Karrayili Remote Community Online

WA11EL14 Karrayili Remote Community Online

Executive Summary

This Innovations project created a set of six written scenarios for use with Certificate II in Business. One scenario has been scripted and was partly produced as a film resource for Aboriginal students involved with an online training strategy which services remote Indigenous communities in the Fitzroy Valley. The roles in the filmed scenario were played by local Aboriginal people who spoke the Kriol language.
The six scenarios were created in the belief that stories could be written to depict Certificate II in Business and become the medium to portrey efficient and effective work habits as opposed to a reliance on literacy based competencies. This project has demonstrated that the English language communication barrier in Indigenous training can be overcome in remote areas.

Background

Karrayili Adult Education Centre is located in the Kimberley town of Fitzroy Crossing (2500km NE of Perth). It is a not-for-profit registered training organisation (RTO) and the only Indigenous adult education service provider servicing the communities and people of the Fitzroy Valley. There are four primary language groups in the Fitzroy Valley; they are Bunuba, Gooniyarndi, Walmajarri, and Wangkatjungka.

Karrayili is a Walmajarri word for “middle aged”. In the context of the Karrayili Adult Education Centre it means a place for middle aged people to meet for educational purposes.
Karrayili was established in the early 1980’s by a group of Walmajarri people who wanted to learn to read and write English. They wanted to learn to write their names so that they could sign their cheques instead of putting a cross all the time. They wanted to learn to use western technology such as the telephone. They wanted to better understand the letters they received from various government departments and to reply to these letters. Most of all, they wanted to learn to be more independent in the society they lived in.
With the advent of information technology and the gradual return of Aboriginal family groups to their traditional lands, E-learning offers Aboriginal people the prospect of being able to remain 'on country' whilst gaining access to the opportunity to learn about mainstream Australian business enterprise and its economic system. This project is all about empowerment through the availability of choice. It is about Aboriginal people being given the choice to gain and utilise knowledge in identified areas of personal interest and to then to channel this interest towards innovative remote enterprise development opportunities and associated employment experience in remote Australia.

What the project is about

Phase One of Karrayili's virtual classroom project commenced with E-learning Innovations Funding in 2010. It was set up to give remote community students training to Operate a personal computer (BSBITU101A). The Karrayili Remote Community Online Training Strategy (KRCOTS) began as a project to assist remote community students to not just become competent in the use of the personal computer, whilst using the computer in an online learning environment, but to then progress onto further training. The goal of Phase One is to have students learn how to use the computer for basic operational tasks and to complete simple actions without assistance. Once this is achieved the student can progress onto KRCOTS Phase Two. In Phase One an e-learning champion is employed to oversee the community member's computer training, in Phase Two the community e-learning champion is not required.

In this Phase Two, Karrayili's role is to introduce students to organisational roles and responsibilities through Certificate II in Business. Phase Two is to be delivered and depicted through a series of locally produced scenario videos. The scenes and storylines for KRCOTS Phase Two are mapped to demonstrate each unit's performance criteria. The video scenarios are to demonstrate how six generic day to day business situations affect six local Aboriginal organisations. Once filmed the series will be uploaded for use in a live e-learning virtual classroom to demonstrate and promote effective and efficient workplace habits.In KRCOTS Phase Three for the future it is planned to introduce ongoing enterprise management training, business mentorship, business support and corporate governance. These three phases are cyclic and overlap alongside a partnership set up with Kimberley TAFE. In Phase Two TAFE provide industry specific training in identified areas of student interest.
The business partnership with Kimberley TAFE is in its infancy. It began with an approach by KRCOTS' project manager to TAFE about the prospect of being able to work in partnership together to service the unique demographic needs of the Fitzroy Valley and to avoid a crossover in service delivery; the Fitzroy Valley is a relatively small community, duplicated service delivery is not a good use of resources. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) now exists between Karrayili and Kimberley TAFE. This MOU paves the way for an opportunity to deliver a full range of training that is culturally appropriate for remote Indigenous communities. Remoteness serves to deny these communities with an equitable opportunity to access to the tools of economic participation. A need to enunciate the oppressive treatment experienced by Indigenous Australia and the chance to break away from welfare dependency is possible through Indigenous community interest in information technology (IT). Karrayili's approach to this project is ground breaking. Additionally, no other service organisation in the region has a dedicated strategy to grow Indigenous economic development. This economic development strategy is reqiuired because fundamental to the motivation of students to participate in training, and the success of this project, is the need for training to be a pathway into employment and sustainable income streams.

