Welcome to this Toolbox Implementation Guide by guy26

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									Toolbox Implementation Guide
Welcome to this Toolbox Implementation Guide. This guide is an extract of the CD-Booklet that
comes with every copy of a Toolbox that is purchased on CD-ROM.

The Toolbox Implementation Guide has been designed to help you get started with your Toolbox,
and is based on the experiences of training providers nationally who have been working with
Toolboxes over the last few years. This guide focuses mainly on supporting teachers involved in
Toolbox implementation, but will also be a useful reference for technical, support and other staff.




Table of Contents
1. Finding your way around the Toolbox – things you should know. ................................................... 1
2. Different ways you can use your Toolbox for training delivery and support. ................................... 3
3. Planning for the implementation of your Toolbox ............................................................................ 6
4. Further reading and helpful websites .............................................................................................. 8



1. Finding your way around the Toolbox – things you should know.

Toolboxes have been in development since 1999, and whilst there are some characteristics that are
generic across the range, not all Toolboxes are set up the same way. Therefore the information in
this section may vary in relation to the Toolbox you have purchased, however it should be suitable
to help you get to know your Toolbox.

1.1        The directory structure.

The CD on which your Toolbox resides will have a directory structure made up of several folders,
each containing a series of files relating to web pages, content and resources. Typically, you’ll find
folders with names like ‘graphics’, ‘resources’, ‘units’ – these will contain all the bits and pieces that
make up the Toolbox.

Some CDs have an ‘autorun’ function – the Toolbox will automatically load into your browser when
you insert the CD. Others need loading manually – look for a file called index.htm, default.htm or
similar – that will most likely be the home page for the Toolbox. If you can’t find anything that looks
                     like this, see point 1.2 below.


                          Pictured here is an example of the root directory from a Toolbox CD. As you can
                          see, there is a folder for each unit of competence, and one each for graphics,
                          the introduction, resources and styles. You can also see a file called ‘index.htm’
                          which is the Toolbox’s homepage. Double clicking this file will launch the
                          Toolbox in your browser.




1.2        The guides provided with the Toolbox.

Most of the Toolboxes contain some guides that are going to be very helpful for you. In most
Toolboxes these will be located in the root directory of the CD, others may be in a folder named
‘documentation’ or ‘guides’. The guides available to you may include:

 A Teacher’s Guide – explains the Toolbox structure, units of competence covered and in most
cases some suggested strategies for enhancing your training delivery using the Toolbox. Look for a
document (usually a Word, PDF or rtf file) titled ‘teacher’, ‘trainer’ or similar. Due to the amount of

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detail and support they offer, some teacher’s guides can be 100 or more pages, so you may like to
print this document and put some time aside to read it thoroughly.

 A Technical Guide – this is more for the technical side of Toolbox implementation, and will
generally explain how to install the Toolbox to a server or Learner Management System. It may also
offer instructions on how to customise the Toolbox content. Teachers with some technical
knowledge will find this guide useful to gain an understanding of the ‘back end’ of the Toolbox.

 A ‘readme’ or ‘install’ document – some Toolboxes may have a file called readme.txt or
install.txt (or similar) – this will be a simple text-based document with information to help you get
started in the installation and use of your Toolbox. Check the information carefully to find out
whether you need to install any plug-ins (such as Acrobat Reader or Flash player) before you can
use the Toolbox.

                                                       Pictured at left is an example of the contents in
                                                       the ‘guides’ folder of a Toolbox. As you can see,
                                                       this one contains 4 individual guides as outlined
                                                       above.



1.3     The orientation.
Sometimes called an orientation, induction, tour or similar, this is one of the most important areas of
the Toolbox but is often overlooked.

The orientation is designed to give you an overview of how the Toolbox works, how it is structured,
and how to use it. Some orientations include links to useful resources such as hints on how to learn
online.

1.4      The structure of your Toolbox.
Most Toolboxes have been designed around a metaphor for the learning environment, for example
a virtual hair salon, a virtual child care centre or a virtual office. Generally, there are two distinctly
separate components of a Toolbox;

    a)      content (the actual teaching and learning material, generally web pages), and
    b)      resources (a range of documents and/or multimedia resources that support the content)

Although these are separate components, they integrate with each other. With some Toolboxes, the
content and the resources will be arranged in separate folders on the CD, whereas others will put it
all together.

Some structures arrange all the content and resources into units of competence, others are
arranged into streams, projects or similar. Some of the earlier Toolboxes were developed before
AQTF, so take the time to look through the content thoroughly and ensure that it meets all the
requirements of current standards.

