WA10EL314 - My Beach (Sigh Bar Bay) 2010

Executive Summary

Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) is Western Australia’s largest volunteer based emergency service organisation, with a membership of more than 18,000 people, 5000 of which patrol our beaches.The heart and soul of the association is SLSWA’s volunteer base offering their time to provide safer, enjoyable beaches along the West Australian coastline.SLSWA’s membership continues to grow significantly with an average increase of 12% registered over the last four seasons. Despite this increase in membership the number of active patrolling members has not increased at the same rate. In addition to this, the number of Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue) qualifications and Bronze Medallion awards being delivered had stagnated and our numbers of qualified trainers and assessors was on the decline due to the increased workloads and expectations of operating as an RTO. The My Beach project has provided a solution to reduce the pressure on trainers and assessors and improve volunteers access to Bronze Medallion and Surf Rescue theory training.


In 2008 Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) launched the Certificate II in Public Safety e-learning resource (assessment only) developed using Framework E-learning Innovations funding. The program was hosted on SLSWA’s learning management system (LMS) and trials have been conducted at most WA life saving clubs.
Member feedback (from both new learners and the members of the existing trainer and assessors) was positive. This was a pilot project for SLSWA, and the success of its outcome has been monitored by the state and national body who now view e-learning as a future model for both theory delivery and assessment to the volunteer network.

The next strategic goal for SLSWA was to develop a full e-learning and assessment resource for Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue).


What was done

The project team consists of:

Team Member
Role in team
Skills (related to the project)
John King
Project Management
Project manage
TAA Qualified Trainer Assessor, Surf Life Saving experience 40 years, Employed Member Education and Training Coordinator SLSWA.
Kelly Barker
Admin Assistant
Project administration and reporting
Education background, TAA Trainer Qualified, computer literate, Surf Life Saving Experience 4yrs.
Christine Sutton
Education Designer
Project design, systems administration
B.Ed.,Grad. Dip. Ed.Studies, Dip. Teacher Librarianship
Australian Flexible Learning Leader
Cert IV Assessment and Workplace Training
26 years in the eLearning field
8 years in eLearning/online learning in Vocational Education & Training
Education Manager for a number of large corporate
HR and Training specialist
Lead ID for of ‘Working on Government’ online
Sarah Bock
Instruction Designer
Content presentation design
Graphic design tertiary qualifications with extensive Flash designer and developer, and Course Developer in government and private sector. More than 12 years instructional design and client consultation experience.
Ben Piper
Graphic Designer
Presentation design and appearance
Diploma Graphic Design and experienced Flash and graphic artist
Narelle Souter
Content Developer, Project Management
Project management and learning material compliance and structure
Qualified TAA training and assessor, and experienced project manager. Volunteer surf lifesaver. HR specialist with experience in managing the HR division of a large organisation
Experienced ID of text based, classroom resources for various organisations. Experienced Quality Manager for large organisations.
Peter Ashby
RTO Management
Oversee the project from an RTO and management perspective.
Member and Community Services Manager SLSWA.

In 2008 SLSWA launched the Certificate II in Public Safety e-learning resource (assessment only) developed using Framework E-learning Innovations funding. The program was hosted on SLSWA’s LMS and trials were conducted at most WA life saving clubs. Member feedback (from both new learners and the members of the existing trainer and assessors) was positive.
This was a pilot project for SLSWA, and the success of its outcome was monitored by the state and national body who now views e-learning as a future model for both theory delivery and assessment to the volunteer network.
The next strategic goal for SLSWA was to develop a full e-learning and assessment resource for Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue). Prior to September 2010, the existing e-learning resource needed changes and expansion of the learning content and objects to reflect current practices and Training Package amendments.
SLSWA sought funding to make these changes which will embed e-learning as the preferred method to deliver theory content to volunteers in the surf life saving movement in Western Australia.

The national body support the extension of SLSWA e-learning resources and intend to utilise the product nationally. As the original developers of the program SLSWA will retain quality control and maintenance of the content and learning objects to ensure it meets the requirements.
Skilling members to be qualified to deliver accredited training is time-consuming and requires a high human resource commitment. By using e-learning to deliver the Certificate II theory component it reduces the workload on the training and assessment network whilst delivering content that will maintain the AQF and organisational standards.
Time commitment was again identified in the 2009 National Survey of Volunteering Issues as a major barrier to volunteers and the organisation delivering the service:-
“Not enough capacity (funding and time) to provide necessary volunteer training and skills development to take advantage of available resources.”
The need to address these issues was the driving force behind SLSWA’s 2008 Innovations submission to offer on-line training in its entry-level award (Certificate II in Public Safety [Aquatic Rescue]). Member acceptance of the e-learning product in the trial phase encouraged SLSWA to extend this mode to deliver all theory training as an e-learning choice.


