AS037 E-learning goes Viral

Background


This project application is for the development and delivery of a Unit of Competency (HLTIN403C) via e-learning utilising Elluminate web conferencing software and for the development of resources to support this model of delivery. The delivery strategy combines online and face-to-face modes to provide flexible opportunities for learners to progress towards a Diploma of Nursing. This qualification is on the skills shortage and priority occupation list. The outcomes expected from this project are to enable job-seekers to engage in the workforce through employment, and to support employees (existing workers) in achieving higher levels of responsibility through promotion related outcomes. This project is supported by priorities at the regional, state and national level in its objective of engaging more learners in the Diploma of Nursing as a skills priority area, as well as support of the achievement of higher level qualifications, furthered by its direct articulation arrangements and pathways to higher education.

  • Lead organisation
    Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE

  • Partner(s)
    QLD Health, Sunshine Coast Health Service District
    Sundale Residential Aged Care


Project Summary

How will the project improve learner access to improve employment outcomes?
Delivery of a component of the Diploma of Nursing will enable learners from wider demographics, access to training in this highly employable Vocational Training area, providing them with enhanced employability skills in relation to their use of technology. Currently students that access the program are limited by geographical proximity, and by the timetabling constraints incurred by face to face delivery. These factors impact upon the participants’ ability to meet the demands of work and family commitments. For those learners who are existing workers, skills shortage demands within the industry place additional pressure on employers to make the attendance at face to face training difficult to balance with other priorities and that provides a barrier for completion, leading to attrition. Flexible delivery through e-learning will seek to remove this barrier and enable learners to achieve their qualification goals.

The course component selected for development is HLTIN403C Implement and Monitor Infection Control Policy and Procedures. The unit that has been selected is one of the final units of competency within the Diploma of Nursing. It is in this final stage of learning that Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE experiences attrition due to family and work commitments. It is expected that the provision of an e-learning option that provides increased access to learning opportunities will provide the necessary flexibility for these learners to manage their personal priorities and achieve qualification.

The learners who are engaged with the program, presently delivered in face to face mode, are predominantly job-seekers, and it is expected that by moving delivery to e-learning that more existing workers from the health industry will engage with the program in order to improve their employment status through promotion. Of the cohort, an estimated 65% are working as assistant nurses and will gain promotion to enrolled nurse, greater responsibility and higher remuneration following completion of the Diploma qualification. This also enables them greater opportunities for articulation and a more transportable qualification in terms of working inter-state. An estimated 35% of the proposed cohort are job-seekers. It is expected that 80% of the cohort will be employed within 6 months of graduation based on previous qualitative data.

These learners are from geographically disparate areas, or are employed in a high demand shortage area, with travel for face to face attendance at learning opportunities an inhibiting factor with regards to progress towards qualification. It has been identified that the learners have access to technological infrastructure either in the workplace or at home to facilitate participation in e-learning opportunities. Predominantly women (80%), the majority of learners engaged with the Diploma of Nursing qualification within Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE fall in the under 21 year age demographic (31.8%). With established direct articulation pathways to higher education (26.9% of Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE learners engaging in an Advanced Diploma or Bachelor program post-graduation (NCVER, 2011)) progress in this qualification can be seen as lending significant support to achievement of the federal goal of increasing higher level qualification in youths for achievement of 40 per cent of all 25–34-year-olds possessing a qualification at bachelor level or higher (Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations, 2011). Equity groups form a higher than average component of students entering nursing through VET pathways, with pathways from VET forming a substantial percentage (24%) of university intakes in this field.

The learning approach for this project will provide learners with the opportunity to attend class either face to face, or via Elluminate with resources provided via the My.TAFE (Janison LMS) platform. Using Elluminate Plan and Publish, recorded Elluminate sessions will be made available to learners to provide enhanced flexibility of delivery. Part of the project will include the trialling of exported sessions on a range of platforms in conjunction with an iPad pilot in which the Nursing educators are presently engaged.

This project seeks to extend the professional development undertaken by these VET Practitioners into practice. The use of blended e-learning technology to further incorporate e-learning facilitation as a study option, will provide much-needed flexible learning opportunities to the student cohort, and establish e-learning champions within the School of Health.

The model (illustrated below) is expected to experience significant growth as a framework for e-learning deployment within the Institute. This project will provide a significant case study for the future implementation of this framework to encourage further uptake, as well as to embed this style of e-learning facilitation within the School of Health. My.TAFE (Janison LMS) will provide the platform for learning resources, course scaffolding and communication, with options for either Elluminate or face-to-face delivery.

Figure 1: Model of Delivery

SCIT_access_to_skills_model.png

How does this project align to the jurisdictional and national priorities?
This project application focuses on the development and delivery of a Unit of Competency (HLTIN403C Implement and monitor infection control policy and procedures) from the Diploma of Nursing (HLT51607) qualification. It is proposed that the project will use e-learning to provide enhanced access for learners to flexible training opportunities to progress towards a skills shortage qualification. The expected project outcomes are to enable job-seekers to engage in the workforce, and employees (existing workers) to achieve higher levels of responsibility through promotion related outcomes.

Nursing is listed on the Skilled Occupations list (Skills Australia, 2011) as well as Priority Occupation lists, identifying Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses as being skills shortage areas. This project also supports Queensland Government initiatives including Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative through engaging learners to progress towards qualification in a skills shortage area (Queensland Government, 2009-2010). Pertinent to the Sunshine Coast Region, health is identified as a key employment growth area in the Sunshine Coast Regional Roadmap 2011 (Regional Development Association, 2011). The Sunshine Coast region has been identified by Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations as a priority region due to high rates of unemployment , and the Regional Employment Plan identifies health services as an emerging sector for potential growth for new jobs in the region (DEEWR, 2010). The Health Vocational area, and specifically Nursing, is a state training priority. This is particularly the case regionally, associated directly with the staged opening of the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The first stage of the hospital anticipates recruitment of 1000 new staff, with the final stage opening in 2016 expected to create an additional 2500 new jobs. With this in mind, the health workforce within the region is expected to double by 2013 and triple by 2016 (Queensland Health, 2011).

Additionally, progress towards this qualification meets national priorities (Skills Australia, 2011) for increased participation and achievement of higher level qualifications as well as objectives 3.3 of the National VET e-learning Strategy. Learners commencing the Diploma of Nursing do not have previous higher level qualifications, with a portion of learners entering into the Diploma with a Certificate III/IV in a health related qualification. Upon completion of the Diploma learners are able to register with the national body AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Registration Association) for registration as an Enrolled Nurse. Learners who complete the Diploma of Nursing receive 12 months credit with any University into the Bachelor program, and formal articulation agreements have already been established with University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Southern Queensland. The representative demographics of nursing students are also worthy of attention in addressing issues of equity and increasing training outcomes for those from low socio-economic backgrounds. A study by Moodie (2010) evidenced while 20% of all VET transfers to Higher Education represented students from low socio-economic backgrounds, the percentage of students from this demographic in nursing pathways was higher at 24% (Moodie, 2010, p. 1).This project supports the Skills for prosperity – Roadmap for VET objective 7 (7.2 Harnessing the learning opportunities of the digital age) and objective 8 (8.1, 8.2, 8.3) through its support of learner progress towards higher level qualifications and integration across the tertiary sector through articulation arrangements with universities (Skills Australia, 2011).Through engaging with existing workers and job seekers, as well as providing an opportunity for VET practitioners to build capability in the design and delivery of e-learning, this project supports the Queensland Skills Plan (2008) in achieving:

  • Action 1: Developing the skills of existing workers and apprentices
    • 1.2 Supporting innovative skilling partnerships through partnerships with the University of Sunshine Coast and articulation pathways with both USC and USQ.
    • 1.3 Designing new skills development pathways
    • 1.5 Promoting the skills development of existing workers
  • Action 2: Engaging unemployed and under-employed peopleAction 4: Building the capacity of the Queensland VET sector through capability building within the Sunshine Coast TAFE nursing team in support of the VET Futures program enabled by Queensland VET Development Centre.
    • 2.1 Improving access for people under-employed or outside of the workforce

This project engages in partnerships with Queensland Health (Nambour Hospital), Sundale Community and Aged Care facility, and is supported by existing relationships with USQ and USC, providing a vested industry involvement in the success of this project.

Consultation with stakeholders
Additional stakeholders involved in the project include Sundale community and aged care facility, Queensland Health andNambour Hospital, whose learners will engage with the program.

A reference group comprising these stakeholders and additionally representation from articulation partners University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Southern Queensland will be established for the purpose of input, review and feedback.

