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close this bookPolicy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific - Conference Proceedings - UNESCO - UNEVOC Regional Conference (RMIT, 1997, 520 p.)
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View the documentUNESCO UNEVOC Regional Conference 1996 - Steering Committee
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View the documentGuidelines for Policy Framework Development for TVE Asia Pacific Region
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View the document'Vocational and Technical Training, Retraining and Job-Release Agreements: Public Policy and Employers Participation in Malaysian Manufacturing'
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View the documentPiloting Tafe Accredited Courses on the Internet
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View the documentReasonable Adjustment and Assessment: Strategies to Implement the Principles
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Open this folder and view contentsNew Policy Directions for Reforming Vocational and Technical Education in Korea
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View the documentPolicy Development and Implementation to Address the TEVT Needs of Disadvantaged Groups
View the documentThe Role of Technical and Vocational Education on the National Economic Development of Cambodia and that of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Growth Zone
View the documentFrom Central Command to Doi Moi: Transforming and Renovating the Vietnamese Technical and Vocational Education System
View the documentCrossroads: Training Technical and Vocational Education Practitioners in Australia
View the documentPolicy Development for TVE
View the documentPlanning and Provision of Technical Education and Vocational Training in a Rapidly Changing Economy: The Case of Hong Kong
View the documentArticulation and other Factors Effecting Status - Implications for Policy Development of TVE
View the documentEssential Concepts for VET Regional Development
View the documentEmerging Directions in the Training of TVET Teachers and Trainers: The Situation in Fiji
View the documentDelivering Training to Industry Through the National Consortia Model: A Case Study
View the documentPolicy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific: Opening Address
View the documentStrengthening the Linkage of Industries and TVE Institutions
View the documentQuality Management of the Training System (Lotus Notes Groupware Versus the Paper Rat Race)
View the documentThailand: Development of Policies for the Provision of Quality TVE Programs
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View the documentTechnical and Vocational Education: Toward Economic and Policy Development in Japan
View the documentThe Current Status of Offering Vocational Elective Subjects in Malaysian Secondary Academic Schools
View the documentPolicy Development to Promote Linkages Between Labour Market Planning and Vocational and Technical Education Research in Vietnam
View the documentUNEVOC's Focus and Approaches to Address Current Trends and Issues in TVE in Asia and the Pacific
View the documentRestructuring of Secondary Education in Bangladesh
View the documentVocational Education: The Indonesian Experience
View the documentSession: Acceptance of TVE Qualifications and Mutual Recognition on a Regional Basis
View the documentTechnical and Vocational Education and Training: Towards the 21st Century
View the documentEmerging Directions in the Training of Technical and Vocational Teachers and Trainers in Singapore
View the documentA Plan to Improve and Coordinate Skills Training in Indonesia
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Open this folder and view contentsEmerging Directions in the Training of Technical and Vocational Teachers and Trainers - Indonesia
View the documentThe History of the Preparation of Teachers for Vocational Education and Training at Griffith University
View the documentTechnical Education for the Hi-Tech Era

Piloting Tafe Accredited Courses on the Internet

Laurie Armstrong
Open Training Services, Phone (03) 9284 8320, email: armstlau@werple.net.au

Leone Wheeler
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Phone (03) 9660 4894, email: leonew@rmit.edu.au

This paper is based on experience gained in the delivery of training on the internet in courses in local government, public administration and community justice at RMIT. It describes four general applications for on-line delivery including the option of complete delivery of training on-line.

Each application is accompanied by a vignette to illustrate some of the characteristics of the approaches. A decision table is described to assist training providers in determining whether full on-line delivery is a viable option for them and their students. Major decision elements relate to students, the course considered for internet delivery and teaching issues.

The paper concludes with a description of the outcomes of developing and piloting training modules for delivery on the internet at RMIT and raises some of the issues arising

Options For On-Line Delivery

The last two years have seen widespread experimentation throughout the Vocational Education and Training sector in the applications of new educational technologies. Projects in the sector have attempted a broad range of approaches and methods. In Victoria the recently completed EdNA projects provide an overview of many of these approaches. Project reports for EdNA can be located through the Open Training Services homepage:-

http://www.ozemail.com.au/~milledou

Possibilities for the use of the internet in training delivery offer several reasonably distinct applications.

