Connectivism at Work – 2

Here I am at Hanoi Airport again on my way home after my 28 day roster. A bit tired but looking forward to getting home. Assignment 2 is handed in and I have started reviewing work for Assignment 3.

So I tried my little experiment with the second crew of trainees the other day. They were given exactly the same tasks to complete as the first crew of trainees. The first attempt by the second crew provided similar results as the first crew with all of the trainees coming back to me with only half the information.

On the following day I gave the trainees the same clarification as I did with the previous crew of trainees and was quite surprised to see that the information returned to me was in the most part what I wanted to see. I also noted that some of the information returned to me had been presented in a similar manner.

The following day I asked the trainees to join me in the switch room and go through the process they used to find the answers to my task questions but more importantly find about the collaboration that obviously had taken place to give such similar answers. They thought they were in trouble but I then explained that this was what we needed to see more of, people sharing their knowledge to help others and of course the company benefiting from the use of that knowledge.

In the main this group of trainees collaborated much better than the last and it will be interesting to see how the third group of trainees go in collaborating with each other to bring me the information I am asking them to find for me.

That will have to wait for a couple of weeks as I have some much earned time off with my wife and children. 


ICT’s in apprenticeships

I noticed in Mark’s recent post titled Assignment 2 how much ICT’s have changed the way apprentices are taught and I assume how they are also assessed. Taking the fear of trigonometry and geometry out of the learning process I think is a good thing but something I have some trepidation about. I take it they still need to show competence in some way how to do the calculations manually. What happens when the batteries run flat on the smart phone??

A couple of years ago I noticed in Cert III electrical exams that many of the formulae used for electrical calculations are now given on the assessment coversheet. At the time I thought it took something away from being an electrician but then on reflection I have come to realise how little I have used many of the formula I was required to memorise as an apprentice, many of which are used in specialised applications. And of course all readily available on the intranet these days.




Connectivism at work

A couple of days ago I gave four of our trainees a task to perform. They had to go to a substation each and find some details of equipment for me. They all returned to my office in about 30 minutes and all only had only half the information. 

Yesterday I explained a little more about the task they had to perform and how they could find some of the information I was asking them to get for me. Off they went again and all came back in about 30 minutes. This time one of the trainees came back with all of the details I had asked for. The other 3 all had some details missing. Obviously none of them had discussed what I wanted with each other.

Today I got them together and asked them why they didn’t discuss the task with each other before going off and doing it and why they didn’t discuss after they got the information. Apparently because I didn’t say they could collaborate with each other they assumed that they couldn’t. So I asked the trainee who got all the details correct to explain to the others how he had obtained the information and was pleasantly surprised that he had cross referenced three different sources of information. With their new knowledge the other three trainers were able to complete the task successfully.

There is a new crew starting work tomorrow and I plan to run the same exercise with the trainees on the crew. I wonder if the out going crew will pass anything on to the on coming crew?

The VET Blog

The VET Blog

Not sure exactly how I came across this web site The VET Development Centre You know what it’s like when you are researching something on the web, sometimes you end up in the strangest places. Anyhow I know I didn’t start off looking for this site but when I found it I thought you might be interested in it Mark & Christina 

“The Centre supports the development and maintenance of vocational and educational currency by ensuring that VET practitioners, managers and specialist staff have access to recent and relevant articles of interest”.

The latest blog is on engineering apprentices completion rates which look pretty much unchanged from 20 years ago (from what I can remember). Interesting that 60% of leavers do so in the first year of their apprenticeship which leads you to wonder why they chose that trade or type of work in the first place??

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

Whilst researching my assignment 2 essay for EDC3100 I came across this post Critical Review of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by Kevin Stranack which I thought might be of interest to my other VET students Mark & Christina

Toward the end of the post I found this “For many students and instructors, the focus of a course is the content and learning that content (and securing it as an artifact within one’s own memory, which Freire (1970) called the “banking” approach to education) is seen as the core reason for taking or teaching the course. Instructors are experts in their content areas and are very attached to what they know and the value of their knowledge. Accepting the fact that the content being taught will soon be out dated and that the development of a strong network for future learning (which will be necessary to remain up-to-date) is difficult to accept.  Past practice was that knowledge lasted a lifetime, but the rapid pace of change has disrupted this faster than many people, both instructors and students, can adapt to.

I don’t know about you but it resonates very much with me. As a trainer I am attached to what I know and value what I know. I don’t accept that the content being taught will soon be out dated because in my case, electrical theory will not change. But the way it is taught has changed and will continue to change as teachers and trainers learn how to better adapt ICT’s into their lessons and the needs of industry change. I suppose as a trainer in the connectivism world we will be facilitators of networks of people who will pass on information and knowledge to the network either from their own learning or via another network that they are connected to. I think there will be a lot of pushback from the establishment on this one.