Intended outcomes from your project

What do you hope to achieve with the funding? .
The intended overall outcomes of this project are to:
  • Assist students to balance study and work commitments
  • Improve the quality of educational tools and resources
  • Further develop current support of e-learning
  • Reduce attrition in the final semester of study
  • Improve access to priority area training and subsequent employment or improved employment status (through promotion to enrolled Nurse)
  • Facilitate learner progress towards qualification at a higher level
  • Improve capacity to conduct e-learning through capability building the team of nursing educators at Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE
  • Establish e-learning champions within the school of Health
  • Address State and Territory priorities supported through the e-learning initiative

Specific outcomes and measures, in alignment with the National VET e-learning Strategy are:
  • Number of participating learners who improve their qualification status through progress to a higher qualification. The expected minimum number of learners who will complete the selected course component in first semester, 2012 is 25 with expected learner completions of the e-learning unit to comprise an additional 60 learners by the end of 2013.
  • Employment outcomes both in engagement in the workforce (job-seekers) and promotion (existing workers) to be measured over the medium and long term post project completion through quantitative and qualitative research.

Actual Outcomes resulting from this project


The theory component of this unit was primarily delivered by web conferencing using iConnect (Elluminate) with the Learning Management System (LMS) my.TAFE (Janison) providing a hub/access point for course announcements, document library, forums and assessment upload facilities. This is illustrated in the Figure 1- Model of Delivery above. Students were initially given an introduction to the web conferencing platform and my.TAFE in a face to face session. See my.TAFE 'Welcome' page below:
Unit front page image.JPG
my.TAFE unit 'Welcome' page

The HLT51607 Diploma of Nursing delivery is divided into three stages and the HLTIN403B Implement and monitor infection control policy and procedures unit is delivered in the third stage of the qualification. 32 students enrolled in the unit to be delivered. The teacher who facilitated the delivery had previously built up a rapport with at least nine (9) of the students when she had delivered other units. The nine (9) students were from Sundale Residential Aged Care.

The remaining 23 students came from a variety of areas with many of them undertaking vocational placement with Queensland Health, Sunshine Coast Health Service District.


Image2.jpg
Image: Erica O'Donoghue - teacher
The delivery went from 5 March – 30 April with the final assessment completion date after that time. See Timetable / Checklist image attached:

Timetable checklist image final.JPG
Timetable / Checklist Overview

Students were able to upload all final assessment to the my.TAFE platform where they received timely comment back from their teacher.
See assessment schedule below:

Assessment Schedule image.JPG
Assessment Schedule - my.TAFE page

See Assessment 1 upload page image which included an in-page forum:


Assessment Upload page image.JPG
All summative theory assessment was uploaded online

Benefits experienced by


Lead agent
Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE acknowledges that nursing is an emerging sector in the local region with potential growth for new jobs with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital project commencement. This project has enabled our Nursing staff to trial the e-learning approach for this unit of competency.

The opportunity provided by this funding has required one member of the nursing team to become a web conferencing moderator in order to deliver to this group of students. More staff now wish to undertake their own moderator training. This training has enabled the teacher involved to have full access to all of the functionality available for bookings, scheduling and running classes in the system.

The other benefits to the Institute have been:

  • Further develop current support of e-learning
  • Improve capacity to conduct e-learning through capability building the team of nursing educators
  • It has established e-learning champions within the School of Health
  • Reduce attrition in the final semester through more flexible study options
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Image: SCIT ePOD (eLearning Projects and Online Development) team staff members Urs Zwygart and Simon Orsborn who provided my.TAFE support to the project
Partner(s)

Claire Hallinan, Acting Nursing Director Education and Research, Qld Health Sunshine Coast Health Service District (ACHSD) spoke of the importance of creating a culture where online delivery and resources were accepted practice in the training environment and for ongoing currency. She also stressed the value of having specific aseptic techniques demonstrated in video in the course and how important it was to have principle based methods which could be applied to any procedure. Claire stated she felt a great job had been done on the project and how important it was to have a strict review around currency of information to ensure up-to-date relevance based delivery. She said the different modality used to engage learners in this project was a requirement for increasing the workforce and taking advantage of technology trends.

Christine Willmot, Learning and Development Coordinator, Sundale Residential Aged Care had kept in contact with the teacher and the Sundale students embraced the benefits of web conferencing and using my.TAFE which provided access to the recordings if they had missed the ‘live’ sessions because of work commitments.

The SCIT nursing team valued the input from Claire and Christine in relation to content advice and assessment during the course. Similarly, both Sundale and Qld Health, Sunshine Coast Health District valued being able to make constructive comment regarding the delivery.