These applications or options for employing online technology as a delivery vehicle are:-

1. Complete on-line delivery of training modules

Learners will study at a location remote from the training provider and access internet facilities from home, the workplace or elsewhere such as the local public library or community center. Learners would likely use a wide range of internet facilities including synchronous and asynchronous communication, ftp, e-mail, search engines etc. Learners access on-line course information, interactive instructional material and collections of primary material sourced by providers and secondary materials sourced by themselves or providers. The learner has a choice of when they will enrol on-line, the pace they move through the course, and when they complete. The learner is able to manage administrative arrangements on-line and interact with the broader campus community electronically. Teachers act as co-learners and facilitators of learning and communicate with learners via bulletin boards, e-mail etc to provide prompt feedback, marking and assistance. Instruction will often be supplemented by workplace mentoring arrangements particularly where learning requires the extensive practice of skills in real interactive circumstances.

Vignette

John is an Administrative Service Officer employed by a large Government Department. His section has just started contracting out work and to keep his job he needs to learn about project management. He searches the VET Virtual Campus and finds there is a course offered by RMIT and he can study the modules now in his workplace setting. This option suits him, he wants to find out more about the course so he reads the information explaining RPL and the structure of the course. He completes the online RPL form and sends copies of his evidence via the mail. Within a week he receives a reply letting him know the results. He now completes the on-line enrolment form and within days receives a welcome e-mail from Ann, his training coordinator. He also receives via snail mail an induction package explaining what is involved in studying on-line, a training video explaining how to use the system, ways of contacting the training coordinator and hardware and software requirements. John does have the option of attending an induction workshop at the city campus. As he is a confident computer user he chooses not to do this. During the initial weeks Ann is in constant contact with him to make sure he has started the course successfully.

John negotiates with Tracey, his supervisor, 2 hours work time per week to study this unit. Tracey becomes his workplace mentor and a trained workplace assessor is appointed from the Training and Development Department. Tracey and John work together to plan assessment that is suitable for the workplace. The workplace assessor assesses some of the activities. John e-mails others to Ann at the College.

One assessment involved a group activity. Ann puts John in contact with other students. They communicate via e-mail about how they are going to tackle the activity. Ann conducts an online conference to help them out. John felt this was one of the most useful activities because he was able to make contact with other students.

2 On-line delivery in a learning center context

Learners in this context attend “learning centers” which provide ready access to computing and internet/intranet facilities in a location provided by the training provider. Learners use a variety of interactive instructional material provided online with a broad range of technologies.

Teachers operate as tutors to students in the learning center and assist them with issues including administrative and subject issues as well as providing technical assistance. Learners collaborate and assist each other in their learning with discussion groups both face to face and electronically.

Vignette

Jan has small children and wants to study locally. She does not have internet access at home. She is able to book this and creche time at a neighbourhood community centre which has access to the required technology. The centre is managed by Simon, a trained on-line teacher. Rebecca provides the technical backup.

Jan wants to study a 40-hour management module “Managing and Developing Teams”. She enrols and pays for 40 hours of access time at the community centre. Simon assesses her skills and realises she requires a basic computer skills introduction and a learn how to learn on the internet. Jan pays for a 10 hour course and works through this before she starts the management module. Simon places special emphasis on how to use on-line chat and computer conferencing because this is required for the module.

When she is ready to start studying, Simon puts her in touch with the institution she wants to study at. Her teacher, Helen, e-mails her the information she requires to undertake the course. A major assignment for the course is a team based project. Helen puts Jan in touch with the other members of the team. Helen arranges an initial on-line chat session so the students can get used to this medium of learning. A small part of the assessment for the course is that the learners take part in an on-line debate via the conference session.

Simon notes Jan's progress. He realises she is having some difficulty and she is given an extra 10 hours access time at no cost to complete the course.

3 On-line delivery as a supplement to print based and other forms of delivery

Learners study from remote locations including work and home. The internet is used as a supplement to learning resources from the provider often in primarily print based format, internet resources are used to enhance the currency and customization of training materials and to improve communication between teacher and learner over mail and telephone contact.

The teacher communicates electronically with students and assist students as they progress through a sequence of reading, learning tasks and assignments already set in print based materials.

Vignette

An extensive range of print materials has been developed and used for a number of years in the local government program.

Billy is very keen to progress through the course but has found the time between mailing assignments to his tutor and getting a reply is delaying him. Also he does not always get the information from his tutor he needs and must call or write back again adding to his frustration.

He explains this to Dave, the tutor at the local institution and as they both have the internet they decide to establish e-mail connections. Billy is now able to e-mail his tutor to speed up the contact.

On-line as a supplement to classroom delivery

Learners attend classes in groups with grouped entry, pacing and exit. In addition to face to face class room delivery learners access internet/intranet resources which enhance learning outcomes and allow extensive electronic communication with students in remote locations and organizations relevant to their studies.