Google advanced search to the rescue

The other night we had a breakdown on a piece of equipment at my work site in Vietnam. It was during night shift and after finally finding the fault code in the manual it informed me to go to another manual. After looking through our electronic copies of the different manuals for this particular piece of equipment and not having any joy I decided it was time to Google for an answer.

At first I tried the normal Google search but had little joy finding what I was looking for then I remembered that David jones had provided a link to this site How to Search Google Like a Pro: 11 Tricks You Have to Know Using these tips I narrowed down my search and found the manual I was looking for. I was then able to locate the fault but ran out of time to complete the repairs as it was shift change. I handed over to dayshift who completed the repairs and put the equipment back on line.

So thanks David for another tool in my tool belt.

Being an Effective Educator

I have been catching up on some of the blogs I am following and came across this (7 habits of Highly Ineffective Educators) posted by Mark Laity and it started me thinking and reflecting on my own practices as an educator.

Having been brought up in the traditional schooling and apprenticeship systems it is difficult to adopt many of the new systems and processes that are now being used for training. But then, I also see the need for change (Catch 22?). If we look at a traditional apprenticeship the breadth of learning required can be quite large. For many apprentices they will probably never use some of what they learn at TAFE or policlinic. So I see why many companies and businesses are preferring to train to skill sets and be specific in what is trained so apprentices or trainees can better meet the needs of the company.

Incorporating ICT’s into training can lead to more effective trainers as they free up time to assist those that are having difficulty learning the material, give options to training participants that suit their learning style and can be used to facilitate peer to peer learning.


Electrical Trades UpSkilling Program

Very little formal training has been conducted for our Vietnamese electrical tradesmen and trainees and it has been identified that there is a lack of knowledge and skills in some areas of their work. The Up Skilling program for our electrical tradesmen and trainees is based on the needs of the department and provides an opportunity for formal training of our staff. Where possible the training has been aligned to UEE11 – Electrotechnology Training Package.

This 5 week program has 5 learning areas which include;

  • Low Voltage Rescue (no alignment to UEE11),
  • In service appliance testing (Testing and Tagging) of electrical appliances (aligned to UEENEEE009B – Comply with scheduled and preventative maintenance program processes)
  • Disconnect & Reconnect Low Voltage (LV) Equipment (aligned to UEENEEG105A – Verify compliance and functionality of low voltage general electrical installations)
  • Testing of new Electrical Installations (aligned to UEENEEG132A – Carry out low voltage electrical field testing and report findings)
  • High Voltage (HV) Operator and Isolator (aligned to UEENEEG034B – Perform high voltage field switching to a given schedule)

The following learning outcomes are expected from this training program;

  • Participants will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of safe working practices by conducting risk assessment of the work to be undertaken and employing agreed methods to reduce any risks
  • Participants will understand why test and tag of appliances is undertaken, will be able to distinguish the difference between Class I & Class II appliances and how to perform the required testing of these electrical appliances manually and electronically using a Portable Appliance Tester
  • Participants will be able to maintain and install electrical installations to site standards ensuring equipment is safe for use by operations personnel
  • Participants will understand the dangers associated with high voltage switching and be able to demonstrate appropriate safety precautions to be used when operating high voltage switch gear. Further to this they will be able to develop a high voltage switching program.
  • In all modules participants will be able to complete the required site paperwork for the task being undertaken.

The assessment criteria for these 5 modules are formative and summative assessment for both the theory and practical components of the assessment.

Assignment 1 EDC3100 Complete

Well, I have finally managed to complete my contribution for Assignment 1 of EDC3100.

Glad I was on R&R this week as it gave me time to complete all my work for the assignment.  Thanks also to my son Joshua who gave me some pointers on Movie Maker software. It certainly took much longer than I expected but it has been interesting putting it all together. Including the software crashes!!

I have produced a video and it is called ICT’s and Adult Learning  It states my 3 reasons for incorporating ICT’s into training packages and what they will be and is actually aimed at my manager as I don’t have to worry about parents being interested in ICT’s in training. 

Good luck everyone.


National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

Thanks Mark Laity for reacquainting me with the NVCER website through your post Week 3 on 22nd March. This site is one I have used previously for obtaining information on current research and I believe last time I used it I was looking for information on assessing course participants.

One of the latest research projects to be released is titled “Refining models and approaches in continuing education and training” and the following description of the report gives some insight into what workers feel are the best methods for on going education for themselves and managers perspective of what they think is best for their workers. 

“Interviews with workers and managers show differences in preferred models of training, depending on the purpose of the training. When the purpose is to remain current and employable, to advance careers or to bring about workplace change, then workplace and practice-based models are the most valued. However, when the purpose is to secure employment or change jobs then educational institution-based models are more favoured. This is the second report coming out of a three-year program of research which aims to investigate how the tertiary education and training system might best be organised to maintain the employability of workers across their working lives.