Technology, Content and eReadiness in VET
Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Australia has experienced forces of change driven largely by economic forces and emerging technologies. The changes require a review of competencies to meet shifting needs of the workforce and are reflected in the VET National Training Network, the National VET e-Learning strategy and the IBSA Vet Capability Framework.
Across the globe, vocational education and training (VET) is influenced by a number of trends, including the increasing use of technology, the growing importance of information and communications systems, and changes to the demographics of the students entering courses. The VET industry in Australia is the intersection between adult learning and the workplace, focusing on the transition from education to employment, ensuring that the knowledge and skills required for employment are accessed and demonstrated. In this way, VET organisations support the economy, transitioning students from learning to working, identifying the needs of the workplace and ensuring those needs are met.
Many of these trends are highlighted in the annual Horizon Report – compiled by a global consortium of educators and business people who identify the trends in emerging technologies that may impact on education policies, practices and approaches in the coming 1-5 years. These trends are sorted into three main time categories and reflect factors that will affect technology planning and decision making in the economy. The trends identified have business policy implications, but two are expected to have stronger implications for our vocational education industry over the next few years.
1. Learning and assessment that is supported with digital and interactive resources.
2. Approaches to delivery and instruction that are flexible, responsive and adaptive to new ideas.
Capacity for continued growth centres on finding the right mix of infrastructure change, professional learning, up-skilling and risk-taking. Managing the trends relies on obtaining the right information and support from experts in the education and technology sectors.
The trends identified in the Horizon Report, and implications for all adult educators can be demonstrated in the diagram below.
Emerging technologies and changing demands for higher digital skills in all sectors of the workforce also impact on the need for the VET sector to adapt and upgrade the skills of students. Changes include delivery and assessment and blended versions of online and face to face course facilitation.
Professional learning for all VET sector professionals is a major factor in the development of teaching strategies and skills required, and the framework describes the capabilities necessary, expertise and responsibilities, skill sets and general work requirements for all VET practitioners.
The Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) Vet Capability Framework (below) focuses on skills, behaviours, attitudes and practice that are required of and expected in VET practitioners in 2014. When aligned with the Horizon Report trends and implications, the IBSA framework can be used by VET organisations to review organisational strategies for professional learning and development, enabling a re-shaping of identifiable goals and management of human resources.
These frameworks provide a useful scaffold for redevelopment of requirements, identifying the needs of the VET practitioner and changing student/workforce requirements. Some technological developments may impact directly upon the business of teaching/training and learning … These sorts of developments, if they occur at anything like the rate predicted, will place significant pressure on the VET workforce to upgrade their own IT and related skills. In fact many technological developments in industry will require a greater engagement with, understanding of and competence in the digital economy by the VET workforce. (IBSA, sub. 8, p. 6)
Blended solutions addressing digital issue
Maintaining currency with technological developments may be costly for a single organisation, and may limit the VET sector’s capacity to respond to changing industry needs. Recognising the need to address technological advancements, current research demonstrates that a blended solution may be the best outcome for VET. The blended learning environment utilises a combination of online resources, digital collaboration and face to face classroom activities. Utilising the functionality of an online learning management system (LMS), the organisation can provide low cost access to ready made and personalised learning resources, integrated collaboration tools and maintenance of technological currency.
The blended solution supports the VET organisation in developing digital literacy in practitioners as well as students, addressing the needs of industry in terms of consistency, quality, flexibility and responsiveness to training provided. Choosing an LMS that is easy to learn, allows for simple, yet technologically advanced functionality and flexibility is a key component of this process. The purpose of an LMS is to manage sophisticated analytics in the background whilst providing tools that support change practice without stress. Supporting new approaches to e-Learning and blended learning, the right choice in LMS enables organisational change focusing on teaching and learning excellence.
Circulus Education focuses on using the Horizon Report, IBSA Vet Capability Framework and the SAMR model (below) developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura to helping practitioners think about the use of technology in learning, providing a scaffold to use technology to value add to the learning experience. Used in the VET sector, the SAMR model enables a transition from using technology for substitution to becoming productive and confident blended learning practitioners. The model demonstrates how the practitioner can build on existing skills to integrate technology into their teaching practice using a range of solutions, including online delivery.
10 Steps to Success in the VET Landscape
- 1. Knowing your competitors
- a. Who is doing it “best”?
- b. Learn from others’ failures.
- c. What’s the current benchmark?
- 2. Currency and Research
- a. National VET e-Learning Strategy
- b. IBSA VET Capability Framework
- c. Horizon Report 2014
- 3. Digital Roadmap
- a. Consider the range of operating systems and modes of delivery and access for all stakeholders
- b. Digital planning requires different thinking to traditional multi-media
- c. Plan for contingencies and alternative digital and non digital solutions
- 4. New Ways of Working
- a. Collaborative and personalised
- b. Agile mentality – “Fail fast, learn fast, act fast”
- c. “Give to get” – online information sharing
- 5. Digital Processes
- a. Online resources that support change practice and reflect new ways of working
- b. eLearning and ePromotion to engage the wider audience
- c. Digital reporting to enable integrated accuracy
- 6. Digital Learning
- a. Blended learning – mixing face to face and online learning resources and facilitation
- b. Flip Learning – providing content resources for pre-learning and class time for collaboration
- c. Creating online resources that provide a range of accessibility to content and interactivity
- 7. Digital Presence
- a. Consider how you present your organisation in a digital format
- b. Online information and enrolment
- c. Target audiences are becoming increasingly difficult to reach without digital means
- 8. Digital Business Culture
- a. Understand that consumer digital “behaviours” change rapidly
- b. Understand the business objectives that will be impacted by digital technologies
- c. Explore business policies and cultures to address changes brought about by a digital presence
- 9. Digital Professional Learning
- a. The relevance of online professional networking and communities of practice
- b. Professional learning required to develop appropriate digital readiness
- c. Time to test and make mistakes – making sure change practice is experimental but guided and supported
- 10. Tool for implementation
- a. Choosing the right Online and Learning presence that supports your organisation’s needs and goals.
- b. Accessing support and facilitation for successful implementation
- c. Ensuring long-term sustainability
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