Fish-e Western Australia 2008

Challenger TAFE



Following immense enthusiasm and investment in aquaculture in Australia in the mid-1990s, the industry did not realise its potential in Western Australia because of factors such as wild-caught fish being relatively plentiful and reasonably priced, long delays in securing licenses from the regulatory authorities due to environmental concerns, unfavourable publicity for world-wide examples of environments being destroyed by aquaculture activities, and the major focus on close-shore developments which proved to be unsuited to the equipment and technologies available.
However, the position has substantially changed and investment has elevated aquaculture to the second largest seafood sector in WA. Aquaculture is the fastest growing primary industry in Australia with an increase of approx. 10% per annum.
The increased activity has generated labour shortages and the peak industry body for aquaculture in WA, the Aquaculture Council of Western Australia Inc. (ACWA) estimates an initial requirement of 100 extra jobs in the next 24 months. The labour shortage also affects the greater seafood industry because of competition from the resources and mining from metropolitan and rural workers.
The proposal to address strategic skill development needs is a blend of on-site (seafood industry workplaces) intensive short blocks of training and on-line delivery.
The elearning component of the blended strategy is:
• Elearning materials that facilitate the Pest, Predator and Diseases skill set.
• Updated components of the Aquaculture toolboxes.
• Communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing strategies.
• Induction strategies and guides for facilitators and students.
• Delivery of elearning materials through a learning management system such as Moodle, Blackboard or WebCT CE6, including course information; schedules; assessment requirements; assessment tools; course readings; links to websites; course content; media and so on.
Currently elearning resources for training in aquaculture and other seafood industries are limited and little has been done to provide flexible training in the workplace.
This project’s outcomes will increase the uptake of Australia-wide elearning in training organisations that deliver aquaculture training – both on-campus and in the workplace.

The Framework connections

What Framework products and services did you utilise in your project?
1. The Inland Aquaculture Toolbox – modified the unit, SFIAQUA503A Establish an aquaculture enterprise, to make it more navigable. The modified unit has been trialled as a CD resource with a student without access to the Internet.
2. VET Reload for packaging the Pest, Predator and Diseases unit as a SCORM learning object
3. E-gems seminar on using VET Reload to create SCORM learning objects
4. Toolbox champion and Elearning Innovations Project Manager at WestOne.
5. ARED for development of interactions in the Pest, Predator and Diseases unit.
6. Australian Flexible Learning Framework website
  • a. E-learning for industry
  • b. Practical guide to elearning for industry
  • c. Flexible learning toolboxes
  • d. WA webpage
  • e. E-standards for training reference site
  • f. E-events
  • g. LORN
  • h. E-portfolios
What outcomes or products will you share with the Framework community?
1. The Pest, Predator and Diseases learning object
2. The modified unit SFIAQUA503A Establish an aquaculture enterprise
3. The AquaEd Ning community
4. Outcomes of incorporating blogging into the elearning environment
5. Induction strategies and guides for students and staff.

Knowledge sharing

1. Sue Waters is working with Australian aquaculture educators to increase their elearning skills and interaction between trainers. To do this Sue:
  • has set up an online community at
  • is running free online PD sessions, using Elluminate, for community members and VET trainers
  • has invited community members to join her fortnightly Elluminate sessions with her online aquaculture students.
2. Establishing this community has paid dividends for the project because:
  • Peter Preece from TAFESA has shared his paper-based resources, videos and photos on pest, predator and diseases
  • Peter Preece from TAFESA has also interacted with her online students to share his knowledge and aquaculture experience
  • Lisa Terry from Natfish, NSW has shared videos & photos of fish diseases
  • Peter Preece, Glenn Varley ( Central West TAFE, Western Australia), Andrew Christie (NMIT, Victoria), Stuart Whitby (Sunshine TAFE, Queensland), Joe Coco (Tropical North Queensland TAFE), Dr James Harris (Flinders University, South Australia), Dos (David) O'Sullivan (Dosaqua Pty Ltd ) so far have agreed to check the content of the unit.
3. Dan Machin, Executive Officer, Aquaculture Council of WA, is a member of the project team. He identified from his members that Fish Diseases is a priority for training in the industry.
4. Dan Machin solicited input from ACWA members for the content of the pest, predator and diseases unit.
5. Dr Fran Stevens, Fish Pathologist, WA Fisheries Department, provided content for parts of the disease section.
6. Sue Waters met with members of the Marine Fish Growers group to discuss their training needs.
7. Sue Waters has trialled the use of a blog in conjunction with this type of course. Her blog posts are based on the topic, Fish Diseases, and her live online sessions (Elluminate) with her aquaculture students have been on this topic. She has recorded the sessions, which may be used as additional resources for the pest, predator and diseases unit. The blog URL is

Building on essential infrastructure

1. The module, Pest, Predator and Diseases, will be SCORM compliant so that it can be uploaded from the toolbox repository or LORN into learning management systems such as Blackboard CE6 and Moodle.
2. The outcomes of Sue Waters’ blog trial are available to the public. Sue is also documenting progress on her blog.
3. Members of the aquaculture industry have a greater understanding of
  • the benefits of elearning and applications in their industry environment.
  • using sites such as Ning for networking, sharing ideas and information.
  • web conferencing and its applications.
  • learning management systems
4. The project illustrates how a combination of tools and applications are used to deliver training that is relevant to industry as well as to on-campus delivery.

Embedding E-learning

1. Industry consultation has been extensive
2. A representative from the Aquaculture Council of WA is on the project team
3. The project integrates Web 2.O applications with a learning management system
4. The pest, predator and diseases unit is SCORM compliant
5. Challenger TAFE has a strong focus on working with industry and community and this project demonstrates partnering with industry to produce an elearning module for the pest, predator and diseases skills sets.


