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EMERGING FUTURES Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

Mitchell | Clayton | Hedberg | Paine

Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

John Mitchell – John Mitchell & Associates
with assistance from Berwyn Clayton, John Hedberg & Nigel Paine

Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

A report on current practice for the project Innovation in Teaching and Learning
in the vocational education and training sector
Prepared by John Mitchell – John Mitchell & Associates
with assistance from Berwyn Clayton, John Hedberg & Nigel Paine
June 2003

© Australian National Training Authority
This work has been produced with the assistance of funding provided by the
Commonwealth Government through the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA).
Copyright for this document vests with ANTA. ANTA will allow free use of the material so
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First published June 2003
Author/Contributor: Mitchell, J; Clayton, B; Hedberg, J; Paine, N
National Library of Australia
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Title: Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET
Publisher: ANTA, Reframing the Future and Office of Training and Tertiary Education, VIC
ISBN 0-9750606-3-5
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2 Assessment and training customised to meet the client’s strategic goals – TAFE NSW North Coast Institute and Centrelink 20 Case Study 1 Learner-focused. QLD Vignette 2.1 Simulation for assessment in trade areas – Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE. continually-improved programs for 15–18 year old youths at risk – Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. VIC 25 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 29 Vignette 2.2 An integrated approach to supporting and motivating distance students – TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) 38 Case Study 2 Re-engineering the teaching of textiles – Institute of TAFE Tasmania 43 34 .Table of Contents Executive Summary 1 Introduction 5 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 13 Vignette 1.1 VET in Schools program delivered in the workplace – Manufacturing Learning Centres in South Australia 16 Vignette 1.

2 Best practice delivery led by a national enterprise – TNT Express 89 Case Study 5 Innovative teaching and assessment for learners with a disability – Goodwill Industries and West Coast College of TAFE. SA 64 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 69 Vignette 4. VIC 59 Case Study 3 International benchmarking underpinning the assessment of key competencies in electrotechnology – Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government.2 Simultaneously fostering multiple innovations – TAFE NSW Hunter Institute 74 Case Study 4 Embedding innovation across the organisation – Open Learning Institute.2 Use of workplace mentors for training delivery across a region – East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. WA 94 6 What can be done to further support innovation in VET teaching? 99 Appendices 105 1 Members of the consulting team and steering committee 106 2 The project brief 107 3 Research methods 108 4 Names of interviewees 109 5 Focus group participants 111 6 Contacts for the case studies and vignettes 115 7 References 116 .1 Innovation in teaching remote Indigenous students about mining operations – Alcan.1 Managing innovation in teaching in response to photography students’ and industry’s needs – Photography Studies College. NT 87 Vignette 5. QLD 79 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 85 Vignette 5.1 Multi-faceted innovation in teaching heavy vehicle mechanics in regional Western Australia – Caterpillar Institute (WA) Pty Ltd 53 Vignette 3.3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 49 Vignette 3. VIC 71 Vignette 4.

major shifts in demand are continuing to place new pressures on VET and to set out new conditions that are driving searches for more flexible or relevant approaches to formal and informal learning. In total. The particular and local instances of practitioner innovation found in the research for this project serve as a reminder of the many different ways in which VET practitioners are knowledgeable and innovative. Positive futures for VET are emerging. However. Other broader demand forces are also shifting and changing VET. p. focus groups and case study research inform the key findings set out below. though often at very uneven rates and at local and regional levels. VET practitioners need to build their practice. Executive summary 1 .Executive Summary This report on Innovation in Teaching and Learning in the vocational education and training (VET) sector demonstrates that pressures for change are flowing with increasing force into teaching and learning practice within VET. as a result of this practitioner innovation. this report shows that there are good grounds for optimism about the quality and scope of current innovation in teaching and learning practices in VET. increase their knowledge base and skills and adapt VET pedagogy in order to realise and maintain the critical roles that teachers and trainers play between learner aspirations and learner achievements. interviews. Another result of the industry-led national training system is that detailed and customised workplace training demands on VET are potentially as varied as there are enterprises in Australia. Hence.11) explain that a postmodern perspective acknowledges that adults have considerable potential to learn in diverse settings. deeper and more frequent innovation is now needed in VET teaching and learning practices. workplace mentors and supervisors. our contemporary world produces a variety of narratives about adult learning and teaching. As a consequence of this ongoing change. As a result of the need for skills in the workplace. there is a strong demand for more differentiated and flexible workplace training and assessment. This is bringing about new and intensified professional. The industry-led national training system is focused on skills needed in the workplace at a time when industry change and skill development are key elements in the makeup of the economic and social context of work in a postmodern world. A literature review. Beckett and Hager (2002. as reflected in this report. wider. technical and educational roles for VET practitioners especially at the frontline and particularly for teachers. ■ More innovation in VET teaching and learning is needed in the national training system Innovation in VET teaching practice is of great significance as a response to the learner-centred agenda contained within the national training system. workplace trainers and assessors.

The report finds that innovation in teaching and learning in VET is ideally non-linear. industry representatives and the wider community. Hence. These individuals and groups become innovators and often help position and interact with organisational innovation. services and processes (Williams 1999. individual initiative and the development of new ideas. innovation in teaching and learning can be impeded by countless factors. technology or technique into a product. responding to the contemporary push for all organisations including educational ones to be customer-centred. facilitator. Innovation can occur when practitioners use a variety of teaching and learning strategies: for instance. also changes their practice and in varying degrees changes their roles. Additional possibilities for innovation are created by new relationships between VET practitioners. Innovation in teaching is often about turning an ‘invention’ such as an idea. and their generic personal skills such as managing their own personal and professional growth. As one example. as does encouraging knowledge management that is based on practitioner knowledge. Innovative teaching fosters lifelong learning. is emerging as a strong new trend in VET and is driven by client demand for customised assessment. ■ Innovation in VET teaching and learning is needed to meet the many needs of different learners Briefly. equipment and machinery. methods. ■ Innovation in teaching and learning in VET can be fostered or impeded by many factors Within RTOs. The case studies and vignettes in this report indicate that VET practitioners remain able to imagine and realise the opportunities that these changing conditions are presenting.These conditions suggest almost limitless scope for innovation in teaching and learning functions at individual. the report finds that innovation in assessment.17). requiring a range of preconditions and needing a mix of skills by a number of contributors. customised. such as managers ignoring client pressures for innovative delivery or 2 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . processes. when they facilitate activity-based and problem-based learning. innovation is defined as the implementation of new and improved knowledge. when they support self-directed learning. functions or even their sense of identity as VET practitioners. particularly in the workplace. Innovation is therefore about individuals and groups taking or responding to some form of novel or creative action to bring about an intended change in their work context that. but to support a wider range of capabilities which can assist the individual in the wider world of work and the community. process or service that is successful because it meets the needs of learners. group and organisational levels in VET. often affected by multiple drivers. their VET sector specific skills about how to assess in the workplace. inclusive and transferable. RTOs’ organisational strategies that can directly foster innovation in teaching include developing a corporate culture that is agile and flexible and encourages diverse thinking. such as their vocational skills. Innovative teaching can be shown to assist students to develop not just technical skills and a common core of generic skills. The research also shows that innovative practice is assisted when practitioners draw on some or all of four areas of their professional expertise. their adult learning and teaching skills such as how to support problem-based learning. Innovative teaching takes account of individual learners’ differences. p. Tapping into the social capital of colleagues stimulates innovation in teaching. The RTO’s management can also foster innovation by forming external networks and alliances. a strategic response by the organisation’s senior management to internal or external pressures can foster innovation in VET teaching and learning. when they skew teacher-centred methods towards student control. ideas. which leads to new and better products. moving VET away from the ‘content model of education’ based on a teacher-designed curriculum and to more fluid and interactive learning processes which move both student and staff members into a new and different experience of VET. The reports highlights the complexities of innovation. ■ Innovation in VET teaching and learning results from practitioners’ skills and actions Based on the empirical findings from fifteen case studies and vignettes and other consultations. for example in tourism or engineering. tools. mediator. broker or strategist. Innovation in teaching can also be fostered by an individual teacher or a small group of practitioners or units within an organisation. in the process. the report finds that innovation is assisted when VET practitioners consciously adopt new roles such as those of learning manager. and when they enable students to develop futureoriented capabilities.

Executive summary 3 . The framework shows that innovation in teaching cannot be reduced to a formula of step-by-step actions. ■ Many parties gain from innovation in teaching and learning in VET The report’s findings show that to gather the necessary momentum to become a significant VET innovation. Many of the case studies and shorter vignettes in this report show that an individual VET learner gaining recognition for competencies can positively impact on the learner’s future. The benefits often cascade. depending on the context and the perspectives of those involved. While the narrative provided in this report emphasises that the conditions and drivers behind specific innovation are highly contextual. there is a case for a dedicated mechanism to support practitioners in VET. For example. Unless innovative practice can be used to inform practice elsewhere. The beneficiaries play key roles in sustaining the innovation and enable its iteration and elaboration. given the importance of innovation to VET. in some situations the audit and compliance aspects of VET are seen to be dampening innovation. An innovation in teaching in one part of a VET provider’s teaching and learning operation can often influence another part. Summary The report acknowledges the central role in innovation of professional judgement. VET practitioners and VET organisations. While local innovation can be very positive and illuminating. a recommended mechanism for dissemination of good practice is discussed below. but in other situations staff and their RTOs are innovative in response to such constraints. These beneficiaries include the practitioners themselves – since the innovation needs their ability to create or translate and apply it – as well as the relevant VET learners and clients. techniques and ideas for application – about innovation in teaching and learning – elsewhere in VET. often exercised in conjunction with other stakeholders. including VET organisations themselves. The framework demonstrates that extensive professional judgment. The research for this project finds that. The purpose of this proposed national mechanism is to support the dissemination of useful and practical knowledge. the party least likely to benefit from innovation in practice is the wider VET sector – and its reputation and standing may not then benefit from its efforts. Other factors impeding innovation include a lack of resources. an initiative from wherever it originates needs to generate benefits for all participating parties. staff resistance. community attitudes. ■ Much can be done to further support innovation in teaching and learning in VET The challenge for VET is to work with and manage its practitioners in such a way that innovation can be supported to ensure new or improved outcomes for VET’s constituents. Otherwise. student opposition and an inability to convert creative ideas into innovative services that can be implemented. experience and wisdom are needed by practitioners contributing to innovation in VET teaching and learning. The findings from this report provide the basis for a conceptual framework for understanding and supporting innovation in VET teaching and learning. By ‘mechanism’ is meant a nationally-sponsored arrangement that can assist grassroots teachers and trainers – in conjunction with other stakeholders such as educational managers – to better inform themselves about useful ideas and practices about innovation in teaching that offer improved personal outcomes as well as better results and outcomes for VET students and clients. providing wider benefits for the RTO who supports the initial investment of effort. The mechanism is intended to facilitate action and provide better results for VET clients. as innovation in VET teaching and learning is too complex to reduce to simplicities. there is a problem that knowledge of the innovation may be hidden away in the level of local and regional practice and perhaps behind the curtain of competitive advantage sought by RTOs in the VET sector. the interpretation of possibilities and solutions rely heavily on the professional judgment of the VET practitioners involved. VET system factors can both foster and impede innovation. To overcome these issues of knowledge being hidden and the VET sector not benefiting. enterprise growth and regional development. the change will not be sustainable and its value as an innovation in VET teaching and learning becomes doubtful and contestable.overlooking the social capital of staff or discounting the value of the staff knowledge of industry and staff networking with members of the industry. and the RTO and its partners. improvisation.

Making practitioner information more readily available can support VET professionals to position their own thinking and practice closer to contemporary changes in VET professional practice. and also encourages the creation of collaborative mechanisms to further explore good practice and set realistic standards for success. 4 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . will continue to contribute positively to the development of teaching and learning outcomes across the sector. This suggests that. and that this helps to open up the possibilities that exist for innovation in their own arena of practice. This can help to ensure that innovation. to keep up with changing practice at and around the frontline of innovation in VET. The VET sector needs highly informed practitioners who know about successful practice elsewhere in the sector and can match this with appropriate innovations of their own. A migrating frontier of professional practice is required to both lead and follow changing conditions in VET. practitioners would benefit from arrangements that give them better sources of information. but rather that they use knowledge of other practice as a way of informing their own judgement and professional imagination. This is not to suggest that VET practitioners simply imitate others.A key feature of good practice captured in this report is that practitioners have good knowledge of professional developments and behaviour in their area of operations and how VET practice is being redeveloped. knowledge and understanding of changing teaching and learning practice across the sector. Identifying good practice is a key to fostering innovation as it gives credit and recognition for VET achievement where it is due. in whatever form it then takes.

Singapore and Nigel Paine from the BBC in London. This is the subject of a second report. the brief. Professor John Hedberg from Nanyang Technological University. set out in Appendix 1. The Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) funded the project and support was provided by a national Steering Committee. ways to read the report and abbreviations of key terms. Victoria. The project was managed by Ian Gribble from the Office of Training and Tertiary Education (OTTE). as set out in Appendix 1. learning and related assessment relationships in VET: • Firstly. Brief This project aims to provide two avenues for helping to integrate a clearer knowledge and understanding of practices. Advice was provided by Berwyn Clayton from Canberra Institute of Technology. Seven focus groups were conducted to respond to the discussion papers and a further two focus groups were held at the conclusion of the project to discuss key aspects Introduction 5 . This aspect is addressed by this report. by providing a national review of good practice that is drawn from current provider activity and achievements. • Secondly. Methodology The major research methods used in this project are listed in Appendix 3. the methodology. Consultants and Steering Committee The research and writing was undertaken from August 2002 to April 2003 by principal consultant John Mitchell from John Mitchell & Associates. definitions. new ideas and new approaches to teaching. The brief for this project is set out in Appendix 2. by investigating the development of a suitable national mechanism for ongoing information and support for the dissemination of teaching and learning practice and to strengthen and broaden innovation in the future. the Steering Committee.Introduction This section introduces the consultants. They included the preparation of two literature reviews and two initial discussion papers.

1 Caterpillar Institute (WA) Multi-faceted innovation in teaching heavy vehicle mechanics in regional Western Australia Vignette No. other VET personnel and stakeholders – in addition to teachers – influence student learning.4. Increasingly. were identified for reporting (for the relevant contact persons see Appendix 6).1. five case studies and ten vignettes. For shorthand. These personnel could vary from educational managers.3. and often in collaboration with industry. representative of the range of VET providers and activities. Learners in VET and innovation in the ways those learners go about their learning are discussed throughout the report.2 East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. NSW/ACT Assessment and training customised to meet the client’s strategic goals Case Study No.1 Manufacturing Learning Centres. learning materials developers. continually-improved programs for 15–18 year old youths at risk Vignette No.4 Open Learning Institute of TAFE. Innovation in VET teaching is so often a team effort.1. but the contribution of other personnel to teaching and learning is frequently noted. In the report. and these new roles for teachers are recognised in the report. TAS Re-engineering the teaching of textiles Vignette No. the word ‘teacher’ is used throughout this report. QLD Simulation for assessment in trade areas Vignette No.2 TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN). ‘Teaching practice’ extends well beyond the conventional classroom-based instruction model. QLD Embedding innovation across the organisation Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Types of innovation The following table sets out the different types of innovation described in the fifteen case studies and vignettes in the report.2.3.3 Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE. workplace supervisors. Definition of teacher The focus of this report is innovation in the professional practice of VET staff who have direct responsibility for teaching and learning functions in VET organisations. Coffs Harbour and TAFE NSW North Coast Institute. Table 1: Description of innovation 6 Number Organisation Innovation Vignette No. VIC Managing innovation in teaching in response to photography students’ and industry’s needs Vignette No. Overall. teaching now involves working in a team. For many teachers in VET. For brevity in the report.4.2 TAFE NSW Hunter Institute. sixty-seven interviews were conducted (see Appendix 4) and around one hundred and thirty VET personnel participated in the nine focus groups (see Appendix 5). but are not the major focus. revealed that the solo teacher is rarely the only influence on a student’s learning. assessing in workplaces and using technology in the delivery of education. NSW Simultaneously fostering multiple innovations Case Study No. ‘teacher’ is used to describe all forms of teachers and trainers in VET.2 Institute of TAFE Tasmania. NSW An integrated approach to supporting and motivating distance students Case Study No. SA VET in Schools program delivered in the workplace Vignette No.2. such as preparing resource-based learning materials. educational technology staff and student services officers.1 Photography Studies College. In the final stages of the project. the term ‘practice’ is used as a broad descriptor to cover the activities of VET personnel who may describe themselves as teachers or trainers and workplace trainers and mentors. to human resource staff.2 Centrelink Call Centre. SA International benchmarking underpinning the assessment of key competencies in electrotechnology Vignette No. particularly in the case studies and vignettes. VIC Use of workplace-based mentors for training delivery of across a region Case Study No.1 Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE. It includes a widening range of activities undertaken by teachers that influence learning.1 Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. particularly the preparation of five case studies and ten vignettes. VIC Learner-focused. The empirical research for this study.of the findings.

processes. Diagram 1: Creativity leading to innovation and implementation (Williams 1999.Table 1: Description of innovation (cont’d) Number Organisation Innovation Vignette No. italics added). services.5. WA Innovative training solutions in the metals area for trainees with cerebral palsy Definition of innovation There are numerous definitions of innovation in the literature and some of these are discussed in Chapter 3 of this report.2 TNT Express. and processes (p. which leads to new and better products. This study attempts.5.17. Introduction 7 . Improved as well as new ideas Williams (1999) defines innovation as the implementation of new and improved knowledge. TDT Australia and six providers. tools.1 Alcan. In adapting this model and in framing this report. did not provide a satisfactory definition of innovation in teaching and learning for VET and so we adapted a working model based on Williams (1999) and West (in King & Anderson 2002). national Best practice delivery led by a national enterprise Case Study No. Many of the innovations described in this report took some years to unfold. many of the case studies and vignettes in this report are about the renewal or renovation or improvement of an existing educational service. equipment and machinery. the view was taken that innovation in teaching and learning needs to lead to improved outcomes. as outcomes of creativity. as reported in Chapter 3. where possible.13) Discovery Process of Creativity Implementation Innovation Invention Because of this sequence that starts with creativity. Sequenced activities Williams’ (1999) model below shows that discovery and invention. methods. Note that innovation is about the implementation of not just new ideas and knowledge. Williams (1999) points out that the word innovation is derived from the Latin innovatio (renewal or renovation). to describe this sequence of activities in each of the case studies and vignettes. p. ideas. lead to the process of innovation and the implementation of the innovation. A scan of the literature. based on novus (new) as in novelty. Some key ideas about innovation that guided this study are summarised below. but also of improved ideas and knowledge. NT Innovation in teaching remote Indigenous students about mining operations Vignette No.5 Goodwill Industries WA in conjunction with West Coast College of TAFE. Hence. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government – East Arnhem Land. So the implementation of the innovation in the case studies and vignettes has included evidence of the reported benefits in each. an innovation may take some time to be implemented.

Distinguishing features of innovation in action The work of West and others (in King & Anderson 2002) provides further valuable assistance in the recognition of innovation and its distinction from organisational change in general. Williams’s diagram could also be re-drawn to include an oval labelled ‘re-invention’. process or procedure within an organisation. new and improved machine design. new markets and marketing methods. product. Different ways to read this report This report was prepared in the expectation that you would not read it from start to finish. the above work provided this project with a basis for recognising innovation in VET and for making a selection of 15 case studies and vignettes from a much larger candidate field. the final selection reflects a breadth of examples rather than focusing on where the weight of innovation is currently occurring. the above diagram ideally needs to be represented as a single spiral. • an innovation must not be a routine change. synthesis. Types of innovation Williams (1999) identifies different types of innovation: for example. to accompany the existing oval for ‘invention’. spiralling upwards. SA Metropolitan Public & Private VET in School students Vignette No. To assist a selective reading. Table 2: Features of RTO and students involved in the innovation 8 Number Organisation RTO location RTO Ownership Key student features Vignette No. but would selectively seek out those parts of the report that are most relevant to your needs. and replication. engineering and layout. • an innovation must be aimed at producing a benefit. While developing a new service is more original and often more visible than improving an existing service or copying someone else’s. service or process results.1. processes and methods. • an innovation must be public in its effects (King & Anderson 2002. In order to be as inclusive as possible of VET achievement. products.1 Manufacturing Learning Centres. new and improved services.2-3). Coffs Harbour and TAFE NSW North Coast Institute.To better match the way innovations in VET often occur over a number of years and how new dimensions are added in each iteration. product innovation. • replication – copying or duplicating or learning from others or applying someone else’s idea or invention in a new situation. pp. services or processes are combined in some new way so that an improved idea. Taken together. or combinations of two or more of these types: • new and improved services. with the process of creativity to implementation repeated a number of times. One approach might be to read first those chapters whose titles catch your interest. Table 1 above described the types of innovations in the case studies and vignettes. highlighting different aspects of the report. NSW/ACT Regional Public Call Centre staff Case Study No. although not necessarily new to the individual(s) introducing it. two tables are provided below. • synthesis – when existing ideas.1 Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. VIC Metropolitan Public Youths at risk Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .2 Centrelink Call Centre. processes and methods. Given earlier comments about innovation involving improved as well as new ideas. These authors characterise organisational innovation as follows: • an innovation is a tangible product. • an innovation must be intentional not accidental. The case studies and vignettes in this report are primarily of the following four types.1. each type of innovation is of value. new and improved work operations. • an innovation must be new to the social setting within which it is introduced. Table 2 below summarises the main features of the major RTOs and students involved in each of the case studies and vignettes. • new and improved work operations.

2 East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. VIC Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Vignette No. WA Metropolitan Public People with cerebral palsy Please note that. Certificate II Business (Office Administration). QLD Metropolitan Public Manufacturing industry students Vignette No.2 TAFE NSW Hunter Institute.1 Alcan. national Metropolitan and regional Public & Private Road transport drivers Case Study No. Table 3 summarises the main qualifications or programs described in the vignettes and case studies. Case Study No. Coffs Harbour and TAFE NSW North Coast Institute. SA Metropolitan Public Electrotechnology students Vignette No.1 Photography Studies College.2 Institute of TAFE Tasmania. NSW Regional Public Variety of regional students Case Study No. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government – East Arnhem Land. Centrelink Call Centre. TAS Metropolitan Public Textile Clothing and Footwear students Vignette No. SA Certificate I Engineering (CAD). Vignette No. QLD Metals and Engineering Training Package Vignette No. Certificate I Automotive Retail Service and Repair.2 TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN). NSW State-wide Public Accounting students – by distance education Case Study No. Certificate I Automotive Manufacturing. Certificate IV Assessment & Workplace Training Introduction 9 .4 Open Learning Institute of TAFE.2 Centrelink Virtual College ACT.2 TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN).5 Goodwill Industries WA in conjunction with West Coast College of TAFE.1. Certificate I Hospitality (Kitchen Operations). NSW Business Services (Accounting) Training Package Case Study No.5. QLD State-wide Public Leadership students Vignette No. for brevity.4. NT Remote Private Unemployed Indigenous people Vignette No.3 Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE. TAS Textile Clothing and Footwear Training Package Certificate IV Business (Frontline Management).1 Manufacturing Learning Centres.1 Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. VIC Metropolitan Private Photography students Vignette No.2 TNT Express. many of the names of the RTOs are abbreviated in the body of the report. Certificate I Process Manufacturing (Plastics Injection Moulding Operations).2.Table 2: Features of RTO and students involved in the innovation (cont’d) Number Organisation RTO location RTO Ownership Key student features Vignette No.1 Caterpillar Institute (WA) Regional Private Automotive mechanics Vignette No. NSW Certificate IV Telecommunications.2.2. TDT Australia and six providers.1.1 Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE.3.1 Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE.4.3. VIC Regional Public Community Services personnel Case Study No.2.5.2 Institute of TAFE Tasmania. Table 3: Qualifications profiled in each case study or vignette Number Organisation Accredited qualification or program Vignette No.

Most of the definitions are taken from the website of the Australian National Training Authority.anta. usually an incorporated association or company. QLD Certificate higher education institutions. commercial and enterprise training providers. Certificate III Automotive (Mechanical .au 10 ANTA The Australian National Training Authority AQTF The Australian Quality Training Framework is a set of nationally agreed arrangements to ensure the quality of vocational education and training services throughout Australia. NSW Workplace English Language and Literacy Program Case Study No.5.Heavy Vehicle). Certificate IV Assessment & Workplace Training Definitions of abbreviations and technical terms Definitions are provided below of abbreviations and terms used throughout this report. Certificate IV Business (Frontline Management) Vignette No. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government – East Arnhem Land.3. Certificate I. aged care. NT Certificate II Metalliferous Mining Operations (Open Cut). recognised as representing a particular industry and providing advice to government on the vocational education and training needs of its particular industry. private providers. There are both national and State and Territory industry training advisory bodies. II & III Workplace Education. Certificate IV Assessment & Workplace Training Vignette No. TDT Australia and six providers.Table 3: Qualifications profiled in each case study or vignette (cont’d) Number Organisation Accredited qualification or program Vignette No.2 TAFE NSW Hunter Institute. Workplace English Language and Literacy Program. Registered Training Organisations include TAFE colleges and institutes. It is made up of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) and nationally endorsed Training Packages. is an organisation.2 East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. ITAB An industry training advisory body (or ITAB). nursing and community services) Case Study No. III. Vignette No.5.4 Open Learning Institute of TAFE. WA Certificate I. IV and Diploma of Government.2 TNT Express.3. national Certificate III Transport & Distribution (Road Transport) Case Study No. industry bodies and other organisations meeting the registration requirements.3 Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE.1 Caterpillar Institute (WA) Pty Ltd Certificate II Automotive (Mechanical Vehicle Servicing). SA Electrotechnology Training Package Vignette No.1 Alcan. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . adult and community education providers. Certificate IV Assessment & Workplace Training. VIC Advanced Diploma of Photography Vignette No. ITC An industry training council (or ITC) is a body established by an industry or business sector to address training issues. schools. Metals and Engineering Training Package. RTO A Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is an organisation registered by a State or Territory recognition authority to deliver training and/or conduct assessments and issue nationally recognised qualifications in accordance with the Australian Quality Training Framework. also called industry training advisory board.5 Goodwill Industries WA in conjunction with West Coast College of TAFE. community organisations. VIC Community Services Training Package (child studies. www.1 Photography Studies College.4.4. NTF National Training Framework (NTF) is the system of vocational education and training that applies nationally.

Training packages consist of core endorsed components of competency standards.Training Package A Training Package is an integrated set of nationally endorsed standards. and optional non-endorsed components of support materials such as learning strategies. assessment guidelines and qualifications. developed by industry to meet the training needs of an industry or group of industries. Introduction 11 . VET provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills. excluding degree and higher level programs delivered by higher education institutions. VET The vocational education and training sector provides post-compulsory education and training. guidelines and qualifications for training. VET also includes programs which provide the basis for subsequent vocational programs. assessing and recognising people’s skills. assessment resources and professional development materials.

12 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .

VET providers are faced with similar challenges. Mitchell & Young 2001) argue that VET providers cannot stand still and watch while other enterprises respond to globalisation and other forces: Diversity and creativity is increasingly required of VET in meeting the requirement of organisations to nurture employees with a high appetite for new learning and making a contribution within empowered teams working in a flexible environment . requiring continual adaptations in VET teaching. 1999). industry restructures and VET policy responses. the emergence of the knowledge economy. Key points Key points raised in the chapter include the following: • Change in VET teaching is being driven by multiple drivers such as global economics. Robinson 2000. 1999. • Workplace training demands on VET are as diverse as there are enterprises. through innovative ways of assessing the development of key competencies. as applies to the individuals and organisations they serve (Waterhouse et al. such as the policy-led encouragement for more delivery and assessment in the workplace. the world of work for VET learners keeps changing. Marginson 2000. Case study 3 provides an example of the promotion of lifelong learning to electrotechnology students. Researchers (Waterhouse et al. 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 13 . in respect of their staff. creating new and additional roles for VET teachers. changes to the world of work and the new emphasis on customising and personalising services – encouraging a demand-driven. Innovation in teaching is needed when the global context changes The context for teaching and learning in VET is changing. impacted upon by broad factors such as the availability of global telecommunications.Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 1 This chapter sets out reasons why innovation in teaching and learning is a dynamic issue for VET. • In particular. and learner or customer-centric approach to education.individual and collective competence is sought. Two of the responses by VET to the above needs are to promote self-directed learning and lifelong learning. Case study 2 in this report illustrates how self-directed learning in the textile arena can prepare the student for making decisions in the workplace.

the need for continuing modernisation of traditional industries. and where and when it is relevant. The ‘time to market’ delay between changing productive processes and delivering products and services is a key indicator of organisational responsiveness. whereas today the system will be driven by a database. and especially know-how.Innovation in teaching is a response to multiple change drivers The drivers of innovation in teaching and learning in VET are numerous. the ability of people to apply new knowledge. Knowing how databases are structured and accessed and how questions can be asked of them requires a knowledge and skill level different from those required in previous times. wants and needs of different clusters and market segments. • Public policy. The changes also include the endless scarcity and mobility of work and new and more liquid forms of devolved and decentralised work organisation. society and economic and social capital. and power. The need for agility in delivering goods and services that match the particular preferences. on the other. regional and local social and political diversity and pluralism. the fundamentally different scale of demand and expectations for increasingly customised and ‘Just In Time’ goods and services by consumers and suppliers. Individuals. • Changing structures of work. retraining and replacement training are all critical in their own way and for both organisations and individuals. These time horizons are beyond the control of the production processes. For instance. • From mass production to market segmentation. values. training. Options such as e-learning potentially provide some solutions for the ‘time poor’ worker who is keen to stay abreast of the developments in their field. Changes in technology alter the way in which occupations carry out their normal work tasks and often require new learning by staff both in industry and VET providers. There is a growing recognition that postmodern society is based on much higher levels of complexity and uncertainty due to such factors as global. on the one hand. • The aggressive spread of the value proposition. the proposition that we must be able to demonstrate the value of our contribution and effort to throughputs and outcomes is now a commonplace requirement for profit and not-for-profit organisation alike. Client demand is becoming highly differentiated away from standardised forms of demand that once permitted simpler mass production and the standardised work and delivery systems behind them. whether they are in industry. has never been more important. • The dynamic knowledge imperative. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . skills and professional standards for high performance workforces. population trends. They also interact and make their presence felt in uneven ways. and the increasing focus on competitive alignments between markets. There is a growth in the economic and commercial value of knowledge and skills. work organisation. Time. the central importance of small to medium sized employment and self-employment. • The changing structures of industry and employment. This takes many forms that provoke the need for innovative practice. model and lead this type of learning. finance and investment conditions. • Shrinking time horizons. national. organisations and government are all increasingly ‘time poor’. and to do this more efficiently at work. In this quickening scenario. clerical tasks in the past might have included running a filing system. as a scarce resource. • New technology. The spread of digital communications is increasing the need for information technology (IT) literacy and fluency across many workforces and challenging the VET system and its staff to integrate. For example. These changes include the growth of part time and casual or contingent or shadow workforces and the decline of the standard employment model based on fixed hours. long tenure and prescribed benefits and social contracts about mutuality and ethics. that is. government or VET. often in teams and with higher levels of personal initiative and responsibility. All Western governments continue to redevelop their positions on society and economy and within the constraints of their limited revenue and tax base. They reflect. the impact of competition in the marketplace or ‘client place’ and. Examples of this conviction at the level of organisational identity include: ‘If you don’t add value to a “throughput” you are unlikely to survive as an organisation’ and ‘Organisational outcomes must always determine throughput processes’ (Mant 2002). These drivers include: 1 14 • Rising complexity/uncertainty. is a continually rising discipline. and changing markets. divergent ways of conceptualising and thinking about business. competing paradigms or world views. The changes include the growth and movement in new and older industries and the industry base. conflicting priorities: fundamental challenges to established authority. the National Training Framework (NTF) is an innovative construct for recognising the multiple ways in which workers can acquire skills and for this recognition to be transferable from one context to another. They are also profound in their cumulative impact and implications. Although most obvious in business.

1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 15 . provides an example of how competency-based training and assessment can be customised to suit a client’s specific needs in a call centre environment: a model of client-responsiveness that satisfies the direction of VET policy. Innovation in teaching is needed so that VET students can adjust to the changes in the world of work: for example. the Holmesglen approach creates the possibility of a successful future for ‘youths at risk’ by effectively linking them with pathways for study.2 in Chapter 5 describes how TNT Express. continually improves its teaching of youths who have not found a comfortable fit with high school structures. Policy initiatives at both Commonwealth and State/Territory levels that support the implementation of the national training system provide a spur to innovation in VET teaching. In both vignettes. Simultaneously with the rise of e-learning.As a result of the above change drivers. many more areas of VET delivery. Vignette 5. 1 Vignette 1. • attracting new entrants to industry who have a positive attitude to skill development. the increase in self-employed workers. Put simply.2 later in this report profiles the changing world of the photography industry and how one VET provider continually adjusts its learning programs to ensure its graduates are prepared to work in an industry where self-employed ‘freelancers’ and not permanent.2. The national training system is an industry-led approach. • re-skilling of some staff following the disappearance of many entry-level jobs. A number of the points highlighted above are now discussed in more depth. preparing them for the range of options available in an industry many view as conservative – the manufacturing industry. including the impact of policy. Vignette 4. teaching and learning is significantly affected by the progressive implementation of the national training system with its focus on Training Packages and competency-based training. The pace is quickening and new pressures are now coming increasingly to the fore across. much more of what has been taken for granted in the recent past is being contested. guided six providers to align their delivery and assessment strategies to suit the needs of the national enterprise: a model of enterprise client leadership. with industry determining its training needs and the required standards and competencies. a national transport company. Despite all the turbulence. organisational and personal change. the Open Training and Education Network in NSW. and this has important psychological and attitudinal ramifications for people and society. employees undertaking training benefited from achieving nationally recognised and portable qualifications – important policy goals of the national system. has incorporated into its delivery model both e-learning options and over-arching e-business strategies. lifetime employees are now the norm. Innovation in teaching is needed when policy changes Within the VET sector. jobs and community life. For example. The increasing focus on e-learning – driven by policy and by government funding sources – has challenged previous teaching and learning methodologies that were based around teacher delivery in a classroom. changes to work and the importance of workplace training. Assisting young people to start developing competencies in this increasingly turbulent context is more of a challenge now than before. Vignette 1. Innovation in VET teaching is needed when the world of work changes Innovation is needed in VET teaching so that students can quickly and effectively acquire skills to meet the pace of industrial. • re-skilling of older employees. often delivered and assessed in the workplace. Vignette 2. e-business has created more opportunities for VET providers to provide additional services for students (Mitchell 2003). including the people and cultures in the VET workforces. It relates how a VET in Schools program is largely conducted in industry workplaces. Case Study 1 below shows how one VET provider. the growing casualisation of the Australian workforce and the emergence of ‘portfolio’ workers holding a cluster of part-time positions. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. the quality and frequency of innovative activity in teaching and learning must respond and adjust to the external environment and policy directions. on Centrelink and North Coast Institute of TAFE and set out later in this chapter. and within. innovation in VET teaching needs to reflect the following requirements in the workplace: • continuous skilling to meet new and emerging industry needs. • recognising the current skills of the existing workforce.1 below focuses on the last of these points – attracting new entrants to industry.2 in the next chapter describes how a distance education provider. so that school students could learn in the workplace.

