Tag Archives: VET

Blending and flipping – not just for cooking

In recent years “blended delivery” has become a catch phrase with many in the VET sector saying that they are doing this, but really have no actual understanding fo what blended delivery is.

Blended delivery requires that the instructor takes time to carefully creates an instruction plan that will leverage the affordances of various technology to support and augment face-to-face training. The beauty of blended delivery is that it can incorporate “Flipped Learning” and moves the focus from teachers to student to student learning, which can form some of the most powerful learning experiences.

Though student to student interaction can form powerful learning experiences it is still critical that a teacher, who can take the form of a facilitator, is still involved to guide the learning.

In recent years I have been teaching a block of professional development that is aligned to the Certificate IV TAE unit Facilitating Online. The cohort is often distanced by location so I take great pains to ensure a face to face component (synchronous sessions) fortnightly. During this the students present on the topic of the week to their fellow students, and manage the discussion forums. This is critical as it enable peer-to-peer learning and then I cover what-ever has been left out of the students presentations. Each student suffers nerves, though each of them are seasoned professionals from the VET sector who present training daily to students.

The reason behind this methodology is to give all students the ability to use various technologies. Of course the students are heavily mentored through the whole presentation process to ensure as little stress as possible.

At the commencement of each week I post a video that provides content, in a short humorous style along with readings and activities. This is the content that all students are expected to have reviewed prior to the virtual class. I set these expectations at the start of the course and have the students complete a class code of conduct to ensure that they understand what both their peer and I want.

Due to the remoteness and connectivity issues for some of my students I have had to ensure that all the course is designed in such a way that it will display on minimum bandwidth. Also for accessibility concerns all videos are also close captioned.

I take seriously the need for students all to have a voice, even the quietest has amazing insights to offer, and this teaching approach has worked well in having our wall-flowers step up and takes charge in a non-threatening environment.

This Facilitate elearning is based around problem centered instruction and uses the first principles outlined by Merril (2002).

Designing and working with students online can often be seen (incorrectly) as an easy option that does not require much effort on behalf of the trainer. Senior management often has this skewed view of online learning. It is often hard, especially if you are using a blended option.

Recently our team in the Government agency I work for have taken the challenge that all our conferences and professional learning events will be delivered in a blended option. This means that we live stream key sessions at all events. I am not going to say it was easy at the beinginning it was horrid, however, in our third year of doing this means it is now second nature and we are able to provide valuable learning opportunities to people all over Australia who may not have been able to attend otherwise.

This is taking blended to a whole different lever as we do not just stream the sessions, but if there is small group work being done in the session then this will be replicated in the virtual classroom so that our online attendees have a full and rich learning experience.

It has meant that we now also have a fleet of laptops, professional cameras, microphones and hand held devices that are needed to run events. However that being said my sessions that I stream are run with a laptop and my webcam, simple and effective. We do stress anyone can do what we do, and you do not need a Hollywood budget either.

This approach has been flawed with some of the senior management from RTOs not fully understanding the concept. But with dedication and perseverance the joy of blended will be adopted on a wider scale by many other organisations as we now run sessions on how to run a blended event.

21st Century skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as all key and need careful scaffolding and mapping to ensure that both the digital work blends with the face-to-face work for all formal and informal activities and assessments within a course. By being flexible with the more traditional teaching course material and giving students the reason to up-skill themselves quickly to ensure they can pass on information accurately to a learning cohort means that going for the flip and using a blended approach provides  a more personalised approach to instuction, gets students buy-in and more inportantly utilises technology to augment the training (Roblyer, 2013).


Jonson, J. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration. YouTube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD8AUfGsCKg

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instructionEducational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59.

Michalowski, A. (2014). Planning for blended learning environments and measuring progress. Youtube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuak_YiZs5s

Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. Online learning insights. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/why-online-courses-really-need-an-instructional-design-strategy/

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

The personalized puzzle of INF530

Personal baggage Image by Kolobsek http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/851769
Personal baggage
Image by Kolobsek
# 851769

INF530 Critical Review

I came to INF530 with a very different perspective, as I had already completed three other units and this semester saw me working my way through a further two units, almost an information overload! In the past I have seen my previous knowledge almost as unwanted baggage, but in INF530 I think I have now checked my baggage into the plane’s cargo hold for the rest of the trip.