The structure should be clearly explained in either the Teacher’s Guide or the Technical Guide. If
you cannot find any information to help you work out the structure, you should contact your Toolbox
Champion or the Toolbox Help Desk service. See page 8 for contact details of these services.

Finally – the best way to get to know your Toolbox is to put some time aside to sit at a computer
and investigate it thoroughly. You’ll find that most Toolboxes are extremely rich in content and
resources – the more you look around, the more you will find. Feedback from Toolbox
implementation teams clearly shows that the more you know your Toolbox, the more successful
your implementation and subsequent teaching and learning strategies are going to be.




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2. Different ways you can use your Toolbox for training delivery and support.

Perhaps the most important decision you will make is related to how you are going to use the
Toolbox. Are you planning on going for fully online delivery? A bit of online mixed with a bit of face-
to-face? Maybe you’re thinking of using it in a computer lab style classroom for students to work
through the content in a self-paced mode? This decision is critical, and will influence everything
else in your implementation plan.

The ways in which you can use your Toolbox as part of your teaching and learning strategies are
many and varied. Here are some tips from the experiences of RTOs using Toolboxes:

 Look at the Toolbox as a collection of resources designed to support learning – not necessarily
to do the teaching. There is always going to be a role for a teacher, although many are finding that
the role changes to more of one requiring facilitation and support of learning rather than ‘up front’
teaching.

 Some Toolboxes include assessment-style tasks that may be suitable for demonstrating
competency, however many have left assessment open for the teacher to use his or her own
preferred assessment methods for the competencies.

 Take the time to read the Teacher’s Guide – some of the better guides include suggestions to
suit a range of delivery strategies.

The following information relates to the three main training delivery strategies that RTOs are using
with Toolboxes.

2.1     Using the Toolbox resources for support material.

Toolboxes are rich in resources to support and underpin the competencies within the qualification
covered. Some resources are multi-media based (eg videos, interactive quizzes etc), however
many of them are paper-based (eg PDF and Word documents) and could be used as handouts or
work sheets in a classroom or distance learning setting.

With some Toolboxes, these resources will be centrally located in a specific folder within the root
directory. With others, the resources may be located within separate folders for each unit in the
Toolbox. Remember you can always create your own library by simply locating the resources you
want and copying them over to a CD or your own personal folder.

Should you need to customise any of the documentation, try to avoid changing anything on the
master copy of your Toolbox. Note that PDF documents cannot be edited without Adobe Acrobat –
your Toolbox should have a Word or rtf version of all PDF files, and these can be customised then
converted to a new PDF document if you have the Adobe Acrobat PDF writer software. See page 8
for details of Adobe PDF products.

If you want to use some of the multimedia-based resources in the Toolbox but not via online
delivery, you can still:

 utilise the interactive elements either straight off a CD (the license arrangement for the Toolbox
you have purchased enables you to make copies for distribution to your students),
 install a copy of the Toolbox onto your local network and/or individual computers (you may
require assistance from a technical person for this). If considering this option, you should look
through the information in the following two points as some of it will relate to computer-based (non
online) usage of the Toolbox.




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2.2     Blended learning.

This term refers to a teaching and learning strategy that incorporates a mix of delivery styles, for
example face-to-face and online delivery. This has been a very successful area for Toolbox users,
and one which is popular with students as it offers the combination of traditional teaching and
learning methods with the flexibility available through online study.

Many RTOs find that blended learning has been the most appropriate delivery strategy for both
teaching staff and students. If your blend includes online delivery with the Toolbox, you’ll need to
consider some of the points in 2.3 Fully online delivery, below, as well as those previously outlined
in 2.1 Using the Toolbox as support material.


2.3     Fully online delivery.

By „fully online‟, we mean delivery using the Internet whereby students can access the course from
any net-enabled computer. These students may not have any face-to-face contact with their
teachers and other students through the entire course.

This can be perhaps the most challenging implementation to undertake, although certainly one of
the most adventurous and potentially rewarding. If you don’t have the technical expertise to install
the Toolbox into your web-based environment, you’re going to need some assistance in this area at
all stages of the implementation process, including during your online delivery.


Three key questions need to be considered:

a)    Do you need to be able to use a computer-based system to manage the student group,
      track their progress and maintain records of their results?

      If “yes”, you‟ll need to consider using a Learner Management System (LMS) such as WebCT,
      Janison or BlackBoard. Your RTO may already have access to or be using an LMS, in this
      case the set up process should be more simple. However, if you do not have access to an
      LMS, you‟ll need to investigate what‟s available and if it will suit the needs of your course,
      yourselves and your students. Choosing an LMS can be a complex process, so we
      recommend that you talk to other RTOs involved with online delivery and your Toolbox
      Champion to learn from the experiences of others. You can visit the Australian Flexible
      Learning website for information about LMS users across the VET sector. See page 8 for site
      URL and suggested reading.


b)    Are you intending to utilise online communication tools (such as discussion forums,
      email, chat) as part of your training delivery?