The implications for VET teaching of changes in the workplace are summarised in the following table.
Table 1.1: Workplace changes and implications for education and training (Burns 2002, p.24)

Workplace: yesterday

Workplace: future

Implications for teachers

Mechanical systems

Micro-electronic systems

Conceptual learning

Labour intensive

Knowledge-capital intensive

More value added by people

Apprenticeship training on
time basis

Competency standards to
specified objectives

Modular training

Training in more physical skills

Learning of systems, social skills

Less manual learning; self-directed and
self-initiated learning; involvement in
decision-making process

Established equipment

Prototypes and development

Experts are trainers

Individual tasks fragmented

Team work; holistic view of
production; barriers between
workforce levels break down

More social skills training in
communication and relationships

Reactive and passive; routine

Proactive and flexible; initiating
and anticipative; monitoring
and diagnosing

Learning how to be responsible, make
decisions and be involved


Vignette 3.1 in Chapter 3 of this report, on the Caterpillar Institute (WA), provides examples of trainers modelling
the approach identified by Burns (2002). Changes to Caterpillar technology will never stop, so the Caterpillar
trainers approach the task of assisting trainees to acquire skills in heavy vehicle mechanics as a knowledgeintensive exercise, where trainees need to develop skills so that they can continue to learn on-the-job, as the
technology changes.
Burns (2002, p.22) suggests that we are moving into a world that is complex and unpredictable; network-based
and horizontally integrated; information rich; and, uncomfortably, largely beyond our personal control. For work
organisations and work-focused societies, one solution to this portrayal of modern life as a ‘swamp’ or move to
chaos is to assist people to capitalise on their learning capabilities in order to learn more rapidly and to apply
that learning:
The new economic paradigm requires flexibility, quality, innovation and knowledge at all levels. Success now
depends on how quickly and well employees can transform ideas into better products and services. In the new
economy, employees capable of rapid learning and willing to undertake retraining in complex tasks/skills are
critical (Burns 2002, p.22).

In order to help employees to become capable of rapid learning in the field of community services, Vignette 3.2
describes teaching staff at the East Gippsland Institute of TAFE using a range of flexible methodologies, such as
the use of on-the-job mentoring, weekly telephone link-ups, individual home study packages, mentoring with
industry based staff with specialist expertise, one-on-one tutor support and an increasing use of online
assessment, assignment submission and tutorials.

Vignette 1.1

VET in Schools program delivered in the workplace – Manufacturing
Learning Centres in South Australia
The provision of new pathways for school students to VET and jobs is a critical issue for the VET
sector, if industry is to benefit from the injection of young people. However, providing pathways
for students for jobs and study programs in the manufacturing industry and developing relevant
support programs is challenging, especially in manufacturing.
The manufacturing industry has a generally conservative image for school students and
structural changes in the last decade have given it the appearance of being in decline as an
employment sector of choice.
Offsetting this negative view, the following vignette describes the provision of new VET
pathways and opportunities for students. This initiative involves the establishment of new
learning centres within enterprises in South Australia as government strategy there seeks to
reverse a decline in their regional manufacturing sector.


Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

The Manufacturing Learning Centres (MLC) vignette focuses on VET in School students
developing competencies in the workplaces of different-sized manufacturers, ranging from the
large Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited, to medium sized suppliers of Mitsubishi and other
local manufacturers. In these different organisations, skill is required by teachers and workplace
mentors to ensure the benefits of each workplace are accessible to students.

The Australian manufacturing industry is the largest employer of full-time workers. But with
increasing overseas competition the industry needs to invest in new technology, new skills and
quality systems and to attract young people into the workforce (Blight and Dymock 2002).

industry and
education need to
know more about
each other

Manufacturing in South Australia is feeling this pressure very strongly. Although the State is a
particularly important regional producer of white goods and automobiles, its whole
manufacturing base is now subject to strong pressures from cheap imports. To remain
competitive, South Australian manufacturers are adopting world class production standards. In
turn, this means they face the need to reskill and upskill their company workforces.


Jillian Blight, until recently the long-standing manager of the Manufacturing Learning Centres,
and researcher Darryl Dymock believe that industry and education need to develop a clear
understanding of their respective positions if manufacturing training is to be more effective in
South Australia. As they see it:
Not all companies are familiar with the ‘finer points’ of the national training system. They do not
always understand Training Packages, on-the-job assessment and how to combine career
pathways and options for young people with school, work and study. It is also true to say that
not all education workers understand the skills and qualities industry needs in its current and
future employees (Blight and Dymock 2002).

Description of the innovation
Manufacturing Learning Centres (MLCs) grew out of a collaborative project that commenced
in 1991 between Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd (MMAL) and six local schools. Originally, there
was one MLC, sited at Mitsubishi Motors in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.


The objective of this joint project was to raise the profile of manufacturing and manufacturing
employment in the community. It offered school students the chance to undertake complete
on-the-job learning programs.
The initiative moved through a number of stages. In particular, as described below, a major
change occurred in 2003. As a result, there is now a network of MLCs in a range of enterprises
linked to the administrative hub at Mitsubishi.
An unchanged core aspect of all the MLCs is that student participants develop on-the-job and
industry-specific competencies and generic work skills. These cover communication, teamwork,
problem solving, and planning and organising. At the same time, student participants
contribute to production in their host organisation.
The learning programs are very extensive. For example, they include engineering,
information technology, polymer technology, automotive manufacture (engine parts
machining, engine and car assembly), automotive retail service and repair (tyre fitting, wheel
aligning, detailing, general servicing), business services and hospitality. There are plans for
new career streams in general manufacturing (metals), warehousing, logistics and electronics
(Blight and Dymock 2002).

image problem

There were a range of interests behind the establishment of these Manufacturing Learning
Centres. For example, local industry wants to attract young people to choose employment in
manufacturing; local secondary schools want more employment and vocational opportunities
for their students; and the Onkaparinga Institute of TAFE, a partner in the MLCs, wants to
provide on-going training opportunities for school leavers and local employees in
manufacturing enterprises.
1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue?


All of the stakeholders were agreed from the outset that the manufacturing sector needed to
improve its image for school leavers. The MLCs always intended to provide an opportunity for
the stakeholders to construct a collaborative approach to this image problem.

Developing the innovation
The distinction of the project of 1991 which developed into the MLC was that it introduced an
on-the-job learning program for secondary school students that built bridges between school
and workplace learning in the manufacturing workforce. It then added to this foundation. For
instance, in 1998 five new program streams were added to the program: business, trades,
engineering (CAD), automotive manufacturing and information systems. In 1999, with the
introduction of Training Packages and with the change from teaching modules to assessing
competencies, MLCs introduced Certificate-level courses. In the business services stream alone,
this resulted in approximately twenty companies becoming involved and approximately 50
students per year completing a Certificate II, on-the-job.


In 2000-2001 the partnership was expanded to include Training Packages relevant to new
companies in the MLCs’ network. New companies included Schefenacker Vision Systems – an
auto supplier of Mitsubishi – and Seeley International, a maker of air conditioners. Other
prominent companies include Sola Optical, Electrolux, Hills and Coroma. At this point in its
development, the MLCs concept expanded significantly beyond its original Mitsubishi base.
Overall, about 200 students in 2002 completed either partly or fully a Certificate I and II, in
approximately 30 companies. The number of schools involved had expanded to 22.
A change occurred in 2003 when Commonwealth Government funding ended for the MLC’s
manager position. A training coordinator funded by nine schools and Onkaparinga Institute of
TAFE is maintaining the existing program offerings, with new developments currently on hold.
The 2003 program (see has refocused on the
core business of providing learning experiences for the VET in Schools program, together with
some opportunities for students from the TAFE Institute. However, Margie John from
Onkaparinga Institute of TAFE describes the revised arrangements as not changing the character
of the program, as it is still very much industry-led.
Onkaparinga Institute is the RTO for programs in Business, IT, Engineering and Hospitality. In
other career streams, training is provided under the auspices of other RTOs including Mitsubishi
Motors and Quality Automotive Training.
Program delivery occurs in a variety of modes. By way of example, Graham Hargreaves, the
training coordinator of the MLCs, explains:
For the Business Services stream, all but one of the competencies are delivered on the job. In the
Hospitality, Engineering and Information Systems streams, some competencies are delivered on
the job and some at school. The canteen at Mitsubishi Motors is the site for delivery of parts of
the Hospitality Certificate I program, building on underpinning competencies developed
previously at schools.

Teaching dimensions of the innovation
The Manufacturing Learning Centres partnership model is built not just on networking
principles, but on innovative teaching and human resource (HR) practices, including the use of
action learning and the cultivation of a culture of learning in the workplace.
cultivation of a
learning culture in
the workplace

Much of the teaching available in the workplace is provided by the staff of the manufacturing
companies who act as mentors. Jillian Blight explains:
The mentors involved in the MLC commonly use action learning methodology, which assists in
understanding the difference in learning between the sectors of education and the work provider,
and which develops learning solutions for students which include discovery and problem solving.

The concept of an enterprise being used as a learning centre is still highly innovative and each
MLC has a different contribution to make. Jillian Blight explains that a range of the companies
involved in the program are manufacturing learning centres:
Each one identifies one or more career pathways or streams for students to follow. There are
multiple career pathway offerings in some companies. Students need to appreciate a broad range
of opportunities which many manufacturing companies provide.


Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

assisting the development of a learning culture. and (d) seeing the relevance of lifelong workplace learning within a training and career pathway. These presentation sessions provide the workplace mentors and the teachers involved in the VET in Schools program with an opportunity to share their learning strategies and assessment activities and to reflect on and review their own practices. students describe their workplace experiences. (c) acquiring job seeking skills relevant to the labour market of the 21st Century. 76). the TAFE Institute and enterprises. Indonesia and Germany and from other States in Australia. industry mentors and managers. school and TAFE staff. Hager 1998). Jillian Blight finds that.Blight and Dymock (2002) believe that this learning centres model also fits with the increasing focus on the workplace as a site for learning and the development of a culture of learning (see for example Boud and Garrick 1999. the viability of this innovation depends upon the continuing support of 30 local enterprises. invented and developed. providers and industry The MLC model provides positive outcomes for students. schools. Messages The MLC vignette provides a number of messages regarding innovation in teaching and learning: • As the organisation of work influences learning. and. based on experience over the last decade. but it also benefits the enterprise. • There are many benefits in students learning in the workplace. discussed above. increasing the need for innovative teaching in the workplace. 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 19 . Given these features of a learning culture. and ‘situated learning’ can lead to high-level learning (Billett 2001). are structured into the organisation’s functioning so that opportunities for new learning could continue’ (Owen and Williamson 1994. the learning culture of each manufacturing enterprise improves as a result of being involved in the MLC program. other schools that purchase services on a fee for service basis and Onkaparinga Institute. sharing between workplace mentors and VET in schools staff 1 Blight & Dymock (2002) explain that at the end of the placement. parents. China. The process provides these teachers with an understanding of what learning and experiences occur in the enterprise and helps them to see how students benefit from being involved (Blight & Dymock 2002). (b) gaining greater understanding and access to the pathways from school to traineeships and employment either directly into the companies or through labour hire arrangements. Blight and Dymock (2002) believe that the learning opportunities promoted through MLCs to young people in schools and TAFE result in the four main areas of benefit: (a) having access to labour market and course information. As an innovative partnership and teaching model it has attracted the interest of groups from Japan. Transferability and sustainability depends on ongoing support Since the beginning of 2003. where learning opportunities are valued to the extent that they are actively discovered. The enterprises which are MLCs benefit from their staff being involved as mentors to external students. as learning changes both learners and their environments (Hager 2001). Outcomes for students. the nine partner secondary schools. students’ communication and presentation skills are demonstrated and assessed in an oral presentation to other students. A learning culture is one where ‘the conditions for workplace learning are part of a work group’s experience and history. learning and reflections. Enterprises involved in the MLC network benefit not just from attracting new recruits but also from the development of a learning culture. the learning centre approach not only benefits the students. In their presentations. innovation in teaching is required to optimise the influences of the workplace on learning.

the Institute’s ongoing challenge is to expand and maintain customised training services to a wide variety of regionally based clients. In addition. Learning in the workplace features strongly in many of the vignettes and case studies presented in this report. He notes that teachers are interested in their students engaging in workplace experiences to assist the transfer of learning from classrooms.4). 20 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . assisting a major new regional industry – call centres Whilst the North Coast Institute aims to excel in the provision of regional training it also sees a much broader regional development role for itself.• As informal and incidental learning occur in the workplace. This case study describes the making of a new collaborative regional training arrangement which can help shape Centrelink’s future relationships with regional VET providers in other parts of Australia. in fields such as call centres and customer service centres. With a limited number of specialist teaching staff spread over a thinly populated and large geographical area. Centrelink aims to be a world leader in the speed.2 Assessment and training customised to meet the client’s strategic goals – TAFE NSW North Coast Institute and Centrelink Large organisations such as Centrelink with national and regional networks across Australia can have complex training needs that require high levels of collaboration with local training providers. This case study is about the innovations that arose out of Centrelink’s new relationship with TAFE NSW North Coast Institute. This innovative approach includes TAFE teachers being prepared to develop programs for supervisors as well as students.3–4). With 24. quality and consistency of its work. including a major call centre at Coffs Harbour. The positive embrace of learning in the workplace underpins innovations such as the following one from Coffs Harbour in NSW. particularly in stimulating regional economic growth. the concept of workplace learning for VET students has not found universal acceptance. North Coast Institute faced the challenge of providing training services to Centrelink’s call centre at Coffs Harbour. innovation in teaching is required to ensure that these forms of learning are valued and supported through mechanisms such as coaching and mentoring and a ‘learning culture’ (Boud and Garrick 1999). This concern exists despite the availability of research that shows that learning in educational organisations is often fragile and not easily transferable to other settings such as workplaces (p. one of the continuing challenges to teaching in VET since the introduction of the national training system is to hasten the shift away from teaching in provider classrooms to teaching and assessing in the workplace. Converging needs and drivers The Commonwealth Government’s Centrelink system has staff in over 360 offices around Australia. Innovation in teaching 1 Despite policy-level support. Centrelink is one of Australia’s largest national government agencies. Innovation in teaching is needed to enhance a major shift in VET towards learning in the workplace • Despite the above exemplar from the manufacturing sector in South Australia. The approach also has potential for being taken up by other large enterprises in regional Australia. In this context. but concern still exists about the legitimacy of workplace or on-the-job learning experiences (pp.000 staff. second only to the Department of Defence. Vignette 1. This Institute provides training services from Taree up to the Queensland border. this approach includes teachers’ willingness for their performance to be measured in terms of their contribution to the achievement of the client’s strategic goals. Billet (2001) examines learning that occurs in the workplace and finds that it struggles to achieve the recognition it often deserves.

The training needs identified in the discussions included recognition of current competence services and prevocational courses for New Entrant Traineeships and Existing Worker Traineeships in Telecommunications. In turn. the teacher who provided the on-site services. Centrelink is committed to nationally accredited training and to rewarding the achievement of nationally recognised training qualifications by using progressive pay systems. The teacher. further discussions showed that the Institute could usefully deliver the Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training to enable the sole Centrelink training staff member Jo Wisely to provide ongoing training and assessment in the workplace. we provided a customer-focused personalised service. Frederick Millard. We kept on talking till we worked it out. staff at Centrelink call centres receive additional pay if they obtain a Certificate IV in Telecommunications. starting in 2001. described the next level of the planning process: We went to Centrelink to talk about traineeships and ended up talking about a duality of certification: Centrelink’s and our’s.Centrelink has its own RTO. Centrelink’s training mapped against Training Package competencies Initial discussions and planning between the two organisations identified a whole suite of training needs. additional local training services. to develop appropriate assessment processes. The Centrelink Virtual College has developed print-based. are needed to assist the learning process. In addition. For example. Centrelink was represented in the planning by managers. We also saw this as a long-term relationship and sought solutions that would be outcomesfocused in terms of the Centrelink staff. particularly assessment. then worked with Centrelink’s Jo Wisely. However. We mapped Centrelink’s learning modules against the Training Package competencies. so they needed our help. the two Institute teachers who made the innovation work. particularly the on-the-job assessment service. Other factors that Peter Newman and Jo Wisely believe contributed to the successful implementation of the innovative model included involving Centrelink staff and facilities in the 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 21 . Centrelink set out to quickly assist over one hundred of its Coffs Harbour staff to gain national qualifications: The immediate driver for Centrelink included the need to quickly enable nearly one hundred staff to gain qualifications to underpin the quality of the call centre services. Peter Newman. 1 To achieve this Centrelink turned for assistance to North Coast Institute. trainers and the Centrelink Virtual College. Each valued the other. describes how the innovation evolved: The key people from the two organisations got together and built a relationship. In collaboration with Centrelink’s Coffs Harbour call centre training manager Jo Wisely. internal business consultant and teaching staff. and our services were flexible. This provides some direct training. Jo Wisely. and Carolyn Fletcher. Administrative Services). North Coast Institute was represented by its business manager. explains that. the Institute’s business manager. the Institute’s business consultant. the scale and regional dispersal of training demand across its national and regional operations means that external trainers and assessors are also commonly engaged. the Centrelink Virtual College located in Canberra. we found a common goal and we came up with a totally flexible approach to training and assessing. North Coast Institute’s Peter Newman. self-paced learning materials and assessment tasks for telecommunications training for its call centre staff at most locations including Coffs Harbour. Carolyn Fletcher. believes there are a number of reasons why the new collaborative model was effective: We took a partnership approach to meet client needs. Developing the innovation The planning for this began in 2001 and involved personnel from Centrelink and the North Coast Institute of TAFE. Training Manager at Centrelink’s Coff Harbour call centre. Jo was Centrelink’s only trainer in Coffs Harbour. HR managers. However. were Sandra Bannerman (Head Teacher. Together we looked at Centrelink’s unusual needs.

Jo Wisely from Centrelink explains: We needed a very flexible approach to assessment by TAFE. the Institute’s business consultant. she took some time getting to know the staff as individuals and the work they did. explained that the teaching methodology used to deliver the Frontline Management program was predominantly based around workplace projects. I found that if they got recognition. I also gave the team leaders positive feedback about each person. it was an incentive for them to continue. deliberate actions taken by the teacher The Institute’s Peter Newman added that coaching and mentoring by Carolyn also underpinned the relationship between the TAFE and the client. everyone involved in the collaboration agreed that the key to the success of the implementation of this innovation was the approach of Carolyn Fletcher. the teacher. The teacher Carolyn Fletcher believes that her effectiveness was the result of a number of deliberate actions she took. Fifthly. both in writing and verbally. Thirdly. Frederick added: ‘We even used the training of new Centrelink staff in the Telecommunications Certificate IV as part of the program’. providing a flexible but quality assessment service. she made sure she gave sufficient time to each staff member: Each of the staff put in a lot of effort. Ninety-one Centrelink staff in Coffs Harbour completed the Telecommunications 22 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . I would fit in with them. I also kept up with the new equipment installed in the call centre and made sure I knew how to use it. the teaching and assessment services provided by the Institute and the support of Centrelink were the two critical components for success. Secondly. Similarly. Carolyn made a point of working closely with the team leaders from Centrelink. Carolyn was flexible about her availability. the TAFE teacher who actually provided the onsite training and assessment services to the call centre. We provided the flexibility that Centrelink sought. Centrelink was very happy that Carolyn. 1 Head Teacher Sandra Bannerman adds: It is an excellent arrangement. she places a strong focus on the recognition process with the existing staff: Many of the staff had been with Centrelink for some time. Outcomes for Centrelink staff. They could make an appointment and if my proposed times didn’t suit them. saying: I was available to the staff at their workplace when it suited them. by sitting and working with each of our individual call centre operators. As Carolyn explains: creating local employment opportunities I would work closely with the call centre operators and really learn how they worked. so I put a lot of time into developing a tool for mapping their previous training and duties against the Training Package competencies. Fourthly. was able to work with Centrelink call centre staff in their workplace. Carolyn Fletcher. Frederick Millard. the community and TAFE The student achievements in the first year of the relationship were significant for a regional town. even though Carolyn assessed over one hundred staff. She came into our workplace on a regular basis. the Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training involved staff members undertaking numerous practical case studies taken from Centrelink’s workplace. The TAFE assessor. so they could pass it on. Teaching and assessment dimensions of the innovation Within this innovative relationship between these two organisations. I worked with each individual in carefully identifying their current competencies.program delivery. The Institute’s provision of articulation pathways to other VET qualifications for Centrelink staff was also important. Firstly. so I put a lot of time into reading their written work and giving them feedback. as it is very hard for us to take any of our call centre staff off their phones. for any length of time or in groups. got to know the staff and customised her approach to suit us. However. did the bulk of the recognition of current competencies. so that her work was integrated with Centrelink’s internal staff development.

a further nine have nearly completed the Certificate IV in Frontline Management and three completed the Business Certificate IV. Frederick Millard is proud that many of the staff at Centrelink’s Coffs Harbour call centre now have a national qualification. Transferability and sustainability taking the model beyond call centres The innovative partnership developed in Coffs Harbour in 2001 was repeated with Centrelink’s Kingscliff call centre in Tweed Heads. The model is now also used at Centrelink’s Port Macquarie Call Centre. They have been instrumental in changing the way TAFE equips its call centre training operation. so we now offer both the Certificate level II and III. so it is essential that we have highly-skilled and publicly qualified staff’. Frederick Millard reflected on the role reversal that occurred as a result of the partnership with Centrelink: As a result of the work with Centrelink. Here eighty one Centrelink staff gained the Telecommunications Certificate IV as New Entrant Traineeships and five completed the Business Certificate IV. 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 23 . Jo Wisely explained: ‘Centrelink bids for new business. NSW. We also gained from developing the concept of a ‘duality’ approach with the client: a duality in the sense that both parties benefit. Frederick Millard and Jo Wisely to make a presentation to the business managers from the other ten TAFE Institutes in NSW and to the managers and learning and development coordinators from Centrelink’s other NSW Area Offices. after the success of the pilot activity. They received national recognition for their skills. in the same year. Peter Newman also sees new opportunities for teachers from North Coast Institute in providing consultancy services including skills audits and designing training plans outside call centre environments. Anthony Tyrrel from the Centrelink Virtual College and Robin Shreeve from TAFE NSW arranged for Peter Newman. Centrelink and North Coast identified an opportunity to provide training for people in the local community who might want to apply for work at a call centre such as Centrelink. Jo Wisely added: Part of Centrelink’s role is to assist people toward employment. Another benefit for Centrelink is its future growth. so they can go to any other call centre and provide accredited evidence of their skills and knowledge The Certificate IV makes them very employable. As a result of this relationship.Certificate IV as New Entrant Traineeships. we realised that the Telecommunications program needed to be offered locally. NSW. and after looking at the growth in the call centre industry in the region. Peter Newman and Jo Wisely agree on the importance of the model for regional development. 1 As a result of the initial training. With this collaboration with the Institute we are helping to skill up people in the region. Jo Wisely is clear about the benefits of the collaborative partnership for her staff: The staff gain a certificate which enables them to move to a new pay point. attracting new people to the region and encouraging people to stay in the region. It is an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have. so they can get jobs. North Coast Institute staff also benefited from the Centrelink relationship. The Institute’s Frederick Millard commented: We diversified our approach to the way we assessed in the workplace. Eight Centrelink staff also completed the Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training. It costs an individual a lot on their own to undertake a certificate. And who do we get to teach it? Four of the Centrelink staff whom we trained have now taught for us. This is a true role reversal. Another unexpected outcome of the partnership is that a number of the staff at Centrelink who were assisted by North Coast Institute in gaining their Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training now teach in the TAFE Telecommunications program. and with the Telstra Grafton Customer Service Centre. NSW. so they welcomed this opportunity to study under the New Apprenticeship system as either a New Entrant or Existing employee. Their presentation suggested that other Institutes and Centrelink offices could replicate the model and take it beyond call centres to Centrelink’s numerous Customer Service Centres. Benefits include creating local employment opportunities. In late 2001.

Summary In response to the question posed in the title of this chapter – ‘Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue?’ – the discussion showed that the contexts for teaching and learning in VET are changing continuously. Innovation can be seen as part of the creative response that is helping to shape the future for VET. and these call centres require qualified staff who will enable the call centre to meet national and international benchmarks for quality service. Workplace training demands on VET are as diverse as there are enterprises and the roles for VET teachers in providing workplace training are manifold. 24 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . encouraging the development of innovative practice.Messages Based on the above vignette. 1 • Regional development is stimulated through the attraction of large. If Australia is to continue to prosper in the world economy. flexible providers who will help the enterprise meet its complex needs in human resource development. • Large enterprises often benchmark themselves against the best in the world and this inevitably leads to the need not just for initial training but also for employees to develop skills for acquiring new competencies. publicly-funded enterprises such as call centres. more workplace learning is required and this is another force driving innovation in teaching. so that the teaching by the external provider is congruent with the training provided by in-house trainers. • Large enterprises with a national network of branches value teaching that will enable employees to acquire nationally consistent and portable qualifications. Importantly. and aligned with the enterprise’s strategic objectives. the world of work and policy keep changing and global change drivers are increasing and compounding. there is a limitless scope for innovation in teaching and learning in VET. this requires the agency of excellent and knowledgeable people who know how to actually bring about change in VET’s provision and especially at the frontline of industry and organisations. innovation in teaching and learning in VET is needed for reasons which include the following. • Large enterprises require the development of new partnerships between the provider and the enterprise. For example. As long as conditions and creativity permit. • Large enterprises need to collaborate with responsive.

but they won a place in the program based on their interviews. supported by schools’ career officers. Trevor Perry. As a result. very flexible and give them options. Staff continue to improve the model to suit each new intake of students and ongoing changes in the job market. ‘the individual student needs to step up’ The course students are all 15 to 18 years of age and predominantly male. but was unsuccessful in gaining any female entrants for 2003. so the TTOP Coordinator approached a range of local girls’ schools to promote the program to them. You must be very. I handle it together with the Co-ordinator and in conjunction with Student Services. If you back them then you have to give them room to move. where the consequences of his actions are clarified and the student is required to sign a contract with us. Around one hundred people – about equal numbers of parents and students – normally attend. We have helped place kids in new homes due to their parents’ marriage break-up. It provided a pathway into VET and then into jobs for students who did not fit in with routine secondary schools. About 20% of the original intake each year drops out in the first six months but are replaced by later entrants. VIC The VET system faces the ongoing challenge of providing a range of pathways from secondary school into VET to suit different types of students. This year we assisted with a drug rehabilitation situation. is that staff are specially selected and are expected to continue to improve themselves through professional development activities. and the reason they drop out of school. are in their home life or social life. We now look in more detail at why and how it is possible that such a long-established VET program can still demonstrate innovation in teaching and learning. Skilled staff ‘you need to be a special breed to deal with the students’ A key to the success of TTOP. who oversees the program. mostly from secondary schools in the neighbouring suburbs. according to Trevor Perry. In 1982 Holmesglen Institute of TAFE in suburban Melbourne commenced offering what was to become a successful introductory trade course for 15–18 year old students from local secondary schools. This Trade Technical Orientation Program (TTOP) was innovative in the 1980s. describes the students’ backgrounds: The reasons for the students’ problems at school. Fifty percent of the students have a difficult home life. Then they were assessed for their Plumbing Certificate I and struggled. continually-improved programs for 15–18 year old youths at risk – Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. Holmesglen TAFE has continually improved the program since then.Case Study 1 Learner-focused. Parents are also provided with information and encouraged to attend the annual information evening. 1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue? 25 . undertake the Trade Technical Orientation Program (TTOP) at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. so we gave them more help. Holmesglen Institute can assist but the individual student needs to step up. We usually send the student to counselling. Often there is no current male adult at home to provide them with a role model. the manager of the Plumbing and Construction Finishing Department at Holmesglen. Trevor Perry finds that sometimes students need extra support at the start of their program: Three kids were unsuccessful in their entrance examination recently. Some others have low IQs or a physical disability or low self-esteem. The sixty students are arranged into five groups of twelve. The course is advertised through the local secondary schools. Almost all of the boys in the TTOP program have problems fitting in with the restrictions of secondary schools. Only one female enrolled out of a student cohort of sixty in 2002. 1 Boys at risk Each year about sixty students. the program remains innovative. If we have a discipline problem. Trevor Perry believes that his TTOP staff need a range of skills to effectively assist the students: You need to be a special breed to deal with the students.

electricity/electronics. Electrical or Plumbing: Job prospects are excellent after students complete a Certificate I. painting and decorating and fitness and recreation. studying two different trades. Drivers of innovation ‘we make changes to the program each year’ Modifications and improvements of the program are the result of three different forces: feedback from students. Also. learning on-thejob. It is twenty years since Michael left school and since then he has had a range of valuable experiences that enable him to provide a quality service to the students: In working with the boys. the students negotiate their remuneration with their employers and in the two decades the program has been offered. He gained his Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training and last year completed his Dip Ed. Trevor Perry has never received a complaint from a student about their pay. on Mondays. plumbing and sheet-metal. Michael Shankie. representatives from industry are often invited to address the groups. 26 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .Trevor Perry describes the current Co-ordinator of the program. Changes to the program can follow these exchanges. Student outcomes The information session and other publicity about the program focus on the long-term as well as short-term outcomes for students. Students who do the Certificate II in Bricklaying are guaranteed a job. Friday. furniture manufacturing. explains: ‘job prospects are excellent’ We focus on outcomes. The course is particularly relevant for students considering an apprenticeship. job placement. science and English. all the TTOP students regularly gather together with the staff to discuss the students’ views and concerns. bricklaying. if a trade is not satisfying the kids. But we always try to make sure there are job opportunities at the end of the program. like getting jobs and keeping your job. glass and glazing. Program overview The Trade Technical Orientation Program (TTOP) is designed to provide orientation studies in a range of different trade and technical areas. We believe that they will spend a long time in the workforce and a career change may not be on for most of them. Students also undertake academic studies in mathematics. For instance. He worked for a long time as a painter and first came into Holmesglen in the painting and decorating area. 1 ‘job placement often leads to a job offer’ Students spend four days a week at Holmesglen and one day in a placement. Lots of kids don’t have a clue about what they want to do. For instance. Tuesday and Wednesday. It is not difficult for the students to be placed. academic work. and the numbers of students who gain employment. Trevor Perry describes how innovation is part of the normal way the program is managed: We make changes to the program each year. Michael also has a Level 1 Certificate in Coaching and has represented his State and country in hockey. we change it. ‘And the job placement often leads to a job offer’. feedback from industry and ideas from staff. horticulture. including building studies. adds his manager Trevor Perry. as local employers support the TTOP and appreciate that the students have basic training in occupational health and safety before they commence work. the numbers of students enrolling for certificate courses. Trevor Perry. such as the Certificate II in Carpentry and Joinery or the Certificate I in Engineering. Students are actively encouraged to progress from the TTOP course to undertake certificatelevel courses. Everyone in the last five years who has done a Plumbing or Painting & Decorating Certificate I or Engineering Certificate I has got a job. as having the ideal background and skills. ‘They are not useless in the first three months’. teaching pre-apprenticeship students. metal fabrication and welding. In their job placements. So we expose them to ten different trades: for five weeks at a time they spend two days a week on two different trades. A normal week for a student is: Monday and Thursday. Michael draws well on his life experiences and tries to win the students over. The TTOP staff measure their success in terms of the low student attrition rate. His skills as a coach and the self-discipline he has learnt in high-level sport are invaluable in his work with young people. explains TTOP Co-ordinator Michael Shankie.

In 2000 we made changes to the academic content of our program: the course wasn’t defined
well enough, in terms of the students, so we altered the curriculum to suit the students.
For example, we changed the science curriculum in order to fit with trades the students were
learning about.

A modification was made to the program in 2002 in response to student feedback. TTOP
Co-ordinator Michael Shankie explains:
In 2002 all the students who did horticulture said it wasn’t relevant to them. So I went over to
the horticulture section with Trevor Perry and saw that the students were learning
about machinery like brush cutters. The kids are not into machinery but, from TV, know all
about backyard blitzes. So the students were asked to design a garden makeover in
their graphics class. They then took their drawings to the horticulture class, where
their plans were discussed and improved. Then the students implemented the plans.

Other improvements in 2002
Trevor Perry cites a range of other changes and improvements in the program in 2002:
In 2002, after industry and student feedback, we dropped welding and picked up engineering.
The graphics program was changed to make it more relevant and to align it with all the
trades. We also engaged a Holmesglen youth liaison officer, who tracks students with problems
and constantly talks to the students. Also in 2002, the mathematics and science teachers
visited the trade teachers and talked about aligning maths and science with the students’
trade studies.

‘their self-esteem
went up’


A specific innovation in the painting field was introduced in 2002 by the Co-ordinator Michael
Shankie, who saw an opportunity to involve the students in work experience that directly
assisted the Institute:
We changed our painting and decorating course in 2002. Holmesglen took over the Moorabbin
campus and I saw an opportunity to put in place a real work experience for the students at
Moorabbin. Sections of the campus buildings needed repairing and painting. So I convinced
the Institute management that the students could do some of the painting. We painted
the staircase in Building C: a two story concrete staircase. First we looked at the safety issues,
then we set up a scaffold so we could work safely. We had to work above new carpet. Then
we prepared the surfaces to a suitable quality standard and following that we painted.

Besides job outcomes and gaining qualifications, Michael Shankie stresses that the TTOP staff
are focused on the individual student’s personal and social growth:
It was good that the students had to work in a public space. They had to watch their language;
they had to behave themselves. The students established good rapport with Holmesglen staff
and students and their self-esteem went up.

Model transferable
‘it could be
transferred to
any RTO’

In 2002 the staff spent time planning for the integration of TTOP with the new qualification,
the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Despite the name change to TTOP/VCAL
the underlying approach from Holmesglen staff will continue to be responsive to
changing student and industry needs. Trevor Perry believes that, for students, the close
linking of skill development within TTOP with national competencies will add further value
to the program.
While he is proud that Holmesglen developed the innovative TTOP program, Trevor Perry
also believes that with the integration with VCAL, ‘it could be transferred to any other RTO’.

The Holmesglen TAFE case study is a reminder that different approaches and a different focus
for innovation in teaching are needed for different and specific cohorts of students.
For instance, the youths in the Holmesglen TAFE case study have different needs and attitudes
from the staff in Centrelink’s call centre in Coffs Harbour; and needs and attitudes affect
learning. The differences between the innovations include the different ways in which the
teaching is selected and flexed to suit the specific contexts for learning.
1 Why is innovation in VET teaching and learning an issue?


On the other hand, there are similarities in the innovation in teaching and learning in the
Centrelink and Holmesglen TAFE stories, in that teachers in both settings cater for individual
learning styles by personalising the services as much as possible.
And in both cases, the teachers are supported by educational managers who ensure that
sympathetic planning responds to, precedes and tracks the teaching activities.



Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 2

This chapter describes different types of innovation in teaching and learning currently practised in VET.

Key points
Key points raised in the chapter include the following:

The realisation of positive student outcomes is a key criterion for judging the worth of innovation in

Innovative teaching addresses technical and generic skills, as well as fostering lifelong learning.

Innovative teaching caters for individual learners’ differences.

Innovation in assessment is emerging as a strong, new trend in VET.

There are boundless opportunities to be innovative in catering for flexible learning, for example by taking
an e-business approach to delivering a suite of online services.

Innovation in teaching can involve providing a new or improved service that
customers want
There are many definitions in the literature of the concept of innovation. Most definitions are in the business
management literature, related to discussions about developing innovative strategies or products or building an
innovative culture. There is much less literature on definitions of innovation in teaching and learning. However,
some of the literature on innovation in business is very relevant to education, as education is an industry and
educational organisations are increasingly driven by corporate goals such as satisfying customer needs.
In relation to the definition of innovation in business, three broad trends are noticeable over recent years. The
first trend has been to define innovation in terms of the products developed; the second to define innovation in
terms of the way staff are innovative; and thirdly and most recently, to define innovation in terms of providing
value for customers.
Reflecting the transition from the first to the second trend, Lin (2001) suggests that in the recent past, the
focus of innovation was to produce better products, faster. Now the focus in business is on changing the method
of thinking by staff in order to create better and faster ideas. Lin identifies the traditional pattern for
developing new ideas:
2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning?


