Educational Reach: before and after

Project participants were asked to describe their organisation's educational reach after completing this project, particularly in relation to the use of clever use of ICTs with their particular learner group and any learner outcomes that impacted on results, reach and retention.

Learner reach - the lid is off!

The staff at Coonara see that the possibilities are endless and are keen to extend blended learning options across the organisation and make it
available to all learner groups.

They see it as having a postive impact on retention. Retention issues are often related to the fact that people have many demands on their time, so providing greater flexibility will assist students.
The staff at Coonara believe that outcomes and retention go hand in hand. Increased flexibility has to improve outcomes, as technology increases their ability to better cater for individual needs.

ICTS in educational and vocational content and how it is delivered across both accredited and pre- accredited curricula

In 2008 Coonara will offer accredited programs with a blended learning component.
- accredited delivery will also be considered, but the demand is not as high– more demand for accredited training.
In fact Coonara sees blended learning as a way of convincing the local community that pre-accredited training can be really beneficial for them. Currently they don’t see pre-accredited as a good a pathway for employment.
Coonara belives that technology can facilitate innovative delivery of pre-accredited training that will provide an excellent basis for accredited study.

Postscript- educational reach a teacher perspective

Below is an experpt of an article written by Lynne Gibb -the Coonara e-learning champion about the work she has done with wikis at the centre:

Supporting and engaging students

The Certificate 2 and 3 in Community Work wiki has been very, very successful. The tutor who set this up was trained by me and she became extremely enthusiastic about things and set up a wiki for these students. I suggested to her that because she had some low-level literacy students in the group that she might try and consider some ways of setting up the site that might assist these students. So between us we came up with some ideas, for instance she uploaded icons, little pictures to put next to the links on the side, which I’d never seen done before. One of her students happened to be a moderator of her own website and was really quite experienced at doing this type of thing, so she has taken a real leadership role in this and has gone into the help section, read the help section from top to bottom, learned things about wikis that even I hadn’t had time to look at, and began to feed back all this information to me and the other tutor. Also we gave her permission to set up various things on the wiki herself, so for instance she taught another fairly computer-literate student how to download some games and they uploaded them onto the site. So they have a little play section that the students that don’t have such high computer level skills can learn some really good mouse skills by clicking and dragging and playing these games. They also got right into putting little icons and animated things to brighten up the site. She also took the help section and rewrote a lot of it very simply, using bigger text for the lower-level literacy students. We also buddied this particular person with one of the low-level literacy students who found it a bit daunting to contribute to the wiki and she is, at this point, working with her in the class situation, in a face-to-face situation in the class, helping her to come to terms with the wiki and to feel that she can put something on there, and I feel we are just about on the cusp of this person being able to upload something onto the discussion area of the wiki. So we’re all holding our breath for that. When it does happen it’s going to be an amazing breakthrough because this person was absolutely terrified at the beginning. So in a couple of months she’s come a long way.

The other low-level literacy student has started to contribute and put things up on the discussion area and I also made sure that the tutor and this other student replied straightaway, and I also pop in from time to time and put in some encouraging replies to this student and the more you reply to him the more he starts to contribute. So that seems to be working really well too.

Another thing that they’ve uploaded is a Google calendar, and the students absolutely love this. They can get onto the calendar and find out things like assessment due dates, what’s coming up on the program for their learning, any field expeditions etc, where they have to go at what times etc, all that kind of thing. They can also put things up themselves, and so we get students’ birthdays and all sorts of things happening on there as well and they really enjoy using that.

Another thing the tutor has done is she has uploaded assessment tasks and in a face-to-face session together we showed the students how to download them and they’ve all managed to do that at home now, except for the one student who has been buddied.

Read the complete article and find out more about Lynne's experiences and download a podcast by visiting the Guide to Social e-learning at: