Organisational capacity and educational reach


Organisational capacity

Community College Warrnambool (SEAL) is an educational institution providing higher education and lower-level tertiary education, granting certificates on completion. They are committed to providing a range of quality vocational, accredited, and leisure courses and programs to cater for the life-long learning and development needs of the community. Community College Warrnambool offers a broad range of professionally tutored courses in small classes and comfortable environments.
SEAL's flexibility, responsiveness to change and regard for innovation enables them to recognise emerging needs and tailor new programs accordingly. Their teachers are experienced, committed and qualified professionals, unified by their commitment to adult learning.

A vision for change

There is a definite direction towards ICTS and a commitment by the Board to support this. A significant amount of money has been allocated for hardware upgrades, and developing an online system. Their aim is to maintain the PCs to industry standard and to get the internet up to as good a speed as possible.
ICTs Is mentioned in the strategic directions – a number of staff are doing training and development to support the change.
In the last couple of years ICTs has been strongly utilized in the language and literacy area to keep the students interested in learning. Involving them in computers has indicated that they learn as much if not more and are happier. ICTs is a strategy that is actively aiding retention of these students.

Organisational commitment and readinesseducational_reach.jpg

The staff at SEAL were asked to plot themselves on a perspectives continuum that sought to plot their e-learning journey and give us two moments in time - before and after the project.. The diagram on the right is a visual representation of the perspectives document and indicates where they placed themselves. (For more information about the research perspectives, visit http://www.acfe.vic.edu.au/Cleveruse).


The team at SEAL report that things have changed as a result of the project- they are clearly in a better position now- because the funding allowed them to devote more time to it than we would have been able to.
They are also getting a new file server – which will have a flow on effect.
They now have the course up, it is running satisfactorily, so it has accelerated the learning process. They plan to put up resources for trainees and Aged Care students. They are looking at delivery in Nortlake and Port Fairy: the e-learning option can be added as a choice to support classroom content. This project has given them the momentum to move on and it is anticipated that it will have a snowball effect – as things get bigger they will move faster.

Prior e-learning experience

This varies for different staff members as they have different levels of experience. With some other staff it will be a bigger ask.To refocus the project facilitator’s skills into e-learning is not a big step. SEAL has been actively looking at the integration of e-learning in their delivery for the past 2 -3 years.

Technological infrastructure

The greatest issue they faced being able to put a blended learning program together is:


  • Server space
  • Good reliable internet access
  • Firewall issues internal to the organisation.

Teacher capacity and teacher readiness

This is a real step forward given the small staff at SEAL. There is no doubt they have improved in relation to their capacity. More teachers are confident and capable. It has been a positive experience for the tutor who has a background in IT but not so much e-learning experience. Having seen the potential and trying to work to that also inspires confidence in other teachers.
There is a need to engage the teachers in the in house PD, particularly the processes of preparing and uploading materials. Getting the teachers to do it week by week will be more cost effective as it is 380 hours of training. It is anticipated that there will be administrative benefits.


Blended learning as a business option

Blended learning will be a sustainable option for SEAL. It is a good mix to have some class contact and internet contact.They are not sure if clientele are ready for the fully online approach. They need that contact - it is part of their learning. But, it gives part time workers the flexibility to access a number of classes.


Educational reach

SEAL thinks that it will positively affect the retention of part time students.Preliminary evidence shows that when people miss a class in the current group and they go to Moodle and download and complete exercises. Mature aged learners are a big target group and SEAL needs to be flexible to meet their needs. More options are definitely making a difference to their reach into the community and their ability to retain students.