VET clients and customers want to develop these skills at times. Adding value for the customer is the basis of Ellyard’s distinction between invention and innovation: Invention is imagining a good idea or concept and turning this concept into a reality. This is a good example of a VET organisation modelling this new understanding of innovation in flexible learning.86) Case study 2. VET clients also want skills to meet the growing demands for customising and personalising services. there are four new foundations for innovation. So it is not just change in the world of work – discussed in the previous chapter – that is the challenge for VET. its identity has been built by the flexibility of its educational content and provision. to provide an enhanced educational offering to its students. Moving beyond how new ideas are generated by staff. As a consequence of this ongoing change. their people and the business of VET provision. or for individuals to secure greater employability and choice in paid or unpaid work and lifestyle. and set out later in this chapter.10–11). Even the term flexible learning is affected by the new definition of innovation. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . in ways and at locations that suit them. creates new knowledge and develops new perspectives that lead to new ideas (2001. Industry and enterprise clients want training designed in ways that suit their settings and needs. viz: new information. • Providing ‘just for me’ training. new knowledge networks. Historically. In the case of the Institute of TAFE Tasmania. Rather it is the scale. The TAFE NSW Open Training and Education (OTEN) vignette in this chapter is an example of a RTO bundling online learning together with other electronic services. • Ensuring personal service. 2001a. the staff conducted market research of attitudes to training within their industry and. an enquiring. In particular. as a result. new mental perspectives and new ‘futures mindsets’ (pp. • Supporting ‘learning in context’.158). Increasingly. curious and imaginative mind gathers new information. re-engineered their teaching to provide industry with graduates who have the skills that industry want. the current trend in business is to define innovation mostly in terms of the value the innovation provides to customers. VET clients and customers increasingly want knowledge and skills that are marketable or relevant. p.9–10). including: 30 • Ensuring relevance. (2001a) suggest that while flexible learning has provided much of the focus for innovation in VET. the sharper focus is on learning that leads to better outcomes and performance for learners. For Lin. ‘Flexibility’ in flexible learning is primarily about providing extra value to students and other customers (Mitchell et al. not the VET provider. p. Drucker (1999) continues the same theme: The test of an innovation – as also the test of ‘quality’ – is not: ‘ Do we like it? It is: ‘Do customers want it and will they pay for it?’ (p. pp. 2 Ellyard emphasises the need for organisations to understand the innovations that future customers will want and providing them first and best. wider. in the networked world symbolised by global telecommunications including the Internet. These new foundations lead to the even faster creation of new ideas by staff. based on the Institute of TAFE Tasmania. is an example of a VET provider asking whether customers will want an innovation. These multiple pressures – differentially applied in localities and regions – are striking local and regional VET providers. Indeed. Innovation in teaching can produce better outcomes for learners Pressures for change are flowing with increasing force into teaching and learning practice within VET. the definition of flexible learning has changed in recent years in VET so that flexible learning now means providing extra value for customers: …research for this project shows that flexible learning is ultimately contributing to a customer-centric approach to the provision of VET. Mitchell et al. either for organisations and their staffing demands. magnitude and diversity of ongoing change that is now apparent in an increasingly uncertain and globalised environment. VET has been the most sensitive sector of education to shifts in community and industry needs. The arrival of the electronically networked world is changing the way ideas are generated by innovative staff. deeper and more frequent innovation is now needed in VET teaching and learning practices. Innovation is turning an invention into a product or service which is successful in the market because it fulfils a need or desire of the market (Ellyard 2001.During the innovation process.9). Reflecting contemporary definitions of innovation in business.

In the future. but unique personal skills and attributes that can provide the individual – through lifelong learning – with a renewable competence to address the future of work. There are positive signs in current VET discussions that the development of generic skills will now be encouraged more. With the use of technology and the speed of change. For example. with the right to continue learning as important as the right to work (p. The message. For instance. by providing step-by-step online help or support or redesigning the task to make formal training and learning redundant. large companies can design online systems to support the learning and performance when required. The significance of this is that Burns believes that lifelong learning is likely to become an expectation or an entitlement. often formal training is deemed too slow or expensive. self-set goals and learning methods. the outcomes for students of the re-configured textile teaching program include an increase in motivation and capability. Burns suggests that adult education needs to move away from the ‘content model of education’ based on a teacher-designed curriculum. Individuals could also use their advantage to initiate 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 31 . Semi-structured and informal workplace learning can and does fill much of this void.• Supporting performance support systems.2 in the next chapter. 262–263). The lifelong learning model provides teachers with a rationale to be innovative Burns (2002) promotes the benefits of students becoming lifelong learners.264). He believes that this model would produce lifelong learners who have: • The capacity to set realistic and personal goals • The ability to apply knowledge and skills effectively • The ability to evaluate their own learning • The ability to locate information from different sources • The capacity to use different learning strategies to best effect in different situations • A positive self-concept and an increased sense of responsibility towards self and others (p. as set out in Vignette 3. Burns’ description of learners and lifelong learning provides a rationale for teachers to break permanently with the content model of education and be innovative. Case Study 3 on assessing key competencies in electrotechnology illustrates the effective delivery and assessment of generic skills. as opposed to just teaching about industry-specific skills. self-paced and flexible • Portable – moves with person • Interruptible – provides option to stop and start study • Non-linear – no fixed sequence • Transferable – moves across educational and national boundaries • Timely – provided when needed • Customised – designed for special needs • Adaptable – modifiable as circumstances change • Flexible – allowing for a variety of modes/styles of learning • Inclusive – permitting enlarging of educational opportunity • Collaborative – linking people in their learning (p. Burns’ focus on lifelong learning and the implied focus on generic skills such as learning to learn and problemsolving. is aligned with the new OECD-inspired focus on generic skills in VET.264). difficult for many to hear. A focus on helping students to develop lifelong skills is an aim of the East Gippsland Institute of TAFE Social Sciences team. in Case Study 2 from the Institute of TAFE Tasmania. This will require additional skills and innovation by teachers and high-level teaching expertise. 2 Burns proposes that the educational model for adult and lifelong learning should be: • Self-directed – self-chosen. In the next chapter of this report. is that doing so will better serve the imperatives of lifelong learning and coping strategies for the twenty-first century (pp.263). teachers may be asked to assist students to develop not just technical skills and a common core of generic skills. All of the vignettes and case studies in this report identify positive outcomes of their innovations for students.

p. 43–78) suggests that four different schema can be used to analyse students’ individual differences: 2 • theories that relate to the study of personality traits and the effects of personality on behaviour. use job aids.g. May 2002. teachers find that the students respond well to driving – during their training – the same machines they might be operating in their future jobs. diverging. Similarly.g. apprentices are thought to generally prefer learning in structured environments that provide opportunity for direct social interaction with their fellow learners and with their instructors. The teachers profiled in Vignette 5. p. is becoming acknowledged as critical to learning. italics added). e. Innovative teaching values and fosters informal learning Informal learning.1 understand that some learners are non-verbal learners. These learners may exhibit lower preferences for learning what is presented through verbal means such as reading or listening. search in a knowledge base. Informal learning can happen anywhere: Informal learning can take many forms. Practitioner responses multiply as the more knowledgeable and perceptive adjust their behaviour to suit changing circumstances and as a result gather and give greater personal. 2001. assimilating and converging. For instance. • theories related to styles of thinking. and then begin to stretch his or her learning capability in other learning modes (Training. It is more effective to design curriculum so that there is some way for learners of every learning style to engage with the topic.87). Smith (2000b) shows that it is not suitable for all learners. demonstrations and practice (Smith.g. Catering for individual differences in the VET arena is a significant undertaking. Stephanie Burns (2000. pragmatist and reflector. e. to parents returning to study after raising a family. to be customer-centric. the automotive mechanic trainees in the Caterpillar Institute (WA) vignette in the next chapter appreciate being able to access the same Caterpillar equipment they will be working on in their jobs and appreciate being able to learn from hands-on activities. there are many different ways to interpret the differences between students. Helping Indigenous students to use large mine equipment. in Mitchell et al. theories about the effect of memories on goal achievement. Sternberg’s theories about legislative. For instance. e. These cohorts can range from 15–19 year olds. Here the strong preference of the apprentices. and the more refined Learning Styles Questionnaire of Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. a student used to teacher-dominant classroom settings may resist self-directed learning opportunities. pp. as it tends to stigmatise and stereotype learners.or respond to personal and social change in more innovative ways. observe colleagues. Case Study 2 on textile teaching in Tasmania provides an example of teaching directed at this mix of technical and generic skills and personal attributes. preventing them from developing their full potential. executive and judicial styles of thinking. It means that teaching and training staff need to move beyond their own habitual or acquired personal and professional learning styles to satisfy the diversity of student cohorts. not least because of the contemporary push for all organisations. with its categories of activist. Debate continues about the validity of these and other theories. One result is that the students now have a much stronger sense of community. theories about introverts and extroverts. such as when employees talk to one another. to busy professionals with limited time. with its categories of accommodating. However. to Indigenous students. Innovative teaching caters for learners’ individual differences Catering for individual learners’ differences is becoming an increasingly common goal of teachers. • theories related to values and preferences. education has been increasingly obliged to recognise and respond to adult learners on a scale and diversity not previously seen in the sector. e. Vignette 4. and Kolb himself cautions about the over-use of such categorisation: Tracking of students in education by whatever criteria is generally a bad idea. as non-verbal learners. compare their efforts. theorist. For a variety of reasons. social and professional benefit. chat over coffee.31. Despite the promotion of self-directed learning. so that every type of learner has an initial way to connect with the material.g. which happens outside of classrooms or structured environments. including educational ones. Also widely used by adult educators are the Learning Style Inventory developed by Kolb.1 in Chapter 4 describes how the Photography Studies College provided all staff with a range of practical tools for recognising and addressing different student learning styles. • experiences. to mature-aged students. share opinions. is for learning through hands-on experience. and give and 32 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .

1 immediately below describes trade-based teachers at Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE developing new assessment strategies and tools to use in a simulated work environment. Techniques to encourage informal learning include teaming. systematised. Vignette 5. Such nurturing will enable teachers to regain some of the autonomy they felt they lost with the introduction of a national training scheme based on what they perceived to be a ‘prescriptive’ approach to assessment. there are a range of views and strategies regarding how this consistency.1 below shows how integral assessment is to the learning of VET students. However. 2 Innovative approaches to assessment complement the focus on quality and consistency in assessment The focus of attention in the literature in relation to the assessment of competency based training in VET is less on innovative methods than on achieving quality and consistency. there needs to be confidence in assessment decisions made by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). numerous examples of effective communities of practice and virtual communities have emerged in the VET sector in recent years (Mitchell 2002a).2 on assessing community services personnel in their workplaces. and Case Study 5 on assessing students with a disability. A clear message from many of the case studies and vignettes is the acceptance by practitioners that assessment is integral to the learning process and not just an activity that occurs at the end of a period of learning. This report balances the literature that emphasises the issues of quality and consistency. and enhanced by training and development professionals (Rossett & Sheldon 2001. The re-integration of assessment with learning allows practitioners to better support the learning of individuals. their learning contexts or environments together with the needs of participating organisations.receive feedback. pp.2 describes how the six providers working with TNT Express formed a community of practice with the enterprise and TDT Australia to collaboratively address assessment and training issues. by profiling a range of VET practitioners who use innovative assessment strategies. Jones (2001) provides several telling case studies that illuminate the potential for variation in assessment decisions alluded to by Clayton et al.210) The skilled teacher can actively encourage students to value and pursue informal learning: While informal learning typically happens outside classrooms and training programs. Clayton et al. The potential variability in factors affecting assessment and the need to maintain flexibility and focus on the learners means there will always be potential for variation in assessment decisions. such as enterprises or other partners. Vignette 2. Participants found that the informal learning that resulted from participation in the community of practice provided the break-through for sharing ideas with each other. The issues of quality and consistency in assessment have become central to the development of the VET system in Australia. confidence and quality can be achieved. note that assessment against competency standards within Training Packages involves collecting evidence and making judgements on whether or not the competency has been achieved. p. Innovative approaches to assessment are also described in many other pieces in this report. Vignette 3. these practitioners have developed highly flexible approaches in order to better meet the specific needs of learners. This report also provides a counter to the tendency in some VET literature or practice to treat assessment as a separate act from learning. over lunch. Case Study 3 on assessing key competencies in a simulated environment. Clayton et al. 211–212). appointing a staff member to observe what other effective staff members do. Some structured examples of informal learning include peer tutoring. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 33 . The making of judgements can be influenced by different factors: Various factors including the experience and skills of assessors and the clarity of competency standards themselves can influence the quality of judgements made. Jones (2001) argues that learners and teachers will benefit if teachers are nurtured to increase their professional expertise and judgement in assessment. virtual communities that use the online medium and communities of practice.210). including Case Study 2 on assessing textile trainees undertaking work-related projects. Regarding the latter. and through email (Rossett & Sheldon 2001. an experienced worker with an inexperienced one. say. joining an online community. encouraged. Vignette 2. Hence. in the lounge. It happens at the computer. p. For instance. (2001). (2001) note that the quality and consistency of assessment is a critical issue and there is no agreement about solutions: For the process of mutual recognition under the Australian Recognition Framework (ARF) to work effectively. it can and should be jump-started. and mentoring (Rossett & Sheldon 2001.

or establishing a routine for one process to make it function as nearly as possible like another. The most common instances of simulation in VET are replicas of offices for ‘practice firms’ in business areas such as accounting or administration. One response to this issue is the development of simulated workplaces or simulated activities within Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). They did this with a team of ten teachers and five managers from their Institute. But she also believed that the assessment of students in a work simulation had a valuable place in VET and set about convincing her colleagues. the workplace might not have a suitable or safe area for a trainer to conduct an assessment. work placement. there needs to be that final link made (Paton 2003). Sandra Lawrence was well aware that simulation was not the preferred option for many teachers. leading to verifiable. or geographically. Gateway Campus is primarily a trade campus. so the project intended to formulate a process for VET teachers in traditional trade areas such as engineering and construction.1 Simulation for assessment in trade areas – Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE. in the enterprise’s premises. Sandra Lawrence and Bill Martin from Brisbane and Northpoint Institute of TAFE’s Gateway Campus set out to develop. Sandra Lawrence explains her team’s unique focus on simulation in trade areas: Though some work had been done in workplace simulation in a number of interstate TAFE Institutes. Often assessment occurs in enterprises’ training rooms and this is called workplace assessment (Lawrence 2002a). 2 Championing simulation in the trade areas Competencies can be learned and assessed ‘in the context of real problems within actual or closely simulated workplace environments’ (ANTA 2001). Engineering and Related Services ITAB (MERS ITAB) was consulted about this innovation and offered its support. such as conducting assessments in a commercial office fitted out to replicate an actual office. work experience. Despite the legitimacy of simulating workplace conditions. In 2002. Overcoming resistance to the innovation a need to go back to basics 34 Training Packages are intended to encourage learning in a work environment – either on-thejob. in the workplace. Executive Officer Bob Paton supported the initiative. it was confined to areas such as hospitality. An overriding aspect is that assessment of workplace competency for apprentices and trainees must include some evidence from the workplace. or noise and physical conditions in the workplace may impinge on the validity and reliability as well as fairness of the assessment.Vignette 2. Sandra Lawrence supports the use of simulated workplaces. Sandra Lawrence defines simulation as constructing a model to test behaviour. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . evaluate and implement a valid process for assessment under simulated workplace conditions – in trade areas. QLD It is not always possible to conduct assessments in the workplace: for instance. child care and business. This may only be in the form of supervisor reports but what it does mean is that no matter how good the simulation is. with one proviso: MERS ITAB considers that the use of simulation of workplace conditions for both learning and assessment purposes is quite valid providing the simulation does not ‘lose sight of the real world of work’. Following is an innovative development of simulations for the conducting of assessment in trade-related areas of VET training. assessable workplace outcomes (ANTA 2001). work simulation or by a combination of methods. as she often finds that much of the assessment that occurs on employers’ premises is off-the-job anyway: simulation for traditional trade areas I think assessment in simulated workplaces can debunk the myth that it is best to always locate assessment physically. (Lawrence 2002a) The Manufacturing. or the representation of systems and processes (Lawrence 2002b).

Sandra Lawrence is professionally committed to the valid use of RTOs’ facilities: ‘I think assessment in simulated workplaces can re-affirm the integrity of institutionbased education’. given teachers all had a sound industry background. assessment guidelines. some of the institution-based teachers didn’t identify with the problem. Sandra Lawrence described the range of topics covered by the team: As well as developing an approach and tools for assessment under workplace simulation. initially for trade areas of metals and manufacturing. where the required activity never occurs in the candidate’s workplace but is a requirement of the competency. ‘I don’t get it’ and ‘What’s this woman on about?’ were the responses from some members of both groups. knowledge and understanding increased. Secondly. some of the workplace trainers in the team couldn’t understand why I had any problems with validation of some assessment in the workplace. benefits. including the AQTF. They felt that industry would not have any problem with the continuation of the old approach of institution-based teaching. students are expected to be the major beneficiaries of the initiative. Opportunity for valid assessment may not be available in the workplace. situations where simulation is valid The use of simulation can be fairer for students. from both institutionbased teachers and workplace trainers: I found a certain initial lack of enthusiasm for simulation from two directions. principles and characteristics for workplace simulation assessment were generated (Lawrence 2000a). 2 It became evident to Sandra Lawrence and Bill Martin in the initial workshops that there was a need to ‘go back to basics’ and revisit underlying assessment principles.Sandra Lawrence says that some resistance to this initiative quickly arose. Team members were then asked to populate the templates with assessment for competencies from their own vocational areas. A collaborative approach was used and team members were encouraged to develop and share assessment resources: Team meetings were initially held to generate a unified and shared philosophy of workplace simulation. It was now becoming clear that the desired innovation involved a high-order understanding of assessment. (Paton 2003) Making better and newer uses of conventional VET institutions is another driver of the innovation for the Institute. Sandra Lawrence believes that making better use of the Institute’s facilities will advantage those students who sometimes find it more convenient to be assessed off-the-job. they were a bit puzzled about why I was making an issue of it (interview 2003). national assessment principles. range of variables. and team members developed assessment strategies and tools based on the templates designed during the project. limitations. From this. and evidence guides (Lawrence 2002a). Industry was involved through ongoing discussions with ITAB representatives and the Australian Industry Group (Lawrence 2000a). where the required activity only occurs infrequently or sometimes never. Drivers While improving the quality of assessment processes is the driving principle behind the innovation. For instance. the team also revisited the principles of assessment generally. Templates were understood to be guides rather than straightjackets. The aim of the Institute team was to develop effective assessment processes for simulated workplaces. MERS ITAB’s Bob Paton notes a number of situations where simulation is valid: Opportunity for valid assessment may not be available in the workplace. key competencies. offering them more choice about how and where assessments are conducted. Initially. a process for workplace simulation was developed and templates designed to accompany each process step. Once the theoretical understanding had been shared. components of competency. the resistance to workplace simulation subsided. Over a number of months in 2002. before moving on to focus specifically on simulation. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 35 . The strategies and tools were then implemented and trials encouraged in delivery teams. It could be only one element or performance criterion or particular application whilst the balance of the competency unit requirements can be met. Firstly. such as a fault or breakdown in a machine or process.

which will benefit students. Sandra Lawrence believes that there is enormous potential for constructing high-quality simulated workplace learning and assessment in many teaching areas throughout conventional VET institutions. staff and the RTO. staff and organisational The benefits of appropriately using simulations extend to students. Managers from other public providers have already expressed an interest in the methodology In 2003 Sandra Lawrence was selected as a National Training Change Agent. Of course. particularly as industry relationships were strengthened through the involvement in the innovation of the Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Industry Training Board (MERSITAB). but it is one that deserves recognition as a viable and reliable option (interview. but reliability of the evidence collected: Many competencies that are currently assessed by members of the Institute’s Workplace Learning Centre on-the-job have challenging quality issues associated with the assessment. Where partnerships exist with enterprises and other training providers. tools are just the starting point The Institute team considers that the development of the initial strategies and tools are just the starting point. students benefit from reliable evidence Sandra Lawrence found specific benefits from the initiative for the Institute’s teachers. There is a greater understanding of the fundamental principles of assessment and characteristics of quality in relation to design. increasing innovation is needed in the provision of quality assessment services. they are also being shared there. A range of activities have been undertaken to disseminate further the information about the innovation: briefing of faculty staff and management committees. including Southern Queensland Institute TAFE and Central Queensland Institute TAFE. The benefits are not just about convenience for the student. 2003). and meetings with the Business Systems Support Unit. Simulation enables teachers to gather valid and reliable evidence on campus for assessment judgments. Other TAFE institutes have already expressed an interest in adopting the process and tools. the outcomes are being migrated to other Brisbane and North Point Institute campuses through the Studies Directors’ meetings.Benefits for students. Briefings have also been conducted for educational managers from other institutes. particularly for trade areas. Sustainability and transferability Sandra Lawrence and Bill Martin are confident that the innovation will be sustained because more templates will be populated for more competencies across wider vocational areas. leading to surer and more shared understanding (Lawrence 2002a). Planned implementation and review are essential for the methodology to become cemented in Institute practice across delivery teams. depending on workplaces and training culture. 2 Professional discussions have occurred with colleagues beyond the participant’s own delivery teams. For instance. Sandra reports that project team members have gone back to their own teaching teams to disseminate the methodology: Although the project was based at the Gateway campus. it is not the only valid assessment approach. funded by Reframing the Future. Messages The messages from this vignette include the following: • 36 While in the past the primary attention of many VET practitioners may have been on the delivery of education. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . to promote simulated workplaces across her State and the sector. and they will be made available to them (Lawrence 2002a). implementation and moderation. Sandra Lawrence envisages that more competencies will be assessed in simulated situations as a greater and wider understanding spreads through the Institute: This directly contributes to the Institute’s delivery strategies and business outcomes as well as to the quality of assessment (Lawrence 2002a). The Institute also benefited.

requiring innovation in the way assessment strategies and tools are designed and implemented. when and how of delivery. Australia has also imported the term ‘blended learning’ used by commentators in the USA around 2000–2001 to describe an approach to learning. is defined as: a wide set of applications and processes which use all available electronic media to deliver vocational education and training. simulated situations. taking into account learners’ preferences for how they learn. Vignette 4. which is a sub-set of flexible learning. Online learning would be inappropriate for such a group.2 describes the extensive and ongoing initiatives of Hunter Institute in using the online medium for delivery. p. so VET is only at the beginning of the process of identifying opportunities for this versatile platform (Mitchell et al. and a low preference for verbal presentation of learning material (Mitchell et al. Innovative teaching can incorporate flexible learning.2 on Hunter Institute describes this organisation’s wide-ranging research and development in providing different forms of online learning for different programs. for learning that is structured and controlled by an instructor.2 provides a range of different ways East Gippsland Institute staff are flexible in servicing the needs of students distributed around their region. For instance. E-learning. Case Study 4 on the Open Learning Institute in Queensland describes the continuing research and development being undertaken by this organisation. Flexible learning is an explicit or implicit goal of a number of the RTOs profiled in this report. pp. but at the same time they give careful consideration to ensuring the quality of assessment processes and assessment decision-making. for using the online medium to provide new and improved services. Flexible learning. • Innovative VET practitioners develop a strong sense of confidence in their own ability and judgement to provide valid and cost effective assessment services to their clients. it may or may not use electronic technologies to do so (FLAG 2001). The online medium has only been available to most VET providers since the late 1990s. e-learning and online learning Flexible learning was broadly adopted by the VET sector in the 1990s as a desirable approach. The definition of the peak VET committee in this field stresses the client-focus goal of flexible learning: 2 Flexible learning expresses the aspiration for education and training which is responsive to client needs and frees up the where. web-based learning.87). 2001. not only in the workplace but also in valid. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 37 . It includes computer-based learning.• The national training system has positioned assessment as a critical and frequent activity. For instance online learning relies heavily on the verbal or written presentation of material. Given the above definition of e-learning. 7–8). and Vignette 3. online learning is a sub-set of e-learning. online learning and blended learning provide new opportunities for innovation within the VET sector. They identify the need to do things differently in order to meet client expectations. e-learning. • There is considerable scope for innovation in assessment in VET. training and capacity to utilise the technologies? (Latchem & Hanna 2001. Many studies show that no single technology is inherently superior in all situations and that some learning situations call for multiple technologies: The critical questions to ask are: what forms of learning and which students are best served by which technology and do the learners have appropriate access. p. 2001a. Flexible learning presents unending numbers of choices for teachers designing learning programs.24) Caution is needed in assuming all learners will find online learning appealing. Vignette 4. Smith’s (2001a) research with technology learners in vocational training programs found they had a clear preference for collaborative learning. where e-learning is supplemented by other learning methods (Mitchell 2003). virtual classrooms and digital collaboration and uses (FLAG 2001).

OTEN has developed a comprehensive set of strategies to meet the challenges faced by its students.12). Similarly it has been innovative in the provision of administrative support and information to prospective and enrolled students. The survey of the students showed that all of them appreciated the email messages. The following example from TAFE NSW illustrates this new role. comprising senior staff responsible for resource design and development. Louise Turnbull. educational delivery and information technologies. because it was known that it has a high percentage of students with access to email. e-Learning Manager at OTEN. In 2000. Motivational emails The transformation and reform of its student support system was informed by research and a number of innovative projects including a pilot in 2001 to investigate the impact of facultyinitiated motivational messages sent via email. The Property Services (Real Estate) faculty was the chosen centre for the pilot project in the use of email. The vignette also shows how an educational provider can be innovative by providing a range of electronic services to students. prompted to submit assignments Ninety seven students became actively involved in the email support program and their progress was compared with a control group consisting of a further 110 students that did not receive the emails.000 distance education students enrolled in 800 modules. The aim was to reduce the students’ sense of isolation and improve their motivation to complete their studies.Vignette 2. But now this has expanded to a much fuller commitment to offering online components in all courses using the OTEN Learning Support site (OLS). These activities ranged from short workshops to a 36-week online course for teachers moving into the online delivery environment. It is known that a lack of interaction with teachers and 2 other students impacts negatively on their motivation. Connecting with isolated students Students studying by distance modes of delivery face a number of challenges including isolation from their teachers and other students. To support OTEN’s strategic approach to the innovative use of technologies. OTEN has deliberately embraced new and emerging technologies in the design and delivery of learning materials.2 An integrated approach to supporting and motivating distance students – TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) One of the emerging roles of the VET teacher is to create and nurture ‘placebound and online environments that continuously support and develop students’ (Rossett & Sheldon 2001. The differences between the two groups were quite significant. 38 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . with 61% indicating that the email message had motivated or prompted them to submit assignments and 93% were in favour of the email support program being continued with new students. an OTEN online steering committee was formed. reports on the positive findings: The pilot found that those students who agreed to receive the motivational emails were more likely to complete and submit assessment events than those in the control group. The initial aim was to increase online offerings of some courses and modules. a comprehensive range of professional development activities were conducted from 2001–2003 for OTEN staff. p. in addition to online learning. with more students commencing work in the motivational email group. TAFE NSW’s Open Training and lack of interaction Education Network (OTEN) is a major distance education provider with 35. OTEN is now investigating this student support strategy for a larger range of courses and the associated scalability issues.

The integration of SAM and OLS also allows students to link directly to any online modules and courses they are enrolled in via OLS using a single login. The system also allows for reporting back to the teaching section as to how many enrolment packs may be in circulation awaiting return. predominantly commenting on and marking assignments.Innovation in online student support The OTEN online student support innovation is designed to provide strong student support. Or if studying online. resources and support that resides on the site. 2 To access other learner support services. Louise Turnbull comments on the seamlessness of the system. for both prospective and enrolled students. • detailed information about progress with their studies. These enquiries are recorded on OTEN’s Course and Recognition Enquiry (CARE) module of the Student Administration and Management system (SAM). even though the online learningware platform sits on a different server. gateway to a range of services SAM allows for an integrated approach to the management of prospective and enrolled students. students are provided with access to their online learningware. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 39 . Students are enrolled on SAM and their learning materials dispatched to them through the ‘Dispatch’ module on SAM. This immediate response ensures quicker customer service than was possible before the implementation of SAM. This is integrated with SAM. Staff have access to information about every student and the status of their enrolment application (for prospective students) or their progress in their studies (for enrolled students). Prospective students can make a course enquiry via either the TAFE-corporate or OTEN website. These students are assisted by twelve teachers based at OTEN’s facility in Strathfield (Sydney) and twenty teachers who work off-site. including: • information. • a link to their online learningware if they have selected to study online. For example. For example she says that from the student perspective: The integration of SAM and OLS means students have 24 hour by 7 day access to online support. OLS provides a gateway to a range of services and resources. • information provided through TAFE NSW initiatives – Internet Services and Products (IS&P) and Student e-Services (SeS). This reporting can be helpful in determining when to close enrolments for a particular course or section. the system allows for management of individual students working in a self-paced way or in cohorts of students. Innovation applied to the accounting program encourages student self-help The OTEN Accounting program offers eight distance education courses and has approximately 2. a student may ask to only be contacted by OTEN at home rather than at work. As OTEN offers flexible and continuous enrolments. SAM captures student details and progress from course enquiry through to course completion. SAM also allows for the recording of specific information about students. This support system assists the teacher’s role and learning outcomes. accounting staff have access to OTEN’s computerised student administration and management system (SAM).500 students at any one time. all students have access to the OLS. information and resources. The OTEN student support strategy has enabled the Accounting program within OTEN to develop a new suite of services for its students. Comprehensive course information is available on the OTEN website and prospective students can enrol online from the OTEN site or request an enrolment pack via email. Students are also entered on to the State-wide student administration system. For example. Daily reports are run from SAM to allow staff to prepare individualised enrolment packs for each prospective student. • online assessment events. using data from SAM. This access allows the recording of course enquiries and enables any staff member to request dispatch of an enrolment pack. if required.

using SAM and OLS. Students are encouraged by the Accounting staff to go to the OLS to access information. It’s a really useful site for mothers like me who can access information with ease at home without running around. finance and administration. A survey of students accessing OLS conducted in August 2002 elicited these types comments: The website makes communication with our teachers easy and quick. explains the benefits of the Accounting helpdesk approach for both students and staff: The online service OLS has led to a great reduction in the number of calls coming into the Accounting centre. a trial currently in progress involves students being provided with learning materials in the form of a textbook and associated learner’s guide and assessment guide. human resources. delivery. subject manager’s name etc from Staffroom on the OLS. encouraging student self-help. affordable. the e-Learning Manager. Very helpful as you can achieve immediate information. corrections to material. we can quickly and accurately answer the student’s question. enabling the staff member to provide a personalised service: By being able to identify exactly which edition of learning material a student has from SAM. Sustainability and transferability Louise Turnbull explains the holistic principles that underpin this whole-of-organisation student support innovation at OTEN. FAQs. OTEN’s Head Teacher of Accounting. It has also led to a change in the type of calls coming in – rather than mainly administrative calls the section now gets more subject specific questions. there has been an increase in student satisfaction: We are also finding that because all staff now have access to the same student support information. Louise Turnbull also notes that the integration of SAM and OLS and links to the online learningware have facilitated the development of a blended approach to delivery: For example. affordable. scaleable and sustainable. Teachers are being freed up to teach and support students. OTEN’s e-business strategy in 2003 encompasses all functional areas of the organisation including resource development. Benefits for students and staff Grant Prowse. Consequently.The Accounting section of OTEN has created a helpdesk to handle prospective and enrolled student enquiries. and being able to quickly locate assignment solution. 40 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . This has ensured that solutions are effective. 2 Grant also finds that ‘we are getting much fewer admin calls as student now have access to the OLS. including information coming from SAM showing what date their assignment was received at OTEN. The OLS provides module-specific frequently asked questions (FAQs) and discussion boards. and teachers using the ‘group tools’ in the learningware platform including email and a discussion board for interactive/shared activities. Louise Turnbull. finds that the OLS ‘has enabled us to keep students up-to-date even where there have been changes in the subject content or prescribed textbook for a subject’. Calls tend to be more content-related subject questions or one-off matters’. students are receiving consistent responses to their queries. OTEN is able to provide a more accurate and consistent response to student enquiries than it could previously. scalable Innovative and integrated approaches to the use of e-technologies have been possible at OTEN because of the whole of organisation approach adopted. that will ensure that the innovation is sustained: effective. The new approach to supporting students also enables OTEN to meet its aims of addressing the isolation and motivational challenges faced by distance education students. As student enquiries about accounting are answered by accounting staff. enables personalised service Grant believes that one benefit of the new system is that staff have more information about each student.

Lismore. plastics. involving a mix of strategies. community and government input. Woolworths Warehouse. provided in information and communications (ICT) training in a regional area Bellingen ACE. who work with companies over 2–3 years to show them that training is an investment. Bankstown College. ACT Uses workbased delivery for juvenile justice and drug and alcohol students Elan Learning Options. VIC ‘Plastics Pioneers’ is a network of over twenty assessors who were near retirement or made redundant. VIC Within a formal network of companies around Albury-Wodonga. TAS Uses knowledge bases and their application in online learning for veterinary nursing Institute of TAFE Tasmania. NSW Customised training provided for Woolworths’ staff who work in cool rooms in temperatures as low as minus 28 degrees Wodonga Institute of TAFE. • Innovation in flexible learning can cover the provision of a wider range of student support service as well as the delivery of learning materials and activities. The next chapter will delve further into such strategies and approaches. TAS Drysdale's 'Tourism Industry Training Solutions' uses a shopfront in Hobart’s CBD. Community Development.Tourism School Uses a simulated tourist bureau for tourism training TAFE NSW Sydney Institute of Technology Uses ‘Swaggies’ – a simulated business resource. Other examples of current practice Complementing the two vignettes and case studies in this chapter. both at OTEN and elsewhere. VIC Created an integrated teaching and learning environment for Indigenous people and includes enterprise. Business & Public Administration Division of TAFE NSW The Open Learning Institute of TAFE. TAFE NSW Southern Sydney Institute. the following table provides brief descriptions of other illustrations of how VET teaching is modified to suit learners and their contexts. Northern and North Eastern Victoria and Southern NSW – delivers Training Packages in petroleum. Yorta Yorta Nation. 'live' projects Kangan Batman Institute. NSW Blended learning. as well as linking with VET in Schools. QLD Built ‘Oliver Trading’ – a virtual business environment – and developed ‘recognition of prior learning’ self-assessment kits for the Business Services Training Package TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute and P&O Cold Logistics. The table above provides a snapshot of teaching strategies. cement and laboratory operations. NSW Uses digital story-telling in adult and community education courses Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).1: A sample of current practices in VET teaching and learning Organisation Current practice Adult and Community Education (ACE). Messages Summary messages from this vignette regarding innovation include the following: • There is considerable scope for innovation in the design and use of information and communication technologies to provide extensive and customised services for distance students. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 41 . 2 Table 2. processes and approaches that are designed to enhance learning. VIC Uses self-paced learning in the provision of automotive training Manufacturing Learning Australia. with the goal of providing positive outcomes for students. where the tourism industry can engage the help of Tourism diploma students on real.The use of same technologies to provide both ‘blended learning’ delivery and online student services indicates that the online student services innovation can be transferred to many other distance education programs. built by Business Technology Programs.

