Western Metropolitan Region


The use of ICT for teaching and learning in the (Central) Western Region began with a few innovative providers in the 1990s and has since expanded steadily, but not dramatically. Developments by providers have been funded via various government initiatives including LearnScope, TAFE Frontiers and the Region’s own development funds.

The Regional Council has strongly supported these initiatives. In 2001, Council developed a plan to facilitate the professional development of provider staff throughout the region in the use of ICT for teaching and learning (and for enhancing skills in the use of ICT in administration and preparation of learning resources). This PD plan was implemented in subsequent years by the Regional Office arranging appropriate short courses and seminars and providing access to online resources. These activities were also funded by Learnscope, TAFE Frontiers and the Region’s development funds.

The seminars and courses dealt with a range of e-learning topics including pedagogy and the tools and techniques for creating and delivering e-learning. Also, a blended learning course was used to enable provider staff to raise their general ICT skills by qualifying for the International Computer Driving Licence. Because each participant commenced with a different level of skill the program offered a choice of self-paced learning resources: self-instructional workbooks or on-line instruction via the TAFE Virtual Campus. Participants were supported by email, telephone and occasional face-to-face tutorials.

The use of e-learning has been considerably assisted by the Mobile Computer Learning Library, the five sets of which are always fully booked. Loans of this equipment are managed by a regional Technology Committee, which also advises the regional office on how it might support the expansion of e-learning and other CIT matters.

In 2005, a provider (Taskforce) and the Regional Office jointly obtained LearnScope funds to develop a blended learning model for a specific purpose. This project involved conducting workshops on e-learning for the staff involved, and the development of a blended learning course. The course was designed as an “apprenticeship orientation” program targeting the state government’s priority groups (Koories, men over 45, people with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, young people aged 15 and over and people aged over 55).

During 2006/7, the Regional Office conducted a research program to determine the learning needs of individuals from the government’s priority groups of learners who are not currently engaged in ACE services. The researchers focussed on eight growth areas in the Western Region and went to great lengths to locate and interview members of these disadvantaged groups. The report on this work is currently being finalised and a link to it will be posted here ASAP. In the meantime, below is an extract from the Executive Summary of the report. You will notice that many of the barriers preventing members of these disadvantaged groups participating in ACE programs are the issues being addressed by AccessACE.

Key Findings of Target Groups:

1. Target groups such as Men Over 45, Koories, People with a Disability, and Youth all recorded low levels of engagement in ACE services.

2. Individuals from the six stated target groups displayed a low level of engagement in mainstream community services, however often displayed a higher level of engagement in specialised services such as youth support groups, ethno-specific social clubs, sporting and religious organisations and disability services.

3. The selected target groups were often prevented from accessing further education, due to barriers common to residents of the Western region, such as the geographical distance between areas and services, inadequate transport services, lack of social services and financial constraints. Other barriers commonly mentioned included lack of childcare, (particularly relevant for single mothers, CALD and Indigenous), prior negative experiences in educational and other mainstream institutions, health issues, confidence, self perception of age and competing priorities which differed in the case of each group.

4. Most participants from the selected target groups state a preference for short, affordable courses, a high degree of flexibility, a casual, friendly teaching approach and a structure that allowed students to learn at their own pace.

5. Participants from all the stated groups expressed an interest in pursuing both personal interest/life enrichment courses, vocational courses and general education courses. The degree to which particular groups favoured personal interest courses over more vocational/skill based courses differed according to their particular circumstances, with some groups placing equal importance on both types of courses (Indigenous Australians and Single Mothers in particular). For instance, People over 55 and Single Mothers placed a large amount of emphasis on the importance of interest courses, which would provide them with a social outlet and increase their confidence. Whilst particular migrant groups and youth on the other hand, displayed a greater interest in pursuing courses that would give them a qualification and lead to employment opportunities.

6. Providers and participants also stated a need for more pathways from education to employment and saw pursuing courses where there were currently skill shortages, such as aged care and childcare as a means of gaining entry into the workforce. Several cohorts also displayed an interest in pursuing skill-based courses such as computers, literacy and numeracy.


Updates from Werribee Community Centre!

Project aims – to provide an online learningpic9.gif environment for our many adult students who are learning English. We wish to investigate the current online learning skills of students and to produce informative, easy to read, up-to-date materials to cater for visual learners.
The focus will be on the 12 Elective areas of study chosen by the ACE providers of the region. Staff can be seen hard at work, during the inservice!!

Production: - a pilot online learning web site – Intranet – to showcase the possibilities with information and photos about some places in Victoria.
This has also has links to ESL sites on the internet where students can learn the basics of grammar and do tasks to test their knowledge.

Questionnaires: - online and written ones for staff and a simpler tick the box version for students to help ascertain their current use of online teaching/learning resources.

Staff Inservice: held on Friday 25th May, 2007 during which they examine the current Intranet resources.

Online information was prepared for this staff inservice to provide a summary of the main aims of the project and show staff the outlines of the present Electives.
An online survey for staff was also produced, courtesy of
http://e-learningindicators.flexiblelearning.net.au
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During the inservice staff were assisted and encouraged to begin investigations into the topic of their choice, based around the elective areas. They were also shown online “drop boxes” (folders) where they could place materials and ideas they develop.

The Werribee Community Centre has also now published a site where staff and students can use a discussion group and personal web logs to share the ideas they produce.
http://www.werribeecc.com
Update: Progress in July:
Greetings all!!
Our project to establish an Intranet of resources is now starting to take shape and at a recent teachers' day held at the Werribee Community Centre we were able to display some of the work done. Electives with most information include Australian Environment, Australian Government, Paths to Employment, Health & Medicine, Local Environment and Online Language Learning.
Teachers have been encouraged to add more ideas and information and to trial the online materials which are now organised as a neat menu-driven Intranet. Feed back has been invited from both Teachers and students as to ease of use an value of information presented.
Some discoveries I have made along the way:
To transfer a Powerpoint presentation into a neat Web package, open the presentation with "Impress" ( from the OpenOffice suite ) and Export as an HTML document or even as an .swf this works very well!!!
To put a "Publisher" document on the web, save it as as an HTML web page document. You are presented with one opening page and all the other pages in a separate folder. I placed the opening page in with the rest and utilised a neat javascript menu to put it all together.
All the best to everyone!!
Tim Daniels