      If “yes”, these tools are often contained within the LMS, so much of point (a) above applies
      here too. However, if you don‟t need to use an LMS you may consider looking for a stand-
      alone product that provides you with the communication tools you need without the full
      management system. Some RTOs have reported success with the free (or „open source‟ as
      they‟re often referred to) communication tools such as “Moodle”, “Yahoo Groups” or “Groove”
      that are widely available on the Internet. You can find details on the Australian Flexible
      Learning website - see page 8 for site URL and suggested reading.

      There is much evidence to suggest that the online learning experience is greatly enhanced
      for students when they feel part of a group and have regular communication and interaction
      with others in the group and with their teachers. Incorporating discussion forums, chat and
      other communication strategies into your Toolbox delivery opens up the potential for some
      great online activities such as discussion of topics, sharing of knowledge and information
      across the group, and general socialisation between students and teachers.




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c)   What are you going to offer in the way of student support, particularly technical
     assistance?

     Most RTOs working with Toolboxes report that they have to deal with a number of technical
     glitches and problems reported by their students. In many cases, this is because the
     student/s may not have a high level of computer literacy – so consider a strategy for
     evaluating your student‟s level of technical competence before the course starts, and where
     necessary you could look at offering supporting training such as an „Introduction to the
     Internet‟ course. Some teachers are not technical experts themselves, and a
     recommendation is to have a specialist person within your IT department (or similar in a
     smaller RTO) allocated to assist with technical issues for the teachers and students using the
     Toolbox.

     Induction has also been identified as a critical factor in using Toolboxes for online delivery.
     Students often feel confused and disorientated when first encountering an online learning
     environment, and may not be familiar with the LMS and/or communication tools involved,
     should you be utilising these. Most RTOs report that a face-to-face induction workshop is the
     most successful strategy, as it enables teachers to identify any students that may require
     technical support and also provides an opportunity for people to meet each other, as they
     may have very little face-to-face contact for the duration of the online course. If a face-to-face
     induction is not an appropriate option, you could look at developing a print-based „Learner
     Guide‟ style of document, or even a web-based induction program that students can access
     online. You can read more about people‟s experiences with induction for online delivery on
     the Australian Flexible Learning Framework website - see page 8 for the site‟s URL and
     suggested reading.

     You will also need to establish the service levels that you are going to provide for your
     students. For example, what response times will you set for answering emails or responding
     to messages on the discussion board? These can be agreed upon during the planning stage
     of your Toolbox implementation.




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3. Planning for the implementation of your Toolbox

3.1 Implementation Issues

Here are some common findings and issues from a range of Toolbox implementations across
different RTOs:

   Teaching online is different to face-to-face delivery. If you are not an experienced online
    teacher, consider getting a mentor or ‘buddy’ to help you, or undertake some professional
    development in online teaching and student management skills.

   A professional development strategy may be required to ‘upskill’ teachers and RTO staff in the
    use of online technologies. Some RTOs have found that using a mentor or buddy system such
    as partnering a novice with an experienced Toolbox user is a very effective strategy.

   Students may need specialist support in using the technology.

   Depending on your teaching area, you might also need to consider the computer literacy levels
    of your students, and whether you’ll need to look at some up-front training support such as
    ‘Introduction to using the Internet’ courses.

   There may also be language, literacy and numeracy issues to consider for some learners using
    Toolbox resources. You may need to allocate resources and/or seek advice from LLN
    specialists who can suggest strategies and supports.

   If you’re intending to use the Toolbox for online delivery, consider how ‘online ready’ your
    student group is – learning online is very different to learning in a traditional teaching
    environment and some students find it doesn’t suit their personal learning style. You may need
    to integrate some ‘How to learn online’ materials into your delivery strategy. Also consider what
    induction process/es you may need to implement.

   Your current training delivery methodology (including timetabling) may change when you start
    using the Toolbox resources.

   Toolbox implementation takes time and careful planning – make sure adequate time is
    allocated for everyone involved in the process. It may be better to start with a small-scale
    implementation or pilot project and work your way up to a large-scale implementation gradually.

   Installing the Toolbox on your server, student network, website etc can be a complex task
    requiring technical expertise.

   If you need to customise the Toolbox to suit your target group, you may need assistance with
    technical matters.