Summary In response to the question that provides the title for this chapter – ‘What is innovation in teaching and learning in VET?’ – the discussion emphasised that innovation in teaching provides positive outcomes for students. that it is innovative to cater for learners’ individual differences. it is innovative to design assessment for new contexts. The discussion also showed that it is innovative to assist VET students to develop lifelong learning skills. 2 42 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . it is innovative to foster informal learning. and it is innovative to use flexible learning approaches where they are appropriate.

and it was almost impossible for a student to transfer between regions because of the different programs being offered: Staff lacked information about the National and State vision for the training sector and wanted change. In particular. Gaye found that there was little effective consultation with staff about the concept and content of the Training Package. Alyssa Drew and Gaye Oakes. It is therefore critical for the TCF industry in Tasmania to become agile and to develop staff to work effectively in well-trained teams. clothing and footwear (TCF) industry has been under threat from cheap imports. domestic markets. New principles developed for delivery and assessment At the same time that the Institute was coming to grips with its amalgamation. but were fearful about changing. Amalgamation hurdles overcome The Institute of TAFE Tasmania. in the north and south respectively. strategies and timelines required for implementation of this Training Package. processes. TAFE in Tasmania was able to respond to this set of demanding training requirements. cooperation between TCF staff in TAFE Tasmania was limited: There was little communication. Gaye explains that it was planned ‘as a targeted change management process’. staff fearful of changing Gaye Oakes found that TAFE teachers were not happy with the TCF curriculum. 2 According to Gaye Oakes. The average age of staff was about 51 years and some were very comfortable with their positions and had created their own little empires (Oakes 2003). project management skills and people management skills’ (Oakes 2003). Individuals and teams in the TCF industry also need to be able to show high levels of initiative and adaptability. This covered the new tasks. despite the involvement of some TAFE staff in innovative experiments in workplace training in the early 1990s. Workplace training occurred only in clothing and footwear production. The assessment strategy was developed around several broad principles. was an amalgamation of three regional TAFE colleges that were formerly competitors. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 43 . and faces penalties such as high internal transport costs to larger mainland markets. one of the two TCF team leaders at the new Institute. established in 1998. a new national TCF Training Package was under development. as described below. coordination or collaboration between the clothing and textiles departments in the regions of Tasmania and an understandable lack of trust. whereas previously in TAFE training the end products were usually the focus of assessment.Case Study 2 Re-engineering the teaching of textiles – Institute of TAFE Tasmania Since the 1980s the Australian textile. The implementation plan focussed firstly on assessment. to do so the Institute of TAFE had to first completely overhaul the way its TCF program was offered. focus on ‘need to know’ skills So. Gaye believes that between them they had ‘youth and maturity. However opportunities for efficient and customer-driven TCF businesses still exist in niche. But. Staff had been working for three years with poorly written syllabuses that did not meet local industry needs. professional development for Training Package implementation was put into place in 1999 and a Training Package implementation plan developed between June and September 2000. The amalgamation resulted in the creation of new team leader positions and the abolition of some positions following redundancies. both in workplaces and on campus. took up positions. All elements of competency had to be demonstrated at least three times and in a variety of contexts. In August 1998 two new team leaders. processes were now seen to be as important as final products. as described below. including holistic assessment and training covering groups of units and assessment tasks reflecting industry practices and job tasks. innovative ideas. Each region had developed – or not as the case may be – their own resources and processes (Oakes 2003). At the time of the amalgamation. there was minimal training provided in the TCF workplace prior to this amalgamation. experience. The local TCF market in Tasmania is small and widely dispersed.

In this process. Delivery of the Institute-based training for the new Training Package commenced in February 2001 and was not without problems. This experience alerted the TAFE teaching staff to what was needed to meet the new quality standards and many processes and resources were adapted or developed.The delivery strategy for campus-based programs is also now firmly based around a set of additional and more specific principles. Nevertheless. as we had well documented tools and processes (Oakes 2003). Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) compliance is a useful support for teaching and learning reform: When the AQTF was introduced it was found that with some minor adjustment we were fully compliant. 44 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . training facilities at the three Institute locations have been designed with separate workrooms for up to six people each: workplace training in new locations Effectively the TAFE training room was converted into a garment manufacturing workplace. We follow quality industry practices in the documentation and standards. These include ensuring that delivery reflects assessment activities and is workshop-based. Firstly. This involved some considerable effort and ongoing development: These products have been modified and added to over the two years. Features of the Institute’s TCF innovation The innovation in teaching and learning evident within the TAFE TCF program has a number of features including the following. problem solving and developing the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to new situations or projects: Skill sessions will focus on the ‘need to know’ skills and knowledge to perform a job. The importance of the last principle is that it better matches local new industry production processes. as TAFE traditionally tried to teach students everything (Oakes 2003)! At the end of 2000 one of the teams was audited. in the first year nine learning resource products were successfully developed and produced. 2 Particular attention is now given to information to students and their feedback. These simulated workplaces in each of the campuses gave students a sense of ownership: Small factory and retail outlets were established in each region. an agreed process was put in place to undertake projects and to gather the necessary evidence of their competencies. Most staff had their vocational and assessor and workplace training qualifications a year before implementation. The focus is now on TAFE staff and TCF students understanding processes and procedures. that delivery is project-based rather than based on a subject/topic or competency unit.g. Just as a workplace has pressures – e. This was to replicate industry and also to give the students a sense of ownership for the work space and encourage more responsible behaviour (Oakes 2003). This is probably fundamentally different to previous teachings. staff development and some critical resource development. where students come to study and work simultaneously. Self assessment became a simple process as did assessment validation. the resource development was slower than anticipated. and the funding ran out for any additional work (Oakes 2003). and that students will work in a self-directed way and in teams on a series of projects increasing in complexity. To prepare for this production was an enormous task especially to get consistency in the regions (Oakes 2003). not the ‘nice to know’. For those that did not. time constraints and productivity targets – so too does the TAFE workplace (Oakes 2003). As Gaye acknowledges: simulated workplaces constructed in each campus The first year was quite a challenge as at times teachers were not sure if it was going to work. Planning and implementing the model Positioning the Institute for the delivery of the new program in early 2001 was based on early and comprehensive planning.

and appropriate policy quickly developed. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 45 . and. 2 Challenges for teachers The roles of staff have to change with this new approach to delivery and assessment: passing control to the student In Certificate II the teacher/trainer will have three roles: trainer. they use a workplace template. Other challenges for the managers of the TCF program included: • working above and beyond the normal workload after the extra development funding ran out. Fifthly. work effectively in a team. Conditions are changing and: • staff need to step back and pass control to the student team. As evidence of this Gaye Oakes cites the major challenges for TAFE staff over the last three years in the Institute’s TCF program. electronic learning resources (including patterns) have been developed and made available on CDROM. This does not occur without some consequences. For example. constantly developed. version control and republishing now occurs every six months. dry cleaning operation. where possible. In addition. • coping with the lack of innovative models to consider for adoption (Oakes 2003). Staff will at times adopt roles of production manager.Secondly. Thirdly. The focus with techniques will be on speed. Gaye points out that the benefit of this is that individual teaching staff take on high levels of personal responsibility and do work as a team even when separated by hundreds of kilometres. In Certificate IV and Diploma levels the teacher’s role will be a process facilitator to encourage students to access information from various sources and apply it in new and different contexts. In addition. footwear repair textile fabrication and leather goods production. Occasional disputes arise within teams in which we sometimes have to intervene and bring in counselling assistance. students now develop resources which contribute to the State-wide pattern library. production manager and assessor. • staff need to learn how best to train and assess in the workplace. that is. solve problems. head designer or patternmaker to enable the students to consult and seek advice (Oakes 2003). • staff often need to manage students who are very individualistic and have great difficulty working in teams. laundry operations. quality and repetition rather than covering all possible component techniques superficially. • staff need to learn to accept uncertainty and ambiguity. when any changes are identified they are now discussed and worked on by teaching staff. and consistency in course format and application in the three regional facilities has been established. Some staff could not cope and some retired (Oakes 2003). documents are now in an industry style. • educating employers on the new apprenticeship arrangements. Fourthly. tasks are allocated and monitored. TAFE’s project-based delivery now meets the industry demand for self-reliant employees with generic skills who can communicate. within an agreed framework. plan and organise themselves and. This coordinated approach is supported by constant communication by phone and email. staff decision-making and resource development are shared and coordinated through occasional face-to-face meetings. reviewed and amended. workplace training is now provided in the workplaces of many industries and businesses not previously serviced: for example. For example. regular videoconferences and more rigorous communication. use their initiative. • staff need new computer skills. • staff need to be consultative regarding resource development. most importantly. • marketing new apprenticeships to industry in new areas where little or no training had been happening.

How was this done? Well. as was evidenced in declining relations with TAFE. more flexible programs for individuals or small groups. the management of the new Institute appointed new and creative team leaders and allowed them the freedom and flexibility to develop their ideas and energies. as they all rely on each other to meet productivity. Their work ethic has improved dramatically due to peer pressure from workplace teammates. a learning experience that helps students develop confidence and initiative and skills in risktaking. quality and timelines (Oakes 2003). • the availability of skills in project planning. For example: • 46 strong sense of community. Like staff. there was a new need to take the initiative and implement the TCF Training Package and the New Apprenticeship system and also encourage workplace training and assessment. Some other local factors also contributed in smaller but useful ways to innovation in teaching and learning in the TCF program. communication and team work. and treated as adults: work with industry on real projects Students appear to be far more motivated and capable. • the need to meet the challenges of new technology. At the same time. a 1999 commissioned research project by the Institute clarified that the TCF industry’s requirements of graduates had become much more demanding. students are more committed because they are respected and valued. Benefits for staff For team leaders Gaye Oakes and Alyssa Drew. the students now have a much stronger sense of community and enjoy the adult environment constructed at the Institute. training and peer tutoring in the latest software for pattern making. But critical to this was the Institute’s commitment to developing and applying generic policies and procedures that gave each team a framework to work within. the quality of the response of management in the newly amalgamated Institute was also critical to ensuring that innovation in teaching and learning did occur. previously negative perception of TAFE 2 Nevertheless. These included: • availability of email across the Institute. For example. grading and design – Adobe generic software – which has enabled students to produce very professional workplace documents (Oakes 2003). • the desire by team leaders to fully embrace new apprenticeships and the TCF Training Package’s concepts. some of the main benefits for staff of the new approach to TCF training are cultural. • access to computers and increased computing skills. • a commitment to consult with all staff on all matters (Oakes 2003). Gaye Oakes finds that more suitable students are enrolling as they have clear expectations of the industry. We have broken down the barriers and hierarchy.Drivers of innovation There is little doubt that the need for TAFE’s innovation in teaching and learning has been has been driven by the changed circumstances of the TCF industry. The report pointed out that TAFE was not meeting these changing industry needs. Student outcomes As a result of the new program. All staff opinions Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . workplace and training environment. Other benefits to students from the Institute’s TCF teaching and learning reforms are extensive and they include: experience working with industry on real projects. Students appreciate that the training is focused on local industry needs – especially at certificate II and IV levels – and projects are based on the type of products manufactured in Tasmania.

committed.and skills are valued. Teachers and trainers have made enormous leaps in their computer skills (Oakes 2003). • We have learned to value and encourage positive and negative feedback. Employers can participate more effectively in the training and assessment of their employees (Oakes 2003). and at times that suit the learner. with documented actions. focused and working with greater autonomy. 2 Teachers can also contribute to and access a set of 360 resources which are version-controlled. more dynamic team. • A culture where we have accepted the need for constant change and are regularly reviewing our practices. a culture of experimentation • Enthusiasm and energy – a younger. Teachers’ positive attitudes and skill development are other benefits of the new approach to TCF training: Teachers. technical and clerical staff have embraced their new roles and have developed new skills and cooperative ways of working. At the meetings. We are more open and able to ask for help. • Innovation in teaching and learning – for the one industry and across a whole State – can benefit from the use of a database of electronic learning resources that are easily stored and retrieved. Messages Messages in the above case study regarding innovation in teaching and learning include the following: • Innovation in teaching and learning that is based on identified industry needs can have many dimensions. 2 What is innovation in VET teaching and learning? 47 . where the projects replicate authentic work tasks. • A culture where we experiment with new ideas in the classroom. • Seeing students embrace the new system. processes and resources. updated and issued on CDROM every 6 months. and the use of simulated workplaces inside conventional educational institutions. • A culture where experimentation and risk-taking is fostered and encouraged (Oakes 2003). the team leaders articulate their clear vision of the outcomes wanted and encourage the sense of being part of a community of highly motivated educators. graduates ready to apply their skills Employers can access new apprentices in a wide range of industry/occupational areas in the TCF area and in a partnership within TAFE for automotive motor trimming. Sustaining and transferring the model Collaboration between teachers underpins and sustains the innovation: a community of highly-motivated educators Regular meetings are conducted where the teachers reflect on what we do and why we do it. Peer and self tutoring occur within and between regions especially in the latest software for patternmaking. including the use of project-based learning. The model is now being extended to all aspects of the TCF program and to furniture and automotive motor trimming. pace and tone of the workplace. grading and design (Adobe generic software) and general computer skills (Oakes 2003). Teachers now have the ability to offer flexible programs to individuals or small groups. the delivery and assessment of learning in the workplace. People are more honest and work closely as a team. tools. responsibilities and timeframes. to imitate the layout. People have accepted that they are not expected to be perfect. Benefits for employers The benefits for employers are significant: The program produces graduates with a realistic view of their industry and who are ready and able to apply their skills efficiently.

long-term planning and staff commitment – teams of VET teachers and managers can construct and deliver innovative teaching and assessment services when an industry has demanded a shift from the conventional classroom-based.• Provided a range of factors are in place – including market research. curriculum-focused training. teacher-dominant. 2 48 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .

increasingly. • Innovation in teaching can be underpinned by planning undertaken by a teacher in conjunction with a work team or organisational unit and with educational managers. deliverer. But the new and future roles of the teacher are expanding to include those of learning manager. Table 3.1: Expanding roles of training professionals (Rossett & Sheldon 2001. knowledge systems’ expert. intuition and judgement as well as their collaborative planning with their colleagues and other stakeholders. demonstrator and coordinator.12) Conventionally Now and. p. learning broker and learning strategist. into the future Developer of individual brainpower Manager of organisational brainpower Designer and developer Developer and purchaser from outsources Deliverer or coordinator of classes Less delivery. The new roles are focused on achieving learner and organisational outcomes and providing improved customer value. developer. Key points Key points raised in the chapter include the following: • Innovation in teaching can occur when teachers perform new roles such as those of learning brokers and learning strategists. Innovation in teaching can occur when teachers perform new roles Rossett & Sheldon (2001) identify the expanding roles of what they call the training professional.How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 3 This chapter examines how innovation in teaching and learning occurs in VET and foregrounds the importance of teachers’ skills. • Innovation in teaching can occur when VET practitioners use a variety of strategies that increase learners’ control over their learning. The conventional roles of the training professional are designer. more focus on organisational readiness and management of knowledge resources 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 49 .

p.1 – on retraining mechanics in Western Australia – describes new roles performed by trainers at the Caterpillar Institute which have led to the effective delivery of training and assessment. p. ensuring quality Focusing on students Developing programs for supervisors as well as students Measured by ‘butts on seats’ and ‘hits’ on websites Measured by contributions to strategic goals and results Solves problems when they emerge Anticipates and mitigates The Rossett & Sheldon (2001) model puts the emphasis on satisfying the customer. in this chapter. an additional challenge is for the teacher from an educational institution or from within an enterprise to acquire the skills to support competencybased training and assessment in the workplace.3). p. Teachers who were part of the VET system prior to the implementation of the National Training Framework (NTF) in 1996 were encouraged in the late 1990s to review their roles and to embrace a range of new approaches. the training also needs to satisfy the organisation. working in partnership with individuals. agile and creative. and delivery Doing what is needed.and off-the-job training. In the VET sector. working in teams.Table 3. 50 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Just one part of their changed practice involved liaising with workplace mentors who were located hundreds of kilometres away. with the resultant innovation satisfying the customer and the organisation. enterprises and industry groups to negotiate learning projects. For instance. Where training is provided for enterprise clients. Vignette 3. design. Innovation occurs when institution-based teachers review their roles and develop new skills The Rossett & Sheldon model is an attempt to make the best of the predominantly classroom-based teaching and learning model: to make it responsive. and establish and maintain the mechanisms for assessment. jobs for students and skilled employees for Caterpillar distributors. The Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) suggested that the role of the VET teacher was changing ‘from a source of knowledge to a manager of learning and a facilitator’ (ANTA 1996. find relevant materials.8) and that the new role of the trainer was a ‘facilitator of change’ (ANTA 1997b. develop new courses. Vignette 3. They will become learning facilitators. increasingly. into the future Develops and produces events and products Creates and nurtures place-bound and online environments that continuously support and develop Coordinator of short-term events and interactions Broker of systems that start before classes and continue afterwards Concern about high-quality experience for participants Focus on the systems that encourage and support performance. Even where consultancy and learning facilitation are not required. of the ability to establish associations. mirroring the ANTA and the Rossett & Sheldon models. learning. and strategic results Meeting needs by delivering from inventory Performance analysis to customise and tailor Developer of content knowledge Developer of individual learning power. customise generic courses to suit individual and enterprise needs.1: Expanding roles of training professionals (Rossett & Sheldon 2001. to become learning managers and facilitators of learning. To varying degrees.1). classroom-based trainers will need to have made the shift to an outcomes orientation and become industry-oriented (ANTA 1997a. The new policy directions of the NTF posed many challenges for many institution and classroom-based teaching staff: Trainers will need to be up-to-date in relevant technical areas and confident to leave the structured classroom environment for the workplace to facilitate the integration of on. and make meaning Sharing skills and knowledge Managing knowledge resources Demonstrating skills in training analysis. configuring groups that transcend conventional boundaries.12) (cont’d) 3 Conventionally Now and. development.2 describes how East Gippsland TAFE teachers comprehensively revamped their approach. all of the vignettes and case studies show the variety of ways that teachers are now performing new roles. p.

link external learning experiences with work and learning within their enterprise (p. using an action learning methodology.1 on the Manufacturing Learning Centres describes workplace mentors employed by manufacturing companies supporting the VET In School students. ‘there has been relatively little attention paid to them’ (p. The following diagram depicts these four areas of skills and knowledge.. often employed by the enterprise. we suggest that teachers need innovative skills and knowledge in at least four areas: • Vocational skills. workplace mentors. as they are well distributed and often out of sight and easily overlooked because they are located in specific enterprises. • promotes independence and self-direction in learners/trainees. They found that. the workplace trainer is assuming an increasingly critical role in the provision of training opportunities. • works alongside learner/trainee. In addition to this list from Simons et al. • VET sector specific skills. in the move from off-job to on-job training. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 51 . research for this project suggests that the expanding role of the enterprise-based workplace trainer includes direct involvement in innovation. • draws on others in the workplace to help facilitate the learning process. such as skills in tourism or engineering.Innovation can occur when workplace trainers model good practice ANTA (2001) acknowledges the increasing differentiation of the VET workforce and identifies eight different groups within VET. including managing personal and professional growth. • assesses work and learning using both formal and informal processes. For instance. such as developmental skills.50). workplace trainers deserve a special consideration at this point in the report. • Adult learning/teaching skills. • reconciles experiences of work and learning. and • demonstrates techniques and processes. While both groups are discussed throughout this report. yet workplace trainers perform a critical role as: Workplace trainers foster environments conducive to learning. they work and learn with co-workers. to assist students to develop problem-solving skills. such as how to support problem-based learning. (1999) found that the workplace trainer role includes the following functions: 3 • organises learning collaboratively with the trainee/learner. the Centrelink workplace trainers not only provide more services within Centrelink but are innovative in upgrading the North Coast Institute’s call centre training operation. and how it enables Centrelink’s in-house trainers to develop increased capability.2). such as how to assess competencies in the workplace. • advocates on behalf of learners/trainees. • learns together with others. workplace supervisors and staff from RTOs. although to a lesser extent. Innovation can occur when teachers use different mixes of skills Applying the Rossett & Sheldon (2001) model to the Australian VET context. the two largest groups of VET practitioners are institution-based teachers – who sometimes work in the students’ workplace – and enterprise-based workplace trainers. • Generic personal skills. (2000b) note that. However. Vignette 1. Simons et al.2 describes North Coast Institute’s delivery of the Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training. despite the increasingly important role for workplace trainers in the NTF. As a result of this. including workplace trainers. Harris et al. Vignette 1. structure and shape work processes to accommodate learning. promote self-direction in learning and. • discusses learning experiences with trainee/learner.

The Biggs model is better seen as a sub-set of the larger process of innovation derived from Williams (1999). This model directs us towards the three ‘P’ stages in teaching and learning.1: One view of integrated capabilities for contemporary VET practitioners (Gribble 2001) 3 Vocational Skills Adult Learning and Teaching Skills VET Sector Specific Skills Generic Personal Skills A VET teacher can be innovative by drawing on her/his skills in one or more of the above segments. 52 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . This current study suggests that innovation can be planned at the presage stage. during learning. For instance.19) offers a suggestion as to where innovation occurs. There is considerable scope for innovation in VET to be planned. Innovation in teaching can occur as a result of collaborative planning by stakeholders The following model from Biggs (1999. VET sector specific skills to provide assessment services in the workplace. implemented at the process stage and its benefits realised at the product stage. the Bigg’s model does represent an explanation of frontline activities by teachers and trainers. Within Williams’s larger schema.2 on teaching and assessing in the region of Gippsland in Victoria describes the planning that occurred at the presage stage and the multi-faceted teaching model that was then implemented at the process stage. an understanding of adult learning to underpin their use of learning mentors. Vignette 3. describes creativity leading to discovery and invention. For instance. especially at the presage stage and process stages. • and the product stage – the outcome or results of the learning. before learning takes place. and generic personal skills to provide good communication with students via teleconferencing. viz: • the presage stage. • the process stage. and flowing onto the process of innovation and the implementation of the innovation.Diagram 3. the teaching staff need vocational knowledge of social sciences. Most of the case studies and vignettes in this report describe a range of stakeholders additional to VET teachers who also contribute to the presage or planning stage. expanding and combining their skills either individually or collectively in any mix of these capabilities and their domains. The latter. workplace trainers and supervisors – and that only at the micro-level does the model become useful for designing specific teaching strategies that help carry or define the innovation. Vignette 3. as set out earlier in the Introduction. In trying to apply Biggs’ model for the VET sector it is important to emphasise that there are many stakeholders who help frame the context for the conditions of provision – such as employers and unions as well as teachers and educational managers. VET teachers can be innovative by applying.2 on teaching in East Gippsland TAFE provides an insight into teachers who demonstrate skills in all four areas described above. p.

using a variety of assessment and delivery strategies. a global leader in heavy vehicles and WesTrac Equipment Pty Ltd. including changing the timeframe for the program to suit participants and their companies. in response to a significant industry skill shortage. broader external drivers and conditions. In the following vignette.1 Multi-faceted innovation in teaching heavy vehicle mechanics in regional Western Australia – Caterpillar Institute (WA) Pty Ltd There are many dimensions to innovation in teaching. The innovations relate to learner support arrangements that allow for the recognition of current competencies.1 where Caterpillar Institute (WA) managers. The positive outcomes of this collaboration were felt beyond the student group. Vignette 3.Diagram 3. and Frontline Management. and providing individual support. multi-dimensional service-based approach to innovation in teaching. It is a joint venture between Caterpillar. Plant/Earthmoving/Agriculture). The steps in the Williams model are demonstrated in Vignette 3. This integrated. Machine Operator Training. The Institute offers training and assessment services in the following areas: Certificate II in Automotive (Mechanical Vehicle Servicing). Occupational Safety and Health. a leading Western Australian retailer of heavy vehicles. in response to industry needs. Meeting an industry skill shortage The Caterpillar Institute (WA) Pty Ltd has operated as a Registered Training Organisation since late 2000. Post-trade Technical Training. has resulted in offers of employment for all participants in the three inaugural programs conducted in 2002-2003. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 53 .2: Biggs’ 3P model of teaching and learning (1999) PRESAGE PROCESS PRODUCT LEARNINGFOCUSED ACTIVITIES LEARNING OUTCOMES STUDENT FACTORS prior knowledge ability 'motivation' appropriate/deep inappropriate/surface quantitative: facts. five learnersupport initiatives enable mechanics from the light vehicles field to acquire qualifications in the heavy vehicle field. trainers and learning resource developers and Caterpillar distributors combined their ideas at the presage or planning stage before developing and implementing an innovative learning program to assist the upskilling of light vehicle mechanics. transfer affective: involvement TEACHING CONTEXT 3 objectives assessment climate/ethos teaching institutional procedures The point is that there is a relationship between the professional work and judgement of the teacher and trainer in framing and executing the teaching and learning strategy. Certificate III in Automotive (Mechanical Heavy Vehicle Mobile Equipment. and collaborative planning with stakeholders. and Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training. skills qualitative: structure.

The employer is releasing them on full pay to attend block release training. which states that priority will be given to training in the heavy vehicle sector. within the Automotive Training Package. unable to recruit suitably qualified personnel In 2002. one of the priorities identified is for the ‘upskilling of motor mechanics to work as heavy duty plant mechanics/fitters’. • Secondly. a strong focus is placed on the recognition of current competencies. Designing an innovative program In response the Caterpillar Institute (WA) designed an innovative Trade Upgrade program that allows trades people in the light vehicle industry to upgrade their skills so they can work within the heavy vehicle industry. a range of different assessment strategies is used. resulting in 35 interviews and the selection of 8 mechanics in the first intake. The strategies for each competency include requiring the student to complete a knowledgebased written assessment and to provide a practical demonstration for the facilitator. Caterpillar Institute (WA) has developed a twelve-step skills recognition process that ensures that the new participants have every opportunity to have their application for recognition assessed fairly and appropriately. 3 all participants have been offered positions The Trade Upgrade program enables trades people with a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanics Trade to upgrade their skills and knowledge to the Certificate III in Heavy Vehicle Mobile Equipment. As a result. in the competitive field of training tenders in Western Australia. this shortage was publicly illustrated in frequent advertisements for heavy vehicle mechanics in The West Australian during 2002. Caterpillar Institute (WA) presently has a waiting list of people wanting to undertake the program and is now conducting the program in two locations: Perth and Kalgoorlie. a variety of delivery methodologies is used in the program. Five dimensions of innovation in teaching The innovation in the heavy vehicles mechanics program is significant because it includes the following five aspects of the delivery and assessment of the program.The Caterpillar Institute (WA) has extensive knowledge of the heavy vehicle industry and the needs of the industry for well-trained. The participants in the Kalgoorlie group were employed by WesTrac on the basis that they would complete the trade upgrade. Innovation in the program extends well beyond the mapping of the light vehicle competencies to the heavy vehicles qualification. Nine competencies must be completed and assessed to enable trades persons to upgrade their trade certificate. all participants gained employment in the heavy-duty mechanical industry. This skill shortage is also noted in a WA Department of Training occupational fact sheet. The Caterpillar Institute (WA) was presented with a national award from Automotive Training Australia (ATA) in late 2002 for the design of this new program. to help students identify their own strengths and weaknesses so that they acquire skills methodically and quickly. The training is normally provided in Perth at the Caterpillar Institutes premises adjoining WesTrac Equipment Pty Ltd. In Kalgoorlie the training is delivered at the WesTrac Equipment facilities. During 2002 the Caterpillar Institute (WA) advertised the new Trade Update program and received 150 enquiries. • Thirdly. The program involves bridging the difference in competencies between light vehicle mechanics and heavy vehicle mobile equipment mechanics. a variety of delivery methodologies is used 54 • Firstly. highly-skilled trades people. A fully equipped computer suite is available for student use and students can access Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Other assessment strategies include judging the quality of a student’s project and analysing the student’s portfolio of work. the Caterpillar Institute (WA) took advice from employers within the heavy vehicle industry that there was a significant shortage of qualified heavy mechanics to meet the needs of industry. so students have access to the actual equipment they will be working on when they are working in the industry. As a result of the program. For example.

Interestingly. in the case of much of VET this scenario has never really been representative of the truth. one-on-one support is available for all program participants in the following ways: individual counselling is provided to assist with learning-related issues. Innovation in teaching can result from the use of a variety of strategies to support lifelong learning Until recently. • Fourthly. The educator was often preoccupied by heavy engagement with lecturing or demonstrations. Macmahon Contracting and Roche – are assisting in the delivery of the Trade Upgrade in 2003. assessors and facilitators are alert to any concerns or difficulties the participant may be experiencing. Messages VET teachers need knowledge and skills in four areas to be innovative: • vocational knowledge such as knowledge of heavy vehicle mechanics. so the program fitted around the participants’ ongoing employment. 3 Transferable model can be delivered across the automotive industry The Caterpillar Institute (WA) model for the Trade Upgrade from light vehicle to heavy vehicle mechanics can be transferred to any other Caterpillar site within Australia. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 55 . involves participants attending a block release for five days a month over six months. South East Metropolitan College of TAFE and a number of mining companies and contractors – for example WesTrac. • generic personal skills such as how to assist students develop self-confidence to function in a partially self-managed learning environment. extra tuition is available in literacy and numeracy. the program can be delivered in many different timeframes. and all participants are provided with advice about employment opportunities in the industry. the first intake in 2002 completed the 200 hour program over a series of Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. It can also be delivered across the automotive industry. and to the casual observer. and using curricula determined elsewhere by subject experts. For instance. coaching is provided if a student needs special assistance. Curtin Vocational Training and Education Centre (VETC).digital copies of Caterpillar training manuals and other online materials. Caterpillar provides reference books and learning materials. • VET-sector specific skills such as how to assess competencies using a variety of strategies. • Fifthly. An alternative approach initiated in 2003 which suits employees of companies that want their staff retrained. the professional business of teaching and learning in VET gave the appearance of distributing knowledge from a relatively fixed and limited bank of received content that was mediated by the professional educator. However. The introduction of competency-based training in the early 1990s and the focus on building industry-led demand by the National Training Framework from 1996 onwards was in response to the training needs of the real world of work. one result has been the expanding scope for VET professional practice and professional judgement. To enable students to progress in a self-paced manner for some aspects of the program. leading group discussions or seminars and workshops. All facilitators are experienced trainers with Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training qualifications and are skilled at modifying the training delivery to accommodate the needs of individuals and the group to ensure that the training objectives are achieved. VET work has been invariably mediated by the real world of work and the level of interaction and interchange between these two worlds has accelerated in recent years. • managing knowledge resources developed by others. Following Rossett & Sheldon (2002). • adult learning/teaching knowledge such as a knowledge of how to support resource-based learning. another message from this vignette is that new roles for teachers that support innovation include: • contributing to the many support systems created by the training company that encourage and support the individual’s learning.

collaborative/cooperative learning 8. 56 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . For example. For example. By the mid-1990s commentators were noticing the need for wider recognition of learning processes and clearer relationships with learning outcomes. pp. This is summarised in Diagram 3. 1995. as the functional roles of learning have begun to change. Innovation in teaching can occur when students are assisted in developing future-oriented capabilities Burns believes that the current movement in learning in VET is toward ‘flexible. As a result.2 below. guided experiential learning and mentoring and coaching.The competency based movement is only one educational reform that has changed the character of VET and is a function of much broader societal shifts that are still unfolding. roles and rationales for VET’s teaching and educational mission. contextualised learning 5. just-in-time learning. Many of these have now been adopted as learning strategies in VET. mastery and self-worth’. the active citizen. • guided experiential learning. learning design and management. contest and extend the capabilities required of VET pedagogies. activity-based and problem-based learning. The prevailing trend is towards the development of lifelong learning. and this is based on ‘flexible delivery and permitting adults to enhance their sense of identity. so too have the related structures. Stephenson (2000) stresses the need for adaptive. • learning organisations. learner-directed learning 3.305) Similarly. • mentoring and coaching. It indicates that learners need to go beyond acquiring competencies for familiar problems in familiar contexts. p. one view (Tinkler et al. (2002. learning to learn 4. Technology-based innovation in VET teaching has been the most visible – but possibly not the most important – response to this much broader and more diverse movement of learning away from traditional educational structures and assumptions. The movement of learning away from traditional structures will increasingly challenge. online learning and now blended learning. customised learning 6. and the professional judgement of teachers and trainers operating from institutional systems. self-determination. to developing future-oriented capabilities to solve unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts. Case Study 3 in this chapter. learning communities and communities of practice. encouraged and supported much more broadly – to meet the needs of industry and. lifelong learning 3 2. e-learning.260-305) notes the innovative use in contemporary VET of the following: • workbased and workplace learning. • flexible learning. • simulations and games. For instance. more recently. p. Such skills are not easily acquired and highly-skilled and knowledgeable VET practitioners are a key agency for assisting learners to develop such capabilities. Burns (2002. • informal learning such as peer tutoring and virtual communities. • activity-based and problem-based learning. includes examples of workbased and workplace learning. interactive.79) was that at least eight different types of learning would be needed in order to satisfy demand in the emerging ‘information society’: 1. on assessing key competencies in electrotechnology. This report provides examples of the majority of the above strategies. autonomy. These are demanding that learning be recognised. self-directed and selfpaced learning’. transformative learning 7. agile learning in VET.

p. These industry changes include the requirement for new employees to perform as freelance photographers. only coming back in to ask awkward questions or to summarise. raised self-esteem and intrinsic motivation to continue learning. (pp. a lecture can be made stimulating with the use of visual aids such as video clips. facilitating successful understanding. in the hands of a skilled and thoughtful professional. most conventional pedagogical methods such as lecturing and demonstration can evolve gradually towards more student control/leadership as learners obtain experience and skills in the techniques. Thus teacher-centred need not always be so if the method is skilfully used (p. skills and information can be made meaningful and related to existing knowledge.Diagram 3. As distinct from teacher-centred methods. which often requires a strong teacher presence. some student-centred group methods occupy what Burns (2002) calls a grey area as there can be ambiguity and judgment required to know whether it is the teacher or learner who. To effectively teach or train a student for such photo-journalism means paying considerable attention to the learner’s development of both technical skills and generic skills. Innovation in teaching can occur when teacher-centred methods are skewed towards student control A new challenge for VET teachers is to stimulate individuals to pursue self-directed and lifelong learning while still using conventional teacher-centred methods such as lecturing.264) Burns says that. demonstration and tutorials. It has been argued that teaching methods that are congruent with the principles of andragogy and lifelong learning should involve the following: active participation in self-paced.1 on photography students describes teachers of photo-journalism adapting their course to suit the changes in photo-journalism in industry. However. at 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 57 . agile learning (based on Stephenson 2000) FAMILIAR PROBLEM UNFAMILIAR PROBLEM COMPETENCE (present orientation) CAPABILITY (future oriented) Qualities employers want: • • • • • • • Innovation New knowledge Tolerance of uncertainty Leadership Creativity Motivation/Initiative New productivities Qualities employers expect: • • • • • • Application of existing knowledge Predictable outcomes Quality assurance Established standards Clear goals High productivity FAMILIAR CONTEXT 3 UNFAMILIAR CONTEXT Vignette 4. (Burns 2002. Burns also suggests that a tutorial can be made valuable if the teacher: drops into the background and allows the students to present material and discuss and argue. and be supported by interesting examples and small-group follow up sessions. for example. is used extensively by some TAFE Institutes in rural and regional areas of South Australia and Queensland. it can also mean helping the trainee photographer develop skills to solve unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts. who are sometimes engaged at the last moment to research.265–266). self-directed learning in which new materials.3: Adaptive.265). For instance. Following Stephenson. 1993). continuing efforts are made by teachers in the videoconferencing domain to ensure optimum student activity (see. and to undertake and complete assignments to a high standard and under strict time pressures. Mitchell et al. Videoconferencing. slides and demonstrations.