This subject has helped revisit and consolidate a great deal of learning that I’ve already completed. I was challenged and able to delve into topics that were of interest to me and my work such as the impact of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Personal Learning Environments and Blended Delivery.

Personal learning jigsaw cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager
Personal learning jigsaw
cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager

Throughout this course I have often felt that we are looking at a giant personalized jigsaw puzzle and we have to search to find the meaning and thus all the pieces will click into place.

The only way to discover what the personalized puzzle looks like is by engaging with the content and peers. Knowing how you learn and working to your strengths along with your peers is the way forward to successfully grapple the content into a manageable and meaningful form. This is why our tasks are designed to be authentic, active learning activities (Buzzard, Crittenden, Crittenden & McCarty, 2011; D’Aloisio, 2006; Day & Kumar, 2010; Herrington & Parker, 2013; Herrington, Reeves, Oliver, & Woo, 2010).
Learning by doing is almost the mantra of the whole of this course, and because of this fits with the makerspaces movement ethos well (O’Connell, 2015). In keeping with this philosophy of active learning and makerspaces to I try to challenge myself to create something different every unit with a new technology as part of my ongoing professional learning. The digital essay enabled me to trial Sway (Microsoft, 2015), so simple and I will be showcasing this again. I also created collage images using Adobe Photoshop and a nice simple jigsaw puzzle creation online software (BigHugeLabs, 2015). All of this means that I take away from this unit a new set of skills and a solid understanding of how these skills can supplement a VET practitioner’s bag-of-tricks in creating a satisfying digital experience for students.

I’m always happy to share snippets with others of information, such as around Digital Preservation – Snow Byte and the Seven Formats.

I featured this video in an INF443 assessment. Reviewing the Digital Preservation content from both INF530 and INF443 bought to light some serious issues in preservation of student’s digital content for audit purposes in the VET sector. This content has formed the basis of a webinar presentation I have created for the Department of Training and Workforce Development to inform organisations of their ongoing obligations.

The Big data topic really made me stop, think, research and reflect on the Unique Student Identifier code that has been rolled out for the VET sector. There is such an impact of big data and how we deal with it that this will be an ongoing issue into the future especially in relation to personal data which of course linked into the Internet of Things (IoT). I specifically chose a book about IoT for my scholarly review, to challenge and enlighten my throughs around this topic so I can inform others.

My journey is far from complete, and my puzzle still has more than a few pieces missing, (I may have to look under the table for them). The final destination of course is not where you learn. The journey and the people you meet and work with along the way will always be where you grow and learn. I look forward to moving onto the next step of my journey and finding the next set of puzzle pieces to help me finally complete my personal jigsaw.


BigHugeLabs. (2015). Jigsaw: Create jigsaw puzzles from your photos [Computer software].retrieved from http://bighugelabs.com/jigsaw.php

Buzzard, C., Crittenden, V., Crittenden, W., & McCarty, P. (2011). The Use of Digital Technologies in the Classroom A Teaching and Learning Perspective. Journal of Marketing Education, 33(2), 131-139. doi:10.1177/0273475311410845

D’Aloisio, A. (2006). Motivating students through awareness of the natural correlation between college learning and corporate work settings. College Teaching, 54(2), 225-230. doi:10.3200/CTCH.54.2.225-230

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607-615. doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Herrington, J., Reeves, T., Oliver, R., & Woo, Y. (2004). Designing authentic activities in web-based courses. Journal of Computing In Higher Education, 16(1), 3-29. doi:10.1007/bf02960280 Retrieved from http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/article/10.1007/BF02960280

Microsoft. (2015). Sway [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://sway.com/

O’Connell, J. (2015). Hackerspaces and makerspaces [INF530 Module 5.4]. Retrieved 20 May, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-249314-dt-content-rid-635373_1/courses/S-INF530_201530_W_D/module5/5_4_Hackerspaces_makerspaces.html


Unique Student Identifier (USI) and Big Data (the highs and lows)

A personal viewpoint

As of the 1st January 2014 all students, in the Australian VET sector, have been allocated a Unique Student Identifier. This code follows the student through their life and enables registered training organizations (RTOs) easier access to a student’s VET records and provides a simpler way for students to provide evidence for credit transfer makes it easier for students to transfer between training institutions (Mills, 2013).

