Great news, I have moved into the analysis stage for the first survey

Happy New Year all, I trust you had a well earned break and you are now celebrating how amazing 2014 will be.

I thought for my first post in 2014 I would share my own news: very excitingly  I have moved into the analysis stage for the first survey in my research for my Masters in Education.  I will still post all things e-learning but I will also share with you my research journey along the way.

So to start I will explain my research approach (and for your sake without the theoretical aspects of why).

To broaden my understanding and in an effort to prepare a practitioner survey that would ask relevant and reliable questions I scanned current literature and engaged in online conversations about e-learning across several social media networking sites over a period of 2 years.  More than 96 individual online conversations (such as LinkedIn and Facebook group discussions) were documented to capture key words, themes, problems and solutions for the topics discussed. The data collected did not identify the writer in anyway, it simply highlighted the main theme of the discussion and the key arguments presented.

Once I felt I had a clear picture of the trending topics and key arguments the data was analysed to identify what might be appropriate categories for the main issues discussed.  if you are interested in the categories you might like to visit my research blog

I wasn’t surpsised that quality e-design and learner engagement were quite topical during this time. The categories were used to formulate a list of possible survey questions for this research. Once the list of possible questions was formulated each question was carefully considered to ensure it would contribute to the aim of the research, hypothesis and questions asked.  In the end a total of 50 questions were included in the practitioner survey. The survey was distributed to my personal online networks.  This included Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress.

I am now ready to start surveying students of online learning.  Even if you are a teacher who has undertaken learning using technology or totally online please feel free to complete the student survey (much shorter than the practitioner survey)  I would love to hear about your experiences.

Future posts will expand on what practitioners revealed in the survey but for now I can reveal that I received 51 usable responses representing a cross section of the VET sector.

Secondary Education (high school)  2.08% Higher Education  12.50% Public training provider  47.92% Private training provider  22.92% Not for Profit  12.50% Enterprise training provider  6.25% Government  14.58%

Eighty six percent of the respondents claimed to be experienced VET teachers with varying experience with e-learning.

The survey moved into the respondents perceptions of e-learning starting with their own beliefs on how important it was for a teacher/facilitator of e-learning to actually have experience as an e-facilitator. Overwhelmingly 98.04% of respondents said it was important to have experience and only 1.96% said it was not.

Personally, I think this is a good start.  Stay tuned for insights into what the e-learning practitioners had to say about e-learning in future posts.

Back in touch soon.


Flipped Learning

It has been a while since my last post, life has been really busy and there have also been a few holidays thrown in too.  I hope you have had a great Christmas and New Year.

As it is a new year (2012) I have embarked on my normal journey of reflection of the past year.  What I realised is how much I have used Flipped Learning as my preferred teaching strategy.


For those of you that might not know what flipped learning is….

Flipped Learning is when your learners are provided with learning materials that would normally be covered in class for completion at home.  The teacher provides these resources using e-learning technology such as videos, screencasts, podcasts, downloadable files like captivate, PDFs (that may also contain links to video, audio). Classtime can then be better served for learners to get involved in  interactives activities and discussions.

Mostly I use this technique with my TAE students and project management students but I have also used it with technology units as well.  Let me explain how it worked.

Using Moodle I set up a course in weekly format.  Each week the learners were guided through various learning content using what was considered to be the most appropriate e-learning resources for the topic or task.

There were two types of class sessions – a virtual learning session in Adobe to reinforce content and to give the learners an opportunity to ask questions.  These sessions were also recorded and the links made available so the learners could replay them if they wanted to.

Face to face class sessions involved lots of hearty discussions and role plays about the content and workplace application.  I also found that this allowed more time to assist learners to meet assessment requirements or produce portfolios of evidence based on real work tasks.

At first some of the learners seemed concerned that their formal learning activities would be undertaken at home and this may disadvantage their learning.  This reluctance wasn’t present for very long.  With guidance the learners quickly realised how much extra support they had from both their teacher and their peers.  Class time was always lively and each learner was equipped and ready to participate.

It is true that these learners were very self motivated and committed to achieving the requirements of the course.  The end results seemed to speak for themselves, all learners of the course achieved the outcomes required within the time frame required.

Have you used flipped learning?

I would really like you to contribute to this discussion. What were your experiences?  How did you approach your training sessions?  How did your learners feel?  How did you measure this and what were the results?



Great way to get a point across

If you are a teacher I am sure sometimes you wonder how you are going to make a point and at the same time make a difference. When you plan your lesson you consider how can you get your learners interested in the learning environment, get them to interact with the content, explore the environment and make a decision.

