AS091

AS091 E-profiling Smart Phone App

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Background

  • Lead Organisation
    • MITAC - Major Industries Training Advisory Council

  • Partner(s)
    • Charles Darwin University - The RTO
    • eProfiling - The existing service provider
    • Kintek - The Developer

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Old Way - attempting to access eProfiling website via an iPhone

Project Summary


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

As a licensed trade the requirement for ensuring on the job competence for apprentice Electricians is not only a requirement of the training package, but also that of Employers and Industry Regulators.
In the Northern Territory there is mutual agreement between RTO’s delivering the qualification and the Licensing Board that the method of evidence collection will be use of eProfiling.
As part of a commitment to improving access to this tool the project team will develop a mobile App to facilitate access to the eProfiling tools from a smart phone.
The App will allow students to log their weekly cards without having access to a computer improving the regularity with which they log their information. Improved regularity will provide increased validity of the data and also allow the Apprentice, RTO and Employer to more accurately track the progress of the apprentice, potentially leading to more timely completion of the apprenticeship.

How does this project align to the jurisdictional and national priorities?

It is essential the Electrical Apprentices be exposed to the full scope of work required during the period of their apprenticeship. Historically this has been tracked through hand written log books and assessed by individual RTO’s.
The eProfiling tool currently used by all Northern Territory apprentices’ tracks, analyses and assesses the apprentices' development and performance against the competency standard units that make up an approved national qualification.
The information collated through eProfiling is used by the apprentices’ RTOs to help monitor, guide and support an apprentices' development towards competence. This information assists in evaluating whether an apprentices' 'profile' is developing according to the industry endorsed advisory targets for competency.
The biggest flaw in the current system is that the data is only as good as the apprentice provides. When the apprentice only enters data every 6-8 weeks instead of every week, it’s much harder to track their progress, and in extreme situations, by the time students have “caught up” with their data entry it’s been identified they could have finished their qualification weeks/months earlier.
Given that Electricians continue to be a local and national skills shortage occupation, in the best interests of the apprentice, the RTO and the Industry to facilitate smooth transition through the apprenticeship.
By improving access to the eProfiling tool via an App, students can log data weekly without having access to a computer. Improved regularity will provide increased validity of the data and also allow the Apprentice, RTO and Employer to more accurately track the progress of the apprentice, potentially leading to more timely completion of the apprenticeship.


Consultation with stakeholders

MITAC has worked with local Northern Territory RTO’s currently delivering the qualification. The largest of which has formed part of the project team.
Although MITAC have instigated the project, we have liaised closely with eProfiling the owners of the current tool. Both the Manager and Programmer from eProfiling form part of the project team.
Over 180 apprentices in the Darwin region have been made aware of the potential project via email and text message.

Project Progress

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Version 1 Artwork - Great for Carpentry!



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Art Work for the App is almost Complete



Project Team participating in iPhone App training


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Intended outcomes from your project

What do you hope to achieve with the funding?
  • Development and testing of a Smartphone Application that provides access to the eProfiling monitoring tool.
  • Improved regularity of “profiling” for apprentices in the test group


Actual Outcomes resulting from this project

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New Way - Screen Shots of the iPhone App


The Project Team has successfully built an iPhone App for eProfiling that will be available as a free download from the App store for all eProfiling Electrical students to access. Following further updates post project the app will be progressively be rolled out to all trades currently using eProfiling including Refrigeration, Instrumentation, & Appliance Servicing. eProfiling have committed to investing in the development of an android version of the App to enable mobile access to an even wider range of students.

Despite extensive interest from students in the NT the testing of the app was limited to 11 students due to initial concerns about potential data loss. However results from these initial students has been fantastic.

9 of the 11 students who participated in the testing where irregular profilers some had not entered any cards in over 6 months. Following the testing phase we are pleased to report:
  • 8 students entered cards
  • 5 students entered cards weekly
  • 3 students caught up on old outstanding cards

MITAC, CDU and eProfiling are delighted with the improvement in profiling regularity of these students.