But this got me thinking about Big Data and the relationship that this USI could offer in the future for RTOs. On the positive side there is the possibility of responsive training based on the needs of the client making it a system that can contextualize a learning journey through skill sets for the student to eventually achieve a desired goal, but it could also have a darker side the side where direct marketing and disreputable RTOs denying students training based purely on past performances in previous qualifications. Currently the USI does not store informal comments regarding student’s performance currently, but you have to ask yourself does that mean that the system will always stay like this, especially if K-12 students are eventually linked into it.

Education providers, if engaging in digital learning, have the ability to garner information about their clients easily through the technology that we use.  Every click a student does within a Learning Management System is recorded in the back end database, which will be archived along with the course in the VET sector for audit purposes. If utilizing social media every mention or micro-blog post can be saved to build a picture of the learners and their capabilities and needs. Now imagine this big picture that one RTO is able to build through, careful and critical analysis of the underlying data, an explicit picture of the student’s choices and make accurate predictions on the same students future study choices. If this data becomes part of public record then one bad grade somewhere in your past could in the future severely impact on what you are able to study in a dystopian world.

When you delve closer into USI there are some alarm bells that, for me, are set off. In the  Student Indentifiers Registers Privacy Policy (Office of the USI Registrar, 2014) it clearly states that the USI Registrar may disclose personal information to third parties, which is not limited to the list of third parties provided. Once these third parties have the information, then the student’s details are now no longer secure and safe behind the USI, a critical issue. Though there is a caveat on the USI site that it is finally the responsibility of the student to keep their login detail secure so no one can access their academic records if this data is shared with third parties, it begs the question what security measures are put into place by these other organisations and what data is actually being shared?

The Student Indentifiers Registers Privacy Policy (Office of the USI Registrar, 2014) clearly states that the content is held in a cloud computing solution, which adheres to the Australian Government Cloud Computing arrangements (Finance.gov.au, 2014). However, for me, personally there is also a big concern around security having all of the VET student’s qualification history in one place, no matter the security surrounding the system. Recently we have seen that big corporations using cloud computing systems have not been able to keep people’s personal data or content safe  such as Celebgate which saw celebrities iCloud accounts hacked in 2014 (BBC News, 2014). If this can occur to a high end security space then we do need to review this step into keeping the data in one repository held on a cloud based solution.

In all fairness the USI Registry System has been designed to keep training records and results safe, according to their website (Usi.gov.au, 2015) and goes on in subsequent pages to assure students that their information is safe. But the worry about security when it comes to student academic records is not an isolated concern for Australia but was raised in Education Week (Kamisar, 2014) that discussed issues around security for the organization inBloom which was touted as being the organization that would revolutionize personalized learning and target the needs of individuals based by synthesizing  student data. Admittedly there are marked differences between inBloom and the USI Registry System. One stand out difference is that currently the USI is not being managed by a private third party but by a Federal Government agency, however, given recent privatization and the push to consolidate services to reduce Government employment burdens it does beg the question if this will become outsourced in years to come.

Data mining is big business for organisations and more so the art of predictive analytics. Marketing departments in retails stores have been onto this for years as outlined by Duhigg (2012), so why wouldn’t the education industry want to start move into this field especially with a ready made supply of information. This could become a very lucrative market place with the value of this data being almost priceless, and we the consumers may never even realize that our information might have been shared. One must ask the question do students know that the information stored within the registry may be provided to third parties such as regulators, researchers current and former VET RTOs to name a few for a variety of purposes. When a student is enrolling is this ever explained in full to them and all of the ramifications, as in the current system you cannot enrol in a VET qualification without have a USI. I have to say that I could (if I wanted to) create a USI on the website (Usi.gov.au, 2015) and it would have been up to me to have explored all of the sub-pages to dig into what will happen to my results and who has access to my details, but I am not convinced that all of our VET students will do this.

We do not have a perfect VET system, but we are trying to put in place systems that will streamline workloads for organizations. But I do have to wonder who is looking out for the students? This blog post is really the start of my exploration into this very interesting topic and one that could have ramifications in years to come within all sections of the education industry.