I think the concept of the ice bear presents an amazing opportunity. It is a way of thinking outside of the box and is a great way of making your point and making a difference. Visit to see what I mean, think about the concept and share your thoughts here with others. My challenge is to take the principals behind the concept of the ice bear and apply it to your classroom this week. Why not take the time to tell us what you did and how it went. We can learn from each other and at the same time improve the quality of the learning that happens in our classroom.

I have a new direction


I am currently working in a different role and my blog will not only include relevant posts on e-learning and e-learning strategy it will now also point to existing research and resources for VET workforce capability and development.

This is a very exciting change in direction and I welcome your contributions to my posts and VET discussions.


What to do with multi-tasking learners

I read an article today hoping to get some tips on how to train multi-tasking learners. Unfortunately the article didn’t give me anything new however I think it has great value in generating a good discussion which I suspect was its intention.

I agree that learners do not want to read learning objectives, but I am also not sure the author of this article was asking the learner to read them.

Good course design requires the teacher/trainer to develop a set of learner outcomes (or learning objectives) that make it clear what the learner must do to obtain skills and knowledge. These learning outcomes are measurable actions that are incorporated into the design of course materials, activity tasks and assessments. They can guide the teacher/trainer to design appropriate content that is relevant to the level being studied. If written well they provide a benchmark to ensure that training is at the correct level and that assessments are not over assessing (yes I know another issue entirely) or under assessing.

Unfortunately the article didn’t address the issue of multi-tasking (which was the reason I started to read it in the first place) so I was a little disappointed.

I am also a multi-tasking learner. Increasing engagement with the learning interface is a good strategy.

In my class (face to face and online) I consider the tasks the learners are undertaking during my class (in particular the multi-tasking activities I hadn’t planned on) as well as considering the technologies they are interacting with (such as texting, chat, web searching, facebook etc). Where possible I then try to build some of these activities and technologies into my course design, learning activities and assessment tasks. This has worked really well for me and the students really seemed to enjoy the experience.

Read the comments (see the above url) and let’s keep this discussion going and since this is a discussion opportunity also consider

The Australian Vet Workforce

Did you know there are nearly 5000 Registered training organisations delivering VET qualifications nationally?

This includes approximately 73,900 TAFE employees and up to 541, 000 employees working in the non-TAFE sector. Employees included in these figures are a mix of trainers/facilitators, assessors, and other professionals and general staff across the public and private sectors.

VET trainers/facilitators and assessors are dual qualified possessing both industry and educational qualifications.

The VET sector plays a major role in the economic development of Australian workplaces. For this reason I will commence research into the impact technology has on the VET sector (educational staff) and non-vet sector (such as Australian workplaces) to determine its role in workforce capability and organisational learning and development.

According to data available through the Productivity Commission the most frequently studied VET qualification in 2009 was at Certificate III level. The most popular courses of study were management and engineering. These statistics are intriguing.

Initially TAFE was a major receiver of the public funds available but over the years this has changed dramatically. Public funds for VET studies are also available to schools, the private sector, not for profit organisations, enterprise training providers and of course the university sector.

Changing student demographics, skill shortages experienced at a local and national level and of course economic and policy factors are just some of the reasons why the role of the VET teacher has changed. Future posts will consider the changing role of teachers, the ever changing needs of their students and the new and emerging skills required by this sector.

So in brief…. watch this space

For the love of Moodle … well, the database module

I have been writing a guide for my peers with some easy tips and step by step instructions to help them create their first course in Moodle. Normally I love doing this sort of thing but I can’t quite say that today :-(.

In the past I haven’t really paid much attention to the Database module in Moodle but for some reason I thought it would be good to include…. yes my first mistake 🙂

Even though Moodle has a useful Glossary module I decided that I would provide step by step instructions for creating a Moodle database to save a glossary term and definition (I know you are probably thinking why? ….. but in my defence it seemed like an easy activity for a teacher new to Moodle to create).

The set up of the database and fields worked really well but I came unstuck when I tried to view the entries that I had added to my database (I swapped roles to see what a student would see and of course didn’t like what I saw). Luckily I quickly realised that the view I could see on my screen was coming from the default templates for list template, single template, advanced template and add template. Each of these templates needed to be modified to display the information appropriately.

I found the easiest way was to go in and delete the entries in each template, add in my own table (eg: 2 rows, 2 columns for field name and the field entry), type in the field names manually and then click on the available tags section for the appropriate field.

When I changed views again, luckily it worked but this was such a time consuming exercise. Am I the only one that has had this experience with Database? Do you have some hints and tips for using this module that others might benefit from?