Materials are sourced by both learners and teachers and changed with each class being customized to both the interests of the group and changes to the issues relevant to the curriculum. Learners actively find relevant information for course materials and discussion.

Vignette

Jose is studying business economics on campus. Sally, the teacher, gives a fortnightly assignments to the students. They have to form in groups to follow shares on the Stock Exchange. They choose the stock and search the internet to monitor the results at the Australian Stock Exchange site. They are also required to search and summarise relevant information in the online Financial Review.

An on-line conference page is designed to provide a venue to explore current events and questions outside class. The messages are sorted by date. Sally puts forward a debate question, and students are required to make contributions as part of their assessment.

The class is also in regular contact with a group of economics students at a Polytechnic in New Zealand where another assignment involves a study of the comparative approaches of the two countries to consumption taxes.

Selection of On-Line Delivery Options

In determining a course's potential for on-line delivery there are a number of issues that can be considered to decide on suitability. The following decision table sets out many of these issues under the headings of learner, course, teacher and other issues. It is based on a checklist Romiszowski (1990) recommends as a job-aid to assist the user in deciding whether, and how to use, Computer-Based Training (CBT). The decision table is intended to be used as a guide only in thinking about the possibilities for on-line delivery rather than a definitive measurement which can be used in any prescriptive way.

If in using the decision table a course is considered not suitable for on-line delivery an examination of scoring for the course will suggest a range of issues which may be able to be addressed which would allow the course to become a more suitable candidate for on-line delivery.

Decision Table

Question

Response

Score

Explanation

Learner Issues




1. Are learners computer literate?

Yes - Go to Question
No - Course is not suitable for on-line delivery at this stage.

2

To study on-line remote from a learning provider, learners must be competent in e-mail, ftp, web browsing software, chat software.

2. Do proposed learners have access to high quality computing facilities and internet access?

Yes - Go to Question
No - Course is not suitable for on-line delivery at this stage.

3

Learners will need to access regularly at the minimum a 386 computer with internet modem connection. Software required will vary but likely to include virus scan, winzip, acrobat reader, e-mail and web browser.

3. Are learners in a remote location or have a high preference for off campus study?

Yes

5

Apart from physically remote from a college there are many reasons why a student may prefer to study off campus including work and family commitments. On-line delivery is a very good delivery option for these students.


No

0


4. Can the proposed learners be characterized as “independent learners”?

Very independent

5

Independent learners are comfortable with limited or electronic communication, self motivated and internal locus of control, with few expectations of learning as meeting their social needs.


Somewhat independent

3



Dependent

0


5. Do the proposed learners have a wide variation in background and experience?

Very varied group of learners

5

Because on-line delivery is self paced it is especially well suited to a range of individual differences amongst learners.


Somewhat varied

3



Very homogenous group of learners

0


6. Is the learners study commitment likely to change over time?

Very likely

5

On-line delivery easily can accommodate variation in learners time commitment to study.


Likely

3



Not very likely

0


Course Issues




7. Is the course sufficiently administratively flexible to allow multiple entry exit and self paced learning?

Highly flexible

5

To maximise the customer service possibilities of on-line delivery requires the ability of the provider to also be flexible in administrative arrangements for learners.


Somewhat flexible

3



Highly inflexible

0


8. Is the course material largely “information” based?

Strongly information based.

5

Courses may emphasize information or skills which require much real world practice and assessment. Information based courses are currently easiest to adapt to the internet. More skill based courses require adaptation involving action based learning, work based projects, mentoring etc.


Largely information based

3



More skill than information based.

0


9. Are contents of course highly volatile and likely to become quickly outdated?

Very volatile with regular need for updating.

5

An important advantage of on-line delivery is the ability to quickly and efficiently change learning materials to reflect changes in topic.


Moderately volatile

3



Infrequent changes required to course content.

0


10. Are there opportunities for communication electronically with other students nationally or internationally to enhance learning?

Many opportunities

5

A major teaching tool for the internet is the opportunity for learning in conjunction with other learners.


Some opportunities

3



No opportunities

0


11. Is there opportunity for customization of materials for particular workplaces or student groups?

Many opportunities

5

Because of the flexibility of material development for internet courses customization to particular groups or circumstances becomes a strong possibility.


Some opportunities

3



No opportunities

0


Teachers Issues




12. Do teachers have access and confidence with new educational technologies?

Very confident

5

Teachers will need ready access to internet capable machines and be at least reasonably proficient in use of technology.


