Blended learning at SEAL



Research Question

How does ICT contribute better to the student appeal of the course.

Who

10 students, mainly mature age who wish to increase their computer skills,who have never done distance or online learning before
students4.jpg

What

Certificate 1 in Information technology - twice weekly 3hr sessions for 12 weeks approx - first four weeks was classroom based then increasing reliance on using moodle for download of exercises, notes and use of the forum for problem solving.

Why

To introduce e - learning into the ways of learning at the centre - to increase the range of options in delivering courses and programs through the centre.

Rationale for the Who and What
The Certificate 1 in Information technology is an ongoing and popular course at the centre. Resources are easily available as well as having potential students always wanting to learn basic computer skills.

How


First steps

The trainer needed to become familair with Moodle and online delivery of courses
Teachers needed to look at manuals and notes and change to suit.
Assessments needed to be revisited and choices made: intergrate or stand alone
Assess the possibility of project work to be integrated.

Preliminary planning

Meeting between course co ordinator and trainer to determine outline of course and delivery plans
Agreement on documentation required.
Trail session of Moodle with ladies from another class as guinea pigs to test some of the delivery aspects of the sessions.

First class

The first classes were traditional classroom based sessions as we were teaching foundation computer classes which had to be hands on. We then introduced Moodle to the learning group and slowly introduced exercises and learning activities where the group started to rely more on using Moodle.

Reflection


Answer to Research Question
Yes is does, but...Firstly from one perspective having the course exercises, notes and miscellaneous items on a learning system such as Moodle allows for the faster students to look ahead and keep going without waiting for the rest of the class. The students have definitely appreciated this aspect. Secondly many of the students are hampered by not having the internet or access to Microsoft Office at home. This means that these students can only work in the classroom which negates the blended learning aspect. As we become more profecient in working with this platform the advantages will become more obvious.

Achievements


Reach

In a blended format we are able to target students realistically, anywhere throughout south west Victoria if we look purely at e-learning then that is an entirely different matter, as the student could be anywhere.

Retention

We lost two students who left midway through the course( husband & wife). They were starting very much from scratch and were taking a long time to get the basics right. Most of the other students came with an informal background of some sort with computers and therefore had some knowledge already.

Results

although the course has not finished all students still remaining are on track to complete all activities by the end of the year.

Other

I have found this course one of the most interesting that I have taught. The group dynamics have been great and this has helped when we have gone into areas where some students have struggled. I have found that some areas I have played by ear to see how the students were coping before introducing online activities, and this has helped me tremendously if and when I have to work with in this environment again.

Future


What next?
There is considerable scope for the inclusion of e-learning elements in all courses, what was previously lacking was the confidence and know -ow to put a blended type course together. We will be looking at:
  • Aged care
  • CGEA
There are other units and even short courses that could be successfully intergrated into a blended format.

3 Tips for Teachers

  • Make sure all students are aware of the course requirements before enrolling and what the course will entail and plan for those students who want extra work and work ahead of the rest of the class.
  • Manuals and notes need special attention - modify them if necessary to be used by independent students.
  • There is a need to keep the group together - a sense of community is very important.