In this Phase Two, the KRCOTS project team leader is Daron Keogh. Although Daron instigated the KRCOTS project for the benefit of remote communities in the Fitzroy Valley, his motivation is to train himself out of his business lecturer position so that a local Aboriginal person can take over. Unfortunately a big contributor to cyclic oppression in the region is because service organisations fail to take into account the existence, affect and use of the Aboriginal culture. For this reason it is hoped that the current lecturer assistant, Jamie-Lee, a local Aboriginal woman, can progress with her employment towards the senior business lecturer position and help ensure a better fit with the customer/student needs which engenders effective service delivery. Jamie-Lee's knowledge and understanding of the Aboriginal culture makes her an invaluable asset to the future success of KRCOTS. In addition, it is noted that the assistance of other Aboriginal Karrayili staff and interpreter/bilingual workers for the development of the Kriol language dialogue/script will be needed for use in this project. The script is to be matched to the storyline that covers the competencies in the online Certificate II in Business scenario based course.

What was done

Storyline Preparation: Three weeks of my annual leave was set aside over the 2010 Christmas break to try and come up with a basic storyline for each of the six scenarios an to match them to Certificate II in Business. The businesses that were eventually chosen for depiction had to be familiar to everyone in the District. For convenient effect, different industry sectors were also chosen. Even though the actual scenarios are not industry focussed, and that the idea to use six different businesses, as opposed to a focus on just one, is that the training can show how six separate and generic business situations can be applied across any type of business. When it comes to the actual assessment, the student should be able to see that each of the triggers, which sets the operation of the organisation's storyline into motion, can be applied to any workplace rather than the one they learnt of in training. The business' industries also include, retail, health, education, cattle, music and tourism. Three of these businesses are service providers as opposed to selling products, and two of the six are not-for-profit.

As I created the story lines a matrix was drawn up on a white board to ensure each of the performance criteria in the qualification is covered by the story line. This process allowed for the identification of any gaps that existed in the scenario story lines and served to ensure that any additional situational events could be incorporated into the stories and cover the scope of each unit's competencies. Fortunately too, this work was done over the Christmas break; nobody else was around to interfere with the matrix on the whiteboard. To the uninitiated these scribbles would have looked like the workings of some new theoretical paradigm. When the story lines were completed Karrayili had six different stories that altogether could be used to show a filmed Certificate II in Business course online. This new course was also to be divided into two parts. The first part is training which covers the use of the equipment in a business and includes information communication technology like computers, email, internet, phone systems, printer, fax and scanner equipment (KRCOTS Phase One). The second part covers the interpersonal skills and communication that is integral to the conduct of workplace roles and responsibilities (KRCOTS Phase Two). Students need to be competent with the equipment side of the assessment first, as their interpersonal abilities are tested with an incorporated knowledge of the use of office equipment.

Film Maker Negotiations: Armed with the outlines of the six scenarios, a meeting was arranged in Broome with the organisation originally approached to do the filming. Prior to this meeting both a copy of the scenario outline, which was referenced to each of the performance criteria, and a copy of the units of competency to be covered by the scenario to be filmed from the Business Services Training Package BSB07, was sent off to the Film Maker three weeks ahead of time so as the storyline was read the reader could understand the story and cross check with what had to be demonstrated in the shoot to deliver nationally accredited training. Once the meeting started it became quickly obvious that the person who was going to be in charge of the direction, the one who called the shots (the controller), had curiously done little homework beforehand. The controller seemed to be under the impression that this training resource had to be a big blockbuster production, and that anything less than that actually did not exist. I have since learnt this trait is a mindset typical of film industry types. The controller also requested I do up a script of the dialogue. I did not plan for a script. I thought it could be done by the actors adlib. The offsider was different with his attitude. He had experience with both filming and training packages and thus was able to make made a clear connection between what was written for the scenarios and what was expected of in the filming in relation to the training of students.

