E-Tools for Nurses and Carers Western Australia 2009

Great Southern TAFE


Background


Great Southern TAFE is a regional college with campuses in Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker, and Katanning, and covers all regions in between. The College won the Large Training Provider of the Year for 2008 (Awarded in 2009) and is committed to developing more flexible delivery to students to address the growing demand for training, and in particular flexible training, in the region.

Our Project Team
Team Member
Project role
Skills (related to the project)
Stephanie Tchan
Project Manager
Project Management and Health Industry skills with a background in e–Learning through Learnscope
Liz Bailey
Project Facilitator
IT and lecturing skills
Jodie Watkins
Nursing Co-ordinator / Lecturer (EN)
Health Industry skills and knowledge
Bec Forster
Community Services Lecturer
Community Industry skills and knowledge
Ruth McLean
Nursing Co-ordinator / Lecturer (Curtin – RN)
Health Industry skills and knowledge
Carol Hart
Community Services Lecturer
Community and Aged Care Industry skills and knowledge
Wendy Macliver
Disabilities Officer Great Southern TAFE (CGEA Lecturer)
Community & Disability Industry skills and knowledge
Jodi Smith
Industry Representative
Occupational Therapist –lecturing skills (Aged Care / Therapy Assistant / Community Services)
Health Industry skills and knowledge
Currently working in Clarence Estate Aged Care Facility
The primary focus of the project was to develop a selection of Health and Community Services units of competency common to a range of qualifications at Cert III and above.
It was anticipated this project would address the barriers faced by many regional centres through the provision of additional flexible modes of delivery to meet the needs for flexibility within the Community Services and Health industries.
The target group we chose for the project included those working in the industry, mature aged workers (mostly women), young students in nursing, allied health and aged care, as well as students with ESL, Indigenous or low literacy backgrounds. It was envisaged that the project would enhance and increase access to higher level qualifications, engage learners, improve practitioners’ technical skills and develop innovative models of delivery and assessment.
The project involved staff accessing information on different modes of flexible delivery and developing or revising existing resources to suit a “flexible” learner. It gave staff the opportunity to develop new delivery skills and a new found “enthusiasm” for flexible delivery.
The project also gave participating staff a broader understanding of the issues (eg. time, literacy, ITC skills) experienced by students when learning via an online mode of delivery.
In addition, the project supported the organisational strategic directions through increasing accessibility to flexible training to provide better quality of care and improved productivity, while achieving quality outcomes for students in terms of vocational competency. It also made provision for further embedding of e-learning into the business systems of the college as defined in the College Strategic Plan.
If the project had not been funded these resources would not be available for delivery in 2010.


What was done

The project commenced with the forming of a group of key participants as listed above. The group worked with the parameters of the project, decided on the units to be developed and collaboratively decided upon the best strategy to meet project outcomes.
The model used was one where the lecturers acted as content specialists and supplied the ‘raw materials’ to the Project Facilitator, who then placed them in a Moodle framework. This gave us an online presence across the four units with training and assessment materials that served AQTF requirements. Additional work was required to make the resources interactive. The use of the Project Facilitator to drive and coordinate the project as well as to explore the requirement of setting up a LMS was essential to the successful operation of the project. This part of the project involved working with the IT department to ascertain technical issues as well as working with the Disability Officer to ascertain principles of Universal Design that would enable access for all learners.
Professional development was also a key factor in the process. Two of the team members had completed the Gippsland TAFE online learning course and the entire team had accessed online conferencing and support materials from the FLN.
The building of interactivity proved the most challenging part of the project with lecturers trying to find time to build this part of development into their schedules. However, time was found and activities, such as bringing Powerpoint to life with voiceovers, quizzes etc. were undertaken and provided better quality resources.
It was envisaged that the e-learning project would focus on the development of a blended learning and virtual classroom model. However, most lecturers involved found the virtual classroom model too time consuming within the constraints of their current lecturing workload, nevertheless felt it would be useful for future delivery.
One of the key aspects of the course was the development of an introductory resource to assist learners in coming to terms with the complexities and newness of the online world. The team felt that it was an important step to provide the students with the appropriate information prior to their commencement of the online unit (a face-to-face introduction to the system was not always possible due to remote location or rosters). An Online User Guidebook which included a pictorial guide to “enrolling” into our LMS (Moodle), Internet Etiquette, College Contacts, Student Handbook (if the student did not attend the campus they were unlikely to have one, or access to the information contained in it), the Great Southern TAFE Study Skills Guide, and additional simple but relevant tips for successful learning.
The course material for one of the units was trialled with some external massage students, however we are still waiting to gather information from these students. Another activity of the project was to develop an online feedback tool.
A cycle of reflection, trial and evaluation was established through regular contact between the team members, industry representatives and technical experts. This will continue into the new year and the materials will be trialled on a larger client group.