BBC News,. (2014). Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach – BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29039294

Duhigg, C. (2012). How Companies Learn Your Secrets. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=2&

Finance.gov.au,. (2014). Cloud Computing | Department of Finance. Retrieved 4 May 2015, from http://www.finance.gov.au/cloud/

Kamisar, B. (2014). InBloom Sputters Amid Concerns About Privacy of Student Data. Education Week, 33(15), 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/08/15inbloom_ep.h33.html

Mills, A. (2013). VET Transparency Agenda – what’s in it for me. Presentation, Training Providers Forum, Perth, Western Australia.

MindCET,. (2014). MindCET Snapshot #2 – Big Data & Education. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MrWQUMgcyk

Office of the USI Registrar,. (2014). Student Indentifiers Registers privacy policy v1.1 (pp. 1-8). Canberra: Department of Education and Training.

Usi.gov.au,. (2015). Skills Unique Student Identifier: Training Records and Results. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from http://www.usi.gov.au/Students/Pages/training-records-and-results.aspx

Reflective blog task 2: Collaboration an important gaming bond

In the world of adult education ‘games’ are seen to be frivolous, however, solid authentic learning can be achieved through learner engagement via games or simulations and we should not discount the use in a training situation.

Gee (2005) points out that the formation of cross-functional teams is important in a MUD (multi-user domain). The team must work together to achieve a common endeavour, which means that they must work collaboratively and effectively to achieve the common goal.

In the training environment or even workplace gaming Perkins (2009) says that gaming can provide a sense of community to players, this community feel is extremely important when building a supportive learning environment within a classroom context.

In a training environment role-playing simulation players can ‘fail’ in a safe and supported way, and in turn learn from their failures both as a team and as an individual (Farmer, 2011). The important part of this learning is the engagement in a simulation with either a live team on the learning journey with the individual or by a team built into the game. This engagement provides the necessary feedback mechanism the student requires to improve performance by working through the various challenges in the simulation.

A well planned learning simulation will react to the user and provide feedback and new problems (Gee, 2005). A good simulation currently used in adult workplace training is the FLAME SIM (Flame-sim.com, 2015) software. It is used to train fire departments worldwide in effective collaboration and communication to reach the team goal – the fire being controlled and eventually put out. This software has a level of flexibility and complexity built in and can also have specific scenario modifications programmed by the lead trainer. Being in real time it provides the players an authentic learning task that requires effective team work and collaboration. At the end of the online session the lead trainer then debriefs with the learners regarding performance and issues.

Keramidas (2010) pointed out good games require design structures that put players in experiential learning situations with the right constraints for learning from experiences. In a training environment if we can provide a ‘safe’ learning experience (especially for high risk workplaces) where base level skills are mastered and demonstrated prior to going into the actual learning experience then this is can be lifesaving. By learning the importance of effective communication in the situation via a simulation can save lives in the workplace and goes a long way to building an affinity group through this shared experience.

Simulations and games can provide the avenue for peer-to-peer teaching (Farmer, 2011), which supports the building of a life-long collaborative learning style. The crucial difference between a ‘commercial game’ and an ‘educational game or simulation’ is that the latter provides support for the player/learner to increase the likelihood that the desired objectives are met, bet it as an individual or through collaborative cooperative learning (Becker, 2011).

Digital games and simulations are not just ‘fluff’ used simply to pass the time in a class, but can form part of an enriching learning experience that supports training and education. Being able to choose authentic learning simulations (Reeves & Herrington, 2010) which encourage peer-to-peer work and collaboration, both within the simulation and offline, in a cross functional team offers a powerful learning tool that is, if managed well, able to support students learning and understanding of content.

To me this is a win for the students and a win for games and simulations in the classroom.