A number of the case studies and vignettes report on resistance to innovation by learners. The difficulties of encouraging self-directed learning are underlined by Smith’s (2000b) research into the learning strategies used by VET apprentices which showed that the meta-cognitive strategies required for effective controlling and directing of learning.86). Vignette 3. p. and for generating new learning. Case Study 1 from Holmesglen TAFE also provided examples of innovative teaching that encouraged youths at risk to take control of their learning.1 on Caterpillar Institute (WA) showed how the trainers provided counselling services. situational and societal factors are powerful barriers to any orderly progress in learner needs and behaviours. simulations. were poorly developed and seldom used.273). as well as by accessing self-paced materials and taking on projects that replicate those undertaken in industry. (Mitchell et al 2001. pp. and teachers being patient while learners developed their own responses to the innovation. can also be conducted online. Helping learners to learn how to learn in a range of different situations and through a range of different styles is the goal of many adult educators. but fostering and supporting it is still very challenging. Case Study 2 on textile teaching in Tasmania illustrates how students can take control of their own learning through immersion in both simulated and actual workplace environments. attitudinal. In contrast. cognitive strategies associated with the acquisition of knowledge and skill from structured learning sessions produced much better learning outcomes and results. self-directed learning usually takes more careful and detailed planning and structure to support and shape the individual’s learning or developmental efforts than are required in more traditional learning operations’ (Burns 2002. The latter include providing students with the use of customised reference books and extensive written learning materials that are purpose-built by Caterpillar Institute (WA) staff. than in the industry workplace. Even so.274). It includes questioning and reframing personal and professional assumptions and adopting new perspectives on what were previously taken-for-granted ideas and behaviours. or lack of interest from many learners. Two aspects of self-directed learning are critical reflection and learning how to learn. Vignette 3. Models present how idealised learners should behave. Innovation in teaching can occur when self-directed learning is fostered 3 Self-directed learning is considered a cornerstone of lifelong learning for adults. limitations and applications of critical reflection and learning how to learn (Burns 2002. But when the conditions for this are lacking some learners will not want to accept the inherent degree of responsibility that this model of learning and the learner requires. seminars and workshops.1 in this chapter describes teachers from the Caterpillar Institute (WA) combining conventional classroom sessions with other strategies designed to directly stimulate self-directed learning. role-playing.any time. how they will learn it and at what pace (Burns 2002. as well as in the VET classroom (Ip et al. For example. 58 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . debating. Critical reflection on experience is a commonly promoted feature of adult learning programs. or lack of obvious motivators to acquire necessary learning capabilities. Such cultural. team building. This also points to the fallacy of expecting that learners necessarily progress in a linear developmental way and this has important implications for conceptions of lifelong learning and for the often unspoken role of teachers and trainers in how they develop effective interaction with learners. 2002). simulations and role playing. Some of these methods. Much research is still needed in adult education to understand the benefits. should be in control. such as games. reluctance. Self-directed learning refers to any application that gives the learner responsibility for their learning and grants them autonomy in choosing the material they will learn. p. The resistance was usually overcome by teachers’ attention to the learners’ concerns. teachers winning learners’ support for change. These methods include games. This resistance is due to a wide variety of factors – including a lack of skills or confidence to learn. p. where packages of learning materials are more readily available. brainstorming. Burns (2002) notes that all of these teaching methods can be individually modified to ensure students are active. extra tuition and coaching to ensure learners’ were well supported in their innovative program. Self-directed learning is easier for a teacher to manage within the well-resourced learning centre.255–256). VET practitioners do report resistance to innovation. learner-centred learning carries with it an expectation of a degree of personal responsibility and ownership that is generally regarded as a ‘good thing’ in itself.

2 Use of workplace mentors for training delivery across a region – East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. many of which are far from the teacher’s base. • support staff in their roles as learning managers and mentors. Four additional principles refer to learner support: • develop all students’ capacities as independent learners capable of self-assessing their needs. rural isolation and our learners need to learn within close geographic proximity to where they live and work. and in relation to determining targets. Through this network the Institute serves large regional towns such as Sale and Bairnsdale and many small and isolated communities. The social sciences team has had autonomy in relation to resource management. including course renewal. in particular by providing integrated support in their programs. This followed considerable experimentation in the preceding eight years. The model is driven by industry need. The introduction of workplace training means that some VET providers are faced with the challenge of providing high-quality and consistent training and assessment in hundreds of locations. Physical distances are vast. curriculum and AQTF alignment (Wilkinson 2002b). (Brigg & Wilkinson 2000) The social sciences team is one of six self-managing teams at East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 59 . Catherine Brigg believes that this organisational practice of encouraging autonomous work teams underpins decision-making within the social sciences team: This culture has enabled learning managers within this team to develop teacher workload allocation principles that support their flexible learning model. population density is low. VIC Regional settings present challenges for VET providers. • use professional development to strengthen staff members’ ability to identify and address student learning needs. Guiding principles for the innovation The Social Sciences team developed a number of guiding principles for their Integrated Model. Lastly. to help address delivery in this regional setting: • develop inclusive learning communities at team and sub-team levels and support students in transition to participate fully in these learning communities • encourage sessional training staff to act as mentors for students in setting up learning communities (Wilkinson 2002b). The first two principles relate to organisational alignment: capacity as independent learners • make sure that co-ordinated and strategic learning support services are convenient for learning mentors and students. for eight consecutive years. with a small core of staff needing to access training within the scope of a busy working life. the social sciences team led by Catherine Brigg launched an innovation called the Gippsland Integrated Model of Assessment and Service Delivery. such as how to equitably deliver training to widely spread sites. • provide learning resources that can be customised and integrated into programs. • integrate assessment and service delivery with the Institute’s Teaching and Learning Strategy.Vignette 3. offering programs that include child studies. The following vignette provides insights into one VET provider who met these challenges with an array of strategies. nursing and community services. both financial and human. aged care. long history of customer focus The innovative assessment and service delivery model has grown out of a long history of regional responsibility and specific customer focus. 3 In 2000. Industry skill shortage drives innovation East Gippsland Institute of TAFE has fifteen widely distributed sites across 15% of rural Victoria. A social sciences team at the Institute delivers the Community Services Training Package across this region. and regional industries in the fields are small-scale operations.

and join cluster groups supported by outreach workers in smaller communities. Firstly. each year Sally Anne Wilkinson (sub-team Facilitator. Moreover. Learning mentor scheme The assessment and service delivery model was implemented in 2000 and has been continuously improved since then. direct industry involvement in assessment Another major enhancement was the introduction of a learning mentor scheme. including one-on-one consultations and small group work. the learning plan links the student to their learning manager. through partnerships with local enterprises and networking with collectives of the regional workforce. Health and Community Services) oversees the learning progress of more than 120 students through EdTrak. a learning community has been formed (Wilkinson 2002b). The learning mentor scheme ensures that students in the workplace are supported adequately in acquiring competencies. As examples. Self-paced learning resources materials have been developed for students in a range of areas such as study skills. 60 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . participate in telematic tutorial sessions. mentoring with industry based staff with specialist expertise. industry specialists able to guide students in the acquisition of competencies. It demonstrates responsiveness to reform through the use of Training Packages to facilitate lifelong learning (Wilkinson 2002a). information technology. The model embraces workplace assessment of current competencies. Much of the remote contact with students is provided by telephone. that is. and an increasing use of online assessment. as not all students have access to email. as follows. It has been found that our learning mentors have the industrial skills and we the educational knowledge and curriculum expertise. one-on-one tutor support and student management administration from the Flexible Learning Centre in Sale. a range of strategies underpin the delivery of training and assessment: 3 multiple methodologies Students can attend classes. A major enhancement was made in 2001 with the addition of the EdTrak database. Through a detailed calendar of professional activities that address the new learning modes our learning mentors have developed skills in program development. Student outcomes and transferability Student outcomes from the Integrated Model are outstanding: The East Gippsland Region Integrated Model demonstrates educational effectiveness with completion rates of 98% and employment outcomes of 95%. undertake workplace projects. individual home study packages. individual learning plans are developed with each student. assignment submission and tutorials (Wilkinson 2002a). on-the-job mentoring. intensive support is provided for students with specific learning and delivery needs. and these plans are regularly monitored by teachers who refer to themselves as learning managers. Thirdly. Fourthly. assessment and consistency of outcomes (Brigg and Wilkinson 2000). attend monthly Saturday or weekend schools. Secondly. aged care and/or diversional therapy courses. who supports over 80 students studying disability. to recognition of current competency services and to other groups of students in the workplace.Novel features of this approach The Institute’s assessment and service delivery approach has at least five novel elements that are noteworthy. weekly telephone link-ups across up to 15 locations involving 20 students. Fifthly. students are related to as members of a learning community: Through the design and implementation of a combination of innovative teaching and learning strategies that have been devised for distance learners. as does Di Deppeler. tertiary learning skills and transition programs (Wilkinson 2002b). a teacher based in Bairnsdale. full-time staff members of the social science team monitor the progress of individual students using a learning management computerised database called Ed Trak. Learning mentors are industry-based trainers: Industry-based sessional trainers are coached by the full-time staff to become learning mentors.

Wills et al. The Integrated Model could be transferred to other RTOs. based on a strong commitment to quality assessment outcomes. (2002) propose a return to the views of Dewey in Democracy and Education (1916) when he advocated that: Methods which are permanently successful in formal education … give the student something to do. can contribute to thinking about designing learning environments that require the learner to be active. p. flexibility and fairness. where students are encouraged to do learning activities at a pace and time that suits them. But achieving this successfully is still a goal for innovative teachers. • Work teams can stimulate and then carry innovation in teaching. in ANTA 2002. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 61 . • the construction of quality assessment tools and assessment strategies which meet the principles of validity. which gives students the opportunity to grapple with real problems. • the concern for the provision of quality information on assessment for both the candidates and all assessors. from initial conception of a new approach to the implementation of a multi-faceted program. an activity-based learning environment consists of three elements: (1) learning tasks: the tasks which the learner will engage with. and (3) learning supports: the support the learner requires in the process. They also suggest that problem-based learning. These authors suggest that e-learning provides opportunities to think afresh about what it means to give learners something to do. (2) learning resources: the resources needed to successfully accomplish the tasks. (2002). Wills et al. (2002. Innovation in teaching can occur when activity-based learning and problem-based learning are facilitated Ensuring that students are active and doing things in order to learn is not a new idea. • Professional judgement can drive and sustain innovation. Following Wills et al. for example in relation to workload distribution. reliability. because they add that the focus needs to be on creating a learning environment. and shared risktaking and respect for colleagues. go beyond Dewey’s suggestion that learners be active. in addition to being learner-focused: autonomy re resource management. not something to learn. as Catherine Brigg believes that it is based on a number of specific ingredients. p. suggest that in the past decade computational and communication technologies have provided powerful tools for devising activities for learners that are ‘of such nature as to demand thinking’. to enable them to support a mix of learning strategies in a variety of contexts. Messages Some further messages about innovation emerging from this vignette are as follows: • Innovative teachers develop an adaptive pedagogy.the potential for new applications The social sciences team has now implemented its assessment and delivery service model in all of the different subject areas within social sciences and believes that the model can now be transferred to other program areas within the Institute. and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking (Wills et al. For Wills et al. The Integrated Model recently won an award from its Victorian Industry Training Advisory Board: recognition that this regional teaching and learning model could be used by social sciences teams in other RTOs. 3 The East Gippsland Institute vignette also models innovative approaches to assessment. Case Study 3 on key competencies in electrotechnology provides examples of activity-based learning. not a teaching environment.34). This is evidenced by: • the focus on accurately analysing and interpreting competency standards and matching these to the needs of learners and their learning environments.35). trust and collaboration within the team. where learners are given the support and resources to successfully carry out tasks that demand their thinking. with different team members providing different skills and inputs. Wills et al.

but the intensity was supported by the provision of counselling services.2 on East Gippsland. the diagram above could be used to plot an innovation. use different methodologies and customise assessment and training to suit different clients and contexts.g. ACT Constantly refreshes the practice firm concept: e. involving a range of novel features.4: The axes of complexity and intensity of innovation (Gribble 2002a) LOW Complexity of Innovation 3 LOW Intensity of Innovation HIGH Plotting the implementation of an innovation in advance might lead VET teachers to check whether they have put in place all the measures needed to optimise the likelihood of positive student outcomes. but low on intensity. QLD Students converted an old Volkswagen car frame into a garden. say. VET teachers also need to use their judgement to determine how intense to make the innovation. an innovation might be low in complexity. the innovation in delivery of automotive mechanical training was intense. as it will be introduced cautiously over a long period of time.1 on Caterpillar Institute (WA). the following table provides brief descriptions of a range of other current practices in VET. HIGH Diagram 3. as it will contain one key innovative feature. in Vignette 3. For instance. called Herbe the VW as a Living Garden Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). so that both students and teachers could adjust to the changes. The following diagram is a reminder of two different axes that can be used to plot and describe an innovation. as it will be introduced very quickly. In Vignette 3. which require teachers to perform non-traditional roles. VIC Students access a bio-technology business that operates from the TAFE premises Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE. that is high in complexity. the community services staff consciously decided to implement their innovative approaches over a number of years. Other examples of current practice Complementing the two vignettes and case studies in this chapter. as it will contain many dimensions.2: A range of current practices in VET teaching and learning Organisation 62 Brief description of innovation Box Hill Institute of TAFE. Innovation in teaching can occur at varying levels of complexity and intensity This study shows that innovation often requires VET teachers to adopt new roles. the complexity and intensity of the innovation might vary from one context to the next. recently added e-commerce facilities to the website. Table 3. extra tuition and coaching. ample learning resources are made available and support is provided by mentors. Often VET teachers need to use their judgement to determine the appropriate complexity of an innovation. but high on intensity. For instance. to fit new e-business competencies for the Business Services Training Package Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Alternatively.the range of tasks can be selected by the electrotechnology student. VET teachers also need to understand the subtleties involved in innovation: for instance.

This does not exhaust the possibilities as innovation can also occur when practitioners support lifelong learning strategies. such as their VET sector specific skills about how to assess in the workplace or when VET staff implement new services that are based on collaborative planning. Spencer Institute of TAFE. when they adapt teacher-centred methods to allow for more learner autonomy. simulated businesses and business incubators for retail and hospitality students. when they enable students to develop future-oriented capabilities. 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 63 . TAS Home-based tutors deliver an e-learning basic computer skills course to remote learners in Community Access Centres Onkaparinga Institute of TAFE. SA Uses project-based learning in the Advanced Diploma of Engineering. QLD Uses a model for clustering practice firms in a business incubator: a model that extends the practice firm concept to the creation and piloting of a business incubator that reflects the reality of current resource challenges and the diversity of learning pathways Douglas Mawson Institute of TAFE. in collaboration with industry 3 The brief examples in the table above suggest some of the new roles performed by innovative teachers. in collaboration with Schefenacker Vision Systems and the industry advisory body TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Uses story-telling as a teaching strategy in adult literacy and business and management studies RMIT. Retail and hospitality students develop generic competencies in the same practice firm Early Childhood Training And Resource Centre (ECTARC) Wollongong. VIC ‘RMIT Textiles: Young Essentials’. A contract was signed with Big W after four students flew to Sydney to negotiate distribution of the product. NSW Provides integrated online and phone support for distance learners in the child care industry English Language and Literacy Service. Adelaide Institute of TAFE. and teachers’ support for self-directed learning.Table 3. using cardboard road maps on the floor and model cars to assist students to prepare for their driver’s licence test Institute of TAFE Tasmania. Summary In response to the question ‘How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning?’ the discussion has shown that innovation can occur when teachers consciously adopt new roles such as those of learning broker or strategist. SA Combines a practice firm. SA Uses an online tourism office for delivery to remote locations.2: A range of current practices in VET teaching and learning (cont’d) Organisation Brief description of innovation Chisholm Institute of TAFE. e. the range of skills and knowledge drawn on by teachers involved in innovations.g. VIC Facilitates problem-based learning in Resource Management Cooloola Sunshine Institute of TAFE. when they promote self-directed learning. SA Provides flexible teaching for non-English speaking African immigrants. Innovation is modelled by the new roles performed by progressive enterprise-based workplace trainer and by institution-based teachers. Multidisciplinary teams of RMIT Textiles students undertook a total product development of a sock they designed themselves. and when they use imaginative activity-based and problem-based learning. Innovation can occur when staff draw on some or all of four areas of expertise.

as the result of multiple factors. assessment and certification of key competencies. 64 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . including Training Packages. are maintained in the local computer-managed student results system. planning and organising. generic skills. • develop a practical approach to implementation of the assessment strategy. Certification takes the form of a Statement of Attainment issued by the organisation listing all key competencies. Students perform a selfassessment of their selected key competencies using the respective assessment sheets and identify evidence to support their assessment which is presented – in any convenient form – to the facilitator for validation. teamwork. SA The following case study summarises an innovation that evolved over the period 1991–2003. communication. They cover problem solving. The TVTAFE teacher who has led this innovation since its inception. Validation considers two aspects: that the student has successfully performed the key competency to the specified performance level criteria clearly stated on the assessment sheet and that the student is explicitly aware of these key competencies and their own competence in them. using information. using technology and using mathematical techniques. ‘Key competencies’ are generic skills essential for effective performance in the workplace and are highly regarded by employers. including one teacher’s energy and his organisation’s support. The objectives of the assessment strategy are to: • contribute to the implementation of the national training system.Case Study 3 International benchmarking underpinning the assessment of key competencies in electrotechnology – Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE. believes that this innovation is more than a tangible. The assessment strategy focuses on developing. in addition to assessing and certifying these crucial skills. Other terms used instead of key competencies include employability skills. The innovation has been deliberately promoted. Advanced Skills Lecturer Rob Denton. it is recognised internationally and it has benefited from being benchmarked with the world’s leading experts in the same field. Assessment innovation 3 optimal learning environment The Electronics & Information Technology (E&IT) program at Torrens Valley TAFE (TVTAFE) in suburban Adelaide has developed and implemented an innovation they have named the Key Competencies Assessment Strategy. personal skills and soft skills. Strategy components ‘an holistic education strategy’ The TVTAFE Key Competencies Assessment Strategy is a voluntary opportunity for students to apply for explicit assessment and recognition of one or more key competencies – at specified performance levels – as part of any existing course assessment. • develop the optimal flexible learning environment for students to acquire key competencies. for ease of access by the student. • provide opportunities for development. The innovation occurs within a flexible learning framework at the Institute and enhances the delivery of the Electrotechnology Training Package. noting the respective performance levels achieved. assessing and certifying students’ key competencies. Rob Denton also believes that a strength of the TVTAFE strategy is its focus on nurturing the learning of key competencies. All results. • address increasing industry client and individual students’ needs for generic skills. The innovation moved through numerous iterations and is still being fine-tuned. along with a comprehensive portfolio of evidence for each student. innovative product: it is also a holistic education strategy focused on the complex area of generic skills development and the challenge of developing a practical and workable implementation. and has achieved external acclaim for innovation and excellence.

3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 65 . provides the educational framework for this innovation. they need to submit a leave form. Rob Denton explains: Key competencies were at the core of the design and development of this whole engineering program – not simply an add-on feature. • liaison with other educational and industry bodies. • promotion and marketing of the innovation to all stakeholders. • comprehensive student orientation and support. We have added more support systems and improved the approach by being more comprehensive. The engineering section deliberately adopted national. • partnerships with universities. when. providing knowledge of educational exemplars. • development of resources.Educational strategy The development of the innovation was based on a range of deliberate strategies and initiatives and the construction of a comprehensive educational strategy over a ten-year period. wherever possible. • consultations with industry. The design of the Engineering centre emulates the workplace. so a huge effort is put into the induction and orientation. was to embed the assessment of key competencies in the engineering program. students and staff. This flexible approach to assisting learning in the Institute evolved over the last ten years. Rob Denton explains: We set up an extremely flexible learning program. with significant emphasis devoted to providing appropriate support frameworks: For example. But then students are expected to make a commitment. to cater for students changing from directed learning to self-directed learning. Influences A number of other influences besides flexible learning affected the creation and development of this innovation in key competencies assessment. Students set their own timetable and choose the way they want to learn: they choose the resources they want to use. State and local guidelines.30pm and students can come in whenever. If they know they will be away. what and where they learn. State and Institute levels. to assist the student to plan and monitor their progress and to clarify future directions. taken in the early 1990s. involving: ‘emulates the workplace’ • extensive research and development. including the Mayer Committee reports on key competencies. in the sense of providing students with options about when and how they learn. We have introduced refinements since 1992. They have ultimate choice as to how. Under the leadership of Rob Denton. guidelines and computerised recording systems. with the doors open from 9am to 9. As most students come from a traditional learning environment. • student self-assessment and facilitator validation. the learning activities and which staff they want to access. The mentor provides a sole. A stable relationship can be developed between mentor and student to offer individualised support and guidance. • evaluation and refinement of the product. A major strategic decision. 3 Flexible learning. we allocate a mentor to every student. they require lots of support. for the explicit assessment of key competencies to capitalise on the efforts of others over a number of years and to ensure relevance and recognition across the nation. this key competencies strategy was influenced by the following factors: ‘not simply an add-on’ • a comprehensive review of research. • participation in national and local work-based learning projects such as the Institute’s own key competencies focus group and projects at the national. stable contact point within the otherwise very flexible and fluid program. and industry involvement in the development of the assessment model. • facilitation and mentoring of students. • commitment to continuous improvement.

the learner suggested that combining the assessment of technical skills and knowledge with assessment of the key competencies worked well and made the latter seem so much more relevant to him. Learning and employment benefits A recent independent research study provided the following E&IT student perspective on learning and development: 3 ‘you ‘youwill willgo gof further urther in in the the workplace’ comprehensive implementation processes Commenting on the process of assessment. which provides formal communication and collaboration between students and staff. it also offered the opportunity for him to build additional skills (Clayton et al. He is now observing employment outcomes that are directly attributable to the strategy. as follows: The HR Manager of local ‘award winning’ E&IT company said they selected an E&IT graduate specifically on the basis of evidence of demonstrated and certified key competencies over a number of more technically qualified applicants. The SRC is recognised as an official body within the E&IT program and TVTAFE and has an influential voice in any program issues relevant to students. you will not be able to work out what can be improved (Clayton et al. Benchmarking To continually improve the assessment approach. We are very proud to have him as part of our team as he not only excels at his position but creates a friendly.Students are another major influence on the innovation: they are provided with ongoing opportunities to critically explore. forthcoming 2003). TVTAFE took the decision to benchmark themselves against other international providers of similar services. Students are offered maximum choice and flexibility in their learning pathways for both technical competencies and key competencies. You need to examine how you go about things. analyse and present information as well as problem solve and use technology. More importantly. They are extremely pleased with this graduate’s performance. Comments from one graduate include: My employer promotes an innovative work culture where everyone is made to feel important in achieving the goals of the company. The student noted the value of self-assessment: If you can use self-assessment you will go further in the workplace. Rob Denton believes that making the key competencies much more visible and explicit to students and employers improves the recruitment process and outcomes for both employers and graduates. open environment around him (Award application 2002). to independently research. Rob Denton believes that the main outcome of the assessment strategy is achieving a learning environment in which: students willingly engage in self-assessing their performance in the key competencies. This includes organising and actively contributing to team meetings and group activities … and delivering training to new team members. If you don’t know how you go about things. This practice is enormously beneficial to students and to witness it actually happening is very satisfying. having to work out how he could demonstrate the achievement of various key competencies not only focussed his learning. debate and influence the implementation of the assessment strategy. forthcoming 2003). and are invited to negotiate any special needs or preferences they may have (Rob Denton). Another outcome of the assessment strategy is providing flexibility in accessing learning pathways: Flexibility and choice for students is the fundamental underlying principle of these philosophies. Rob Denton finds that 66 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Students have a say in implementation issues in the E&IT program through the program’s student representative council (SRC). These key competencies are imperative to meeting the company’s strategic objective. This means everyone needs to be able to work well in groups. diverse capabilities and work-readiness – they got what they wanted! (SA Training Initiative Award application 2002) The Human Resources Manager at the firm commented: He has contributed to the company in many ways over and above what is expected of him. So I was extremely pleased to find that all the key competencies I developed fitted in so well with this culture (Award application 2002).

South Africa. Norway and Canada – are seeking workable solutions for implementing generic skills within VET. which calls the approach ‘assessment-as-learning’. USA. USA. the E&IT program at TVTAFE formed a partnership with the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Development at Flinders University to conduct a national research project. France. Alverno College. this has proven too onerous – ‘complex testing arrangements of the three basic Key Skills National Qualification … recently axed as mandatory for all academic students 16 plus’ (Turner 2002). funded by NCVER. The voluntary nature of this E&IT initiative is consistent with the studentcentred rationale by allowing students to take control and responsibility for their participation. workable strategy and evaluations of use. it demonstrates innovation through having achieved a successful model of practical implementation that is a first in Australian VET and of great significance to national new policy development in this challenging priority area. but more significantly to actually make the effort to try it. Germany. New Zealand. The partnership produced a report entitled ‘The Authentic Performance-Based Assessment of Problem-Solving’ (Curtis & Denton 2003). The initiative was the runner-up in the 2000 National Assessment Awards – an award program conducted by the University of Melbourne’s Assessment Research Centre. refining assessment processes – and for formulating national recommendations for practical implementation. Unfortunately. development of an Institute central support facility for key competencies. Other areas identified for further development include establishing a longitudinal research strategy for graduates in the workplace (a recommendation made by Alverno). credibility and contribution to local and national interests. 3 Future directions areas identified for further development In seeking to continuously improve and expand this model. Sweden. For example the UK invested heavily in a mandated requirement for a formal Key Skills Qualification. On the other hand. uniqueness. Milwaukee. There is no doubt that this leaves it open to failure unless students are sufficiently motivated to not only see the benefits. cost effectiveness. evidence of practicability. comprehensive implementation processes The TVTAFE assessment approach is also endorsed by the international authority in this area of education. and enhancing key competencies assessments in the workplace. Rob Denton considers that this research project was valuable in improving the E&IT model – improving assessment rubrics. This national award recognises innovative and exemplary assessment practice in the VET context and is assessed by a panel of national experts in assessment using the following criteria: reliability. positioning it well for sustainability within TVTAFE. This is very much a long-term and internationally widespread pursuit. All agree it is crucial and complex and has proven costly. TVTAFE effectively creates conditions which make it attractive for students to ‘give it a go’: 3 How does innovation occur in VET teaching and learning? 67 . validity. Rob Denton comments: For more than 10 years the importance of key competencies or generic skills has been acknowledged and is stronger than ever today. ‘allowing students to take control’ One threat to sustainability is that nationally the indicators for long-term sustainability are not yet clarified – but the potential and need is there. benefits/outcomes. Sustainability and transferability Rob Denton believes that the E&IT innovation in assessing key competencies is a robust and comprehensive strategy founded on very sound philosophies and principles. Other RTOs wishing to transfer the model to their settings will need to put in place similar strategies pioneered at TVTAFE. Rob Denton believes that this key competencies assessment strategy exhibits excellence through its comprehensive nature of implementation processes. The alliance with Flinders University is the first phase of an ongoing research agenda aimed at practical implementation across the whole of TVTAFE. In terms of and training authorities around the world – including the UK. Rob Denton has initiated and coordinates a TVTAFE key competencies focus group to facilitate this very goal of organisation-wide implementation.

Messages Some further messages from this case study are as follows: • Intentionality and consciousness on the part of the teacher can affect the level of intensity and complexity of the innovation and its possibilities and benefits.The E&IT strategy has shown that it is possible to offer explicit comprehensive key competencies assessment in such a way that students will make a conscious decision and effort to give it a go. improved and enriched over an extended period of time. • Professional intuition and tacit knowledge. combined with a knowledge of industry and VET sector requirements as well as knowledge of students. from an informed management is available to the innovative teacher or teaching team. particularly if organisational support. can all influence innovation in teaching. 3 68 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . • An innovation can be modified.

such as assessor networks. Vignette 2. can foster innovation in teaching. as the two are symbiotic. Internal and external pressures encourage innovation in teaching within RTOs Whilst innovation is needed in teaching and learning processes. 1999. • improvements in IT infrastructure. work teams. • RTOs changing their staffing profiles towards a reduced number of permanent staff and increased numbers of casual staff and short-term consultants and self-employed contractors. organisational units and senior management. For instance. • The social capital generated by VET practitioners’ relationships can stimulate innovation. they may support conditions for teaching innovations. • In response to pressures on RTOs to change their structures and improve their services. Key points Key points raised in the chapter include the following: • Innovation in teaching and learning is complex and can be impeded easily by numerous internal or external factors.2 on OTEN provides an example of the last point: of an organisation improving its IT infrastructure so that its staff can provide increased levels of student services. the same is also true at the organisational level of VET. Marginson 2000). to enable staff to become competent in the use of information and communications technologies (Waterhouse et al.What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching 4 and learning? This chapter identifies a range of factors that foster or impede innovation in teaching and learning in VET. Examples of recent organisational responses to the need to change include: • organisations outsourcing work that is not core business. innovation in teaching can be carried forward in different ways by individuals. 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 69 . one of the characteristics of the successful RTO of the future will be its ability to foster ongoing innovation in teaching and learning. Whilst these types of organisational changes can generate greater uncertainties. • the increased use of teams. • Networks between RTOs and between individuals within and across RTOs. • Within RTOs.

• a commitment to lifelong learning. p. demonstrates how an organisation can meet the criteria set out by Latchem and Hanna and drive innovation across the organisation.One significant and contemporary external pressure on RTOs is to meet the training needs of knowledge workers.2 in this chapter provides an example of a VET provider – TAFE NSW Hunter Institute – constantly reviewing its structures. working late. cultures. and in addition to all the other duties. • a diversity of contacts and networks to quickly gain access to new knowledge and resources. Case Study 4. to gain access to new knowledge about innovation in teaching and learning.14–15) finds that the following organisational cultures. p. 70 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . To create these knowledge workers. 28) suggest that the new economy depends upon ‘knowledge workers’ – whom they believe are the initiators and drivers of human resource and social development. (Latchem & Hanna 2001. 27). Those educational organisations that succeed will not simply throw technology into the current mix of operations but will have developed the following strategic responses: • A fresh vision of learning that transcends current boundaries and practices and allows unprecedented access and learner-provider interaction. 4 • A map of the opportunities and challenges they face. • The organisational means of achieving this vision and surmounting the challenges. motivation and performance. educational and training institutions must not only accommodate change but also must reinvent themselves and lead change. 48) Vignette 4. on the Open Learning Institute of TAFE in Queensland. philosophy and networks. the current study shows that a complementary ingredient of the successful RTO of the future will be the fostering of innovation in teaching and learning. structures and processes are needed. Congruent with Latchem & Hanna. • a program to cultivate innovation as a core competency. individual initiative and the development of new ideas. It is therefore important to establish realistic timelines and workloads and put in place support networks that will help develop morale. workloads need to be managed in the context of providing staff with extra support and enhancing staff morale: Innovation cannot depend upon the ‘heroic individual innovator’. To foster innovation at practitioner level. • a constant review of strategies. communications and learning: We cannot tell where the revolution will take our educational and training institutions – the new technologydriven market forces have yet to fully evolve – but it seems inevitable that there will be winners and losers (p. over weekends. For instance. 27). Latchem & Hanna argue that the consumer and technological revolution is forcing change upon almost every aspect of work. Vignette 4. p. if innovation is to flourish in the networked world: • a corporate culture that is agile and flexible and encourages diverse thinking. national. industrial. Latchem & Hanna (2001. structures and processes are desirable to foster innovation in VET – with regard to good practice in teaching. economic growth and reform. in response to both external and internal forces for change. business and ethnic cultures. • a constant stream of information from many sources that might be relevant for the future. • An entrepreneurial culture. • a perspective based on an understanding of a diversity of generational. driven by ‘idea-push’ (creating new markets) as well as ‘market-pull’ (responsiveness to needs) (Latchem & Hanna 2001. Specific RTO strategies can foster innovation in teaching Lin (2001. The consultations for this report indicated that the above cultures. and the free flow of information and knowledge. pp. learning and assessment.1 below shows how the inspired or creative individual teacher can be supported by an informed and proactive manager. to adjust for constant change. processes.

staying up with it but not going too far. As Julie Moss explains: 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 71 . Julie Moss. Many of the teaching staff are running their own small businesses as commercial photographers. is described below. Julie Moss is clear about her role in managing these highly qualified staff: The challenge here. This is a great catalyst for innovation. worked in New York and performed the role of Photography Manager at the 2000 Olympics. flexible management style and the different talents of the teaching staff. the information needs to be updated. we need to be innovative in the way we respond to digital technology. while another PSC teacher recently won a scholarship to New York that resulted in her introducing a new teaching program on colour at PSC. The staff also includes a teacher who is both a practising photographic artist and a doctoral student. ‘everyone is connected to industry. teachers feel enabled and empowered. At the College.Vignette 4. designers and so on. Julie manages a very diverse range of teaching staff. 4 Drivers of innovation The college attracts outstanding teaching staff with strong credibility in the photography industry and with a wide variety of skills and knowledge. as always when managing a diverse group such as ours. VIC Following is an example of how an educational manager can foster innovation among teaching staff and also create opportunities for students to influence course design and delivery. emphasises that at PSC. Peter Charles appreciates the way Julie Moss encouraged him to take leave for six months to undertake the Photography Manager role at the 2000 Olympics. the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and other photography associations. He has been the picture editor for The Age and The Australian.1 Managing innovation in teaching in response to photography students’ and industry’s needs – Photography Studies College. Responding to students’ learning styles A key feature of innovation in teaching and learning at PSC is the recognition. one of her teachers was previously a fashion photographer in Milan while another is an expert in digital photography from one of Australia’s leading daily newspapers. too quickly. photojournalists. The fourth driver. It continues to change and a few months after you embed information in learning materials about digital technology. PSC also enjoys a close relationship with the peak industry body. and use made. is to match their expertise and capabilities with the appropriate area of course delivery. Hence. This is just as important for the teachers as for the college and the students. Peter Charles. digital technology is one of the main forces for change: Digital technology is changing faster than anyone in training can keep up with. of the different learning styles of individual PSC students. Graduates from the Advanced Diploma can apply to RMIT University for a one-year conversion course for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photography or BA Media Arts. I have consistently found that when the match is right. Setting The Photography Studies College (PSC) is a specialist photographic college founded in 1973 and located in an arts and recreation precinct of the city of Melbourne. outstanding but different teachers One of the teachers. PSC’s Managing Director. For Julie Moss. It is a private Registered Training Organisation. Peter passionately embraces the field of digital imaging. He will also take leave to perform the same role at the Rugby World Cup in Sydney in 2003. unique diploma PSC’s core program is a unique Advanced Diploma of Photography course. three drivers of innovation at the College include this responsive. Another driver of innovation is the need to develop educational programs to keep pace with changes in the industry.’ As a result. the student. as well as developments in industry. is responsible for the implementation and development of the digital imaging curriculum. artist. For example.

student learning styles are now analysed using a combination of formal and informal strategies. It’s sometimes not just enough to do written evaluations. I have continued a close involvement with them to ensure the changes are working for all concerned. like photographing the Logies one night. its also vital to always keep my ear to the ground and respond to the mood of the groups. Julie’s appreciation was sharpened by the experience of the dissatisfaction of one of her senior teachers in 2002 with the behaviour and attitudes of a group of second year students in the Advanced Diploma program. PSC staff and students. This ultimately led to all PSC staff being provided with a range of practical tools for recognising and addressing different student learning styles. Peter Charles explains: Traditionally. but many are kinaesthetic or aural learners. and every group is different. as well as thanking the students for their input. While not everything students say is right. Julie explains the impact of the students on planning: As a result. then a fashion parade and a restaurant feature the next day. students wanted short. specific. researchers from television and many other experts. and the guests give the students feedback on their work. These changes include the revamping of photojournalism to reflect industry demand for shorter. While they were hungry to learn new techniques. Julie also had to make sure that students were fair about their complaints. I included a selection of these students into the planning group for the following year. I am passionate about my work and I have had experiences of approaches that didn’t work. 4 Innovation in response to multiple drivers An example of where the multiple drivers at PSC combined to produce an innovation at the College is the recent overhaul of the third year of the Advanced Diploma of Photography program. when students say the workload is too great. We could easily assume that our students are mostly visual. We have eight intakes each year. We have to listen. So Julie engaged an external consultant with expertise on young adult learners. An immediate benefit of this intervention is that the students who wanted changes then performed significantly better than expected in their end-of-year assessments. if we didn’t listen to our students we wouldn’t have a college.dyslexic but brilliant photographers I want my staff to think differently about how they do things and to acknowledge that students have different learning styles. photography assignments. Primarily. Students differ from year to year and group to group. Julie Moss found 72 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . As a result. sharp and diverse assignments for students. She explains: In the first semester in 2002 a number of students in a third year part-time group some of whom are already working in the industry expressed concern with the way ideas and concepts were being presented by two of their teachers. Listening involves time and effort. The changes to the Advanced Diploma are the result of management responsiveness and feedback from the industry. hungry to learn new techniques Peter Charles believes that the College adds considerable value to the students’ experiences in the photojournalism course by involving a wide range of practitioners and experts from industry: The students are regularly addressed by newspaper editors and sub-editors. Julie emphasises that innovation in teaching and learning is also driven by student feedback that can be quite confronting unless it is heard and acted upon. Now we have added to the course many short. with two major photographic and research assignments. photo journalism was a two semester major study. So our course reflects the situation in industry. Nowadays newspapers might expect a photographer to be able to cover very different situations one after the other. The benefit of contacting all the students was that it identified problems that needed to be addressed. For instance. Other students are very good at thinking conceptually and framing ideas but struggle with the technical side of photography. And some of our students are dyslexic and struggle with the written component of the program. sharp segments of theory and practice. I listen. they needed these techniques to be much more specific to the area of the industry they were already working in. Julie telephoned all the course students involved and found out for herself what they wanted changed. which are not just photojournalistic in style either. we totally revised the program in the semester break. but they are brilliant photographers.

