Hume Regions

The momentum for elearning in the Hume Region gathered pace in 2002 with a Learnscope funded project investigating and providing professional development to improve IT skills for ACE coordinators. Follow up Learnscope projects have focussed on skills development for tutors providing recent participants with the opportunity to gain two e-learning units from the Business Studies training package.

In 2004, TAFE Frontiers funded the Region to develop an online learning platform which has proven to be a successful backbone for e-learning project activities. The Learner Management System "Studyzone" was adopted by the region as the online interface for regional projects. Participants would have password access and be able to retrieve stored materials, take part in conversations, store e-learning training materials and provide access to weblogs, podcasts, wikis and other tools from around the world.

The Region has been involved in a range of AFLF projects including Learnscope, New Practices and Community Engagement. The New Practices project was about using podcasting for disadvantaged and rurally isolated learners. The two Community Engagement projects, in partnership with Wodonga Insitute of TAFE, assisted in developing links with community groups by introducing them to new learning tools (eg GPS and digital story telling). The 2006 digital story telling project (Harnessing Rural Skills: People, Places, Pastimes) was very successful in getting people back into learning, demonstrated by enrolments in ACE courses in 2007.

In 2006, two ACE organisations from the Hume Region (Shepparton ACE and The Centre for Continuing Education) and one from Lodden Mallee (Future Connections) investigated creative learning options for youth at risk learners. This project allowed students to express themselves through digital story telling and video, incorporating voice, visual presentation, text and music. Shepparton ACE students wrote and produced a movie "No Glove, No Love" and now incorporate movie stories in their youth activities. The timing of this project was fortuitous in that the re-accredited CGEA includes options to use a range of e-learning tools.

In 2007, the Region will use the experience of these projects to expand PD opportunities to more tutors and to investigate new ways of engaging hard to reach learners. Projects include:

- The E-literate CGEA Tutor (Learnscope project for CGEA tutors to upgrade their IT skills and to develop and pilot e-learning tools and methods for application across the new CGEA curriculum)
- Online community for CGEA tutors via Studyzone to develop and share templates and resources to assist with the transition to the new CGEA curriculum
- Digital Story Telling - PD to tutors, particularly CGEA tutors, who were unable to take part in DST training in 2006

A focus of the 2007 Regional Conference "The Nexus" will be the application of e-tools in learning. We will set out ambitiously to audio visually document the conference, offer a dedicated stream of workshops in e-learning and to demonstrate by "doing" the benefits of e-technology in learning.

At the ACE organisation level, CEACA of Alexandra is using Learnscope funding to develop e-learning in its Cert IV in Training and Assessment delivery and a number of providers are using DST to engage hard to reach learners.

Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre, using FACSIA funding is delivering a series of DST courses to farming communities in the North East. Called "Don't talk about the Drought", the response to this social engagement and learning activity has so far been very positive with high levels of support from rural communities hit by droughts, fires and the closure of the local tobacco industry.

Yackandandah Community Education Network has taken part in many ACFE funded projects over the last couple of years, including some at a national level funded by AFLF. All have involved some form of e-learning. The coordinator has used wikispaces, blogs, studyzone, podcasting, TafeVC, elluminate, live classroom and digital stories. The coordinator recently received three units from an e-learning diploma resulting from project involvement from 2005. This previous experience has helped greatly with the Access ACE project.