Somewhat confident

3



No access or confidence

0


13. Are teachers prepared to work in a facultative or collaborative way with learners?

Very prepared

5

Internet information resources mean that learners will locate information previously unfamiliar to teachers who then are no longer the single source of expertise in the subject area. This requires a flexible approach to the learning relationship


Somewhat prepared

3



Not prepared at all

0


14. Does the course depend on hard to find instructors?

Yes

5

An important aspect of on-line delivery is that it can compensate for unavailable local instructors. This is particularly valuable where good instructors are difficult to locate.


No

0


15. Are teachers able and willing to adopt workpractices which allow them to reliably communicate with students throughout the year and continually adapt course materials?

Very able and willing

5

On-line delivery is quite different in the workpractices demanded of teachers and the type of learning contract in which they enter with learners.


Somewhat able and willing

3



Not able or willing

0


Other Issues




16. Is there potential, either locally or internationally, for a large market for the course to warrant expenditure ?

Large potential market for course

5

On-line delivery may require large up front resourcing for success, this may be recouped by large numbers of students to achieve economies of scale


Moderate potential market

3



Small potential market

0


17. Is there sufficient budget for large development and maintenance costs?

Large budget able to cover unforeseen contingencies

5

Because of initial costs development of courses will be hindered or slowed if adequate resources are not available.


Reasonable budget for foreseeable costs

3



Limited project budget

0


18. Does the provider have the ability to build a cooperative team of teachers, instructional designers and information technology staff?

Teams in place and operating well.

5

A critical element of success in online delivery is the bringing together of teams to work together on a project basis.


Team can be put in place.

3



Difficulties will be experienced in developing teams.

0


19. How important is on the job delivery of training?

Very important

5

On-line training makes highly effective on the job training possible.


Somewhat important

3



Not important at all

0


TOTAL SCORE ___

CONCLUSION

Scores from 0 to 30

This course is not a candidate for on-line delivery

Scores from 31 to 50

This course is a possible candidate for on-line delivery

Scores from 51 to 70

This course is a good candidate for on-line delivery

Scores from 71 to 85

This course is an excellent candidate for on-line delivery

Case Study - VET Internet Project at RMIT

In May 1995, a group of VET teachers and library staff from RMIT Business, Department of Business Management, Department of Social and Community Services and RMIT Carlton Library got together to brainstorm ideas about how we could use the internet as a method of teaching and learning.

The VET sector has a particular emphasis on providing industry training. We had considerable interest from industry in the work that we were proposing because there is a need for training that can be immediately accessed so that employees can acquire and practise skills in a work context.

With this in mind we developed a model for mounting programs on-line that incorporated access to learning resources and course information, a range of communication functions, administrative services and monitoring methods.

The major outcomes of our work to date are:

1. A model for delivery has been developed which incorporates:

· Full course and module information available on-line, but it is password protected and only available to those people enrolled in the course.

· On-line enrolment for students via e-mail. At this stage the teacher has to print out the enrolment form and hand it in to the administration section!

· Information about “studying on-line” including general advice and directions to useful software sites.

· Efforts at integration of the on-line learner with the RMIT campus and community.

· On-line access to the RMIT library and other resources

· Use and integration of the resources available on the internet as teaching assets

· Regular posting of assignments and class news on-line

· Electronic submission of assignments, marking and feedback

· Student and teacher conferencing using a range of communication software including bulletin board, e-mail, PowWow and Hypernews

· Constant monitoring of learner reaction to the internet delivery approach

· An evolving method of teaching which is sensitive to learner needs.

2. A number of modules have been prepared for delivery on-line. The first trials have either been completed or are in progress for:

· Introduction to Australian Government and Introduction to Research from the Diploma in Social Science (Local Government)

· Finding and Analysing Information from the Advanced Certificate and Associate Diploma in Public Administration

· Applied Psychology from the Diploma in Social Science (Justice)

· Examples of our work can be viewed at: http://wwwtafe.lib.rmit.edu.au/courses/online.html

Internet delivery in Applied Psychology and Introduction to Australian Government were incorporated into classes conducted on campus in a computer laboratory. We received funding to document the experiences of the teachers and students involved in these trials. The result is a report entitled “Teaching and Learning On-line - A Manual for Teachers in Vocational Education” which is available from Open Training Services.

A further trial is also being conducted at a distance with Public Administration students from a Government Department. Here students are able to download the course notes, tackle certain activities via the supervision of a workplace assessor/supervisor and e-mail assignments to be assessed by a training coordinator at RMIT. This is an extension of the off-campus mode of study for the Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Public Administration..

An additional outcome of our work is that the staff involved in the project have increased their expertise in a range of areas dealing with the research, design and delivery of on-line courses.

