National infection control skills set: Training workers online to help stop the spread of COVID-19

The VE design team were given an important task recently; to create 3 stand-alone skill sets to train industry workers. People working in retail, food handling and transport & logistics, can be trained on compliance policies and procedures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. An existing Basecomp unit (HLTINF001 – Comply with infection control policies and procedures) was used as a foundation. Basecomps were created by the VE design team as courses that can be contextualised and edited to be used across multiple programs. I’m going to recap how the team used this foundation and turned it into 3 stand-alone online and contextualised skill sets. Scope for the project: Skill sets must be contextualised to the industry Skill sets must be assessed online and in the workplace Skills sets contain the unit of competency HLTINFCOV001 and must include relevant information on COVID-19 and how to play an active-roll in decreasing the spread of the coronavirus Must be completed within 3 weeks. Assessment lead design As always, we started with assessment lead design. The assessments within the existing Basecomp unit called for ‘in-class activities’ with infection control procedures that would not be required for these industry workers. The practical assessments […]

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Improving the quality and compliance of assessment tools

As part of our work supporting VE, the Vocational Educational Design Team work closely with identified programs to develop assessment tools which are authentic and practice based for student and industry needs. They are also Canvas friendly, flexible for assessor use and meet the compliance requirements of the regulatory body. The process to produce quality assessment tools has been refined over several months and is validated by favourable feedback from external quality assurance. There is now a streamlined process requiring only minimal reviews or reworking. This is a wider RMIT effort. Assessment writers in the team work closely with schools and program managers to refine existing materials and assessments, and strong relationships with Subject Matter Experts facilitate timely review of materials. The collaborative relationship with a SME allows us to find out how the assessment can be specifically tailored to that cohort or teaching staff and what resources, or tools are available. The team will often create a narrative thread with a real-world approach that ties the assessment together, such as a practical task that has task specifications, a role play scenario and appendices i.e. filling out an incident form for a role-played injury. This approach can apply to multiple […]

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Student engagement and collaboration

When it comes to online learning environments, there’s the perception that forming connections and getting students engaged with the course content and their peers is incredibly difficult or impossible without an in-person component. However, the popularity and use of social media platforms demonstrate how online environments can be effective in drawing people in, networking, and sharing ideas and information.  Regardless of whether you are presenting face-to-face or through Canvas, the key is communication. Video presentations (e.g., TedTalks, Linkedin tutorials, etc.), podcast series, or commentary and articles with the widest reach tell stories that are easy to follow, using plain English that make them accessible to a large audience and convey why their topic is important and relevant to the viewer/listener. Having a strong narrative for your course topics with clear instructions of what to do and how it will apply to future assessment or workplace success, will give reason and motivation to your students.  Unlike face-to-face classrooms where teachers can get a sense of whether their students are interested, bored, or confused by looking around the room and making immediate adjustments to their delivery, this is much more difficult to do in an online setting. Having multiple points for students to engage and discuss the content can address this issue. Ask students questions during an online session, break them up into smaller groups to talk about what is being covered, have learning activities for them to practice […]

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Turning the Kaleidoscope – A model for online learning

At RMIT’s Vocational School of Design and Social Context Learning and Teaching conference Turning the kaleidoscope Andrew Newhouse and Oliver Lorraine-Wedd presented a model for online learning. While there is no one size fits all approach to learning and teaching, there are best practices and standards that should be put in place. How to do you create a model for online learning? By using the VE quality confirmation (QC) framework. The quality confirmation frame work covers these seven pillars: Instruction Clear instructions and guidance are provided to support students in navigating the course and requirements to complete learning activities and assessments successfully. Content Lectures or equivalent content is available for each topic/module/week (recorded lecture, narrated pptx, topic notes). Recommended tools include Echo 360, Collaborate Ultra, Studio, Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint with audio over slides. Readings and resources Course readings and resources are available in Canvas. Relevant resources are available to students to support the completion of required learning activities and assessments. Learning activities Students have sufficient opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in preparation for assessment.  Collaboration Students can communicate and engage with staff and other students through the use of discussion boards and other tools. Teacher-to-student support Students should understand who to contact […]

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Turning the Kaleidoscope – Online with Impact

Last week saw the VE Design Team present a variety of sessions at RMIT’s Internal Vocational School of Design and Social Context Learning and Teaching conference Turning the Kaleidoscope which explored the notion of flexible and applied ways of learning in Vocational Education. Our presentation ‘Online with impact’ showcased an approach to developing a course from scratch using templates already available within the institution. A straw poll at the start of the session indicated only 30% of participants had used Canvas Commons, a template and content repository for sharing and distributing content within the Canvas Ecosystem. A helpful insight, this showed there was a need to connect VE staff with a system that contains prebuilt resources that will save them time in developing learning experiences. Online with impact, the prefilled course showcasing a variety of interactive digital experiences available to RMIT Canvas authors   The workshop stepped through searching and downloading a prepopulated course from Canvas Commons – one which contained a collection of examples and types of content backed up with a pedagogical or engagement focus. Co-presenter Rebecca Summits, Senior Learning Designer, explained course and content structures that would enhance the student experience and how a scaffolded approach to course design supports effective learning. The workshop concluded with best practice examples of different integrations of content to […]

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How to deliver learning materials and learning activities flexibly