1: Location of innovation (Gribble 2002b) Whole of Organisation Individual Teacher Organisational Unit. Innovation also can develop within units of an RTO or as a result of whole of organisation activities. summarised in the diagram below. Diagram 4. Other aspects of this innovation in program design to meet student needs included involving students in the planning of the revised program and matching staff teaching expertise with each component of the revised program. • Managers need to be alert to the intrinsic drivers of innovation in teaching. Within RTOs. e. 4 Messages Other messages about innovation emerging from this vignette include the following: • Students can foster innovation. such as a teacher’s passion for a topic. The success of innovation in strengthening teaching and learning outcomes for staff and students in PSC’s core program are now expected to flow into its other programs. Conditions fostering innovation A range of existing conditions within PSC made this innovation of a revamped third year program possible and helped shape its form and character. if staff listen to students’ ideas and suggestions. different practitioner groups and structures can drive innovation Research for this study shows that innovation can occur as a result of the efforts of an individual teacher or of a small group of practitioners. initiated by management concern. • commitment by PSC teaching staff to meet the changing needs of each student cohort. Department Small Group of Practitioners 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 73 . The vignettes and case studies within this report cover innovations developed in all four categories. • attentiveness to industry and enterprise needs and expectations. The process used at PSC also significantly extends leadership to students and staff themselves.that the students were happy with the outcomes of the discussions with staff and felt satisfied with what they had achieved. These conditions included: intervention by an attentive manager • intervention by a responsive and attentive manager who acted as an educational leader in balancing students’ needs with staff teaching strengths.g.

Innovation can be driven from the bottom up or from the top down. We are using such studies as seeds that attract ideas. As Jock says: We are pushing the boundaries to predict how the next generation of teachers and learners will function. as described above in Vignette 4. This was established in 2001 and has attracted over $2m in external funding for over fifty innovative projects. p.48) point out the dangers in relying too heavily on the ‘heroic individual innovator’. QLD – shows how a whole-of-organisation approach can support innovation at all levels within the organisation. Hunter Institute is now consolidating its organisational flexibility by building innovation across its teaching and learning activities. rolling out ITALIC’s influence The role of ITALIC is now changing within the Institute. We are innovative in our business modelling as well as in teaching and learning. as the aim of organisational innovation progresses. 4 Vignette 4. it is an investment. Instead of growing ITALIC’s staff. We take ideas and work with people and add value. Initially. Our business model is the Business Excellence Framework. Drivers of innovation The Assistant Director Michael Adermann sees innovation from a quite specific perspective: a business investment 74 as a method to bring change about to address the future. highly energised teams work. ITALIC’s role had targeted support for the ‘early adopters’ of digital teaching and learning technology but it has now devolved its presence within the organisation. some faculties now have their own innovation units with a full time staff member. Jock Grady explains: ITALIC started as a separate mechanism and there was a danger of it becoming seen as elitist or exclusive. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Currently we are looking at how small. Many involve digital technology. Just one of the factors that can drive innovation is the educational manager who is aware of different ways to stimulate innovation. but if it is to be sustained it often needs both group and organisational support. chaired by the Director. As one of ITALIC’s Program Managers. We have to put money into an initiative to make it work. A whole-of-organisation approach to innovation in teaching and learning by Australia’s largest regional TAFE Institute is the result. While the individual teacher was the focus of innovation in a previous age when industry did not have a say in the delivery of education. to generate momentum. So now ITALIC works within each faculty and aims to model innovative practice and to encourage a quick spin out to the whole faculty. It is doing this by consciously and successfully seeking to make innovation the norm and not the exception in the way teaching programs are now developed and delivered. Case Study 4 within this chapter – on the Open Learning Institute. implement and sustain an innovation in teaching over time and in the multi-faceted Australian national training system. which uses creative problem solving techniques. which has innovation built into it. not value-adding. innovation is driven by the interplay of the demands of the large Newcastle region and the ability of Hunter Institute’s staff to find ways in which programs can be offered in more adaptive ways. We are innovative in the way in which we manage.2 Simultaneously fostering multiple innovations – TAFE NSW Hunter Institute Within the TAFE NSW Hunter Institute. Therefore. such as our Quality Reference Group in Leadership and Innovation.1 and as modelled in the next. The catalyst The catalyst for the Hunter Institute’s innovative effort is their Institute Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre (ITALIC). It is value-creating activity. the advent of an industry-led national training system has encouraged whole RTOs to engage with innovation and to develop systems to support it. ITALIC’s role is now more focused on identifying future trends in pedagogy and providing new frameworks to prepare for the future.It was noted earlier that Latchem & Hanna (2001. Work teams and organisational units are often better placed than individual teachers to develop. Set out below are some reasons for how and why it has accomplished its achievements.

What inhibits innovation? The Institute’s experience with organisation-wide innovation in teaching and learning leads Michael Adermann to believe that there have been two main inhibitors at work: The major inhibitor is the old culture. • electrotechnology courses delivered via a Flexible Learning Centre at Belmont Campus. incorporating videoconferencing. online learning and workplace mentors. 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 75 . ITALIC’s other Program Manager. Most importantly. Hunter Institute is cultivating and forming new partnerships. For instance. 52. generic. • hairdressing courses delivered at Gosford and Hamilton campuses using custom-made video resources and an off-the-shelf content management and learning management system. multiple internal drivers for innovation Jock Grady views digital technology as part of a trend towards the blurring of boundaries between explicit and implicit knowledge and believes that ‘information and communications technology provides new speed and new connectivity possibilities’. The average age of our staff is 48. for instance the time it takes to develop a new resource. including the online provision of the theory components of the course. like a Toolbox. They have developed new capabilities in utilising digital technologies and facilitation strategies and have plans to expand their innovative teaching and assessment strategies through action learning. in collaboration with New England Institute. The many teachers who are actively involved in innovation within Hunter Institute are motivated by a variety of incentives including financial support by the Institute and recognition and appreciation awards. These now include: tangible success of strategies • courses in boat and shipbuilding delivered to the region via a Maritime Alliance. enhanced learner feedback systems and reflective practice. and in some areas. and presented in ‘chunks’ or learning objects. says Jock: We want a broader cross-section of staff developing innovations and we want to help teach staff how to teach creatively. it has links to Microsoft that have supported the development of a knowledge management system and it is discussing partnership opportunities with two universities. using fieldwork simulations and an online assessment tool focusing on authentic assessment in a laboratory situation. pro-active development of learning resources. To achieve this. Michael Adermann sees digital technology as a driver of innovation: We want to explore through research how digital technology is not only changing learning but influencing the whole policy area.To further develop innovation. the old mindsets in teaching and learning and in VET pedagogy. and some of these staff are not wanting to change. the Institute is now disseminating innovative strategies throughout the organisation 4 Jock Grady predicts that in the future innovation management toolsets will be developed that will teach staff how to teach creatively and ‘this will suit the Institute’s approach to innovation’. fear of the new Jock Grady links this to ‘a fear of the new’ amongst some teaching staff but Jock also sees the slowness of the national system as an inhibitor: The speed of reaction of the VET system is a problem. using a multi-dimensioned blended learning approach. Current innovations The benefit of an organisation-wide innovation strategy in teaching and learning is reflected in the range of services now offered to the region. Donna Hensley also agrees that it is still difficult for many teachers to adjust to this paradigm shift of faster. Resourcing is a problem: we need more resources to fully support initiatives. She believes that teachers would benefit if Toolboxes were smaller. • apprenticeship butchery training courses delivered in the New England area. VET providers and research centres for joint research into the theory and practice of innovation. which could be used in a number of contexts.

• Innovation in teaching and learning can be fostered and sustained by specialist units that focus on innovation or by staff designated with specialist roles. much informal professional or practitioner learning occurs within naturally occurring communities of practice. Ultimately. • courses and learning portal provided for the newly formed Learning Community in the Upper Hunter Valley. accompanied by period music. local councils and other stakeholders. communities of practice play a critical role: they are the major building blocks in creating. The literature shows that when appropriately supported by their organisations. This has been achieved through the aligning and harnessing of a range of change strategies aimed at a paradigm shift to focus all areas of the organisation on its core business of teaching and learning. has resulted in approximately 10% of Hunter’s students taking up these options and ‘the numbers are increasing exponentially’. communities of practice are groups of workers bound together by common interests and a passion for a cause. p. Defined briefly. This reduces the gap between practitioners and their support and relocates the responsibility and benefits of innovation much closer to the teaching and learning professional. Messages The messages from this vignette about innovation in teaching include the following points: • Professional isolation can deter innovation in teaching but collaboration between teachers can often stimulate innovation. project teams or informal networks. in turn. Donna Hensley reports that the Institute’s focus on the provision of blended learning opportunities. • Innovation in teaching and learning can be supported by senior. so RTOs are wise to stimulate innovation among work teams and departments or faculties. Tapping into the social capital of colleagues stimulates innovation in teaching In the VET workforce. with fluctuating membership and people can belong to more than one community at a time. • art theory teaching which now routinely uses stored digital images so that students can remotely access and manipulate art images. sharing. and applying organisational knowledge (Lesser and Prusak. He found that communities formed in 2002 by the national staff development program Reframing the Future were generally effective in exploring 76 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . particularly in ‘hands on’ areas. and who continually interact. in Lesser et al.In addition. This. 2000. communities of practice contribute to the development of social capital in organisations. Communities of practice are different from formal work groups. middle-level and supervisory-level managers within RTOs. has impacted on a much wider range of innovation in teaching and learning than could be ascribed to any single unit. 4 Devolved innovation The Hunter Institute has taken its energy for innovation away from a start-up specialist teaching and learning unit and devolved this through its internal teaching and learning operations. The latter has been defined by Cohen and Prusak (2001) as an organisation’s stock of intangible human connections such as trust. They are often informal. in emphasising the development of members’ capabilities and the building and exchange of knowledge (Mitchell et al. according to Mitchell (2003). 2001b).124). innovation in teaching and learning is also evident in other Institute activities including: • 53 industry-based WELL trainers who have created an online community of practice to communicate more effectively and share resources. in collaboration with mining company Coal & Allied. • a simulated workplace on an interactive CD for Children’s Services students. Communities of practice are a new concept for most VET personnel and the legitimacy of communities of practice is being quickly established across the system. personal networks and a sense of community.

the depths of professional ‘practice’: that is, the set of frameworks, ideas, tools, information, styles, language,
stories and documents that community members share (Wenger et al. 2002).
Vignette 5.2 describes a community of practice developed by TNT Express, TDT Australia and six VET providers
which transformed the relationships and arrangements between all parties, resulting in important outcomes for
students, the enterprise and the providers.

Knowledge management – based on practitioner knowledge – assists innovation
in teaching
There is growing interest in stimulating the use of knowledge management by both teachers and learners in VET
(Mitchell and Young 2002). Here, for current purposes, knowledge management is defined as:
…a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge – it
focuses on processes such as acquiring, creating and sharing knowledge and the cultural and technical
foundations that support them. The aim of knowledge management is to align knowledge processes with
organisational objectives (Standards Australia 2001, p.7).

Recent research (e.g. McDermott 2000; Cohen and Prusak 2001) shows that knowledge management, while taking
advantage of technologies such as databases, is dependent on cultural issues within an organisation. This includes
the creative use of knowledge by practitioners within the organisation. For instance, McDermott (2000, p.24)
argues that ‘the art of professional practice is to turn information into solutions’. He shows that professionals
exercise a stream of judgements:


…when to run a product promotion, how to estimate the size of an oil field, how to reduce the weight and cost
of a structure. To solve these problems, professionals piece information together, reflect on their experience,
generate insights, and use those insights to solve problems (p.24).

McDermott (2000, pp.24-25) concludes that thinking is at the heart of professional practice and knowledge is the
residue of thinking: knowledge comes from experience. VET practitioners can be conceptualised as professionals
who piece information together, reflect on their experience, generate insights, and use those insights to solve
problems (Mitchell and Young 2002).
Vignette 3.2 describes the way the social sciences staff at East Gippsland Institute of TAFE capture, share and
disseminate the knowledge of their colleagues, to refresh and extend their practice. For the community services
staff within the Institute, knowledge management is based on trust and collaboration within the team as well as
shared risk-taking and respect for colleagues.

RTO provider networks foster innovation in teaching
The literature on strengthening and broadening innovation in contemporary organisations that is most relevant
to this study relates to managing and sustaining innovation across networks, not just within individual enterprises.
Networks between organisations and between individuals within and across organisations emerged as key to
innovation in the 1990s. Henry and Mayle (2002) note that the difference between Henry and Walker’s 1991 book
on Managing Innovation and their recent publication Managing Innovation and Change is the critical place given in
their later book to people, intellect, partnerships, networks and devolved structures. They remark that some
important long-term themes are unaltered from 1991 including open cultures, and they emphasise that
innovation and change are not short-term undertakings. However, they note that in the intervening period
partnerships and networks have now come to be regarded as additional contributors to innovation (Henry and
Mayle 2002, p.xii).
Mitchell et al. (2002) report on a range of VET assessor networks – involving assessors from different networks –
that effectively developed new assessment strategies and tools.
Case Study 3 describes how a VET provider, Torrens Valley TAFE, deliberately networked with international
practitioners in assessment, in order to improve its innovation.

Innovation can be impeded by countless factors at many steps in the
innovation process
This study stresses the complexities of innovation and how it often requires a range of enabling factors including
favourable pre-conditions and high-level skills of a range of contributors. Impediments and resistance to
innovation are to be expected.
4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning?


Innovation is part of change and resistance to change is a common, almost universal phenomenon.
Organisations, groups and individuals frequently resist anticipating or responding to change in order to focus
their energy on current conditions. Frequently the meaning and significance of change also has to be explained
and interpreted into meaningful forms before the goals and means to achieve it are legitimated. Change also
invariably involves forms of loss and redistribution of power that may be resisted by particular interested groups
or stakeholders. In broad terms, and especially in the postmodern world, change is contestable and the same
applies to innovation, including innovation in professional practice.
One way to consider the factors that can impede innovation is to consider the reverse of the factors identified in
this chapter as potentially fostering innovation. For example:


RTOs can impede innovation by failing to respond to either internal or external pressures for innovation.
An example of this is an RTO that loses business by ignoring enterprises that want training delivered in the

RTOs can impede innovation by ignoring the social capital of their staff and not appreciating the value of
staff knowledge of industry and staff networking with members of the industry.

Other factors within an RTO that can impede innovation include the lack of management support, insufficient
resources, staff resistance, student opposition and an inability to convert creative ideas into innovative services
that can be implemented. Case Study 2 on the Institute of TAFE Tasmania described how organisational leaders
needed to counter a culture that was not industry-focused, before innovation could be introduced and be
VET system factors can both foster and impede innovation. For example, the audit and compliance aspect of VET
can affect innovation in teaching. Vignette 4.2 profiles an RTO that continues to be a leader in innovation despite
the awareness of one key staff member that some systemic factors might militate against innovation.

In answer to the question in the title of this chapter – ‘What fosters or impedes innovation in teaching and
learning in VET?’ – one of the findings from this study is that internal and external pressures can affect
innovation in teaching within RTOs. For example, one specific organisational strategy that can foster innovation
in teaching is developing a corporate culture that is agile and flexible and encourages diverse thought, individual
initiative and the development of new ideas.
Innovation can be fostered by different structures. For instance, networks can foster innovation across
organisations. Additionally, innovation in teaching can be fostered by an individual teacher or a small group of
practitioners, or units within an organisation or the whole of the organisation. Tapping into the social capital of
colleagues stimulates innovation in teaching and encouraging knowledge management – based on practitioner
knowledge – can assist innovation in teaching.
Innovation in teaching can be impeded by the opposite approaches. For example, RTOs can impede innovation
by discounting the value of staff networking with industry.
The idea that organisations, groups and individuals can and do impede innovation is simply proof that an
innovation must go through some form of initiation ceremony at a variety of organisational levels; and that
innovation must defeat or circumvent the antibodies that organisations often generate against change in order
to protect their stability.
This raises a difficult and complex issue. Why do individuals, groups and whole organisations – unless in crisis
and facing very limited options – work to destabilise themselves by embracing or initiating internal change?
Whilst this issue about innovation cannot be dealt with in this report, the significance of innovation as an
initially ambiguous venture for those concerned does need to be noted.


Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET

Case Study 4

Embedding innovation across the organisation – Open Learning
Institute, QLD
Taking a whole-of-organisation approach to innovation means reviewing all the practices and
processes within the organisation and redesigning the organisation’s plans and structures, as
well as influencing the culture of the organisation. The following is a case study of one provider
that took on these major tasks.
The case study also highlights the value of individual staff taking the lead in an initiative.

The Open Learning Institute (OLI) in Queensland provides over 124 different courses to more
than 23,000 students a year. While delivery is predominantly through the use of print-based
materials, a range of delivery models is used. For example, for courses in children’s services, OLI
uses a combination of print-based materials, workplace mentors and assessors,
videoconferencing, telephone tutorials and telephone advice.
OLI’s students are located throughout the State and are most likely to be mature aged, have
prior post-secondary educational experience and be in employment. They will also have chosen
modes of delivery that suit their work circumstances and/or lifestyle requirements.


Irrespective of the delivery mode selected by the student, OLI staff are mindful that factors such
as student motivation and readiness for learning are key components in predicting successful
student outcomes. OLI staff are continuously monitoring and analysing their customers’
preferences and expectations to get a better understanding of what makes for success. For
example, as John Blakeley, OLI’s Director of Educational Services, explains:
These factors [readiness and motivation] can be as significant as design, delivery model choice
and the level of interactivity in the achievement of successful outcomes. Appropriate information
prior to enrolment, induction and support need to be provided. Expectations of the level of
service to be provided need to be clearly communicated at the outset.

model demands
more innovative

The Institute operates a distributed learning model of operation. This means that students never
need to come onto campus. This mode of operation sets up challenges that require innovative
solutions. As John explains:
Distributed learning requires that the entire learning-teaching process is conceived before a
student becomes involved. Distributed learning creates flexibility in some ways, but can be quite
rigid in others: for example, the relative lack of real-time contact with a teacher or tutor.

The consequence of these sorts of factors is that there is an ongoing need for innovation
because this method of operation quickly unpacks more traditional assumptions and
relationships about teaching and learning. It demands more attention to innovative professional
practice in order to make the whole model of operation workable. However, successful
innovation means that the model can then be extended to more diverse student groups and
across a wider range of services. This is now OLI’s experience and this experience now offers
exportable ideas for other providers to consider.
Ongoing innovation is strongly supported by research by OLI staff. According to John Blakeley,
the research will need to be continuous:
OLI must continue to search and develop new and relevant ways of interactivity for students,
within its resource constraints.


the internal
dynamics of

A number of specific, internal drivers are behind OLI’s development of innovative teaching and
learning models. Some of these drivers are dynamic, that is, they are part of the consequence of
running with this type of model and are closely tied into the logic of turning this model into an
operational success. Examples of this include: the need to constantly improve interaction between
teacher and student; the need to efficiently and effectively continue to meet the demands of the
client groups; and the need to improve OLI’s relationships with its delivery partners.
The external drivers that caused OLI to set up their innovative teaching and learning models
include pressure from students and the expectations of partners. Each year more and more
4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning?


online features of the leadership program include: • an online interface between learner and facilitator. More specifically. Partnership relationships are uncovering the need for new teaching and learning approaches. inform a supervisor and workplace assessor of progress and participate in assessment activities. Kathy Bannister. 4 In January 2001. Some of the functions made possible by the VETTWeb platform include allowing students to enrol. For example. To enable students to enrol at any time in the 52 weeks of the year. Description of an OLI innovation The following example helps to explain how innovation unfolds at OLI. when to study and when to submit assessments. • self-check activities. • a help desk based at OLI. online flow chart that maps out the various pathways that can be taken to obtain qualifications. For example. For instance. As John Blakeley explains: Defining and redefining the Institute’s role and the need to continuously improve its relationship with its ‘partners in learning’ (the motto and key value proposition of the Institute) demand that we seek new and/or better ways to perform all aspects of OLI’s operation. obtain administrative support.students want to determine when to enrol. OLI has a new partnership with Queensland Health to deliver leadership training to their staff. • support and assessment tools provided for assessors. access learning materials and communicate with their facilitators. In addition. Of 800 80 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . the Institute developed a digital customer relationship management (CRM) system called OSCAR. and a workplace assessor. 140 workplace assessors. unique workplace learner support model The other components of this workplace learning model include: • a self-assessment process to support formal recognition of existing skills. approximately 2000 course application forms have been processed across 60 Queensland Health Districts and Statewide services and corporate office branches. • an electronic forum for workplace assessors. • Queensland Health workplace assessors who conduct the assessment.000 module enrolments each year that have starting and finishing dates determined by the students. team leaders and all core staff for Queensland Health. reports that the student outcomes from this initiative are significant: Since October 2001. OLI now has around 70. A further innovative dimension involves the use of an online service provided by OLI called VETTWeb. One feature of this unique delivery model is that the student is provided with an easy-to-follow. The partnership between OLI and Queensland Health delivers a leadership development program for supervisors. This was to develop and deliver training services for administrative staff in the Certificates II. in that the latter normally start with the Certificate IV and Diploma of Government and do not cater initially for Certificate III. III and IV and Diploma of Government from the Public Services Training Package. • access by Queensland Health local program coordinators to tracking and reporting facilities on VETTWeb. apply for recognition of current competencies. The delivery of these services is based on a workplace delivery model that includes the provision of unique learner support by a group that includes an OLI facilitator and a Queensland Health local program coordinator. the OLI Program Manager for the Queensland Health partnership. all online participants and the Queensland Health corporate office. a workplace supervisor. This model differs from those being trialled in other States. the flow chart shows how and when the student can complete self-assessment tests. • appropriately designed learning content and workplace activities. OLI began a contract that continues today with Queensland Health. the Queensland Health participants who access the associated VETTWeb learning room include 40 local program coordinators.

withdrawal forms and change contact detail forms. assessment strategies and reporting requirements. and • understand the VETTWeb and other technology requirements. In 1998–99 Kathy Bannister applied a similar model to Air Services (aviation rescue and fire fighting). Developing the innovation The current partnership model between the OLI and Queensland Health is the beneficiary of experience learned from two previous undertakings. • develop self-assessment resources. • make sure the client is familiar with all the processes. and to ensure that students. • engage tutorial support. • set up internal (OLI) processes for handling enrolments and RPL applications. • contextualise workplace assessor profile forms. • develop workplace assessor refresher program. The second step is to examine the client’s hardware capabilities. 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 81 . especially given the complexities of providing distributed learning across the State with a corporate partner. • think of all the likely students concerns and develop responses to possible ‘frequently asked questions’ for posting to the program website. workplace supervisors and assessors are familiar with the RPL/RCC process. OLI’s steps to success with its corporate partner Kathy Bannister says that experience indicates that there are five planning steps that can be identified in this relationship building. The third step is to work through a flow chart of actions needed to underpin the delivery of the course. The fourth step relates to quality and risk management. Significant planning and negotiation between OLI and Queensland Health were required before the leadership program commenced. to identify the resources required for the online components of the learning program. This involved the delivery of training across 20 government agencies involving 16 TAFE Institutes. Topics for discussion include enrolment procedures. to conduct change management sessions for the workplace supervisors. OLI managers are advised to: • check thoroughly against the flow chart of actions set out in the third stage. This planning stage also involves explaining the need to register enterprise-based workplace assessors with an RTO. • draft all student administration documentation such as enrolment forms. for units now associated with the Public Safety Training Package. The fifth and final step is to conduct orientation sessions for the client. • establish workplace assessor database. as follows: • establish online portal to support delivery using VETTWeb. awards. 4 The first step is to focus the client on understanding the VET sector and the workplace learning model. • develop assessment tools. The experience from this Air Services project influenced the design and delivery of a pilot trial for the Queensland State Government Department’s Certified Agreement (2000). • develop self-assessment video. This demanding five-step process provides OLI with a stepped model for guiding the successful delivery of programs that are developed in partnership with large corporate clients and where online support services are involved.enrolments (with over 45% receiving recognition of prior learning) 450 qualifications have been issued as of March 2003. • develop supervisor guide for self-assessment.

Other actions taken within OLI also stimulate innovation in teaching and learning. Whole of organisation support for innovation A theme of this case study is that innovation in one program delivered by the OLI – the partnership with Queensland Health – is underpinned and supported by the whole structure of OLI. For instance. learning relevant to workplace The program meets Queensland Health’s needs to provide employees with learning which is highly relevant to their workplace. Kathy Bannister considers that another important outcome was for Queensland Health staff who increased their understanding and knowledge of how to use both self-paced learning print-based materials and online materials. Importantly. particularly by coming to understand the learning needs of a client organisation. this must be linked to the tasks and roles of staff in such a way that they can ‘see’ the link. 4 OLI staff benefit from involvement in the Queensland Health partnership. For example. operational workers within Queensland Health are now also undertaking self-assessment programs to gain qualifications using the same workplace learning model.Benefits for client’s staff and organisation Besides impressive student completion rates. using integrated strategies and resources. Kathy also believes that as all the learning in the program is linked to each individual’s workplace. The OLI model developed for leadership programs within Queensland Health also appears transferable within that sector. Queensland Health is also using the VETTWeb platform to deliver additional units on human resources for the purpose of professional development. In addition. 82 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . I believe. This agreement links pay progression to qualifications for the target group. At the same time it provides students with a whole of organisation perspective – to see how their work contributes to Queensland Health’s goals and values and to develop an appreciation of the competencies required of future leaders in the organisation. All of these must be regularly communicated and discussed and reported on. Firstly. Sustaining and transferring the model wider sector applications now underway Kathy Bannister believes that the momentum of the OLI-Queensland Health workplace learning model will be sustained. the rewarding and recognition of effort and the acknowledging of accomplishments. the OLI executive seeks out and encourages participation in a range of planned activities that explore avenues of learning that are of strategic importance to the Institute. administrative staff. in particular HR staff. The social and technical infrastructures at OLI are aligned and contribute to this integrated approach to innovation. Other service units within Queensland Health are also now focusing on how they can use the delivery platform as a medium to deliver professional development training for their staff. but is chiefly through the integration of those influences. and provides staff with reward and recognition for participating in the program. This raises the question of what has OLI done to support innovation within its organisation. Kathy Bannister believes that the local program coordinators within Queensland Health gain from an improved understanding of the workplace learning model and the use of the online medium. The OLI itself benefits from the Queensland Health partnership as it provides an example of how OLI can satisfy the diverse needs of a large organisation. Queensland Health workplace assessors benefit from a refresher program conducted by OLI and from accessing online support materials and advice. there does need to be some understood and accepted direction or vision for the Institute. Kathy Bannister also believes that the upskilling of Queensland Health staff fits with the State government’s commitment to a ‘Smart State’ strategy. the enterprise bargaining agreement within Queensland Health will ensure that training in this sector will continue. For example. the work of each participant is enriched. Thirdly. there needs to be a shared acceptance of the value of planning. they are also enhancing their understanding of vocational educational and training. come about from several influences. Secondly. John Blakeley sees three influences behind OLI’s embedding of innovation within OLI: organisational support for innovation The embedding of innovation in the operations and daily work of the OLI has.

It is clear that the organisation has been successful in encouraging staff to gather. Creative thinking leads to ideas that become suggestions for consideration. Mediums for these include face-to-face feedback. leadership. course and module evaluations and focus groups. Messages The messages about innovation in teaching and learning from this case study include the following: • Expediency can drive innovation in teaching. the OLI has conducted over 13 LearnScope Projects in the last three years and the 2003 LearnScope projects are structured as part of the overall e–strategy for the Institute. OLI have also undertaken two Framing the Future projects and in 2002 John Blakeley undertook research as a Flexible Learning Leader. designing and developing new technologies and techniques to improve OLI. Customer feedback tools are regularly refined and are used across all delivery teams and courses. client service. the social and human capital of the organisation and its relationships with learners OLI appears to be creating the internal leadership and infrastructure necessary for innovation to be more generative and systemic across its individual operations. The categories overlap. By focusing on. 4 What fosters or impedes innovation in VET teaching and learning? 83 . and supporting. The innovation process – which is a feature both of its internal work processes and its competitive strength – continues to be a major focus at OLI. • establishing benchmarking partners and providing staff with online access to participate in international benchmarking activities.As an example. colleagues and students. students and customers to provide feedback and suggestions. These suggestions are then logged within OLI electronically and they are tracked until resolved. 4 Other approaches to stimulate creativity that can lead to innovation at OLI include: • allocating appropriate resources to promising ideas. excellence and team work. Opportunities are continuously provided for staff. but they reflect the activities valued in the OLI and were selected by OLI staff. For this reason innovation seems as though it is embedded in a wider if less visible whole-of-organisation system of practice. • RTOs that have foresight and plan for innovation are well placed to take advantage of new market opportunities. • Innovative services often move through various iterations over a period of years as the organisation and its members improvise and learn. • refining approaches to researching. • emphasising the importance of staff participation in improvement. The above are all initiatives that help to build creativity and strongly encourage staff contributions. such as the need to deliver to students who do not physically attend a campus. assess and implement an appropriate range of creative ideas from themselves. In 2002 OLI instituted a reward and recognition process that results in an annual overview and celebration of staff nominated in the following categories: innovation. purpose-specific student surveys.

4 84 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .

moving beyond the individual learner to benefit the community.2 below. Holmesglen TAFE staff re-invented and enlivened horticulture sessions to fit with the ‘backyard blitz’ mindset of the students. so teachers involved in innovation are continually improving their professional skills. increasing its reach to workplaces and student cohorts that may not have been catered for by more conventional teaching strategies. teachers assisting TNT Express travelled in the cabins of large transport vehicles. Some further examples of innovation that facilitates learning are as follows: • In Vignette 3. Case Study 1 described how youths at risk benefited from the innovative teaching approaches taken by the Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 85 . • In Vignette 5. as an innovation at one point in time can be improved upon later. resulting in improved motivation and more meaningful student learning. to conduct on-the-job assessment and training of drivers. As just one example. • The positive impacts on the teachers involved in an innovation can be ongoing. the comprehensive learning system constructed by the training staff catered for different learning styles and ensured a high level of success by the students. enabling the drivers to demonstrate their competencies in a familiar environment. Innovation in teaching facilitates students’ learning The discussion in Chapter 3 showed how innovation in teaching assists learners and all fifteen case studies and vignettes show how students’ learning is enhanced by innovation in teaching. ultimately raising the profile and standing of the VET sector.Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 5 This chapter extends the discussion in chapter one about the importance of innovation in teaching and learning by identifying who benefits from innovation.1 on Caterpillar Institute (WA). industry and regions. For instance. • Innovation in teaching can have both tangible and intangible effects on the VET sector and its external relationships. Key points Key points raised in the chapter include the following: • Innovation in teaching can have a ripple effect.

For instance. describes the provision – based on innovative teaching approaches – of accredited training for people with cerebral palsy. Equity group networks and mentoring services are options being used by some RTOs to benefit equity groups. Users of the product.14) Empowering the individual to ask for assistance is admirable. Innovation in teaching meets the needs of equity groups Understanding and satisfying the learning needs of equity groups such as the vision impaired. • Case Study 1 on Holmesglen Institute’s provision of meaningful training for boys at risk demonstrated the community benefits of the young people acquiring a positive attitude to their own work and study futures. Buys et al. It is the responsibility of the organisation to maintain standards in teaching practice. information and incentives to address equity issues. As a practical response to this concern. practices such as providing text-based alternatives for multimedia to comply with W3C requirements may be boring for the vision-impaired user. Technologies such as CD ROM and the Internet potentially provide opportunities for equity groups. concern is often expressed by equity group advocates that the starting point is too high and that ‘bridges’ are needed into the Training Package qualifications. For instance.1 describes the way the relevant competencies from one Training Package were identified to suit a group of unemployed Indigenous people. equity groups are progressing very well through national qualifications in Training Packages. by using body language rather than the spoken word. the aim is to assess learners to the national standard and to identify ways of assessing within the particular confines of the disability – for example. Students must seek assistance whenever it is needed and advise authorities of any physical access difficulties they encounter or other problems with support services. people in remote areas and Indigenous people requires innovative responses by educators. with the guidance of experienced practitioners.2 on TAFE NSW North Coast Institute and Centrelink showed how a more highly-trained Centrelink staff impacted positively on regional development and community well-being. a ‘chunking’ of competencies is often undertaken so as to suit the local context and abilities of the students and to lead the learner into nationally recognised qualifications through gradual stages. but people cannot always be expected to ask. 86 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Training Packages lend themselves to such customisation in the hands of highly skilled VET practitioners who understand the learners’ context. There are very many VET examples where.The community benefits from innovation in VET teaching Innovation in teaching can benefit the wider community in a number of ways. Three other examples are as follows: 5 • Vignette 1. • Case Study 5 on Goodwill Industries in Perth shows how structured. p. In the disability arena. Elearn in Western Australia caters for students who are blind or vision-impaired: West Australian training provider Elearn WA has successfully constructed and field tested a new product that enables blind and vision-impaired students to access cutting-edge online training resources that provide entrylevel IT training. so teachers and support services staff need to be aware of the needs and find ways to anticipate these requests. are able to self-direct their learning. TruVision. enriching their lives and providing each individual with an objective measure of what competencies they have acquired. but equity issues are particularly complex in the field of online learning. (1999) also found that VET providers must ensure that their staff receive adequate training programs. so that the learning context and interactions can be heard through a combination of screen reader and streamed audio (Campus Review. 2002 Sept. by using an audio and textbased interface. Vignette 5. but still achieving the comparable standard. Vignette 5. 11–17. increasing their confidence. For example. For instance. to monitor the appropriateness of support services and to audit the physical accessibility of their facilities.1 below describes how an Indigenous community in a remote part of Northern Territory benefited from an innovative training program that provided previously unemployed participants with employable skills. (1999) found that it is important for students with disabilities to assert their rights and demand access to sufficient information to enable them to make informed choices. accredited training provides benefits for people with cerebral palsy. Buys et al. With the advent of Training Packages. Case Study 5 on Goodwill Industries in Perth.