We have a small team of staff with combined expertise to promote internet-based course delivery. This consists of teachers experienced in delivering courses on the internet; library staff with internet information access and publishing skills; technical staff and flexible learning consultants to provide advice on program design.

Issues for learners

Issues for the on-line learner includes initial competency to be able to study in this mode. They need a basic level of computing skills and they need to know how to use the internet to learn.

Access and equity is a large concern for the learners. Where many students do not have internet access it will require efforts on the part of educational institutions to alleviate this inequality. This may include unlimited access to computer laboratories on campus and in other community locations and the lending of internet capable laptops to students for example.

Feedback from the Students

Overall comments were that the students enjoyed using the internet as a mode of delivery for the subject although some said they would not like all their subjects to be taught in this way. Having face-to-face access to teachers was seen as important. Most students agreed that there was much less time required to study this module compared to the module taught in the traditional way.

Access to the internet outside class time was a major problem for some students. The computer laboratories available at RMIT for general student access are heavily used. At some times of the day - lunch time especially - the network was very slow and time was lost just logging into the system. General comments were made about the cost of a modem and some students felt RMIT should help with this.

One student indicated that if the module was not taught in this way she may have had to drop out as she had spent some time looking for accommodation and was not able to attend classes. She was able to login and catch up on the work she had missed. The most frustrating time for these students was in researching. The Web is sometimes very slow or you could not connect to sites and it took a long time to find the information.

Those students who had internet access at home found that they could do the work very easily and did not have to attend classes every week. Here are some examples of the comments made:

“I really love using the internet as a study tool and a teaching method. It adds variety to my studies and allows me to work at my own pace, from home or from school. Even if I miss a class I do not miss the work”

“I enjoy studying on the internet. It's fun and you forget you're actually doing work...”

Issues for Teachers

The introduction of internet training significantly alters the work of teachers. In the most obvious way teachers spend more of their work time at a computer sending and replying to e-mail, writing teaching materials, running on-line tutorials and conducting research for their courses on the internet.

Less obviously teachers are involved in a different type of learning than that many are familiar with. Where much of their work has been in the role of a transmitter of information and a guider of student learning activities this will substantially change in the learning environment enabled by the internet. Where encouragement is given to students to access the vast range of information available on the internet and to actively communicate with others around the world on a particular topic the teacher will become much less the single authority on subject material and in many cases a co-learner with their students. The teachers major responsibility will be to facilitate students to achieve the particular competencies or learning outcomes associated with a course as well as have responsibility for the monitoring of quality.

In discussing a new role for teachers we are really talking about a new set of demands on teachers for professional development. Providing training on the internet will require teachers to be subject expert, a “net” expert, a teaching expert and an industry expert. In essence this means certainly different work for teachers and probably, in the short term, more work. The response of the colleges to this must be one of negotiation and adequate provision of professional development activities. Teachers themselves will need to recognise their own needs for skill development. There is the danger of being overwhelmed by the need to be an internet expert, software troubleshooter, hardware expert, or CD maker in addition to working as a teacher

Another issue is the absolute necessity for access to technical support from staff which is both technically competent but also able to communicate well with teachers who may be at very basic levels of understanding. Well meaning but intimidatory advice from technical staff is one of the major stumbling blocks for teachers coming to terms with firstly the technology and then the range of issues associated with the professional and educational implications of training on the internet.

Conclusions

The pilots highlighted the many advantages of using the internet as a means of teaching and learning. The major strengths of the internet are in the communication and information management. The ability to communicate with students locally, nationally and internationally; the duplication of the face to face classroom through on line conferencing; the currency and wealth of information will ensure the growing use of the internet as both a medium for delivery and a domain for the virtual classroom.

The major limitations at present are the inadequate access to equipment by both teachers and learners in the VET sector; the lack of teachers trained to deliver on-line courses and the high cost of developing programs which will be lowered per unit cost as more students undertake the course.

For on-line education to be successful an institution wide approach is vital. Key factors identified by Mason (1996) for facilitating online delivery at the University of Melbourne provide a useful summary of the requirements:

· the existence of several local enthusiasts and early adopters

· a well developed IT infrastructure at an institution

· support from senior decision makers which translates into adequate resources

· a team approach between subject experts, technical specialists, information managers and administrators for the new programs is required for the tasks

· continued State and Federal initiatives

References

Mason, Jon (1996) “Determining the scope of on-line delivery at a traditional research-based university”, Learning Technologies Prospects and Pathways - Selected papers from EdTech '96, University of Melbourne 7-10 July 1996

Romiszowski, AJ (1990), Job Aids: The Concept, Training notes published by the Training Systems Institute, Department of Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation, School of Education, Syracuse University, USA