The offsider also saw the creativity aspect of the shoot where the participants should be able to adlib what they felt was appropriate to say in the context of the scene. The controller also did not seem to understand that the actual actors were planned to be either workers and business students who would easily understand the sense of what was going on in the scene. These issues from the controller caused me concern. Although the offsider understood what was required he was not the one in control of the shoot. There were also other time related problems that came to light which suggested an inability to synchronise a schedule where both the controller and offsider would be available at the same time. It turned out from this that they would have an alternated sequence of unavailability up until the project's deadline. My project was jeopardised.

Plan B arose after I mentioned the problems I faced to Jeremy Hart begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting (the Director). The Director just so happened to have film making experience. He suggested to me that either himself and or another film maker Mitch Torres were available to have a go at it. Incidentally the pair's last effort together was an ABC docu-drama called Jandamarra. But alas in my negotiations Jeremy too demanded a script. This was not good. The need I felt to let the freedom of creativity flow in the filming was lost, and was a real pain because it meant I now had additional work to do, and rather than rely on myself to ensure creative insight I felt I would have to seek the assistance of some of my students and or colleagues to help contribute to the dialogue. Because this project is not big budget, the inability of the film makers to not be flexible enough run with the created scenarios meant additional time and costs. Incidentally, as this type of project should become the model for the other five scenarios, this experience was a subtle learning curve for me. Another realisation was that maybe a dedicated training film business could be a business venture for anyone interested in Indigenous training film resources. At this stage too it turned out Mitch had just committed to another project. So the Director got the contract on his own.

The Script: Once Christmas was over, and with my annual leave lost to unpaid work, I returned back to work to let the Karrayili Principal know that I urgently needed to create a script for my project. But she hit me with another snag. My application last year to the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) for Karrayili to deliver OHS White Card Construction Industry Induction training required further attention. This job became my new priority. On top of my lecturing duties, this request from the Principal to concentrate on the White Card eventually took four weeks to do. It turned out that as the White Card was a completely different industry area to what Karrayili previously had on its training scope and there were lots of hoops to jump through. By the time I eventually finished I was really under pressure to get things done.

With the script's construction I really wanted to have others input into it. But after three weeks had passed it gradually became impossible for me to source enough students, this problem was mainly due to our wet season, which began to take a stronger hold on everyone's movements. As a result I ended up having to do the whole script thing myself. Which was an arduous task in itself but at least it was done. In a stroke of double edged luck, Jamie-Lee offered to type up all of my hand written manuscript. But bouble edged because Jamie-Lee also just resigned from her job to move to Perth for a while. So I had a typed up version of the script, it is now very easy to use, thanks Jamie-Lee.

The Weather: It was around this time too that the heavens began to open up, a lot more than they previously had done all wet season. Not only now did Fitzroy Crossing get cut off from the rest of the world by road, the floods also cut off our Internet connection for nearly two weeks, so no food, no Eftpos, and especially no way contact those I had in mind to translate the script into Kriol or to play the roles in the filming. Deadlines were now an issue and I began to now consider what my very last cut off dates could be. The Director rang to see what was going on. I explained to him the problems I faced, and with the deadlines in mind we just set the tightest schedule we could, which gave me very little leeway to play with, but we had to work to that. Fortunately though just as this schedule was set the rain stopped. As the flood waters slowly receded, roads began to open and the Internet returned. I managed to get a message through to the original man I hoped to use to get the script translated into Kriol, my second and third choices had fallen through. The Director also decided that as soon as the roads were open he would run the gauntlet and travel across to Fitzroy Crossing from Broome in case they rose again. Although movement was now possible, lots of people also began to be on the move.

