Thursday, January 17, 2008

Walking the Walk – not just Talking the Talk

There was a lot of talk amongst the decision makers at TAFE SA in 2007 about the implications of the “new skills reform agenda for South Australia”. This “Skills Reform” is being developed “to meet the challenges presented by the continuing growth in demand for skilled labour”.

This led me to ponder about what this will mean for the TAFE SA lecturing/teaching staff.

TAFE SA has been through a number of ‘reforms’ since its incision, and even though I’m relatively ‘new’ to the TAFE system I’ve noticed that our lecturing/teaching staff are very cynical about change - and this ‘reform’ is really going to “shake things up” and change the way TAFE SA does it core business - vocational education and training (VET) to support industry/business.

This will mean TAFE SA is going to be asked to do more for less – I know – this is not a new concept – but what it will mean is that our lecturing/teaching staff will HAVE TO offer more flexibility in their teaching approach.

I can hear you say ‘but this is a good thing’ – and I agree - but with a largely aging workforce, who’ve traditionally had all of their clients/students come to them, religiously, for weekly 3 hour lectures – spanning several weeks or months – flexible training options isn’t something which comes naturally to them.

Our staff development department, ‘Innovations in Teaching and Learning’, even offers its training in the same way – via 3 hour workshop (or series of workshops). So if a staff member can’t make a workshop – it’s just bad luck – they just miss out…..

So I came to thinking that: shouldn’t TAFE SA Teaching & Learning be ‘walking the walk’ if they’re doing all this ‘talking the talk’ about offering flexible training approaches? And, won’t there be a need for staff to learn about being more ‘flexible’ in their approach?

Cometh Idea # 1 – offer Online Mentored Moodle Training – where staff can continuously enrol – when it suits them – work through the training – at a pace which suits them – and be given the support they need either online or in a face to face situation – which ever suits them.

Basic Course Structure Proposal: start the course off with a f2f session, covering an intro to Moodle and networking; then position myself at regular intervals on different campuses where staff can come and get one on one or small group training as required – thereby allowing continuously enrolling staff to get their ‘intro’ session whenever they start.

Why Moodle? - easy to use, teaching staff have really ‘taken to it’, Program Area budgets have been seriously cut so photocopying and printing costs have been majorily reduced – ‘encouraging’ lots of Program Areas to put their resources online.

We're all in this together: So this is where YOU come in – I need YOUR help and would really value your INPUT – what should this “online mentored Moodle Training” look like? What should be included? What’s really important for our teaching staff to understand and adopt in their online environments???

So I’ve started an “Online Mentored Training” wiki at: - so please add ‘your 2 cents (or pence) worth’. All contributions are valued, and these Online Mentored Moodle Training Courses are open to the public at (under the Resources section – agree to Site License to enter as a guest), and for more details contact: me ( or calling/texting: 0400 732 270 or +61 400 732 270)

PS: Although it’s not been ‘actioned’ yet …. Cometh idea # 2: work with some of the other TAFE SA Teaching & Learning staff trainers and offer to make their ‘workshops’ more flexible too – wish me luck.

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