Benefits experienced by Great Southern TAFE

The project introduced e-learning at a sectional hands-on level to the Social Science lecturing and administration team. The experience provided the section with insight into the logistics and fundamentals of online training development through professional development opportunities and gave them the understanding of the potential for learners.
Skills were developed within the project team and within the section in general, with ‘dyed in the wool’ anti online learning staff, asking for items to be placed in Moodle to allow individual students access to materials in the case of missed lectures. This has been a key outcome of the project. The introduction of this kind of flexibility in the Community Services and Health industries, where training is increasingly delivered in the workplace, has provided the college and industry with increased access to training which meets the project goals.
For the organisation, this project has allowed the largest section in the college, in terms of Student Contact Hours, to make a significant advancement in the desire and ability of staff to make e-learning an everyday part of their practice. The project has been shared via the college intranet and will be featured in the College’s 3 day PACD in 2010 as a showcase.

Lessons learnt

The issues that arose for the team included; lack of time to build interactivity; awareness of access issues for students with disabilities in terms of design of materials; awareness of the need for introductory procedures for new users of online learning material.
These issues were addressed and solved within the scope of the project through the development of the student support materials and design of materials that students with, for example, a visual disability, would find easy to read. The awareness of lack of time provided insight in terms of future budgetary planning to meet these time costs to develop academically sound and interesting materials.

The results

A key outcome of the project was the development of 4 Units of Competency from the Community Services and Health Training Packages that can be shared with other organisations upon request.
Another major outcome was the uptake of e-learning practice within the section. Approximately 15 full time staff members out of 24 are now using e-learning in one form or another as part of their daily practice. Key favourites are Moodle, with WIMBA creating excitement for those more experienced in e- learning practices.
We analysed key successes and failures through a process of review and evaluation within the team and with colleagues at West One Services, who provided useful feedback. As part of this cycle lessons learnt from professional development activities were incorporated as part of a continuous improvement strategy to develop the best possible resources within the limits imposed by budget and time constraints.
The experience of the learners has yet to be captured. Further feedback will be gathered in 2010 using the evaluation tool that was developed as part of the project and the units of competence will be trialled with a larger group.


Reflections and suggestions

On reflection the Project Team would suggest that this model should be mirrored across each industry area team within a number of RTOs using Moodle or a similar LMS. The resources developed could then be moderated and a best practice model developed for general use – this way the expertise developed and ideas generated can be filtered to produce an excellent product.

Framework connection

The uptake of e-learning from lecturers not directly involved in the project (as well as those that were) provides a firm foundation for embedding of e-learning into the national training system. This project in particular has a broad ranging outcome. The units developed span two Training Packages and can be used within a diverse range of qualifications to build flexibility in an industry where flexibility is the key.
The overarching change of practice in the lecturers will, over time, be a major contributing factor towards embedding e-learning into the national training system.
In engaging in this E-learning Innovations project, the following Framework products and resources were used:
Resources on Flexible Learning Network Website including materials on client group (eg. E- Learning for over 45’s) copyright, risk management, and resources on various tools, links and case studies on e – learning.
  • On-line Conferences
  • Face to face conferences
  • West One staff members for mentoring and guidance.

Acknowledgement

This is a Western Australian E-learning Innovations project output, developed by Great Southern TAFE with seed funding from the Framework.

For more information

Great Southern TAFE
E-Learning for Nurses and Carers
Stephanie Tchan
Phone: 08 9892 8757
Email: Stephanie.Tchan@gstafe.wa.edu.au

For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework:
Phone: (07) 3307 4700
Email: enquiries@flexiblelearning.net.au
Website: flexiblelearning.net.au