The Film Shoot: We now had to start filming. With the Director in town both the time and budget was running. With the actors and my original plans put aside, new and additional ones had to be made. The key translator I wanted to use was secured and was also able to convince him to star in the main actor role as the Principal. But then he took off out of town for a few days, and even though he was armed with the script, I knew he would have trouble reading it because he is half blind poor thing. On his eventual return to town, he then had to attend a funeral being held out at a remote community. The Director decided while he waited to try and make the most of his time and was now doing his best to carry out what shots he could, but things were very slow. The Principal's role in the film was actually integral to the whole story, and not only that the role required many scenes to be shot with all the others. We had to wait patiently for an opportunity to present itself. Fortunately (touch wood) the real Principal was outwardly supportive of the filming schedule upon my time.

I larglely left the Director to his own devices to follow what was in the script and to conduct the shoot. Each actor was reasonably able to translate their own lines into Kriol, and even though nobody was an experienced actor, and most had little knowledge of the area required to be used for training, which meant there were times when they struggled to understand the context of their lines, everybody tried their best. I ended up having to translate my own script into Kriol myself but there were a few areas where I had to get support from the translator where there was no direct translation. Kriol is a very direct language. The context of words like, roles, responsibilities and values had to be told in a way that Indigenous online students could understand.

In total it took two and a half weeks to complete the filming, but also I had to cut it short, this was a hard decision. Because I ran out of time I only got to film half of the scenario. The original script for the first scenario was halved and I missed out on all of what I wanted to be able to show. I hoped to use the whole exercise as an example of how one of six stories could be used to build competency in Certificate II in Business. But time constraints were beyond my control. In hindsight I knew I could not rely on project productivity throughout the heat and wet seasons. It is not the lifestyle here. But this was the only project window of opportunity I had to source funding.


Benefits experienced by Karrayili

The world of film making is a lesson unto itself. Some of the trouble this project created was basically due to my lack of understanding into the requirements of what went into making a picture. The positive outcome out of it was that the project was still achieved with sight of the end goal in mind at all times. If this medium can continue to be shown to be the most efficient and effective means of delivering business skills and training online to our remote Aboriginal communities then all is worth it. This Innovation's project has dealt with a vital gap that was missing in the area of business knowledge and training delivery to remote Indfigenous communities. The next best alternative to e-learning would be to have had a Kriol speaking lecturer to deliver the training face to face and thus overcome the language barrier with training delivery and assessment.

The filming of close-to-real-life scenarios that depict situations in which remote community members have not been exposed to before, let alone experienced, and seeks to demonstrate that the use of story-telling, as the preferred Aboriginal method of sharing knowledge and history, can be the tool that opens the door to future economic participation. This project deliberately chose the preferred Aboriginal learning style of storytelling to convey its training message to Aboriginal people in remote communities as opposed to other training methods. The script was based on selected Certificate II in Business competencies and was also translated into the local Kriol language for ease of association by the actors and subsequently so it can be better understood by Indigenous students.

Lessons learnt


Time management on this project was its only major conflict, and this arose right from the start. Even when the application for funding window for this 2011 project openned I only had one week to get the work done. I was away on holidays for the remainder three weeks. While I was away I had to get stuck into some specifics of the project in order to finalise the submission. As soon as the application was sent in, and I was back at work, I had to get stuck back into my usual classroom training duties.

Project management is a fine art. I have always been a walk the talk type of person, so organisation and goal attainment are par for the course. But when there are issues beyond my control I did feel a bit of pressure to make things happen. On this I still had to go with the flow, and even that has its nuances and processes. I continue to enjoy my tolerance of ambiguity in people and the climatic environment. I am aware that failure can lurk around every corner and that it can threaten you if you do not stay focussed on your end goals.

So while there is not a new time management lesson in this project for me, I would like to say that as long as you continue to see the road ahead to the goals you set out to achieve, then you can put one foot in front of the other to head in that direction. A higher risk of project failure awaits those who put one foot in front of the other without a constant inkling to look ahead to the end prize. Although your roads can become blocked, or flooded in this case :-), and even though the sight of the road ahead can become lost from interference, knowledge of which direction to head is vital.

The main lesson I really obtained is the insight of the regimented film industry. On this I would like to state again, that there could be a new business which could be established to cater for the gap between a quality training DVD and a blockbuster movie event.