Last week we started offering support sessions to teachers in preparation for Semester 2 Course Uplift, providing tips, examples, a template, how-to videos, and drop-in question-and-answers sessions, with a focus on structuring course content in Canvas. The sessions continue this week, highlighting set-up, presentation, and student guidance for course learning materials and learning activities.  Since lockdown and the shift to remote delivery, Canvas has featured more prominently in the student journey in many programs and courses. For some, this has involved a shift in understanding how Canvas can be used and the versatility afforded when teaching and learning in an online environment.  Diversification of learning materials  Learning materials encompass everything from in-class lectures to essential and supplementary resources. In many cases where face-to-face lectures, labs, and tutorials were the main source of content delivery, Canvas was used as a repository for storing PowerPoint slides, handouts, and worksheets for activities and assessments. It was expected that students would attend classes to receive instructions on when to use the learning materials listed.  Since flexible delivery, teachers have come to recognise how Canvas can broaden the type of learning materials they use and reference, all housed in one location and easy to share with their colleagues and students. Not limited to PowerPoint slides, PDF or Word documents, teachers can embed audio/video files and post links to websites, podcast series, books and articles, micro-credentials, and extensive library resources. Lectures, labs and tutorial demonstrations can be recorded, and narration added to slide presentations for […]

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Learning design in lockdown

Since the advent of Covid-19 restrictions and the closure of RMIT campuses in March, the VE Design Team has had to quickly refocus and adapt what we do in response to the major changes in the learning and teaching environment at the university. Reflecting with the Senior Learning Designers (LDs) on the team, it has been a hectic period of challenges but also opportunities to expand our roles and practices. Broadening tasks and responsibilities Our team had previously been project and product development based, working predominantly with product owners and subject matter experts (SMEs). Interacting with teachers and students were limited and we rarely had to provide support after completion. Projects ended with handover notes to the product owners and some basic training to give an overview of the final product and how to navigate, use, and make updates. With the introduction of physical distancing measures and the need to rapidly move courses online, our usual planning of support extended to the delivery of it. As the lead of the Plumbing Rectification project, Rebecca Summits’ role suddenly encompassed “… quickly creating and populating (Canvas) shells to meet the 14 elements and to get at least the first three weeks’ worth […]

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Semester 2 course uplift: Getting support for the transformation of VE courses to flexible delivery

With the closure of RMIT campuses due to Covid-19 restrictions in March, there was a massive push to quickly move courses online for remote delivery to students situated overseas, interstate, and locally. This was a huge undertaking for teachers and program managers to merge synchronous (e.g., real-time online lectures) and asynchronous (e.g., activities students could complete on their own time) learning and teaching methods in a very short amount of time.  As part of this rapid transition, the VE design team worked in coordination with Studios and other departments to support teachers by providing them with the information they needed to get their content and assessments up on Canvas. This included helping teachers to set–up and host online lectures/tutorials, uploading a variety of learning materials, and devise work-around solutions for previously taught face-to-face learning activities, demos, and labs. The VE Essentials  and Flexible Delivery websites were created as starting reference points for teachers looking for teaching, tech, and tool resources. Additionally, training and PD sessions were offered, and teachers were encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences through Yammer, online chats, emails, one-on-one phone/video calls, and online drop-in sessions.  With the closure of campuses extending from weeks to months to possibly the rest of 2020, a QC Framework review of all VE Semester 1 courses was conducted at the end of April. Courses were evaluated across seven dimensions:  clarity of instructions given to students in Canvas  presentation and accessibility to the course content (e.g., online lectures, recordings, and PowerPoint slides)  type of learning materials available (e.g., embedded or link-outs to library or external resources)  use of learning activities for students to practice developing skills and knowledge  teacher contact and availability details  student engagement and collaboration through regular […]

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POSTPONED: Think Tank Series – Overcoming barriers to learning in the digital age

Due to changing priorities as part of RMIT’s Coronavirus response initiatives, we have decided to postpone this Expert Panel Series event until later this year. Thanks for your interest and resharing across your networks. As soon as we have a date for the next panel event we’ll let you know. —- The focus for this session is on overcoming barriers to learning in the digital age and we will be asking our panellists: “How can we overcome barriers to learning in the digital age in VET, industry and skills training?” Our panellists include: Campbell Craig, Digital Learning Solutions Consultant Julie Day, Instructional Designer at TAFE Gippsland Karen Manwaring, Teacher, Learning Skills Unit at Melbourne Polytechnic This event will be facilitated by Haley Gunn in the VE Design team. You can view the live stream and interactive panel session by clicking here. Note: If the video doesn’t work after pressing the play button, click on the link to ‘watch this video on YouTube and a new tab will open. […]

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Lessons Learned in Assessment Design

On the 30th January the Vocational Education Design Team’s VE Assessment Lead Haley Gunn and Assessment Writer Janet McHardy travelled to RMIT’s Bundoora campus to attend a meeting held by the Learning and Teaching Community of Practice group. Speakers Dr Jess Danaher from the School of Science and Associate Professor Sophia Xenos from the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences discussed the innovative ways that they are approaching assessment in their courses. Dr Jess Danaher spoke about allowing choice for students when it comes to assessments. This could include negotiating the modality or format of the assessment used to collect evidence of the student’s competency.  Examples include a presentation; the student choosing to frame it as a pitch meeting to a brand sponsor or a how-to demonstration. Or a student creating a set of blog posts rather than undertaking a traditional literature review. Other examples include students helping to develop questions that may be included in the end of semester exam, narrowing that down to five appropriate options and drafting an appropriate answer. This approach helps to develop student problem-solving skills as well as helping them to prepare for the exam. Dr Danaher’s talk of embracing creativity in assessments and […]

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