way you access information has changed over the years, with a movement towards more video content. Who hasn’t turned to youtube to work out how to fix, operate, manage or simply view how something is done. And social media can certainly put its hand up for fuelling the unquenchable thirst for video content.

A crucial part of the education sector

As an administrator, video is the fastest growing part of the education sector globally and a huge trend at university level. For industry, it is consistent in its training approach and ticks a lot of boxes for compliance in industry, especially where there is an accountability factor such as Workplace Health and Safety. Combined with a learning management system (LMS) that tracks the videos within a course and includes a test to acknowledge that the recipient has understood the content, video training can be a very powerful tool.

‘You can learn anything’

Salman Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, – a not-for-profit organisation that provides ‘a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere’ and produces micro lectures in the form of YouTube videos. It is worth watching his Ted Talks presentation that explains how Youtube seeded the idea and how he has helped thousands of people to learn with the help of videos.

What are training snippets?

Training Snippets creates short training video snippets that demonstrate correct workplace health and safety. To give an example of its application, we recently developed a series of nine driver training snippets in conjunction with Melbourne Health. Melbourne Health has 1000 registered drivers and some 300 vehicles across their networks and recognise the need to educate their staff when it comes to health and safety.   Melbourne Health has taken a different and innovative approach by using the video medium to train all their fleet car drivers from an operational and safety perspective. But you don’t have to read my thoughts on it all – why not take a look at a couple of the videos from the driver training series…. they say it all!

WorkCover Authority NSW is another example of how Training Snippets prove to be successful learning tools. WorkCover NSW has recently made a variety of training snippet video topics available for their members to access via their website. Here are a couple of examples.

A picture tells a thousand words

Training Snippets is very excited to now be offering content via VET Commons. If you haven’t yet joined this community, which gives you access to free and paid, ready-to-use content directly from your Moodle, you’re missing out.

A humanist approach to health and safety at last!

Annabel Dawson

Annabel Dawson is the project and custom manager for the higher education and vocational professional group at Cengage Learning. Annabel’s love for the world of academic publishing has only increased with the release of this humanistic approach to management, with an emphasis on health and safety. Whether you’re after a presentation on a specific topic, a chapter or the entire book, here is a little peak at what you will find inside.

A new perspective on health and safety

WHS: A Management Guide, 4e is now available to purchase through VET Commons by specific presentation, chapter or the entire book. The updated edition takes a humanist approach to management, attempting to go beyond the accepted understanding of health and safety as a form of risk management. While the concept of risk management lies at its core, WHS: A Management Guide, 4e consider how the workplace can satisfy human needs as much as organisational objectives. Only when we step beyond safety and speak not just of physical health, but also of psychological and social needs, do we begin to see what vital, active working lives can be.

Cover of the 4th edition of WHS: A Management Guide

The legal stuff

In the previous edition of WHS: A Management Guide, the Model Work Health and Safety Act made its introduction. Harmonisation of the law has been achieved in all major jurisdictions except for Victoria and Western Australia. However, Victoria’s Act closely resembles the Model Act and the differences in Western Australia are largely procedural. In effect, most businesses are operating under a national system. This book uses the model WHS Act and is also based on health and safety best practice principles applicable to all Australian workplaces.

Key revisions to this edition

The latest edition encompasses many revisions, particularly the chapters on consultation and management systems. It has also been generally improved – simplified wherever possible and the content modified to include up to date examples and case studies. Special attention has also been made to supplement the text with effective easy-to-use online resources for teachers. The text addresses the following qualifications:

  • BSB41412 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety
  • BSB51312 Diploma of Work Health and Safety
  • BSB60612 Advanced Diploma of Work Health and Safety

What other Cengage resources are in VET Commons?

Good question!

Brand new Moodle course

A brand new free Moodle course to support the delivery of WHS: A Management Guide, 4e has also just been launched.

Each topic in the course is supported by the following resources

  • Chapter text from WHS: A Management Guide, 4e
  • YouTube videos and activities
  • Web links
  • Instructor manuals
  • PowerPoint slides

View a PDF preview of the WHS course content (PDF, 601 kB)

Join the VET Commons community today to access these valuable teaching resources.

How to avoid social media faux pas at work

Jo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. Today Jo announces the launch of an exciting new Moodle course to get everyone at your organisation on the same page with regard to social media.

The biggest social media faux pas to date?

It’s a tough call really. Celebrity ridiculousnesses aside, the prize probably has to go to the top Twitter executive who tweeted sensitive information to 9,000 followers instead of sending it as a direct message to a colleague. Oops. Many other boo boos I can’t even write about because they’re a bit…um…naughty – but I’ve had fun doing the research.

My worst?

Tweeting about my mother’s elaborately planned surprise 70th when she had secretly joined Twitter under an alias and started following me! I guess that’s fairly tame in the grand scheme of things, when you think that politicians and PR executives have been sacked as a result of their social media activity. My point? Social media is fabulous, but it has serious risks and consequences.

Joking aside…

It’s more important than ever to make sure that your staff are on the same page when it comes to social media. That is online services and tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest; used for publishing, sharing and discussing information. This is especially important if your organisation is being represented by multiple staff members. Of course it’s also important to make sure that the ‘page’ has no profanity, messages that contradict your company’s values and policy, or glaring errors.

That’s where social media policies come into play

Social media policies are developed to inform staff about the use of social media so they feel empowered to participate, while being mindful of their responsibilities and obligations with regard to representation of their organisation. If you don’t have a social media policy now is the time to get one. Why? Because they help your staff to understand:

  • what is confidential and therefore should not be shared via social media
  • what is appropriate and inappropriate for sharing via social media
  • the consequences of inappropriate social media activity
  • how to represent the culture and brand of your organisation.

I could go on, but if you still don’t believe that your company needs a social media policy, and training so that your staff understand it, try plugging ‘social media faux pas’ or similar into a search engine. (I should probably add a profanity warning here).

Avoiding social media faux pas

The Social Media at Work Moodle Course provides users with an understanding of their organisation’s social media policy, and how to apply it to both their professional and personal lives. Learners will be provided with this understanding of their organisation’s policy through:

  • guidelines and considerations with respect to the use of social media
  • examples of security and privacy breaches
  • supporting documents and videos
  • a forum, survey, assignment and quiz.

The course contains several resources and activities to be completed by the user in order to receive the certificate of completion.

Preview the course

If you think this course might help your staff and organisation but you need to convince others up the management chain, let the course sell itself with this free preview. Or to download the course, together with a range of other digital learning resources, check out VET Commons.