In 2002 the mining-related competencies included: operate light vehicle.1 Innovation in teaching remote Indigenous students about mining operations – Alcan. The program is ambitious in its aims and design for such a remote location but the students are motivated to learn and there is a real need for skilled workers in the region. conduct truck operations. Trainers from Advanced Training International. II or III in Workplace Education. The new focus in 2002 on the use of Training Packages is considered a major benefit for students who can now attain a nationally recognised qualification that is portable to other settings and transferable to many worksites. Yirrkala Business Enterprises. All trainees are New Apprentices and are enrolled in the Certificate II in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Open Cut) as well as Certificate I. an Aboriginal company. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government. have expertise in driving large mine machines. 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 87 . operate forklift. the RTO awarded the tender to conduct the program. the Manager of YNOTS. the YNOTS innovation provides mutual benefits for Aboriginal people and industry. Ms Carroll said: ‘YNOTS is showing Aboriginal people that they can balance their culture with employment demands. 30km from Nhulunbuy. conduct front end loader operations. Description YNOTS provides Indigenous students with nationally accredited. work routines. as the students are expected to be able to fill out forms and to understand road signs in English. Alcan. mirroring the conditions the students could expect to find in the Alcan mine operation and providing access to the same machinery the students could be using in full time employment. the original innovation was consolidated and improved. YNOTS is a new phase in the thirty-year relationship between the two companies. earthworks and mining and also modules in life skills. Context ambitious for a remote location The location is a remote part of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The first year of the program in 2001 was successful in that many participants acquired a range of new competencies.’ 5 Craig Bonney. Additionally. conduct dozer operations and conduct grader operations. to help ensure future employment opportunities for Indigenous people in the region. sees the YNOTS innovation as a continuation of previous efforts by Alcan Gove – formerly known as Nabalco and a bauxite mine and alumina processing operation in the Northern Territory – to ensure equity and continued access to the resources of North East Arnhem Land for Indigenous Australians. simulated work environment The training is provided in a simulated work environment. NT Innovations in service delivery can provide benefits for a range of stakeholders. which describes a learning program delivered to unemployed Indigenous students in Arnhem Land. This is the case in the following vignette. including two graduates from the 2001 student cohort. and governments (NT-DEET and DEWR). coherent whole for the individual student. According to the Alcan Group President Primary Metal. changes made in 2002 included the use of a support group and the allocation of mentors. The YNOTS program has run for two years – from 2001 to 2002 – and is continuing in 2003. But there was a view that the collection of competencies did not add up to a strong. In 2002. Alcan’s latest innovative project is the YBE Nabalco Operator Training School (YNOTS) which is providing training and employment for local Indigenous people. A unique partnership has been forged between a mining enterprise. health and safety and financial management. literacy and numeracy emerged as an obstacle to student achievement. Cynthia Carroll. specialist staff from the Northern Territory University were engaged to assist students to acquire further skills in literacy and numeracy. road construction. enabling them to teach students on the same machines they might be operating in their future jobs. practical training in equipment operation.Vignette 5. In addition. In response to these concerns. Students fill in timesheets and operator forms used by Alcan. For Alcan and Yirrkala Business Enterprises.

Some other examples from this report are as follows: • Vignette 1. in Case Study 4 on the Open Learning Institute’s innovative delivery of a leadership program to Queensland Health. The YNOTS logo reads. It is rare to get such a private enterprise commitment to a project such as this and Alcan needs to be complimented on this initiative. Eighteen of the group completed a Certificate II and several undertook a Certificate III in relation to working bulldozers. and. OLI managers believed that the innovation not only increased OLI’s capability to offer the same organisation other programs. Innovation in teaching enriches teaching practice A consistent theme in the case studies and vignettes in this report is that developing and implementing an innovation in teaching provides opportunities for teachers to reflect. to assisting local industry and creating more jobs. Other examples from this report are as follows: • 88 Vignette 1. • To provide innovative. as it requires high levels of collaboration between government. confidence and hope’. teachers and learners. of the 24 trainees who commenced the 30 week program.1 on the Manufacturing Learning Centres described how the innovation created a ‘learning culture’ within each participating enterprise. a sense of purpose. enabling the workplace trainers and assessors as well as the TAFE lecturers and VET in School teachers to learn from each other about optimising the workplace as a site for learning. Case Study 2 on textile teaching in Tasmania records how staff held regular meetings where the teachers reconsidered their approaches. to providing role models within the community. The benefits of the YNOTS program extend to the individual students and their communities. the community. 5 Messages Other messages from this vignette about innovation in teaching include the following: • The provision of relevant VET assessment and training services to Indigenous people in remote parts of Australia can have multiple effects: from positively inspiring the individual learner. For instance. Innovation in teaching increases the capability of the teacher’s organisation Another theme is that the RTOs profiled in the report regularly seek to replicate an innovation from one section in another section of the same organisation. Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . 20 successfully completed the course and 15 have moved into employment with a broad range of businesses and community organisations. industry. They are committed to getting the program to increase Indigenous employment in East Arnhem. according to Craig Bonney. industry and enterprises. • Case Study 3 on assessing generic skills in electrotechnology at Torrens Valley Institute TAFE described how professional teaching practice was positively affected by benchmarking the innovation against the best practitioners in the world. For example. it also enabled OLI to have the confidence to offer similar programs to other organisations. ‘The road to the future’. They are committed to develop this project so that it not only works but so that it is recognised as a best practice initiative. providing a sense of a future Peter Hogan from Northern Territory’s DEET reports that YNOTS and Alcan have planned a workshop in 2003 to look at a five-year plan for the sustainability and development of YNOTS: YNOTS will not be a one or two-year program but has the long-term backing and support of Alcan and YBE. work on and improve their practice.Impact and sustainability In November 2002. effective teaching in remote areas of Australia is not an easy task.2 on North Coast Institute’s provision of on-the-job assessment and training for Centrelink’s call centre staff in Coff’s Harbour led to North Coast Institute repeating the service in two other call centres and promoting the model across the TAFE NSW network. that is what this venture is all about: ‘providing young Indigenous people with a future.

the movement of the item at any given point in time. an international quality standard for people management.2 below shows how a large Australian company benefits from the best practice teaching developed by a group of six VET providers. to be regarded as effective and relevant such accredited training needs to be delivered at times. As the following example shows. It has depots located across the country at airports and in metropolitan and country locations in every State and Territory. the manufacturing companies involved were clear about the benefits of participation. 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 89 . a national company can be extremely proactive in bringing around the right kind of delivery and can do so by innovating with new types of partnering arrangements with the right kind of provider. These benefits not only included the possibility of attracting school leavers. This relationships-based approach shows the potential that can arise from high levels of collaboration between all parties. six providers and TDT Australia Pty Ltd – as the project manager. including the sharing of learning materials and an agreement to jointly adopt a best practice approach to training delivery. via the Internet. Front End Data Collection technology (FEDC) is one example of a new technology that TNT Express is now introducing throughout the company. Within this turbulent change environment.1 on Brisbane and North Point Institute’s innovations in simulated assessment in trade areas led to the promotion of simulation in other Training Package areas within the Institute and also attracted the attention of other RTOs. the availability of consistent and portable qualifications is essential to assist company training effort. in places and in ways that suit the enterprise and its staff. Vignette 5. Other examples of clients’ capabilities increasing as a result of innovation include: • Vignette 3.1 on the Manufacturing Learning Centres in South Australia. the benefits also included the positive impact on their company’s activities. in Vignette 1. Its story follows. such as the reflection undertaken by the company’s learning mentors about improved. Moreover.• Vignette 2.2 5 Best practice delivery led by a national enterprise – TNT Express For Australian-wide enterprises like TNT Express. TNT Express defines having skilled staff as a key to its future prosperity and survival. • Vignette 5. Challenges TNT Express is one of Australia’s largest and leading transport and distribution companies. Innovation in teaching increases the capability of client enterprises A range of the case studies and vignettes in this report highlight how innovation in teaching and learning has increased the capabilities of enterprises and RTOs. This technology enables TNT Express and its client to track. motivated and informed. For instance. TNT Express provides a good example of innovative practice that involves the establishment of a community of practice comprising the company. and its strategies for improving business performance depend on ensuring its people are skilled.2 on East Gippsland TAFE reported that health and community service enterprises throughout the region benefited from staff undertaking structured training and other staff becoming skilled as workplace mentors. The company sought the collaboration of the providers in developing best practice. Competition in the transport and distribution industry is characterised by the continual introduction of new technologies that increase speed and efficiency of operations but also affect work processes. This type of responsiveness is not simply left to training providers. FEDC involves the use of a hand-held data collection unit that is passed over each transported item when it is loaded or off-loaded. workbased learning processes. to optimise training within the enterprise and to ensure that the introduction of a new technology was uniform across its many branches. continuous changes in technology TNT Express is an accredited ‘Investor in People’. a large transport and distribution firm.

a set of problems or a passion about a topic. some problems began to emerge in the scheme. the national industry training advisory body (ITAB) for transport and distribution. although the core was a group of eight who met face-to-face and in teleconferences during 2002. the providers were reluctant to speak as they were sitting with rival providers. thus gaining ownership of the group and of its work aims. Developing the innovation a system of best practice work needed to establish shared views To ensure consistent quality of training across State and Territory borders. objectives and strategy for working together. Twenty nine people were involved in some capacity with this community of practice. and in opening up communication channels with them and TNT Express staff. but providers had approached each depot and discussed the units with operational 90 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . that the establishment of a community of practice might enable the consortium of providers to better meet the needs of TNT Express. These pressures provide key drivers for the innovation in teaching described below. as it had a long-standing relationship with TNT Express through the apprenticeship scheme.Drivers The rollout of this technology – and the competitive edge it gives the company – depends heavily on the speed and success in training TNT’s internal staff. TNT Express entered into Traineeship training agreements with providers to deliver the certificate training for New Entrants and Existing Workers. a number of enabling conditions were required in order to ensure an adequate training response. consisting of all the stakeholders in the training program. and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis (Wenger. In 2002. These were Victoria University. Cinthia Del Grosso from TDT Australia. and providers from several States who were prepared to collaborate in order to satisfy TNT Express as their common client. So some time was given to the group defining itself in relation to the client (TNT Express). But they also had access to an industry training body that could provide a project management service. To meet the training needs of its widely dispersed workforce and to keep up with these competitive changes in its industry. The head office of TNT Express in Sydney had stipulated to the providers the 21 units from the Training Package that they wanted delivered. The community of practice found that face-to-face meetings were the most effective. This involved issues first being aired by email between participants. TransQual from Queensland and Northern Territory University. values. TNT’s National Training and Development Manager. including skills in the new technology in order to secure business benefits. became involved in this program. TNT Express embarked on a program to train as many of its staff as possible in Transport & Distribution Certificate III (Road Transport) in 2000. McDermott & Snyder 2002) TNT Express saw the establishment of a community of practice among this group as a means for developing a system of best practice between its providers. The availability of funding from Reframing the Future for TNT Express to establish a community of practice was also an enabler. Additionally. 5 From 2000–2002. TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute. TDT’s Cinthia Del Grosso had facilitated a community of practice as part of a pilot program in 2001 for Reframing the Future and she proposed to Robert Adams. However. The community could also accelerate and enrich the implementation of the Training Package. Teleconferences were found to work well once an agenda was set. TNT Express proposed that the six different providers agree on a shared model for the provision of training. Transport Forum from WA. six providers from five States and from the Northern Territory became involved in the program of upgrading the qualifications of TNT Express staff. Some providers were not used to considering the enterprise as the initial client: they were used to seeing the individual student as the ‘client’. TNT Express as a national enterprise was seeking quality and consistency in training and assessment for skills. The facilitator of the community of practice. TDT Australia recommended the establishment of a community of practice in 2002. the SA Institute of Applied Logistics. This was very important as all members worked at establishing the goals. In response. These conditions were as follows. TDT Australia. Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern. described the first meeting: At that first face-to-face meeting of the group in early 2002.

who enjoyed having some input One unique aspect of the delivery of training was that in some States trainers actually accompanied TNT Express drivers in their trucks. believes that best practice includes a range of activities: staff only in the depot early or late in the day We needed to develop a learning system that fitted with the fact that the staff were only in the depot from 6. the practical implementation of training and creating the opportunities for relationships to develop and build – but the most important lesson that I learnt was that relationships take time to build. By having an established communication forum this issue was quickly resolved. They planned activities and a conference for all involved in the program.00pm. to launch the TNT Training Newsletter ‘Investing in our People’ and to discuss a variety of learning programs and issues. Site Workforce Plans. to showcase the learning resources developed for the Certificate. Cinthia reports that the concept of a community of practice was challenging for these participants: work needed to establish shared views At first.staff. The conference enabled the group to focus on learning about the FEDC system. Cinthia found that there was some work to do to establish shared views: There were issues with understandings about who the client was. We could not have achieved this without a community of practice. a meeting held in August 2002 at last brought the group together. Individualised Training Plans. 5 In Cinthia’s judgement. As a result of this analysis. This was arrived at as follows.00–6. Firstly. Manager of the Centre for Transport. the six providers agreed with TNT Express to identify best practices in teaching within the group and then to adopt them.00am and didn’t return till 5. As with all communities of practice. the six providers agreed with TNT Express to use common processes. and conducted in-cab assessments of competencies in the real workplace situation. the standards expected by the Company. identifying with a sense of community was really difficult for people who in every other facet of their work are their competitors. TNT Express staff identified the best practice provider and other providers responded by visiting their interstate colleague. making their specialised staff available for providers developing specialised training and resources specific to TNT Express. As Cinthia says: Once trust was developed. Teaching and assessment dimensions of the innovation Co-operation within the community of practice resulted in the development of a common and shared model of teaching. and State Plans. with different units offered in each site. Secondly. Peter Thomson. The development of trust between the members was also a turning point. Cinthia also noted that the usual challenges of time and distance were combined with the difficulty of each provider being at a different stage with regard to the implementation of the TNT Express New Apprenticeship program. We also involved the trainees in the process. These included a Pre-Assessment Tool. Peter 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 91 . interviewing each participant and finding out their current knowledge and competencies. so it was really important to focus on their professional practice. TNT’s Robert Adams. and a leading participant in best practice within this project. the role of TDT in the project. the providers opened their doors to each other to share current knowledge and to develop and learn new or perhaps different ways of doing things. Only after a period of time did they start to review their role as a member of a ‘community’. The group’s convenor. Distribution and Logistics at Victoria University. These discussions resulted in the providers suggesting that 60 different units be delivered around the country.00–8. for November 2002. with the unit selection process being consolidated to ensure consistency across all sites. we made modifications to the way we delivered the training and the way we assessed. TNT Express also opened their doors. believes that there were significant benefits in building rapport: The level of collaboration between the providers enabled us to achieve the critical outcomes of consistency in methodology and content at each of the sites. We put a lot of effort into preassessment.

they won’t be in a position to work with the individual client. the leadership skill of some of the providers was also an important factor. as he has to deal with workplace hazards each day as a forklift driver: 5 The OH&S training has certainly helped raise awareness across the depot. Peter Thomson explains that the relationship between the providers was initially ‘stand offish’. learning about the FEDC system (a technologically based system) that TNT Express are beginning to implement (where else could they have learnt about this?). The idea we all share responsibility for a safe workplace I think has sunk in. though not in others). Simon appreciated the occupational health and safety (OH&S) training. It included learning about pre-training assessments (this is a relatively new concept in our industry. the participants in the 2002 community of practice have also agreed that they want it to continue as there is ‘still work to be done’. learning about the reporting schedule for New Apprenticeship training .Thomson from Victoria University believes that the willingness of the providers to follow these steps demonstrated that they were responsive to TNT’s needs. and the working model now means that her Institute can bid for nation-wide tenders in collaboration with interstate partners. Hopefully this will reduce the number of incidents. it brought her staff into contact with other providers in other States. sees many benefits from their involvement in the TNT Express program. and learning that if they don’t work with the enterprise as the client in the first instance. who started working with TNT Express as a driver in 2000. the six providers agreed to develop learning materials for different aspects of the Certificate III and to then share these materials. Simon Dagher (27 years of age) has worked for TNT Express for eight years. starting in Melbourne before moving to Hallam in Victoria in 2001. it provides her Institute with a national and State-wide case study. resolved this’ and the community of practice ‘was the strongest driver in the implementation of this change process’. but the face-to-face meetings between the interstate providers ‘turned this around. This should make TNT Express a more competitive and hopefully more profitable company in Australia. For TNT’s Robert it works and understanding the rationale for timelines. it enables her Institute to provide additional training services required by TNT Express. total support of senior management Cinthia Del Grosso comments: The total support of the company and senior management was imperative to the success of the undertaking. Each provider could then modify learning materials. a better understanding of the business Wayne Dillon. provided the other companies have a commitment to training similar to that of TNT Express. Additionally. has seen a lot of changes at TNT Express in that time. He is enthusiastic about the Certificate III in Transport and Distribution he commenced in early 2002: The training has been invaluable. Thirdly. Interestingly. Roslyn McKinven. Outcomes for TNT Express staff and providers Some comments from students indicate the value of the program for the students and the company. Transferability and sustainability The developers of the model for delivering and assessing training across TNT Express are confident that the model can be applied to other transport and distribution companies. the outcome of high-quality and consistent training exceeded the initial expectations from the undertaking. the business manager for transport and distribution from TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute. Cinthia Del Grosso sees four types of learning for the provider: I’ve been considering what kinds of learning were done by the providers. The company is also supportive of the community continuing. Specifically. above and beyond the ordinary. having first reached general agreement about the design and content of the materials. 92 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . We have all gained a better understanding about the business and TNT Express have given us the opportunity to apply what we have learnt to the day to day operations.

So the process of relationship building looks set to have continuing benefits beyond the immediate life of the project that first brought the group into being.2 won respect not just for the Institute but for the sector. The discussion also showed that an innovation in teaching in one section of a VET provider can produce multiple benefits within and across the provider concerned.2. Intangible benefits include the increased status that successful innovation brings to the sector.2 above on TNT Express showed how innovation in teaching enabled VET providers to respond to a client’s unique requirements and in the process enhanced the reputation of the six providers’ abilities to meet industry training needs. This is a benefit that reflects the merits of a national body such as Reframing the Future continuing to provide initial funding support for such groups of enterprises and practitioners. 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 93 . benefits from innovation in teaching and learning in both concrete and intangible ways. particularly as a number of Hunter’s initiatives are in liaison with other sectors. with an innovation in one niche area often helping to quicken the pace of responsive change elsewhere in the sector. For example. The benefits of innovation can be highly mobile. the community. For example. North Coast Institute’s assistance of Centrelink. The discussion showed that the benefits often migrate or can be transferred from one group to the next. teachers. enhancing the image of the sector in the eyes of the community and industry. • The social capital residing in the relationships between the participants in innovations. described in Vignette 1. but have the energy and vision to develop relationships with a variety of providers. These case studies suggest that a far greater degree of attention should be given to the localised innovation processes that accumulate to deliver regional and national benefits. including schools and universities as well as community-based learning structures. an individual’s achievement in gaining recognition for competencies can positively impact on community attitudes to VET as well as feed into enterprise growth and regional development. The whole VET sector also benefits from innovation in teaching. The innovative approaches by Hunter Institute profiled in Vignette 4. Summary In response to the question that provides the title for this chapter – ‘Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning?’ – the discussion showed that a range of individuals and groups benefit from VET’s innovations including learners. raised the profile of VET providers with the large national enterprise Centrelink – second in size to only the Department of Defence among Commonwealth agencies – and with the call centre industry. For example: Vignette 5. 5 The VET sector benefits from innovation in teaching The VET sector. can enrich the VET sector and benefit both the immediate participants in the network and other parties. An example is provided in Case Study 4 which showed how the Open Learning Institute of TAFE used a range of innovative methods to provide learning opportunities in leadership development for staff from Queensland Health – a student cohort spread around that vast State. The VET sector has choice in how it responds to change and what innovation it wishes to initiate. provider organisations and providers’ clients. which traditionally struggles to achieve public recognition. VET benefits from the sector’s reach into workplaces and student cohorts – and hence into enterprises and industries – not catered for by earlier strategies. Messages Other messages from this vignette about innovation in teaching are as follows: • An industry-led VET system benefits from enterprises that not only have a very clear idea about what training they require. The case studies and vignettes give ample evidence that the processes by which futures in VET are being shaped are significantly dependent on VET practitioners and the solutions they devise. such as the one supported by TNT Express.

The support for this includes an induction program which uses a buddy system involving an experienced employee. says that employees fall into three broad categories in terms of their support requirements – high. Services offered by Goodwill to its employees include on-the-job training. If so. It makes housing and construction hardware such as brick ties. scaffold equipment and gas manifolds. Manager of Goodwill. For instance. chairs. Benefits also accrue to the enterprise and the community. work-related therapy. 94 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . and benefits such as sick leave. Funding for employees is provided through the Commonwealth Government Department of Family and Community Services. adjustable work stations. Others may have no speech but are able to communicate with staff using for each employee different signals. packaging and stores work. and otherwise with a head pointer/hook. the Employment Committee decides whether a full-time position will be made available. One of the high-support employees is sixty-eight years of age. product assembly. He started at Goodwill when he was thirty and does not wish to retire. and non-verbal. assistance to attend TAFE courses and in-service training. occupational therapist and speech pathologist. What workplace assistance means Phil Pitchers. One side of his body is non-functioning and yet he is very independent at work. brackets and washers. One of Goodwill’s specific aims is to provide training and support to assist employees to develop vocational and education skills. It also produces light engineering products such as ladders. An innovative approach to the development of competencies within the Metal and Engineering Training Package was commenced in 2001 and is described in detail below. graduated employment arrangements Employees are initially offered four weeks paid work experience. and cabins for fourwheel-drive vehicles. oversees the construction of machines to suit particular employees. building straps. After the initial four-week period. Goodwill is about twenty kilometres from Perth. He operates his custom-built machine with one arm. It is an employment service providing a ‘supported employment opportunity’ for fifty-six people with a range of disabilities. the Production Manager.Case Study 5 Innovative teaching and assessment for learners with a disability – Goodwill Industries and West Coast College of TAFE. a six-month probationary period then commences. Jobs performed at Goodwill include machine operating. Moderate and low-support employees require lesser levels of assistance but generally all employees require standard equipment to be modified to suit their capabilities. moderate and low-support. Supporting learners’ self-determination 5 a commitment to assisting staff with disability in the workplace Goodwill Industries is a light manufacturing engineering business owned by the Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Australia Limited. WA The following case study provides a poignant account of how innovation in the provision of structured training and assessment can have multiple benefits for people with cerebral palsy. Gaining employment at Goodwill Industries Employment is restricted to persons in receipt of the disability support pension and who can maintain their quality of life in the workplace. when he can. Other services include ergonomic seating. all employees are assessed and supported by a physiotherapist. In addition. Another high-support employee is totally deaf. the high-support employees are transported to work in wheelchairs and may have a speech impairment. They also require assistance with their personal hygiene at work and with equipment modified eating their meals. Doug Ennis. long service leave and superannuation.

as they use body language extensively’. Then we made a step into assessment: we formalised assessment.Workplace communication need In 1999 staff recognised that the company’s employees could benefit from additional support in workplace communication. the innovation has moved through two stages since the WELL program finished in 2001. it was decided that Goodwill’s ability to assist employees to develop new skills required the staff at Goodwill to be able to train and assess the employees in the workplace. occupational health and safety. In all. the introduction of the Training Package involved 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 95 . the WELL program helped the Goodwill staff realise that the supported employees could benefit from a more formal training system: Goodwill Industries needed a more formal training system. So we came up with our core skills program. This was because. In 2001. the innovation in teaching and assessment at Goodwill included the introduction in 2001 of competency-based. Firstly. The reason was that: We had literacy teachers but they were not experienced in training people with special needs. As a result. Developed and used together. This began a relationship that continues today. as Christine Evans from West Coast TAFE explains. Ned feels that this Training Package ‘gives us a basis to figure out what competencies are needed. this became an innovation that provides the employee and the staff with a comprehensive and recognisable picture of each employee’s progress and achievements. This WELL program operated from 1999 to 2001 and resulted in the development of a range of communication skills for all staff. The range of variables was not wide enough: the Training Package is a good base. a West Coast TAFE teaching staff member found that her colleagues ‘went up a huge learning curve’. one benefit of the Goodwill staff acquiring these competencies was that it helped staff to better customise nationally recognised training and assessment for their employees. Development of the innovation Besides the use of Core Skills. the Employee Support Officer has been on staff for twenty-five years. the majority of the staff at Goodwill Industries undertook a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training under the guidance of West Coast TAFE. Profile of trainers and assessors 5 Many of the staff at Goodwill have worked there for over five years In fact. customising the Training Package to suit employees According to Ned Cocivera. so the West Coast staff trained the staff.’ Ned explains how the Training Packages are interpreted: Most employees couldn’t set up a machine. The skills acquisition of each employee is mapped against Goodwill’s core skills and the competencies in the Training Package. This was a challenge but in the WELL program the West Coast staff learned to work effectively with both the employees and staff. need for a more formal training system The genesis of this innovation was the insight gained by staff from the WELL program. his staff first started by investigating the relevance to Goodwill’s employees of the competencies set out in the Metal and Engineering Training Package. The core skills include communication. For example. Christine Evans. the third year of the WELL program. which included a speech pathologist. According to Christine Evans. Goodwill’s training manager. work ethics. workplace training for its supported employees. but is used as a guide only. eight staff as well as two supported employees completed the training. as Phil Pitchers says ‘people with cerebral palsy have special communication needs. In this process. quality and willingness to undergo training. Eric Jarvis. as part of the implementation of the Metal and Engineering Training Package. to complement the Training Package competencies. body language used extensively Phil Pitchers approached West Coast Training Solutions at West Coast College of TAFE to assist with a Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) program. But staff members are always seeking improvements in the way they relate with and manage their employees. With the assistance of West Coast TAFE. Having someone from West Coast completely removed from Goodwill Industries provided different ways of gathering information. and not just those with disabilities. which means they can’t obtain a certificate. So we interpreted the Training Package to suit the employees.

Phil Pitchers believes that the single largest external driver for changing the training system at Goodwill is the Commonwealth Government. Robert Williamson finds that the employees are now not threatened by the assessment process. which is not necessarily the goal for most. So we needed to develop a complex assessment tool. Christine Evans found that the assessors at Goodwill need to know what core skills the employees have acquired. one uses a pushbutton speaker box. the record-keeping approach provides a base for further training. for clues about how to get the message across. whose requirement for funding includes the implementation by Goodwill Industries of a quality system that is audited independently. so they can have an idea of the level the employee may be able to meet. I have to talk very slowly. whether there is understanding. involved the development of flexible assessment tools. Ned Cocivera observed that the employees are keen and willing but it is hard to determine whether their learning has been assimilated. Robert Williamson of Goodwill who conducts most of the assessment. workplace training include the desire to improve the training offered so that supported employees can be given access to more targeted training. and our employees. who are interested in quality. which provided many challenges. Speech difficulties are significant: some of the employees use picture cards. in contrast to the new approach: The value of accredited training for us was firstly transparency: it was not something we made up. This process was greatly assisted through project funding and support from ANTA’s Reframing the Future program. who want to know our employees are trained against industry standards. but all the employees are experienced in communicating in other ways. Ned Cocivera considers that ‘in the past training was informal and unstructured and there was no record keeping’. Sometimes I have to go back and back. The record-keeping suits industry. Is that enough? Is that valid?’ needed to develop a complex assessment tool Phil Pitchers commented some other complexities: Some employees have an episodic condition. in 2002. be concise. For instance. Fortunately. For the staff. I use the speech pathologist for guidance. Challenges in developing assessment strategies Significant challenges emerged in developing appropriate assessment strategies during 2002. structure and records. as described below.considerable analysis of the units and elements of competency to identify the competencies and elements that are relevant to the Goodwill employees. make sure it is not noisy and they are looking at me. Then I look at the program to see what I can adjust. that is. With some employees. only one uses formal sign language. the Commonwealth. Also. We want them to acquire competencies and we want to be able to assess them against national standards. Phil Pitchers explains: Our supported employees may never gain a Certificate I or II. The second stage of the innovation. Drivers value of accredited training was firstly transparency The internal drivers for the competency-based. the supported employees do not feel threatened. A person may be competent to do something but not at a regular pace or continuously over a period of time. but sometimes the assessment needs to be conducted a number of times: The disconcerting thing is that some people are capable of doing the required duties but I have to relate this to a set of guidelines and it is disconcerting as they might not be assessed as acquiring the competency. 96 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . it introduced formality. which lets me know what to note regarding the employees’ speech or hearing. follows the advice of referring to the employee’s ‘history chart’: I investigate their history charts. as they can now see where training now fits in with their further development. Many of the employees can only nod to indicate they understand. 5 Christine Evans noted that: ‘The challenges for assessment are unique. which means the person may drift in their ability from one hour to the next or from one day to the next. that is.

particularly role playing and visuals.The Commonwealth disability reform initiatives. Eric continues: If an employee leaves and an employer rings up seeking a referee’s report we tell them what the person has done and the skills they have acquired. The area of assessment was the main focus for improvement of the model in 2002 and was assisted by a Reframing the Future grant. the speech pathologist can tell you many things: for example. Initially we grouped students according to their disabilities. There has been a vast change in the attitudes of the employees. The 2002 project team effectively developed processes and procedures to ensure the ongoing moderation and validation of the assessment system. they can answer that as well as us. This allowed the project team to identify all of the job tasks and to then break them down into manageable tasks so that people with a disability could perform a variety of jobs at a number of different levels (Pitchers 2002b). valid and reliable assessment of all candidates was carried out (Pitchers 2002b). such as PowerPoint. assisting employees to obtain other jobs and secondly. The team also identified learning pathways for different job levels and different employees: A skills audit was conducted at the beginning of the project to determine the training and assessment needs at Goodwill Industries. Benefits for employees. The things that used to be a threat are now seen as part of their going forward. particularly the sense that they had objective measures for determining the 5 Who gains from innovation in VET teaching and learning? 97 . Eric Jarvis sees two sets of benefits: firstly. Continuous improvement of the innovation The innovation in providing competency-based workplace training as part of the implementation of a Training Package is being progressively improved. hearing or retention deficiencies. retention ability and the ability to communicate. staff and Goodwill Industries Ned Cocivera believes that the main benefit for the employees is the growth in self-esteem: employees developing an acceptance of change The employees now feel they can change jobs within Goodwill Industries. We use a range of methodologies. cognitive skills. When employees look at another job being performed at Goodwill and say ‘Why can’t I do that?’. They are now more accepting of change. Goodwill Industries staff reported benefits from the introduction of competency-based workplace training. For instance. employees developing an acceptance of change. Innovative approaches had to be devised to ensure that a fair. Phil Pitchers explains the importance of such specialist input: tailoring better the way to present training The assessment conducted by these specialists leads to the design of training customised for the individual. because they know their skill levels. occupational therapist and physiotherapist. For instance. Additionally. Another improvement involves the new ways training is customised to suit the student. and as Phil says: the communication skills of some employees limited the amount of information provided to the assessor to accurately assess these skills. as much of the equipment at Goodwill has been designed or modified to suit the special needs of the employees: ‘Designing the assessment tools that are needed to assess the underpinning skills and knowledge for each of the mapped units was difficult at times’. are pivotal to our quality assurance. Phil Pitchers explains that the team involved in the 2002 project spent considerable time developing assessment tools and methods that could be mapped to the Metal and Engineering Training Package. Ned Cocivera explains: 5 We are tailoring better the way we present training. The Commonwealth is releasing a productivity tool in 2003 which will provide performance measures for Goodwill and other providers. there is a new focus on pre-training assessment that includes the assessment of each employee by a speech pathologist. This proved a challenge. The next step is to group students according to whether they have speech. including the Commonwealth Disability Standards. particularly in the area of assessment. at this early stage.

by better achieving the aims of the business of providing the best possible support and opportunities to the employees. Sustaining and transferring the model 5 commitment to a process The model of competency-based. The model has been promoted throughout Goodwill Industries and West Coast Training Solutions. 98 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Her specialist role enables her to assist the staff to finetune the complex assessment tools.skill levels of each of their employees. Other beneficiaries can include the learner’s employer and the other staff in the enterprise. Wider promotion has occurred within the Cerebral Palsy Association. Phil Pitchers presented a poster session at a national Reframing the Future conference in Sydney in November 2002. workplace training for employees with cerebral palsy and other disabilities will be sustained at Goodwill Industries because of the staff and employee commitment to a transparent training and assessment process which benefits all parties. TAFE staff member Christine Evans feels that her role as the adviser to the staff-based trainers and assessors is the best use of her skills. In these ways. The innovation shows the value to society of recognising an individual’s competencies and pointing learners towards other competencies they might strive to achieve and what transparent processes are devisable for assessing their progress. Any VET provider working with people with a disability might find it useful to analyse the thinking behind the innovation at Goodwill Industries and the time. such as experiencing a range of different jobs within Goodwill Industries. Messages The Goodwill Industries-West Coast College innovation is a powerful story to end this series of fifteen case studies and vignettes. The rewards are also worth considering. This knowledge enables the staff to provide employees with optimum opportunities. innovation in VET teaching and learning can have multiplier effects. The benefits of a national training system that provides these public processes can extend beyond the individual learner to the community. effort and patience needed to introduce and improve the model. which drew considerable interest. Goodwill Industries as an organisation also benefits from the innovation in teaching and assessment.

RTOs and other stakeholders. practitioners. They very usefully point to 6 What can be done to further support innovation in VET teaching? 99 . contradictions. and more importantly from a wide range of VET people who generously gave their time for interviews or who participated in regional focus groups. the case studies and vignettes contain many candid remarks and anecdotes that make it clear that many of the innovators met resistance and struggled to bring their new work to fruition.What can be done to further support innovation in 6 VET teaching? This chapter provides a discussion about how innovation by VET practitioners can be encouraged in the future. but recognition of the practice is not as widespread. Key points Key points raised in the chapter include the following: • Public support for innovation in teaching in VET is common. The cases studies and vignettes are a reminder of the complexities of innovation and the challenges of implementing and managing the processes necessary to bring on the future. However. ongoing uncertainties and sometimes rather lucky breakthroughs. Behind these stories of successful improvisation and experimentation there were unexpected difficulties. Their collective feedback strongly suggests that much more awareness is needed about the value and location of innovation in VET teaching and learning. • It is possible to identify an initial conceptual framework for reaching a better understanding of what is involved in supporting innovation in VET teaching and learning. The ultimate value of such an investment is to provide better outcomes and benefits for VET learners. • This research supports the proposal for the development of a national ‘mechanism’ for disseminating information about innovation in VET teaching and learning – and for directing more assistance to the local level to support and encourage VET practitioners to renew teaching and learning practice. The text that has accompanied the case studies and vignettes has drawn on insights from a literature review. • It is not desirable or possible to offer a simple formula for how to foster and sustain innovation in teaching and learning in VET because there are too many complexities involved. Current issues about support for innovation This report focuses mostly on the positive messages given by the VET practitioners in the case studies and vignettes.

