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May-June 2014 edition  
Flex e-News is changing

After many years of delivering e-learning news to the Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector, the management of Flex e-News will be changing from July this year.

Following recent reforms to the VET governance landscape, the Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG), and a number of its former activities have been dissolved.

Over the past decade, FLAG and its network of dedicated staff in each state and territory helped to mature flexible learning in the Australian training system. This support and advocacy ensured technology became ubiquitous with learning, and in 2013 some 95 per cent of teachers and trainers were using one or more technologies in the delivery and assessment of training.

While FLAG will no longer operate in the VET landscape, the Commonwealth has indicated its commitment to supporting e-learning in the VET sector through the continuation of three former National VET E-learning Strategy activities: 

  • The E-standards for Training will continue to research emerging standards areas and maintain the current framework of standards for e-learning in the national training system.  The E-standards are a national set of technical standards recommended for underpinning all e-learning content and systems in the sector. The standards are revised annually and the updated standards are taken to the E-standards Expert Group (EEG) for ratification. This is to ensure the growing number of recommended standards and specifications remain current and relevant to their audience
  • The Content Management service will maintain online access to the national collection of digital learning objects (including Toolboxes), currently held within the National VET Content repository
  • A central e-learning support service will provide the VET sector with advice on the application of the E-standards for Training, technical support for digital content and guidance on e-learning more broadly; this support service will also include continued access to resources within the Flexible Learning website and an online newsletter.
EWorks (Victoria) will be coordinating the three functions on behalf of the Commonwealth from 1 July 2014 . Any enquiries should be directed to eWorks through e-standards@flexiblelearning.net.au

Stay tuned for updates about Flex e-News; in the meantime to keep up-to-date with e-learning news and events, 
subscribe to eWorks' monthly online newsletter eLink, or follow eWorks on Twitter.

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Research soon to be published

Deliverables from five technology innovations applied research projects funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy are soon to be published on the New Generation Technologies website. 

The projects were undertaken in the financial year ending June 30 2014, to support the use of emerging technologies and the effective implementation of the VET E-standards to contribute to:

  • effective teaching in the 21st century
  • improvements of student completion rates
  • assessment of outcomes and student employability

1. Making industry grade technologies available for training
Undertaken by Acuto Pty Ltd, this project considered how the advent of high speed broadband and new digital technologies may provide enhanced national access to specialised industry resources, tools and facilities applicable to training sector use. Through targeted consultations the project team has suggested how to facilitate access to these resources, tools and facilities as well as any barriers to their access and utilisation.

2. Supporting effective delivery of foundation skills to indigenous, remote & disadvantaged learners
This project sought to address the perceived skills gap in teachers who have LLN training but may be lacking skills in training those skills required by the NFSSA (National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults) and defined as “employability” skills. C.Y. O’Connor Institute undertook a literature review to inform a toolkit that provides a framework, advice, good practice examples, case studies, and e-learning strategies.

2. Verification of e-assessment and authentication of user identity
Polytechnic West was funded to find a solution in response to the perception among some VET stakeholders that e-assessment does not adequately address security of the assessment conditions, reliability of assessment processes, and the identity of the person being assessed. The deliverables include an evaluation of appropriate technologies and solutions, and case studies of the technologies in use.

3. Bring your own device (BYOD) guidelines for registered training organisations
This research sought to establish solutions for enabling cost-effective and productive implementation of BYOD policy and infrastructure without impacting on staff and students’ personal use of their own devices. Elan Projects have produced Guidelines for the effective utilisation and implementation of BYOD in RTOs, a web-based self-audit tool for RTOs to support the guide, case studies, and a report providing context and background.

4. Capturing information to improve learner retention and completion of courses
Canberra Institute of Technology looked at paradata to illustrate how learners interact and progress through online activities, and provide RTOs and industry with an understanding of engagement strategies online. Deliverables include a literature review and a review of current analytics tools.

The projects have been managed through the New Generation Technologies business activity and overseen by the E-standards Expert Group (EEG), the VET sector’s national forum for collaboratively, reviewing and recommending technical standards to support e-learning.