Benefits experienced by Life Savers

There are two volunteer client groups addressed by this project:
The patrolling member who must gain their Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue) and
Trainers and Assesors network who deliver and assess the Certificate in Public Safety.

The current method of delivery requires approximately 40 hours of face-to-face time in a class-room / workplace environment.
Member acceptance of the e-learning assessment resource developed under 2008 Framework E-learning Innovations was high. Member and
Trainers and Assessors feedback indicated a demand for additional e-learning material to be developed.

Many of the Trainer and Assessors network combine their duties as a volunteer patrolling member with the demands of delivering the training to new members. To perform delivery the Training and Assessors must hold the training package requirement of the industry award (Certificate II) and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or its equivalent.
The provision of online learning content as well as on-line assessment means members and trainers/assessor will be able to reduce their personal time commitment in travel to and from and performance of activities in the classroom/work place.

Developing the program to accommodate our needs was largely completed by professional outside developers ( E-learn Australia ) and the content integrity was controlled by SLSWA staff and consulting team. Weekly meetings were conducted with development participants from all over Australia via Elluminate to keep the development on track. As a result of changes to the National Training Manual Resource the time consuming task of mapping to units of competency and then coming up with an assessment tool to match was frustrating and delayed progress. The mapping process was thorough and the communication through Elluminate became very familiar and rewarding and the development of the program that has the capacity to accommodate a Nation wide registry along with upgrading to the new version of Moodle resulted. Rolling the program out to gain National acceptance was the next challenge.

The e-learning process has now been firmly established as the preferred method of delivery and assessment of the theory component of Lifesaving's core qualification.

Lessons learnt

Key lessons learnt doing this project was allocating appropriate time to project development and maintaining the focus of the team when other work is a major distraction. It almost became necessary to employ a full time staff member to keep up with the demand on completion targets. The work required to complete the project and to develop user guides and other hard copy candidate and assessment resource for simultaneous roll out was underestimated. Significant changes to any work were recorded in Dot Project and all meetings on Elluminate were recorded.

The results

The latest version of the project has now been rolled out to all Surf Life Saving Trainers and Assessors in WA. As the surf season was half way completed there, were only a few squads that commenced the new program with many still completing the old version.
The new upgraded version has been introduced with a self registration facility that has greatly reduced the administration function of internal staff. The program was reconstructed to align with the new nationally produced Training Manual and the units of competency. The new version has been tested thoroughly to eliminate errors and has been well received by current users. The success will be monitored by the registered training organisation (RTO) through feedback from both trainers and candidates on course completion. Regional areas are now getting involved as a result of a comprehensive roll out and user guides supplied. The time saved, distance to travel and the working-away issues have all been addressed. Emphasis is placed on the ’blended learning model’ of delivery as e-learning will not cover all the skills required for the type of course we deliver. The learner’s feedback opportunities are offered throughout the course delivery and in particular at the physical assessment. If an error is found users are encouraged to contact to the RTO.

The measure of success is the comparison of candidates that register for online theory assessment against the number that complete both the theory and practical assessment. A report can be produced by the system at any given time.

The program has been developed as a generic learning tool for all Surf Lifesavers throughout Australia and it has already received much interest from New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania. There has been a resistance to change from both Queensland and Victoria to date.

Reflections and suggestions

This project would not have got off the ground without the significant contribution from e-learning Innovations and the expertise of Chris Sutton and her development team at E-Learn Australia. We are continuing to develop the e-learning form of delivery and assessment by adding other awards that will benefit the operational skill of the front line Lifesaver.

Framework connection

The national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework) funds and supports E-learning Innovations projects 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.

The output of this project has been delivered to the WestOne Services, Department of Training and Workforce Development as per the funding obligations. The program will sit in LORN for further use by other interested parties.



This is a Western Australian E-learning Innovations project output, developed by Surf Life Saving WA, with seed funding from the Framework.


For more information

For more information on SLSWA:
John King
Project Manager
My Beach (Sigh Bar Bay)
Phone: (09) 9243 9444
Email: jking@mybeach.com.au
For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework:
Phone: (07) 3307 4700
Email: enquiries@flexiblelearning.net.au
Website: www.flexiblelearning.net.au