Posts Tagged ‘E-Learning for Participation & Skills’

The case studies for the recent E-Learning for Participation and Skills projects have now been finalised and can be accessed at:
VIC215 – Learning for Employment
VIC242 – Educaton Support a Pathway to Teaching

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It has been very exciting to be a part of this project that used iPads to deliver training to young learners with disabilities. We found that the use of mobile technologies increases the learners’ level of engagement and allows them to undertake activities that are suitable for their ability level. There is also the opportunity for them to move to new levels as their skills develop.

We found that it was important to use apps that were appropriate to the learners’ individual level of ability rather than worrying that the graphics might be too “babyish”. The learners were very supportive of each other in this respect but in a different group this could be an issue to consider.

This group found the iPads easy to use and because they are not bulky they are unobtrusive and still allow the learners to feel part of a group and focus on the teacher when necessary without being distracted by bulky screens and other equipment.

Click here to watch a video about this project and the learners’ achievements.

We have created this list of tips for other organisations and teachers who may wish to run a program similar to this. Here they are:

  • Start enrolment process earlier so there is time to gather ID
  • Start with a few apps and add to this each week so that learners are not overwhelmed to begin with and they have something new to engage in each week
  • Spend time in each of the apps before you use them in class so that you can answer any technical questions in class
  • Set up the administration part of the app before taking them into class – this can be time consuming but makes for a smoother class
  • Take photos each week for evidence of engagement
  • Teach students to take screen shots when they have completed tasks for evidence
  • Look for apps that have a reporting mechanism
  • Be mindful of American apps where the language may be different eg: money notes / bills
  • If using apps with voice you may need to spend time arranging the speed of voice so that it is easily understood
  • Look for apps with levels so that students can move through at their own pace
  • Use a combination of apps and teaching styles in each lesson to cater for all students
  • Purchase headphones so that each student can be listening to their own app
  • Spend time getting to know each student

The project VIC242 – Education Support a Pathway to Teaching was recently completed and was a voyage of discovery for all. Here is a summary of our findings.

The Education Support online program provided students with an innovative alternative to traditional paper-based workbooks. Students enjoyed the opportunity to interact with each other in the online space and found that participating in the discussion forum activities allowed them to learn from each other.

The online activities that were set up allowed students to explore the topics in a variety of ways; students were encouraged to use the internet to search for content and examples to share with the group as well as reflect on their own experiences. This variety ensured students with different learning styles were engaged by the program and provided scaffolding for them to move their learning to a higher level.

The teachers involved also found that the program enjoyable. They liked interacting with the students online and enjoyed reading and assessing the wide variety of responses to each of the learning activities.

This model could provide efficiencies for GippsTAFE by combining students from different courses who are studying common units of competency.

Click here to hear more about this project.

We have created this list of tips for other organisations and teachers who may wish to run a program similar to this. Here they are:

  • The delivery model could be adapted to a range of courses and teaching situations
  • Work out a facilitation plan for the teachers so they know what to do and when, this can include when to post announcements and when to contact students who are falling behind
  • Start the move to online learning by targeting specific units of competency from a course, set these up online then add more units as the teachers develop the necessary skills and have time available
  • Spend time and energy fostering the development of an online community
  • Include an orientation period/week
  • Support teachers by having regular meetings with a mentor experienced in the area of online delivery (In this project this was a member of the GippsTAFE Innovation Department)
  • Set up an electronic spread sheet with student names and contact details to facilitate group e-mails and efficient communication (This was used for all sorts of purposes not just for the online group. It is a practice that will be continued in the future)
  • Provide an Online Communication Hub as a way for students to communicate and support each other
  • Combine groups of students when units of competency are used in several courses
  • Take the time to develop clear and simple instructions for each activity

GippsTAFE is currently delivering training to a group of learners in South Gippsland who have a disability. This training forms part of the project funded under the National VET E-Learning Strategy, E-Learning for Participation and Skills.

The training is now under way and the learners are making good progress and, more importantly, they are having a lot of fun using a range of apps on their iPads.

PuppetPals has proved to be a popular app and is a great way of improving the learners’ literacy skills.

Lisa Kuhne has organised the training program and is currently delivering the training sessions. She has found that using iPad apps alongside traditional worksheets and group work is a successful mix. The learners are engaged and happy with their learning. Apps that include levels to pass are proving to be the most successful as the sense of achievement felt when a new level is passed provides great motivation to the learners.

groupVic215
 Some of the students at a recent training session.

Lisa reported the following achievements from this weeks session:

  • One learner completed 17 levels of a maths app and was incredibly proud. He refused to take a break as he wanted to keep going.
  • Another learner, usually very hard to engage, worked for over half an hour on a money recognition app.
  • The money recognition app was popular with another learner but he had lots of trouble adding up money so next week we are going to give him actual coins to work alongside the app.
  • One learner with more advanced skills took it upon herself to do further investigation of apps to find ones that would challenge her further.
  • Another learner was so motivated  that he would not stop for a break as he wanted to continue on his maths app. He reached level 7 today which was a huge effort.

Over 70 staff from Monash and GippsTAFE attended the eLearning Forum held on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at the Switchback Gallery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus. Our two very important themes for the day were centred around assessment and student engagement within the online environment. The Forum was aimed at sharing ideas about online delivery, highlighting innovation in the development of online assessments, showcasing good teaching practice, and providing networking opportunities for staff from both organisations.

We have collected most of the presentations given on the day and provide them here for you to view.

Presentations

Morning session:  Theme – Designing relevant online assessment

 Afternoon session:  Theme – Engaging students online

The major focus of this project will be the use of mobile technologies.

Members of the project team have been busy working on different aspects of this project:

  • Lynn attended a webinar organised by the ACE network called Using iPads to enhance teaching and learning. The focus of this presentation was the need to get students using iPads to create digital objects and then combine these into a project rather than just using these tools as a way to access the internet. Click here to access the recording.
  • Lisa is investigating the toolbox Basic Skills in the Cybercentre and is liaising with Yooralla to discuss the specific requirements of the potential participants to ensure this program will meet individual needs
  • Malcolm has discussed promotion of the program with the GippsTAFE Marketing Department
  • Paul suggested the use of the app Scene Speak with this cohort, unfortunately this is not a free app

E-Learning Strategy

This project will use an e-learning strategy that involves the inclusion of specific weekly tasks for students to complete in the online space (GippsTAFE Online – Moodle). It is intended that these tasks will be building blocks for the students as they work towards their final assessments for each unit. Students will be encouraged to complete the tasks with specified time frames to ensure that collaborative activities, such as forums, function in a successful manner. This strategy is based on Gilly Salmon’s model which uses E-tivities to enhance online participation.

A document was prepared for use by the project team and teachers that listed Moodle Resources and Activities including a short description of each so that they can begin planning. Teachers were also referred to the, very useful, Moodle Guide for Teachers.