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Image: Jodie Crowther (SCIT), Erica O’Donoghue (Teacher SCIT), Claire Hallinan (Qld Health – SCHSD) and Lynne Jones (SCIT)
Learners

The learners were able to trial a new way of interacting with their peers and their teacher. They were able to access the training at a time and place that suited them. Some of the positive comments from students included:

  • Convenience of any time access
  • Valued the clarity of how things were organised
  • Ease of the online submission of assessment work
  • Would consider more online learning in the future
  • Enjoyed the videos as they helped bring topics together
  • Not having to come into class
  • Flexibility
  • Fast reply in emails

The students all interacted well in the online forums. Students were able to access the Library resources from within the my.TAFE platform.

General Nursing Image page.JPG

Students were also able to access an online Library literacy course called SURF directly from the my.TAFE platform.

Resource_Finder SURF image.JPG

Reflections and Suggestions


Most of the students by Level three (3) are all working and it is much more difficult for them to attend online asynchronous sessions at a set time. The teacher felt that it would be better to pre-record the actual web conferencing session content that students could view in their own time and follow up with interactive online tutorials which could be more focused on the discussion side. During the project all web conferencing sessions were recorded for later access however the students did not agree that attendance in the first instance should be mandatory.

A small number of the students in this group embraced the online delivery as they had already undertaken a small amount of delivery via my.TAFE previously. Other students were not has happy because when they had originally enrolled they thought they had enrolled in face to face delivery and were not comfortable with the change.

In future the students would need more support initially as some of them were not able to attend the initial face to face session. Many of the students were not comfortable with this online delivery approach even though the Industry Reference Group saw its value as a way of self-managing learning and being a necessary skill for the future to maintain currency for life-long learning.

More work is being done in the teaching team to support students to overcome this reticence to embrace other forms of delivery other than face to face as it is an important employability skill for the future that students are comfortable with these other mediums. Especially in Nursing where currency of knowledge and clinical skill application is essential.


The results


Of these 32 students – Approximately 24 have completed all assessment including successful completion of the clinical skills component required in vocational placement. The remaining eight students have to complete minor resubmission requirements for assessment before they will be deemed competent. It is believed that all students except one (1) will complete the unit successfully.

It should be noted that even though there was some resistance to this form of delivery from some students, all students handled the online upload of assessment, forum posting and web conferencing interactions and chat very successfully.

The teacher, Erica O’Donoghue had steep learning curve in web conferencing moderation and even though this was a first experience she handled it admirably and had lots of ideas on how it could be improved for the future. Erica was supported by the ePOD (eLearning Projects and Online Development) team at Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE to publish the recordings of her web conferencing sessions.

The project was publicised internally in the Insititute Staff Communication sessions by Lisa Molloy the Head of School for Health and Sport. Erica O'donoghue and Lynne Jones presented the project at the state wide online IConnect Community of Practice in April and Erica responded to lots of interested questions from around the state about the project.

Overall, it was a successful result and a rewarding project to be involved with as the only way that the boundaries shift in delivery is to put new approaches into practice.


Sustainability of project outcomes


As this project will model the way in the Diploma of Nursing, it is expected that positive learner feedback as well as success against the measures identified will provide support for the implementation of e-learning into other units of competency within the Diploma of Nursing. Through professional development delivered to the team of VET practitioners, this project will improve Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE’s capability to deliver e-learning, with a particular focus on facilitation of e-learning which is seen as key to this model of deployment.
It is planned that upon successful implementation of the project, that in the second phase, each educator within the team will embed e-learning into a unit of delivery, establishing this team as e-learning champions within the School of Health. The model which is being trialled in this project has been identified as a framework that has potential to be implemented throughout the Institute to assist Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE in achieving its e-learning targets which form part of the Teaching and Assessment Strategy and Institute Strategic Plan.
The tangible outcomes of this project which can be shared with other private and public RTOs will be a case study, model, and resources to support this model of delivery. These outcomes will be shared through publication as discussed above, through the state wideTeaching and Learning Network (TALN) as well as through flexiblelearning.net.au.

Acknowledgement

This is a an Access to Skills project output, developed by Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE in partnership with Sundale and QLD Health with seed funding from the National VET e-learning strategy.

For more information

For more information on Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE
Lynne Jones
Manage, ePOD (Elearning Projects and Online Development)
07 5457 1658
lynne.jones@det.qld.gov.au

For more information on Sundale Residential Aged Care
Christine Willmot
Learning and Development Coordinator
07 5441 0770
chris.willmot@sundale.org.au


For more information on QLD Health Sunshine Coast Health Service District

Claire Hallinan
Acting Nursing Director Education and Research
07 5470 5220
claire_hallinan@health.qld.gov.au


For more information on the Access to Skills program:
Phone: (08) 9229 5200
Email: accesstoskills@dtwd.wa.gov.au
Website: www.flexiblelearning.net.au