Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding existing e-learning content for your VET course

There are a variety of repositories available (mostly for free) that can provide you with content for your e-learning programs.

A good starting point is a Flexible Learning Toolbox. If you decide to use a toolbox in its entirety it is not free however training organisations can purchase one copy and can then make the content available for use by staff and students as a learning resource.

You can view toolboxes at http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/.

Toolboxes have also been broken up into learning objects (or chunks of content) that can freely be downloaded and are easily customised for use in your course. You can search the toolbox repository at http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/repository/index.htm.

The LORN repository provides teachers and trainers with both user pay and free resources http://lorn.flexiblelearning.net.au/. This repository has access to about seven different databases. Learning objects are downloaded as Zip files and can easily be uploaded into Learning Management Systems such as Moodle.

The Framework website also includes free resources to assist you to plan and embed e-learning into your training delivery. Visit the gallery for some useful tips on digital stories and their usefulness. While you are there take the time to explore the site and read some fo the useful tips and hints http://designing.flexiblelearning.net.au/gallery/activities/digital_story_telling.htm

If you have other links to VET resources that you would like to share, please feel free to post them as a comment to this post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

E-portfolios present some risk

It seems that many project teams are interested in implementing e-portfolios this year but few if any have included issues surrounding e-portfolios as part of their risk management strategy.

The first issue that comes to my mind is the issue of learner privacy. I acknowledge how effective e-portfolios are as a tool to assist learners to collect evidence and present it to their facilitator to demonstrate levels of competency - there is absolutely no question around their usefulness. My main concern is that e-portfolios collect private information about the learner; even though the learner has some control over what is included in their e-portfolio the question must be asked 'who else has access to this information?'

E-learning strategies that involve e-portfolios must take into consideration the sensitive nature of the information collected in an e-portfolio and how this can best be managed. It is crucial that your learners are fully aware of the risks involved in keeping information in an online environment, who has access to it, and what type of content should included or excluded from their e-portfolio.

One way to manage your risk is to develop a privacy plan for your organization. In this plan you must clearly identify what the risks are, how your learner’s will be informed of the risk, who owns the content in the e-portfolio (remember your learner’s are creating this as a result of an enrolment in one of your training programs) and what will happen to it after the course is over.

Another issue that presents itself is the opportunity for an e-portfolio to be 'hacked into' or the learner’s identity stolen. Your risk management strategy must carefully consider this and ensure that security measures are implemented to prevent this from happening.

I hope this post has started you thinking of some potential risk. There are some useful resources available to assist you with the management and implementation of e-portfolios. Please visit http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/content/e-portfolios-4 for more information and access to some free resources.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Copyright must be considered as part of your risk management strategy

We are living in an infomation age and content is available to us like never before. If you search the web with a key word you are bound to come up with thousands of site containing information about our chosen topic. Technology makes it easy for us to copy this information, download photos, videos, graphics and so on.

Some of this content will be useful in classroom and online activities. So how do we know if we are abiding by copyright laws in Australia or breaching them?

As you develop your e-learning strategy consider copyright infringement as a possible risk. Consider the strategies you will employ to minimise or completely remove this risk.

For example, a good strategy to minimise the risk is to ensure your team is educated and fully informed on copyright infringement.

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework has some useful resources that might assist you to educate and inform your team. Visit the Copyright Kitchen for more information.

This website will answer some very important questions, including:

* who owns the copyright for the work you create as a result of your employment
* copyright guidelines for editing another teacher's work
* using music in PowerPoint
* using video recordings from youtube

I have found some other useful URLs that you might find useful when you are considering copyright as part of your e-learning strategy.