The results

A set of six Certificate II in Business storylines was created for use as an Indigenous business training recource. One of these storylines was developed into a script so it could be filmed as a DVD resource for online training. The storylines had been mapped to cover all the performance critertia in the units chosen for a Certificate II in Business qualification. The DVD resource reduces the reliance on reading and writing and moves to demonstrate skill sets in a storytelling format. The resource incorporates generic worker actions that demonstrate the Certificate II competencies and the worker's thought dialogue which shows a person's thought processes influences their actions.

The KRCOTS e-learning model is especially innovative because it is the only training pathway offerred in the region that is linked to an area specific Indigenous economic development strategy. This economic development strategy uses an individual's or their community's training and skills areas of interest as the development pathway to engage Indigenous and younger learners in their regional and remote community areas. KRCOTS then works towards sustainable employment initiatives through the application of both RPL opportunities, and new models of workplace delivery and assessment and encourages progression towards higher level qualifications which engender individual and community autonomy.

This project was used to establish and build a foundation from which remote Indigenous community employment initiatives can spur economic growth. Without e-training the only alternative available is face to face training and this can be substantially cost prohibitive, and worse still, if it was not conducted by Karrayili, could be less subservient to culturally sensitive approaches to training. The community participants involved in KRCOTS e-learning program will gradually become less prone to subsistence living and they will have gained increased scope to facilitate independent economic development in their remote location.

Our project has been able to develop and improve each participant's level of skill and employability by initially providing them with a competency in the use of the personal computer, KRCOTS Phase One (BSBITU101A). Once this is achieved the students are then able to be progressed onto KRCOTS Phase Two (BSB20107) Certificate II in Business and do so alongside TAFE's industry specific training. Access to e-learning is an integeral opportunity for these Indigenous learner groups to access training in remote Australia as it allows the student to remain on country and develop skills which will contribute to their community's economic independence.

Karrayili has long held a close association to the Aboriginal community which gave rise to it. Karrayili has been able to demonstrated its ongoing committment to the growth and development to its community through its association with this project's innovativeness. The intangible rewards from this is imeasurable. The benefits this project has reaped is the knowledge that Karrayili and e-learning will continue to be an integral part of the community. This is then becomes good for the longer term acceptance and viability of the business' operations into the future.

Karrayili has sucessfully been able to embed a sustainable e-learning solution into its operations.

The final production can be downloaded (in 4 parts) in wmv format here below.
VideoWeb1.wmv
VideoWeb2.wmv
VideoWeb3.wmv
VideoWeb4.wmv

Reflections

Participation in this KRCOTS Phase One and Two project was the first e-learning experience for all the students involved. As its functionality was demonstrated to work, there will be additional training sessions planned for next term and assessments undertaken based on the training delivered. The demonstrated success of this project has already encourage other communities to want to become involved. The learners targeted by this project have begun to identify the wide range of personal benefits that online skills development and training can provide.

This project does not seek to become an overbearing part of the learner or their community's way of life or culture, but it does seek to act as a conduit to realise each Indigenous community's aspirations. This is Karrayili's mission. Employment opportunities based on individual and community areas of interest can be nurtured by the Internet. This can then have positive economic consequences for the empowerment of individual's family and their community.

Framework connection

The national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework[[#_ftn1|[1]]]) funds and supports E-learning Innovationsprojects which aim to embed e-learning into the national training system by supporting and enabling innovation in training design and delivery, at the state and territory level.

This Innovations project has enabled Karrayili to embed e-learning into the national training system through its efficient and effective use of virtual classroom training. Students involved in the virtual classroom log onto a dedicated third party Website. From here they are able to communicate and interact with the lecturer and or each other. As required students learn to screen share their computer's desktop which allows the lecturer to remotely see what the student and their work for assessment purposes.

Acknowledgement

This is a Western Australian E-learning Innovations project output, developed by Karrayili Adult Education Centre Aboriginal Corporation, with seed funding from the Framework.

For more information

Karrayili Adult Education Centre Aboriginal Corporation
Daron Keogh (Project Manager)
Karrayili Remote Community Online Training Strategy (KRCOTS)
Phone: (08) 91915333 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (08) 91915333 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Email: daron@karrayili.org.au

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