GippsTAFE has developed a pathway for students undertaking a qualification in Education Support that caters for people without formal secondary qualifications. Completion of the TAFE Diploma allows students to progress to a degree in primary education at Monash University.
Previously training was delivered following a traditional distance education model using paper based workbooks but trainers at GippsTAFE reported that many students felt isolated. With this in mind the trainers want to develop a more engaging model of delivery with an emphasis on online community. The program will use online technologies such as online discussion and reflective blogs to build a supportive community that will allow students to interact with and learn from each other. Learners gain practical experience through work placement in a school and draw on this and a range of other resources to complete a series of online activities. This project is funded under the National VET E-Learning Strategy, E-Learning for Participation and Skills.
Three units from Certificate IV in Education Support have been chosen for this pilot program. The units are:
• CHCEDS408A Support students’ mathematics learning for numeracy
• CHCEDS409A Support students’ literacy learning
• CHCEDS312A Work with diversity in the education environment
Moodle is being used to deliver this training. Each unit includes some theory based information for learners to read through but it is expected that much of their learning will occur through their own research as they complete the four online activities for each unit. Two of the online activities for each unit are discussion based forum activities and these will give learners the opportunity to learn from each other as they would in a classroom based program.
As well as the unit based activities learners will develop an individual learning plan for each unit highlighting their individual goals and achievements. This activity will give them the opportunity to reflect on their learning journey. Learners will be encouraged to share this information by making postings in the course blog.
The program commenced with an intensive orientation week to introduce the learners to the online program. Introductory activities were set up to give the learners the opportunity to get used to some of the online tools they will use. They were encouraged to have a go and given the opportunity to ask lots of questions.
Each unit will be delivered over a two week period and learners are aware that they need to undertake the activities during those two weeks in order to make the program a success. A trainer will be actively supporting the students as they participate in each unit.
We were pleased with the amount of activity that occurred during in the orientation week and positive attitude to learning online that many learners have expressed. The first unit is now underway and we can see that some learners have already made a start.