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!