Project number AS038

Community Learning Lounge


Background


  • Lead organisation: Simple Solutions Training and Consulting

  • Partner(s): Epic Employment Services, STEPS Disability Employment Service, Community Solutions

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The Community Learning Lounge will provide both a physical and virtual learning environment for students undertaking introductory units from the Community Services Training Package which will contribute towards the Certificate III in Aged Care amongst other qualifications. Students who access the physical learning lounge will have access to on site faciltators who can provide them with an elearning orientation and assist them in using the lounge iPads to undertake their training in the elearning environment. Students using their own computers or mobile technology from home or another external location will be able to access the same support via online media that will be provided through our existing Learning Management System (LMS).

Five units of competency will be offered to learners. There will be three initial units of competency delivered to all learners with an additional two units available for those who complete the initial units quickly and wish to continue their studies immediately. The units available will be:
1. CHSOHS312B Follow safety procedures for direct care work
2. HLTHIR403C Work effectively with cultural diverse clients and co-workers
3. CHCCS411B Work effectively in the community sector
4. CHCICS302A Participate in the implementation of individualised plans
5. CHCICS303A Support individual health and emotional wellbeing

All units will be delivered via online learning using moodle as the LMS.

The learning objects used will be customised from existing flexible learning toolboxes that have been developed as part of Australian Flexible Learning Framework projects in past years. The learning objects will be updated to meet the standards of the current training package. They will also be made more engaging with the removal of document based assessment and addition of more innovative and rigorous assessment tools.

These learning tools will be further supported through the development and delivery of elearning orientation and course support videos to personsalise and humanize the learning experience. The videos will be made available for public viewing on YouTube as well as being integrated into the LMS.

The final learning objects will be tested to ensure that they are iPad compatible so that students wishing to access their elearning via an mlearning platform will be able to do so.

In addition, Simple Solutions will be establishing a "learning lounge" in Hervey Bay where students will be able to access facilitators in person as well as technology to participate in their studies. Students attending the learning lounge in person will have access to iPads to undertake their studies.



Project Summary




How will the project improve learner access to improve employment outcomes?

This project is aimed at recruiting jobseekers to participate in elearning to provide them with some introductory training in aged care as well as elearning orientation. Units of competency that contribute towards the Certiicate III in Aged Care have been selected for this project as is an acute need for additional trained staff in the aged care sector. Traditionally, workers in the aged care industry have a relatively low level of computer literacy and a low uptake of elearning options. By using this project to provide elearning to job seekers prior to their entry into this industry there are likely flow on advantages as they go through their career as a good experience at this point will increase the likelihood that they will be more amenable to access further elearning in the future to continue their professional development, thus reducing training costs and improving workforce skills and quality of care in the aged care sector.

How does this project align to the jurisdictional and national priorities?
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The workforce shortages in this industry have been well documented through the Productivity Commmission Inquiry into Aged Care and other plans such as the CommuniSimple solutions moodle content.JPGty Services Skilling Plan and HACC Workforce Engagement Strategy. Conducting this project will therefore contribute not only to the deeper integration of elearning in the VET sector but will also improve skills in job seekers which can in turn lead to greater workforce participation and in an industry which is currently experiencing workforce shortages and has a need for an ever increasing trained workforce for the foreseeable future.

Our target group will require elearning orientation and support to facilitate their successful use of elearning technology. This target group often have a low level of computer literacy and will be likely to need additional support to access elearning. In addition, this target group often lack confidence when accessing training opportunities so the individualisation of their learning program through elearning will be vital to their success. Job Services Australia providers are also key stakeholders in this project and are regularly seeking high quality, flexible and reliable training options for their clients. Through this project, Simple Solutions will be able to offer training that meets industry standards, job seeker needs and Job Services Australia goals for their clients. This will, in turn, provide an ongoing benefit for our aging community in a region that has one of the highest unemployment rates and ageing rates in Australia.

Consultation with stakeholders

We have consulted with a local disability support service and two local employment agencies in the development of this project to determine interest in the proposal and appropriateness of project design. These organisations are all organisations that we have existing memoranda of understanding with regarding the delivery of training to their staff and clients. These organisations will be involved in the recruitment of learners to participate in the project. Following completion of this project it is anticipated that a number of participants will continue to work closely with their Job Services Australia provider to assist them in seeking employment with their improved training.

Intended outcomes from your project

What do you hope to achieve with the funding?

We intend to train 15-20 participants in three to five units of competency from the Community Services Training Package. These students will receive elearning orientation as well as training in introductory units of competency that will contribute towards the Certificate III in Aged Care. Should students find that aged care is not their preferred employment option these units are also compatible with Home and Community Care and Disability qualifications.

As well as the outcomes for learners, we intend to have positive outcomes for our business as an RTO in that this will extend the units we have available for study via elearning and will establish our organistion as a leader in elearning in our local area.


Actual Outcomes resulting from this project

What was done?
Initially, the plan for this project was to customise existing learning objects to bring them up to date with the current training package. However, as a key component of this project was to have elearning available from iPads we encountered some difficulty with this customisation as there were a large number of flash objects in the existing learning objects which do not function on iPads. As result, we have had to develop a range of new resources which took additional time and delayed commencement of training delivery.


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Benefits experienced by


Lead agent: We at Simple Solutions have benefitted from this project with the injection of support for the development of our elearning tools which has driven the development of a new attitude towards elearning within our organisation. The enthusiasm for elearning that has grown within our organisation through this project has allowed us to incorporate the delivery of training via elearning as a key activity in our business plan.
Partner(s): The Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Service providers who have referred participants to this program have appreciated the flexibility of enrolment and have been pleased to be able to offer students who have barriers to traditional classroom style learning an alternative option to achieve their educational goals.
Learners: Our learners have benefitted from the project by being able to undertake their studies at their convenience whilst balancing work and family life. They have also been able to progress at their own pace and those who have accessed the physical learning lounge have also built their elearning skills and confidence with the face to face support of a trainer. One student was employed on the basis that he was undertaking this course with us through this media as it would allow him to progress quickly whilst not interfering with his shift work obligations.

Reflections and Suggestions


The contracting of an instructional designer to assist in the design and development of the elearning tools was invaluable and would be highly recommended to any organisation seeking to develop elearning tools. This person then needs to work closely with content experts to ensure that the final product is both engaging and rigourous and consistent with the unit requirements.

It is important to remember to use tools that students are familiar with like YouTube. When we came across students who were worried about their computer literacy we simply asked if they could email, google, use facebook or use youtube and invariably they said yes and when it was explained that those are the only computer skills they need to participate it made them much more comfortable. By then incorporating our YouTube channel into the training this supported our statement to them of the level of computer literacy that was required.

Sustainability of project outcomes


Following the completion of the project the resources developed and the "learning lounge" will continue to be maintained as a core business activity for our RTO. All learning objects will be regularly reviewed to ensure that they continue to maintain accepted standards and provide a positive learning opportunity for our students. In addition, through our relationships with local organisations we will proactively seek to encourage more learners to access their training in aged care, home and community care and disabilities via this elearning solution.

We also plan to further expand our elearning offerings by continuing customisation of further resources following the completion of the project to ensure that a full qualification is available via elearning by the end of 2012. We see this as being a significant business opportunity and a priority for our investment in our RTO business growth

Acknowledgement

This is a an Access to Skills project output, developed by Simple Solutions Training and Consulting with seed funding from the National VET e-learning strategy.

For more information

For more information on Simple Solutions Training and Consulting contact:
Natalie Sell
CEO
Phone: 07 4128 6882
Email: natalie@simplesolution.com.au

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