Rather it is assessment. All of these situations require the assessor to possess a high level of specialist knowledge and to exercise considerable professional judgment. the term innovation was reportedly somewhat alien for practical people who want to get on with action and build their knowledge and expertise through experience and results. Workplace assessment can vary from assessing a transport driver in the cab of a TNT Express semi-trailer to assessing a staff member with cerebral palsy operating a custom-designed piece of equipment with his chin. The framework shows that the types of innovation discussed in the case studies and vignettes are complex. unions and industry training bodies – although the support is sometimes only in small pockets or areas of VET. their knowledge of teaching strategies. Drawing on the experience of the work we have undertaken. The guidelines suggest where more effort is required within VET if the scope of innovation in teaching and learning is to be expanded and the pace quickened. appear to require extensive professional judgment. In particular. students. learning styles. The new and more compelling frontier for practical innovation in VET teaching is no longer the use of technology. from both sociological and psychological perspectives. This is why so much of the innovation we have examined in this project proved to be team or group-based and to rely on its own ‘value chain’ of practitioners to carry it through over time. to assist wider recognition and understanding of innovation in teaching and learning arrangements in VET. whatever its local content and character. and for better supporting and sustaining local forms of innovation. A deep knowledge of these matters would include an understanding of the issues set out in Chapters 2 and 3 of this report. ultimately. In fact. Despite – or possibly more accurately because of the complexities involved in actually achieving innovation in teaching and learning in widely different VET localities – the actual processes of innovation. the framework we wish to identify and recommend is based on these salient points: ■ Innovation can be significantly enhanced by a deep knowledge of learners. teaching strategies and learning sites and contexts. and is set out below. There may well be much more complex issues involved in innovation than were reported and discussed but participants were clear that: 6 • public policy support and idealised rhetoric for more innovation in teaching and learning in VET is far more common than the tangible support necessary for it to occur. 100 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . simulation and e-learning and mentoring. set out below in the form of a series of statements and explanations. a suggested framework was identified. coaching and peer support. or containable. including workplace and institution-based assessment. • the concept of innovation is not deeply interrogated within VET and many VET practitioners remain unclear about the possibilities of innovation as an internal work process within their reach and capability. how to do it well. The future of innovation lies in the hands and minds and actions of people who know why and what needs to be done. employers. or a simulated mining operation in Arnhem Land. ■ Innovation can be significantly enhanced by a deep understanding of assessment. An initial conceptual framework for supporting innovation in VET teaching and learning The findings from this study provide the basis for a conceptual framework consisting of guidelines. many appeared confused about the processes – especially at the group or organisational level – that are involved in putting new ideas to work. such as the verbal and non-verbal or the convergent and divergent learner. and their knowledge of the value of informal and formal learning in the workplace as well as in training rooms. requiring high levels of skills. Conducting institution-based assessment often involves the creative development of simulated workplaces such as a simulated textile factory in Tasmania or an electrotechnology laboratory at Torrens Valley Institute. In response to the above findings. experience and wisdom by practitioners. This kind of practical and situated knowledge is not acquired from a book or manual and in many cases is not contained. their understanding of learning styles. and how to do it and. The case studies and vignettes in this report illuminate many VET practitioners’ outstanding theoretical and practical grasp of learning and teaching. using a range of different schema. including their knowledge of learners. to managers. from problem-based learning to experiential learning.the many different ways that innovation and its associated processes can be developed and implemented and they clearly say that innovation in teaching and learning deserves close and careful scrutiny. within a single head. • innovation is positively regarded and supported by many different stakeholders across the VET sector – from teachers.

regional RTO might not succeed in a large. The case studies and vignettes show that VET practitioners often stimulate innovation through the use of action learning sets. or a preference for operating in an ambiguous and challenging situation. ■ Innovation can’t be forced upon VET practitioners. so skill and wisdom is needed to nurture innovation. A teacher’s sense of identity – say. The case studies and vignettes in this report show that VET practitioners have varying motivations. Hence. Sometimes. opportunism and improvisation that all contribute in variable ways to the successes shown in the case studies and vignettes. because the innovators believe the innovation will meet a need that is not yet being articulated by the recipients of the innovation. the nature of the workplace. Personality traits influencing innovation can include a preference for being unconventional. groups and organisations with particular situations including imperatives. Resistance to change is normal and each teacher and learner will make up their own minds as to whether they will internalise and adopt new practices. and another by a desire for deserved recognition from peers. an innovation developed in a private RTO might not be possible in a public provider. metropolitan RTO. This introduces room for initiative. In many of the case studies and vignettes in this report. structured staff discussions. The majority of practitioners described in each of the case studies and vignettes in this report were not trained to be innovators. The practitioners described in the report’s case studies and vignettes understood their local contexts and adjusted their innovations accordingly. ■ Innovation can occur without VET teachers being trained as innovators. another by a determination to provide improved services. They were not passive agents who had skill deficits that required fixing before they contributed to the innovation. innovation sometimes benefits from a contributor’s incidental or informal learning. organisational goals and encouragement. there is a need for those involved in innovation in teaching and learning to know their local contexts and to customise the innovation to suit the different components of the local context. an industry specialist or as an oracle or facilitator – may also influence her or his response to a proposed innovation in teaching. ■ Innovation can be affected by local. for instance when the change being proposed has not taken into account the possible negative impacts of change. win the confidence of those who will be affected. the demands of enterprises or the preferences of individual students. 6 ■ Innovation can be influenced by practitioners’ motivations or personality traits or sense of personal or professional identity. For instance. Resistance to change is often healthy. ■ Innovation can be affected by the interplay of disparate factors. one VET practitioner may be motivated by a desire to model originality. Not every successful innovation is in response to a clearly articulated market demand: sometimes an innovation is in anticipation of a market demand. the nature of the enterprise client or the nature of the local community or region. presentations from guest speakers. Much can be achieved by creating a climate conducive to risk-taking and facilitating the sharing of ideas. innovative and passionate individuals and work teams develop and implement innovations despite an antithetical work environment and in adversity. intentional activities. judgment. Sometimes an innovation is developed despite the lack of pre-conditions conducive to innovation. Due to local contextual reasons. they became innovative because they wanted to shape and interact with their environment and to work in new and different ways. Their contexts and their actions combined to create conditions for them to attempt to innovate. which then won customer support. ■ Innovation can be driven by multiple factors. even if they then needed to change and extend their skills. external forces such as changes in industry. Vignette 3. and persuade them of the benefits that will ensue from the change. ■ Innovation can occur despite the lack of ideal support or pre-conditions or documented market demand. Rather. The 6 What can be done to further support innovation in VET teaching? 101 . participation in conferences. personalities and identities. In addition to these structured and formal approaches. The case studies and vignettes in this report show that innovation is often the result of the interplay of individuals. contextual factors such as the nature of the teachers’ work groups. such as conducting group discussions between VET practitioners and others to generate new ideas and to encourage research and reflection. including the individual’s motivation for improvements. problems and issues that cause enough irritation to require new ideas and practices to fix.■ Innovation can be stimulated by deliberate. the proponents of change needed to advocate the value of change. An innovation successfully developed in a small. work leaders and managers.2 from East Gippsland Institute describes VET practitioners using their judgement to design a sophisticated service. as a humanist. expediency or chance events. or visits to other establishments where they may observe or benchmark.

with a minimum of censorship. or the client may want the VET provider to join a consortium of providers. The team building strategies might include catering for different views within the group. ■ Innovation can be assisted by different stakeholders performing separate functions. culture. bureaucratic hierarchies and develop cultures that value leadership. For instance. Many of the case studies and vignettes show that leadership might well be exhibited by several persons acting concurrently or sequentially. ■ Innovation can benefit from the social capital developed by contributors to the innovation. trial-and-error experimentation and thinking about the future and how it can be realised differently. ■ Innovation can be stimulated by attending to group processes. Often. ■ Innovation can be supported by certain styles of leadership. The case studies and vignettes in this report support the view that ‘participative. For instance. innovation can be assisted if organisations remove rigid. It is important for the VET provider to listen carefully to a client’s expression of new or different needs. Vignette 4.1 describes the senior educational manager at the Photography Studies College in Melbourne using her management expertise to influence innovation in her College. while others are better at taking the suggestions and constructing a new product or service. ■ Innovation can be assisted by judicious management interventions or initiatives.126) is often an antecedent to innovation. A change agent is the individual who takes responsibility for a creative idea being translated into an ongoing service for learners.4). 6 ■ Innovation can be facilitated or hindered by a range of organisational factors such as the organisation’s structure. Vignette 5. perhaps some elements of the provider. in influencing innovation managers need to also take into account the other studies and vignettes in this report show that rarely is there one solitary factor driving change and commonly there is a mix of factors. providing opportunities for team members to critique proposed changes and allowing time for team members to trial new approaches. ■ Innovation can be facilitated by change agents at any level of an organisation. some people are better at providing creative suggestions. p. ■ Innovation can spring from new or changed relationships between providers and clients. Some managers may deliberately create a value chain of practitioners by involving different types of people to play a complementary role in a team or group so as to ensure the innovation is fully implemented. so the client has more choice. The relationships between the participants in an innovation project generate social capital that is of 102 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . creativity. visionary and/or transformational leadership’ (King and Anderson 2002. Innovation sometimes can be assisted by structured planning and other times by a flexible approach to planning which leaves open the possibility of responding to unexpected changes. For example. For instance. in developing a new model for training delivery. required six providers to form a new relationship with TNT. many of the case studies and vignettes show that leadership by the senior managers is less significant in implementing an innovation than the leadership provided at the level of Head Teacher. Principal Lecturer. firstly. TNT Express. all of these types of people are required to see a creative idea turn into an ongoing service that can be identified as an innovation. Each of the case studies and vignettes in this report describes the range of different contributors to any one innovation. organisational and external factors discussed earlier in this report. in some situations it might be easier for the teacher at the frontline to drive an innovation up through the organisation than for the senior manager to drive an innovation down through the organisation. The case studies and vignettes in this report portray a range of change agents operating from different levels of their organisations. and others are better at marketing or implementing the innovation. others are better at providing political support for a suggestion. More specifically. p. The case study on the Open Learning Institute and the vignettes on Hunter Institute and the Open and Training Education Network provide examples of organisational structures and processes facilitating innovation by relaxing the usual gatekeepers that keep many organisations and practitioners divided or partitioned.2 described how the VET client. Head Trainer or similar level. where innovative suggestions or ideas are shared across teams and organisational units. provided. Innovation can be driven from staff at any level of the organisation: for instance. that the manager knows the staff involved and knows how to frame and time an intervention. despite the fact that meeting the needs may change the relationship and ultimately. the importance of team building among teaching staff is a consistent thread underpinning the innovations described in the case studies and vignettes in this report. And secondly. Social capital is the wealth that exists because of an individual’s social relationships (Lesser 2000. the client may want the VET provider to change the previous assessment or delivery strategies. For example. planning strategies and communication systems. making it challenging for those managing innovation to know which factors to respond to first or most. Communication systems can assist innovation.

What is meant by the metaphor of ‘mechanism’ is a nationally-sponsored arrangement that can assist grassroots teachers and trainers – in conjunction with other stakeholders such as educational managers – to better inform themselves about useful ideas and practices about innovation in teaching that offer improved results and outcomes for VET students and clients. given the importance of innovation to VET. One way to achieve this is to facilitate practitioners talking to practitioners about their practice and supporting them to get up to speed with developments across the sector introduced by their peers and colleagues and by 6 What can be done to further support innovation in VET teaching? 103 . This suggests that to keep up with changing practice at and around the frontline of innovation in VET that VET practitioners would benefit from arrangements that give them better sources of information. A number of the innovators profiled in this report were aware of the challenges of transplanting an innovation and deliberately promoted the initial innovation as they understood that innovations will be resisted unless there are the right conditions and there is sufficient time. This social capital. VET practitioners and VET organisations. in whatever form it then takes. The VET sector needs highly informed practitioners who know about successful practice elsewhere in the sector and can match this with appropriate innovations of their own. A key feature of good practice is that practitioners have good knowledge of professional developments and behaviour in their area of operations and how VET practice is being redeveloped.value to the VET sector. The challenge is to know what to do to assist innovation given different conditions and contexts. This discussion about a mechanism is the subject of a separate report emanating from this project. An innovation successfully implemented in one context may not succeed in another. knowledge and understanding of changing teaching and learning practice across the sector. This can help to ensure that innovation. More information is also required to demystify the concept of innovation and make it realisable at work without turning innovation into a ‘thing’ or another external endurance test or obligation for practitioners. Making practitioner information more readily available can support VET professionals to position their own thinking and practice closer to contemporary changes in VET professional practice. will continue to contribute positively to the development of teaching and learning outcomes across the sector. This is not to suggest that VET practitioners simply imitate others. Summary It is not a great help to simply say that innovation in teaching and learning in VET can be supported in a variety of ways. understanding and commitment for the innovation to take root elsewhere. is unique and enriches the specific innovation. but rather that they use knowledge of other practice as a way of informing their own judgement and professional imagination. A migrating frontier of professional practice is required to both lead and follow changing conditions in VET. ■ Innovation can only be transferred when a range of factors are in place. Identifying good practice is a key to fostering innovation as it profiles champions and also encourages the creation of collaborative mechanisms to further explore good practice and set realistic standards for success. A freer market in ideas about practice and possibilities can give practitioners the inspiration and information that can lead to the kind of change that motivates them to aspire to excellence and to generate better or more appropriate outcomes for their students and clients. The report is entitled: Proposal for a national mechanism for promoting and sustaining innovation in teaching and learning in VET. and that this helps to open up the possibilities that exist for innovation in their own arena of practice. In many of the case studies and vignettes in this report. there is a case for a dedicated ‘mechanism’ to promote and support innovation among VET practitioners. the social capital of the participants underpinned the successful implementation of the innovation. One option worth particular consideration is to make a serious attempt to assist VET practitioners to know about the different ways that innovation can be practised and supported by themselves in their own engagement with their work and work roles. Recommended mechanism The research for this project finds that. 6 The purpose of this proposed national mechanism is to support the dissemination of useful and practical knowledge. techniques and ideas for application – about innovation in teaching and learning – elsewhere in VET. based so often on tacit as well as explicit knowledge of the participants. The mechanism is intended to facilitate action and provide better results for VET clients.

The sense of the possible that such interactions achieve can be expanded if the VET sector sponsors much more focus on teaching and learning. 6 104 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET .other VET organisations. This necessarily implies a re-evaluation of the role of VET practitioners in making a difference through the quality of their engagement with their work. and on this process as an interactive one rather than a set of procedures to meet organisational practice and routine. An increase in support for innovation might produce the kinds of benefits revealed in the case studies. vignettes and conversations that we have reported. and the support they need to have to grow the possibilities of their work. and especially its engagement with teaching and learning. There are signs that policy reform in VET will start to pay increased attention to the capacity and capability of the VET workforce.

Appendices Appendices 105 .

was led by Managing Director and principal consultant for this project. Professional Development Network TAFE Educational Services. Canberra Institute of Technology. Ian Gribble. Singapore. NSW Department of Education & Training Carol Ward General Manager. VIC Jeremy Gilling (represented by Wendy Davies for part of the project) Executive Officer Manufacturing Learning Australia Ian Gribble HR Projects Manager Office of Training and Tertiary Education. Professor of Instructional Science. National Institute of Education. VIC Kate Guthrie A/Manager Professional Development Unit. 106 Name Title Richard Campbell Manager. VIC Maret Staron (represented by Val Evans for part of the project) Leader. QLD Pat Forward Vice President (TAFE & Adult Provision) Australian Education Union. Nanyang Technological University. Department of Training Department of Education and Training. Director of Centre Undertaking Research in Vocational Education (CURVE). Sydney. editor-in-chief of the journal Educational Media International and an expert in learning strategies and new learning technologies. flexible learning and innovation and on the range of dissemination strategies used to promote innovation in teaching and learning in both the UK and Europe. BBC. Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice. Particular thanks are extended to the OTTE Project Manager. National Training Products Support Department of Education & Training. Manager Training and Knowledge Management. • Nigel Paine. John Mitchell. • John Hedberg. support and tireless commitment to the project. Business Improvement Institute of TAFE Tasmania Susan Young National Project Director Reframing the Future Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET Organisation . an expert in assessment in VET. for his inspiration. QLD Graeme Kirkwood Manager Learning Development Business Improvement Institute of TAFE Tasmania Julie Moss Managing Director Photography Studies College. WA Paula Johnston Manager Flexible Learning Australian National Training Authority. who is the primary author of this report. UK. Steering committee The consulting team thanks the following members of the Steering Committee for their assistance. an expert in knowledge management. Strategic advice was provided by: A1 • Berwyn Clayton. VIC John Parish Director Kangan Institute of TAFE.Appendix 1: Members of the consulting team and steering committee Consulting team The consulting team from John Mitchell & Associates.

A2 Firstly. This project proposes to offer two avenues for helping to integrate a clearer knowledge and understanding of practices. Considerable innovation is underway by practitioners in developing new and more effective ways of developing these functions. Outcomes The project will provide: • Better national. learning and related assessment relationships in VET. • Provide a design for an appropriate national mechanism for supporting the ongoing dissemination of innovative teaching and learning practice for the national VET system. Secondly. State and regional understandings of innovation in VET teaching and learning practices. by investigating the development of a suitable national mechanism for ongoing information and support for the dissemination of teaching and learning practice and to strengthen and broaden innovation in the future. national and provider levels. Appendices 107 . • Improved approaches for supporting VET teaching and learning practices at the provider. State and national system levels. new ideas and new approaches to the teaching. Much of this innovation is as a result of highly decentralised activity and reflects the continually expanding knowledge base of professional practice in the VET system. Background The rationale for this project is that quality teaching. • Identify specific examples of good practice as case studies for innovation that are representative of the sectors that comprise the national VET system. learning and assessment are at the centre of the vocational education and training mission. by providing a national review of good practice that is drawn from current provider activity and achievements.Appendix 2: The project brief This project will be managed through the Office of Training and Tertiary Education (OTTE) with the research undertaken by a contracted group of education and learning consultants. • Better quality information and a proposed national mechanism for maintaining the dissemination of good practice in teaching and learning. Objectives The project will: • Identify broad developments in teaching and learning in VET at the State. • A higher level of professional and organisational recognition of the importance of innovative teaching and learning practices to the future of VET. • Provide appropriate models or approaches that explain the innovation process in VET teaching and learning practice.

• identification of possible case studies and exemplars. • conducting of two focus groups to test the initial findings. • preparation of literature review on possible mechanisms. the major research methods used in this project were: A3 • preparation of a bibliography. • preparation of a discussion paper on mechanisms. • preparation of a discussion paper on good practice. Both the case studies and the vignettes illustrate key themes about innovation in teaching and learning in VET. • preparation of a literature review on good practice. Case studies and vignettes have different characteristics and provide different benefits for this project: • case studies are more structured and detailed. • preparation of a database of innovations. providing insights into practitioners and learners operating effectively in a variety of settings. employing a rigorous methodology and providing rich illustration of current practice against a theoretical framework • vignettes are shorter and less structured. such as: • the nature of the innovation • drivers of the innovation • how the innovation was fostered and sustained • student outcomes from innovative teaching. Description of case studies and vignettes Five case studies and ten vignettes were prepared for this report. • undertaking of case study research. often focusing on one or two major aspects of activity. • conducting of field interviews. 108 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . • conducting of seven focus groups to test discussion papers. • preparation of final report.Appendix 3: Research methods Briefly. The selection of case studies and vignettes was made in consultation with the OTTE Project Manager and required the approval of the subjects.

NSW 35. Margaret Hamilton. Manufacturing Learning Centres. QLD 31. Margaret Dix. Richard Campbell. University of Technology. John Blakeley. Manager Evaluation. VIC 15. Spencer Institute of TAFE. NSW 33. Val Evans. Senior Project Officer. Victorian TAFE Association. Margaret Aspin.Appendix 4: Names of interviewees The consulting team thanks the following people for participating in interviews for this project. UK 34. Communications and Marketing. Manufacturing Learning Australia. Project Manager. QLD 6. Dinah Caine. Project Co-ordinator The Marchmont Project. RMIT. VIC 14. Judy Curson. VIC 8. Assistant Director. Rob Denton. SA 7. QLD 5. Ratio. VIC 12. Duncan Campbell. Dean. WA 28. Associate Director TAFE. ELAN Learning Options. NSW 24. DET. ACT 20. Centrelink Virtual College. Exeter. QLD 11. Catherine Brigg. Kate Guthrie. Kathy Bannister. Annette Kirby. SA 18. Kathi Eland. Manager e-Learning. Tess Julian. Daniel Hausin. VIC 25. 1. Torrens Valley Institute. UK A4 10. Dept for Education and Skills. Pauline DeVries. England 9. VIC 4. TAFE NSW 23. Project Manager Flexible Learning Leaders Program. ACT 29. Donna Hensley. Professional Development Network. Director. East Gippsland TAFE. SA Appendices 109 . Advanced Skills Lecturer Electronics & Information Technology. Clive Chappell. VIC 3. Manager Social Sciences and Visual Arts. Open Learning Institute. Sydney. BBC Training and Development. England 21. TAFE NSW Hunter Institute 27. Program Manager Flexible Learning. Associate Professor and director of RCVET and co-director of OVAL. TAFE NSW 19. General Manager. Manager. Jenny Dodd. SA 30. TAFE NSW Hunter Institute 32. Jock Grady. Executive Officer. Australian Education Union. Jeremy Gilling. Gareth Jones. Celeste Howden. NSW 26. TAFE NSW Hunter Institute 2. Carol Fripp. Manufacturing Learning Australia. AEShareNet Ltd. Skillset. Jillian Blight. Manufacturing Learning Centres. Head of Innovation and Learning. Open Learning Institute. Wendy Davies. TAS 22. Professional Development Network. Michael Aderman. Chief Executive. Department of Training. ANTA. Training Coordinator. England 16. Gavin Dykes. Vice President TAFE and Adult Provision. Manufacturing Learning Australia. ANTA. Director Educational Services. Production Manager Media Centre. Pam Caven. Coordinator Retail and Tourism Programs and Innovation Manager. Manager Policy and Projects. Manager National Training Products Support. Douglas Mawson Institute of Technology. Graham Hargreaves. A/Manager Professional Development Unit. BBC Training and Development. Allan Ballagh. NSW 13. Pat Forward. Chief Executive. SA 17. Project Manager. Open Learning Institute. ICT in Schools Division. Andrew Dean. Principal Project Officer. Deputy Director.

VIC 50. TAFE NSW 63. Dean and Professor of Lifelong Learning. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. John Smyth. Megan Lilly. Open Learning Institute. Shane O’Neill. Kaye Schofield & Associates. Director Research and Development. Training Products Support. Larry Smith. Director.36. General Manager. Michael Shankie. Institute of TAFE Tasmania 59. Trevor Perry. Facilitator. ANTA. General Manager Training Group. Leader. David Ryan. DET. Professional Development Network. Principal Teacher-Accounting. National Project Director. VIC 56. Team Leader Textiles and Clothing. Graeme Kirkwood. SA 65. Carol Ward. WA 52. Principal Project Officer. Institute of TAFE Tasmania 43. VIC 54. England 53. National Manager LearnScope and Professional Development Network. Caterpillar Institute Australia. Robbie Weatherley. QLD 64. NSW 46. Bob Paton. Nic Pearl. Department Training and Employment. Institute of TAFE Tasmania 37. Business Services Training Australia Ltd. Professional Development Network. Educational Manager English Language and Literacy Services. Adelaide Institute of TAFE. Euan Sample. Robert Player. Reframing the Future. Tom Schuller. QLD 39. WA 51. Gaye Oakes. QLD A4 47. Team Leader Technology Product Development. Manager Plumbing and Construction Finishing. SA 110 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . VIC 44. TAFE NSW 60. Manager. Educational Manager English Langugage and Literacy Services. National Executive Officer. Open Learning Institute. Head of Knowledge Management Digilab. VIC 40. Adelaide Institute of TAFE. Photography Studies College. NSW 57. TAFE NSW 61. University of London. Managing Director. Kaye Shofield. SA 49. West Coast College of TAFE. Executive Officer Training Products Support. Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE. Susan Young. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. Judy Perkins. Director. VIC 38. Asia Pacific Learning. TTOP Co-ordinator. Asia Pacific Learning. MERSITAB. Geoff Pederson. VIC 41. VIC 45. BBC Training and Development. QLD 42. ANTA. Julie Moss. QLD 48. Clem Wong. QLD 58. General Manager Business Improvement. UK 55. John Parish. Manager Learning Development Business Improvement. Rod McDonald. Maret Staron. Warwick Newson. Lyn Stallard. Wendy Nichols. Caterpillar Institute Australia. Sherinda Shae. Institute of TAFE Tasmania 62. Consultant. DET. Birkbeck College. Renee Wyatt. Senior Project Officer. CEO.

VET Quality Branch Dept Further Education. Margaret Thornton Business Response Manager. Jennie Wallace Director Academic Programs Study Group Australia Appendices 111 . Jenny Norman Planning and Reporting Open Learning Institute (OLI) 17. Jenny Lee Curriculum Manager TAFEBIZSA 10. Child Studies Moreton Institute of TAFE – Bayside 9. Faculty of Community Services & Health Torrens Valley Institute 14. Manufacturing Learning Centres MLC Mitsubishi 2. Wendy Nichols Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 16. Susan Young National Project Director Reframing the Future A5 Queensland. Elizabeth Owers Principal Policy Officer VET Quality Branch. David Reed TAFE Product Manager Product Support Unit 18. Centre for Training Materials 6. Rural and Business Services Product Support Unit 10. 6 November 2002 1. Wendy Burns Director TAFE NSW South East Institute 5. Community Services and Health Torrens Valley Institute 6. Bob Lamb Senior Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 11. Judy Fawcett Lecturer/Co-ordinator Online. Leura Cathcart Director TAFE QLD Online 5. Frida Rossiter TAFE Product Manager Open Learning Institute (OLI) 20. Andrew Boorman Principal Policy Officer. Di Halligan Senior Executive Officer Training Products Support 8. Annabel Bridge Business/Education Partnerships Business SA 4. Cathy Hazzard Key Account Manager. DETE 12. Science and Technology 3. Richard Campbell Manager DET – Training Products Support 4. National VET Research and Evaluation Program NCVER 8. Kathy Bannister Educational Consultant Open Learning Institute 3. Deborah Archbald Managing Director Deborah Wilson Consulting 2. Janine Schubert Acting Director. Carol Chambers Manager DET – Training Products Support. Sandra Lawrence Acting Studies Director Brisbane Northpoint Institute 12. Jennifer Gibb Manager. Judy Forbes Project Officer Onkaparinga Institute of TAFE 7.Appendix 5: Focus group participants The consulting team thanks the following 130 participants for their participation in the focus groups. Robbie Lawson Senior Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 13. Marie Healy Product Manager. Jillian Blight Manager. Educational Development TAFEBIZSA 15. Centre for Innovation and Development Product Support Unit 21. 31 October 2002 1. Name Title Organisation South Australia. Reg Little Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 14. Employment. Bob Riseley Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 19. Rod Green Senior Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 7. Wendy Morrow SA Director ACPET 11. Sandra Surguy Training Development & Marketing Coordinator. Phil Maytom Senior Executive Officer DET – Training Products Support 15. Roger Parry Principal Lecturer DMIT 13. Ros Gill Project Manager FLAG Flexible Learning Innovation Project 9.

Margo Baas Office Manager AEShareNet 2. Julie Frail Faculty Manager Access Programs OTEN 6. Clarice Ballenden Executive Director Aspire Training Pty Ltd 4. Anne De Schepper Manager Educational Services Development Chisholm TAFE 5. Automotive Kangan Batman TAFE 10. Ian Gribble Senior Project Manager OTTE 9. Julie Proudfoot VET Field Officer BACE 15. Diane Siljanovic Head Teacher Information Technology TAFE NSW Sydney Institute 16. Jan Macindoe Assistant Director Organisational Improvement TAFE NSW Southern Sydney Institute 12. Stephen O’Sullivan Professional & Organisation Development Manager Kangan Batman TAFE 14. TAFE RMIT 3. Shirley Evans Organisational Development Consultant Holmesglen Institute of TAFE 6. Organisational Improvement TAFE NSW Southern Sydney Institute 18. Peter Waterhouse Managing Director Workplace Learning Initiatives Pty Ltd 16. 18 November 2002 112 1. Yvonne Wilson Head Teacher. John Glover Executive Director Group Training Australia 8. Group A. Peter Ireland Policy and Compliance Manager Billy Blue 9. Graeme Cartwright Senior Education Officer TAFE NSW Sydney Institute 4. Paul Harrington Curriculum Maintenance Manager. Louise Turnbull Manager e-Learning OTEN 17. Jodee Price National Training Manager Futurum 15. 18 November 2002 1. Vijendra Lal Chief Learning Design Officer Resource Design and Development Unit OTEN 11. Geri Wild HR Project Manager OTTE 17.Name Title Organisation NSW. Manufacturing and Engineering TAFE NSW South Western Institute 3. Marlene Johnson Senior Curriculum Projects Officer OTTE 13. Claire Brooks Coordinator Community Learning Networks RMIT 2. Karen Holmes Projects Officer Narre Learning Network 12. Cathy Down Project Director (Educational Development) RMIT 5. Cinthia Del Grosso Project Officer TDT Australia 4. Wetherill Park TAFE NSW South Western Sydney Institute Victoria. Sue Coyne Director Coyne Didsbury Pty Ltd for Victorian Assessors’ Network 3. Natalie Fernandes Traineeship Coordinator ECTRAC 5. Business Services. Peter Dibbs Project Manager Educational Services Development Chisholm Institute of TAFE Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Margaret Aspin Senior Project Officer ANTA 2. Trish James Senior Education Officer Educational Planning and Profiling OTEN 10. Cheryl Wilkinson HR Projects Manager OTTE Victoria. Richard Baker Head Teacher. Dennis Macnamara Business Development Manager AEShareNet 14. Peter Heilbuth Manager Flexible Learning Projects East Gippsland TAFE 11. Anne Forwood Senior Consultant Dench McClean Carlson 7. 7 November 2002 A5 1. Marie Manidis CEO CREATE Australia CREATE 13. Nan Greig Team Leader/Training Service ECTRAC 8. Allan Ballagh Associate Director. Garry Turner Teacher Education Coordinator. Meredith Graham Administrative Assistant AEShareNet 7. Group B.

Janine Bowes Manager. Helen Houston Teacher Institute of TAFE Tasmania 4. Lorna Lawford Projects Officer OTTE 9. WA Appendices 113 . WA 5. Fran Ferrier Research Fellow CEET 3. Kathi Eland Chief Executive Elan Learning Options 3. Mark Landy Field Manager TAFE frontiers 7. Di Granger Director Lifelong Learning Pty Ltd WA. Innovation in Education Swinburne University of Technology – TAFE 7. Margaret Greenhaugh Professional and Career Development Officer Swan TAFE 13. Melbourne. Professional Development Unit Office of Training. Margaret McHugh Principal Consultant. Glenn Macgowan Training Coordinator Pasminco Hobart Smelter 6. Lynne Butler Principal Lecturer Swan TAFE 4. Christine Evans Lecturer West Coast College of TAFE 8. Lynne Deering Senior Professional Development Consultant. Kate Guthrie A/Manager Professional Development Unit. Sue Geddes–Page Principal Lecturer Central TAFE 10. Planning and Development Wodonga Institute of TAFE 6. Heidi Astbury Principal Lecturer CY O’Connor College. Trish McCullough Manager. WA 3. Narrogin 2. Mary Hoffman Manager Professional Development Swinburne University of Technology – TAFE 8. Textiles and Clothing Institute of TAFE Tasmania 9. Lauri Grace Consultant 3 CM 11. Liz Stafford Tasmania. Clint Smith Field Manager TAFE frontiers 1. Ian Gribble Senior Project Manager OTTE 5. Gaye Oakes Team Leader. Clint Smith Field Manager TAFE frontiers Manager. Sheila Fitzgerald Executive Director TAFE frontiers 4. national QTP website Tasmanian Government 2. Lyn Fulcher Professional Development Officer West Coast College of TAFE 9. Literacy Office of Training. Learning Pathways 11. Corporate Development WestOne Services 15. Alan Linklater Worldskills Manager TAFE NSW Sydney Institute 8.Name Title Organisation 6. Jayne Pitard Project Officer Victoria University. 26 November 2002 1. Pat Edgar Workforce Development Consultant Challenger TAFE 7. David Perkins Teacher Institute of TAFE Tasmania 10. Sue Lapham Director. Margaret Aspin Senior Project Officer ANTA 2. Jo Murray Director Pelion Consulting 8. Environmental Tourism Training Project Tasmanian Government 7. Caroline Grayson Manager. Graeme Kirkwood Manager. Kirsty Sharp A5 Institute of TAFE Tasmania AVETRA. Office of Training 14. Research. Mardi Dwyer Principal Lecturer West Coast College of TAFE 6. Chris Horton Manager. Marcus Regus Horticulture Natural Resources Institute of TAFE Tasmania 11. Christine Bateman Senior Consultant. Access and Equity Office of Training. Learning Development Institute of TAFE Tasmania 5. Centre For Curriculum Innovation and Development 9. John Molenaar Executive Officer Manufacturing Learning VIC 10. 17 March 2003 12. 20 November 2002 OTTE 1.

Lyn Scantlebury Belmont City College 19. representing the Training Delivery Group 17. Peter Waterhouse Managing Director Workplace Learning Initiatives Pty Ltd Victoria. Clint Smith Field Manager TAFE frontiers 8. Ian Gribble Senior Project Manager OTTE 6. Kaye Burton Project Manager OTTE 3. John Mitchell A/Director. WA 18. Accreditation Swan TAFE. Office of Training. 22 April 2003 A5 114 Emerging Futures: Innovation in Teaching and Learning in VET . Cathy Down Project Director (Educational Development) RMIT 4. Pam Jones Policy and Research Manager Group Training Australia 7. Wayne Muller Manager Training Products Office of Training. Anne Simpson Senior Consultant Professional Development Unit. Anne Forwood Senior Consultant Dench McClean Carlson 5. Clarice Ballenden Executive Director Aspire Training Pty Ltd 2. Melanie Sorensen Content and Delivery Manager WestOne Services 1.Name Title Organisation 16. WA 20.

the author.5. TAS Gaye Oakes QLD Sandra Lawrence Sandra.nsw.1 Alcan.2 Institute of TAFE Vignette Holmesglen Institute of Centrelink Call NSW/ACT Peter Newman peter. Yirrkala Business Enterprises and Government – East Arnhem Land. NSW Louise Turnbull Vignette No. QLD John Blakeley john.4.Bonney@Alcan. national Robert Adams Robert_Adams@tnt. for readers wanting more Vignette Torrens Valley Institute of 6: Contacts for the case studies and vignettes Set out below are the names of contact persons for the case studies and vignettes (permission was granted by the named persons).1 Manufacturing Learning Centres.2 TNT Case Study East Gippsland Institute of TAFE. Coffs Harbour and TAFE NSW North Coast Institute.tas. SA Rob Denton Vignette SA Graham Hargreaves Vignette No. VIC Catherine Brigg CBrigg@egtafe. TDT Australia and six Vignette No.Oakes@tafe.1 Photography Studies Vignette No. VIC Trevor Perry trevorp@holmesglen. WA Phil Pitchers Vignette No.2. NSW Michael Adermann Vignette No.3.5 Goodwill Industries WA in conjunction with West Coast College of TAFE. VIC Julie Moss info@psc.2 TAFE NSW Hunter Caterpillar Institute (WA) Pty Ltd John Longman jlongman@catinstitute.2 TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network (OTEN).4 Open Learning Institute of TAFE. For other information about the report.pitchers@goodwillind. can be contacted on johnm@jma.tafe. together with an email Case Study No.1 Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE. NT Craig Bonney Case Study Case Study Number Organisation Contact person Email Case Study Vignette No.Adermann@tafe. John A6 Appendices 115 .

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