1. The pest, predator and diseases skills set has been translated into a SCORM module, with content that is suitable for industry training as well as meeting the requirements of the unit of competence SFIAQUA312A Oversee the control of pest, predators and disease. The elearning unit is delivered in conjunction with a practical component.
The content of the unit includes diagnosing predator, pest and disease infestation, selecting appropriate control measures, treating ill health, disposing of moribund or dead stock and repairing/maintaining equipment. The unit includes photographs, videos, assessments, and interactions (developed using ARED). Sue has built interactions for the unit such as parts of a microscope using ARED.
Some videos are from the video sharing site, howstuffworks Other videos, such as those that demonstrate how to take skin scrapings and gill biopsies, have been shot by Sue Waters.
2. Modifications to the online unit SFIAQUA503A Establish an aquaculture enterprise. This unit is part of the Inland Aquaculture Toolbox and was difficult to navigate. A student without Internet access has tested the modified unit, which is delivered to him on a CD.
3. A community of Australian aquaculture educators, with a focus on increasing/enhancing their elearning skills and to promote interaction and sharing of ideas and resources between trainers:
  • a. the online community at:
  • b. free online PD sessions, using Elluminate, for community members and VET trainers
  • c. invitation to community members to join Sue Waters’ fortnightly Elluminate sessions with her online aquaculture students.
4. Induction strategies and guides for students and staff
5. A blended delivery approach that incorporates an online course in Blackboard CE6 or other learning management system, web conferencing (using Elluminate) and a blog. The blog URL is
6. Recordings of Elluminate sessions that are based around Fish Diseases.

How have your business and/or learner group/employees or other stakeholders benefited from the project?
1. Aquaculture educators have
  • engaged in a community and shared ideas and resources
  • increased their elearning skills
  • engaged with learning technologies such as blogs (edublogs), social networking (Ning) and web conferencing/virtual classrooms (Elluminate).
2. The aquaculture industry and trainers will have the pest, predator and diseases skills set that can be delivered through elearning, offering flexibility to employees and full time students.
3. Onsite training can be combined with online delivery.

Include supporting data that you may have collected.
1. See AquaED site for the discussions and other shared resources:
2. See Sue Waters’ blog posts on using technology in education:
What impact has the Innovations project had on your organisation/business partner/learner group? eg increase in uptake, VET more accessible, provide new options/pathways?
1. Enhanced industry networks
2. Input into the content of the pest, predator and diseases unit
3. Enhanced flexible training options for employees
4. Flexible workplace training, which is a combination of elearning plus practical work that can be assessed in the employee’s workplace.

What are the returns on investment you are seeing?
1. Strong support from the aquaculture industry and educators for the development of the pest, predator and diseases unit.
2. Willingness by educators to engage in, and explore, different technologies.
3. A final product, the pest, predator and diseases unit that is accurate, engaging and applicable to client groups with differing needs.

What did you learn through this project? Were there unexpected outcomes?
1. Importance and value of industry consultation
2. The willingness of people to contribute time and knowledge to achieve a successful outcome – the pest, predator and diseases unit
3. People’s willingness to share resources and ideas
4. Developing a resource such as this is extremely time consuming. Our original plan was to develop two skills set – Fish Diseases and Post Harvest Handling. However, this was impossible with our limited resources of both time and money.
5. The development of this resource requires a particular set of skills – which Sue Waters has in abundance.

How did your project- empower learners, stimulate demand, provide greater choice, respond to the needs of disadvantaged learners, and facilitate increased recognition of prior learning?
1. Currently elearning resources for training in aquaculture and other seafood industries are limited and little has been done to provide flexible learning in the workplace. Through the development of the pest, predator and diseases skills set elearning unit, this project is meeting the training needs of the industry.
2. The blended strategy adds value to the training offered by Challenger TAFE and other aquaculture educators.

Executive summary

Aquaculture is the fastest growing primary industry in Australia, growing at approximately 10% per annum, and much of the food we now eat in seafood outlets is produced by the fish farming industry. This increased activity in the aquaculture industry has generated labour shortages throughout Australia.
Fish disease is the major cause of stock loss in the aquaculture industry and has been identified by the industry as a training priority.
Therefore, the focus of our project has been to develop elearning resource material for the Certificate III level unit that covers this competency on fish diseases and the skills sets required by industry for this competency.
The pest, predator and disease unit, which is SCORM compliant, was designed and developed in consultation with aquaculture industry experts, including Dr Fran Stevens, Fish Pathologist at the WA Fisheries Department, Natfish and the Aquaculture Council of WA.
Aquaculture educators from around Australia have shared their knowledge and skills. They have also contributed resources including videos and photographs and have acted as content experts.
In addition to developing the fish diseases elearning resources, Project Facilitator, Sue Waters, has been working with aquaculture educators to increase their elearning skills. She has facilitated this process through AquaEd, an online community, using Ning. Community members share ideas and resources, as well as learning about Web 2.0 technologies and their applications for education.

Project blog

Sample Blackboard CE6 shell

WebCT login details Fish-e Web CT Login: s03disease Password: pest

Project output links

Oversee the Control of Pest, Predators and Disease
The online course material is designed to increase your knowledge of pest, predators and diseases in the aquaculture industry.

For more information

Ms Sue Waters
Advanced Skills Lecturer
Fish-e/Challenger TAFE
Phone: (08) 9239 8056

For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework:
Phone: (07) 3307 4700