The project also allowed 3 staff to participate in further iPhone App development training. In particular Mark Lambley - IT Manager at eProfiling had no previous experience with Apple and is now confidently working in the Apple space and will continue to develop the App as it is rolled out across the other trades.


Benefits experienced by

What are the benefits that the following have experienced from actual outcomes of this project?
Lead agent
  • Professional development of MITAC staff during the project has opened up other opportunities for MITAC to develop App's for other organisations.
  • Project Manager Purdey Eades will be speaking about the project process and the results of the App at the NSW Utilities & Electrotechnology ITAB Conference in August.
  • New presentation techniques. MITAC staff are now using the iPad/iPhone and AppleTV (see below) to present in a number of different areas - most recently to give inductions to first year Electrical and Refrigeration students.
  • MITAC Staff member Purdey Eades is a member of the NT E-learning Reference Group who's current projects include development of the NT ELearning Strategy and an ICT Strategy for the NT.

Partner(s)
  • Media attention generated by this project has alerted other industry areas to the benefits of profiling. eProfiling staff will be in Darwin during July to talk to several groups of interested parties including the Executive officers of all 6 Training Advisory Councils encompassing all VET qualification areas about the logistics of implementing profiling across their own industry areas. MITAC has also fielded inquiries directly from the Health and Construction industries.

Learners
  • Learners are benefiting from easier access to their profiling tools. Benefits of regular profiling include:
    • Accurate reports to monitor progress (the app gives students access to reports which can facilitate discussions with employers).
    • Ability to progress through to the capstone committee and finish the qualification as soon as required targets are met.
  • Learners can conveniently record their experience at the end of every day and then submit the card at the end of the week, rather than having to remember it all.

Reflections and Suggestions


Design Process

The further we get into the project, the more we realise how important it is to get the navigation and design of the app right before you lock yourself into a design.
We've since found a new piece of software Balsamiq Mockups - available for download from www.balsamiq.com
Using Mockups feels like drawing, but because it’s digital, you can tweak and rearrange easily. Teams can come up with a design and iterate over it in real-time in the course of a meeting.
Product managers, designers, developers, and even clients can now work together in the same tool to quickly iterate over wireframes, before writing code.
However by far the best discovery has been that you can now convert the wireframes made in Balsamiq into a "test" version of the app and use it on your iphone thanks to an app called LiveMockups
Had we been able to do this at the start of our project we undoubtably would have made some different choices about how the navigation of the app and hence the design was put together. Taking this extra time at the start of the project would have saved us considerable time at the end of the project.


Testing

Given the excitement about the app amongst our students we initally planned to open up the testing of the app to 50+ students. This has been drastically reduced to 11 as we realised the potential during the testing phase for data to be lost.
Kintek introduced us to a new app called Testflight - This allowed us to easily push test versions of the app to students without having to get the students to do any complicated downloads and imports into iTunes. They simply got a notification from the TestFlight app that there was a new version available to install. Upon opening the TestFlight app on their phone they were prompted to install the updated version.


Sharing

One of the more exciting discoveries has been the abilty to mirror the app for display. With thanks to an AppleTV box we can now "mirror" the app on a TV or Projector that has HDMI input. This allows us to give inductions to groups of students easily. If you want to use the Apple TV with a projector that doesn't have HDMI input you can get an additional connection from Kanex - the ATV Pro which allows you to connect the apple TV via a standard VGA connection instead of HDMI. The only other requirement is access to a wireless network, however you can use the personal hotspot on your iphone for this if necessary.


Sustainability of project outcomes

It is intended that once developed this App become available for use by all 22,000 apprentices using eProfiling across the country.

The project funding also includes up skilling for eProfiling team members to ensure the App can continue to be updated as further improvement needs are identified.

Acknowledgement

This is a an Access to Skills project output, developed by MITAC, CDU, eProfiling & Kintek with seed funding from the National VET e-learning strategy.

For more information

For more information on this project contact
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Purdey Eades
MITAC
Project Officer
P: 08 8981 0077
M: 0407 614 288
E: purdey@mitac.org.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