Becker, K. (2011). Distinctions between games and learning: A review of current literature on games in education. In Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 75-107). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch105

DVHS,. (2009). FLAME-SIM Fire Training. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUa5BdHrPTY

Farmer, L. S. (2011). Gaming in Adult Education. In Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 194-213). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch111

Flame-sim.com,. (2015). Flame-Sim | Fire Department Training Simulation Software. Retrieved 23 March 2015, from http://www.flame-sim.com/

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

Reeves, T. C., & Herrington, J. (2010). Authentic Tasks: The Key to Harnessing the Drive to Learn in Members of “Generation Me”. In M. Ebner, & M. Schiefner (Eds.) Looking Toward the Future of Technology-Enhanced Education: Ubiquitous Learning and the Digital Native (pp. 205-222). Hershey, PA:. doi:10.4018/978-1-61520-678-0.ch012

Keramidas, K. (2010). What Games Have to Teach Us About Teaching and Learning: Game Design as a Model for Course and Curricular Development | Currents in Electronic Literacy. Currents.cwrl.utexas.edu. Retrieved 21 March 2015, from http://currents.cwrl.utexas.edu/2010/keramidas_what-games-have-to-teach-us-about-teaching-and-learning

Perkins, B. (2009, November 2). World of warcraft in the workplace. Computerworld, 43(32), 30. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA211959076&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&asid=69d75258ac24be5d98a8c8d2747fe822

Pill, S. (2014). Games play: What does it mean for pedagogy to think like a game developer? Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 85(1), 9-15.

Blog task #1

key words taken from INF530 about digital learning and information technology
The content of INF530 and my readings inspired me to create a Worlde of my thoughts.

It was not a surprise to find out that I am an entrepreneurial learner, a tinkerer and a maker. I like to explore new concepts and resources with and work out new ways of using these in my work. Seely Brown, stated “We tend to underplay how important this is”, which is so very true, especially in the creative job role I have compared to others in the Government agency where I work. I want to help VET facilitators/trainers to become entrepreneurial learners as well so they can pass the traits onto their students.

The internet has become mainstream, no longer the domain for the higher education professional or researches, which allows people to connect and communicate, to share and impact on like minded individuals. Education, business and Government agencies all have to create policies around the use of digital technologies because of its prevalence in our everyday lives and as a learning mentor it is imperative that I can showcase digital technologies both at a senior management level and at trainer level for effective industry implementation.

However, I see the more critical issue being digital preservation of content. For the VET sector Registered Training Organisations (RTO) need to maintain records for up to 20 years, which is extremely problematic given both hardware and software obsolescence. This area is one that I am keen to explore further as currently it is not on the National agenda as a critical item but one that I can see will impact the VET sector in the coming years. Government funded VET colleges (TAFEs) in all likelihood do have some digital preservation strategy, my focus is the smaller private RTOs who do not have access the robust infrastructure for data recovery.

What I do find exciting is the changing dynamic of the traditional VET trainer away from being the ‘sage on the stage to a more guide on the side or meddler in the middle’ (Lukin et al., 2009). With this move away from ‘traditional’ classroom teaching means that new pedagogical styles can be explored such as ‘flipped learning’. This philosophy fits in well with the authentic learning tasks that have real world relevance (Reeves, Herrington & Oliver, 2002) that incorporate active learning experiences (Day & Kumar, 2010) which is important to VET delivery, but most importantly it helps students become lifelong learners. Marc Prensky summed this up nicely in this tweet:

Marc Prensky wrote: Today's educators' job is to show students how to teach themselves in today's and tomorrow's world, & to guide them in doing so.
Marc Prensky @marcprensky tweeted about the role of educators in a modern teaching world.






This space is exciting and challenging and personally I revel in the chance to change the stoic long term trainers who have been training a specific way for the past 20+ years to seeing a more flexible approach that fits both them and the students. If you think about it we need to train students in new ways for them to become successful workers in the future.

Change is something that moves slowly in the VET sector, just like any education area. The Web 3.0 is an exciting time and especially the ‘collaborative commons’ and Internet of Things. I am most excited to discover how these will impact on teaching and schools into the future.



Davies, R., Dean, D., & Ball, N. (2013). Flipping the classroom and instructional technology integration in a college-level information systems spreadsheet course. Educational Technology Research & Development, 61(4), 563-580. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9305-6

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Lage, M., Platt, G., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43. doi:10.1080/00220480009596759

Lukin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M., & Mee, A. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners?. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439880902921949

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle. Common Sense Graphite. Retrieved from https://www.graphite.org/blog/samr-and-blooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle

Reeves, T. C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activities and online learning. In A.Goody, J. Herrington, & M. Northcote (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2002 Annual International Conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Perth, Australia. Retrieved from: http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/conference/2002/papers/Reeves.pdf

The Global One Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012). (2012, September 18). Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiGabUBQEnM&feature=youtu.be