“These projects are an excellent example of targeted research by the VET sector for the VET sector”, says EEG Chair, Rodney Spark. The outcomes and deliverables are applicable nationally, and take into consideration the needs of stakeholders from all states and territories”, says Rodney.

For further information please visit the New Generation Technologies website and follow on Twitter.

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HTML5 - your questions answered

Vocational education and training (VET) practitioners will benefit from new advice about the use of HTML5 for structuring and presenting material on the Internet.

This year marks the first time that E-standards for Training has officially recommended the use of HTML5 for e-learning content developers.

The recommendation to use HTML5 doctype and semantic elements comes with the proviso that fall-backs are put in place for the recommended browsers that lack support for those elements.

The E-standards for Training HTML5: Q&A for Developers explains how to implement such fall-backs, and provides guidance on how to start using other recent web technologies, including CSS3 and the new JavaScript APIs.

HTML5 is a mark-up language for structuring and presenting content on the Internet. The core aims of HTML5 are to provide support for the latest multimedia, while keeping the language readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices.

“There is significant potential for HTML5 to facilitate development of e-learning content”, says E-standards Expert Group member, Bronwyn Lapham.

“HTML5 has advantages which include greater accessibility support on various platforms, and enabling content such as video and audio to be played in a browser without requiring additional proprietary software”, says Bronwyn.

The E-standards for Training HTML5 review: Q&A for Developers was developed by the New Generation Technologies business activity, on behalf of the National VET E-learning Strategy.

The business activity researches potential technologies, standards and specifications in order to recommend and support implementation of those applicable to the VET sector.

For more information please visit the website and follow us on Twitter.

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Image of Toolboxes logo.  
Toolbox of the Month - Splash

The Splash Toolbox has been created to support the flexible delivery of the Certificate 1 in Water Sustainability. 

It provides a pathway into the water industry for, in particular, young people who are seeking an opportunity to gain experience of the industry while developing a set of valuable employability skills.

The Toolbox is designed for delivery either as a whole training course, in small sections, or as single units of competency. It can be used to assist in face-to-face teaching or for remote or online learning.

The Toolbox provides multiple learning pathways, which enable targeted delivery to suit learners’ needs. The Toolbox has been designed according to these three main objectives:
  1. Practical tasks where the learner is encouraged to take responsibility for his/her own learning. Learners are given guidance to complete a practical task and access the appropriate resources to carry it out.
  2. Flexibility, providing you with more options for using the Toolbox to suit the different needs of your learners. Collaborative activities are included as part of the Toolbox content, including discussion topics and teamwork activities.
  3. Different learning pathways are offered, with learners being given the opportunity to complete structured activities or to progress straight to the project depending on their levels of prior knowledge.
Who is Splash for?
The diverse nature of the candidates undertaking this qualification may include students undertaking VET in Schools programs or people involved in other forms of pre-employment or early-employment programs.

A second learner cohort is mature-aged learners who may be seeking a formal qualification to align with volunteer work that they are doing. For this reason the Toolbox is structured so that learners with experience can proceed directly to the tasks or the practice activities followed by the projects, without first progressing through the Prepare sections. Learners with experience also have the option to check their suitability for recognition of prior learning (RPL) by following the express pathway link.

The Toolbox can be purchased from the
online ordering system.

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Keep up to date with 2014 VET events across the country

30 June - 2 July 2014, Cairns 
For more information, 
click here

SimTecT2014 - Asia Pacific Simulation Training Conference
25-28 August 2014, Adelaide 
For more information, click here

Australian Computers in Education Conference
30 September - 3 October 2014, Adelaide 
For more information, click here

LearnX Asia Pacific
14 October 2014, Melbourne
For more information, click here

Blended Learning Summit for Higher Education
15-16 October
 2014, Sydney
For more information, click here

conVerge 2014
20-21 November 2014, Melbourne 
For more information, click here

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The ultimate list of HTML5 e-learning authoring tools - read more>>

Keep students safe online - read more>>

How to become an e-learning professional read more>>

25 educational web tool to boost your teaching read more>>

How will the classroom of 2017 look? -

5 new tech tools that teachers must explore - read more >>

30 ways to inspire divergent thinking 
-

5 quick ways to pull learners into a course - read more >>

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for more information on the Strategy visit: flexiblelearning.net.au
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