3.2 Team Strategy

Introducing a Toolbox into your training will most likely require some technical and administrative
support. A smart strategy is to get together a team of people to plan and support the Toolbox
implementation process – in a large RTO this may include (but not be limited to):

   IT support staff – to take care of the technical aspects such as installation, and putting the
    Toolbox into a Learner Management System or platform where necessary. This will depend on
    what delivery style you’re planning – see page 4 for more details on this.

   Support staff – there may be people within your RTO that will need to know all about the
    Toolbox in order to support students – for example, library and client services staff.

   Managers – it’s always a good idea to have a manager or two involved in the implementation,
    not only so that they can gain an understanding of what it’s all about, but also because you

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    might need some support when making decisions or implementing new procedures. For some
    RTOs, implementing a Toolbox is a major change in the way training is delivered, so a ‘whole of
    organisation’ approach is often a good strategy.

   Teaching staff – consider not only the teachers/trainers who will be directly involved in using
    the Toolbox, but also others in the section that might need to know how it all works. You might
    also need to involve teachers from other sections, for example – are you planning on using a
    computer lab for some online teaching with the Toolbox? If so, you might need to plan and
    timetable this with other sections that also use these facilities.

   Students - a strategy used successfully by some RTOs has been to involve students in the
    planning process – it’s a good idea to be aware of their expectations in relation to support and
    access, particularly if you’re considering online training delivery with your Toolbox.

   External consultant - If you’re in a smaller RTO you may not have access to experienced IT
    personnel, which could mean that you’ll need to seek some support from outside your own
    organisation.


3.3 Support Services

The most critical factor reported from Toolbox implementation teams is organisational support.
Knowing you have people to support, assist and encourage you if the going gets tough can make
all the difference.

Remember that each State/Territory has a Toolbox Champion service available to help you out with
your implementation. The Toolbox Champions have a wealth of experiences to share with you.


3.4 Timeline

Most people find that once they start thinking through the process of implementing a Toolbox, all
sorts of issues are identified – not necessarily difficult issues, but things that need to be considered.
Allowing 2-3 months of planning time seems to be the best approach – this enables the team to
meet more than once and make sure that everything is covered.




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4. Further reading and helpful websites

Australian Flexible Learning Framework           http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au
The national Flexible Learning site, giving you access to all the very latest in the world of flexible
teaching and learning across the VET sector.

Flexible Learning Toolboxes http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/
The national Toolbox site, where you can find out about the range of Toolbox products, view lists of
competencies covered by Toolboxes and even visit demonstration websites where you can have a
look at all the available Toolboxes.

LearnScope               http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/learnscope
The Australian Flexible Learning Community website. This is a meeting place for VET teachers and
trainers from all over Australia. It is rich with resources and information relating to flexible teaching
and learning, with a particular focus on online technologies. Look for the ‘Toolbox Users’ discussion
forum where you can share information and pick up hints for ways to use your Toolbox.

Toolbox Repository http://toolboxrepository.flexiblelearning.net.au/
The Toolbox Repository enables you to search through the entire Toolbox collection and build your
own collection of resources that you can use in your teaching and learning.

Toolbox Champions http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/champions/index.htm
The national team of Toolbox Champions was established in 2002 to assist and support RTOs in
the implementation of Toolboxes. There is a champ available in every State/Territory, and you’ll find
contact details on this site.

Toolbox Help desk         http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/support/index.htm
The national help desk service for Toolbox users. A handy contact to help you out with any
difficulties or problems you may experience when using the Toolbox.

Toolbox Reports          http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/documents/reports.htm
Here you can find some interesting reports on and evaluations of Toolbox usage nationally. One
particularly useful document is the report on RTOs implementing selected Toolboxes from the
Series 3 range. The evaluation looks at usage patterns, teacher and student acceptance, student
learning, technical and organisational issues relating to Toolbox implementation.

Adobe Acrobat         http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/acro_ad.html
Adobe Acrobat’s PDF writer software enables you to create PDF documents from MS Word
documents, making them perfect for web-based and online delivery.

Useful articles
These are form the Community Forum archives and are generally written by teachers for teachers.

In relation to section 2.3 a)
How to choose a Learning Management System, accessed on 29/0/05 at
http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/community/ManagingFlexibleDelivery/content/article_6944.htm

Learning Management Systems: A Teacher’s Perspective, J Andrius accessed on 29/8/05 at
http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/community/TeachingTrainingLearners/content/article_4840.htm


In relation to section 2.3 b)
What’s new in e-learning technologies, J. Fawcett accessed on 29/8/05 at
http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/community/TechnologiesforLearning/content/article_6883.htm


In relation to section 2.3c)
How to develop an Induction program for online students, K. Butler accessed on 29/8/05 at
http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/community/TeachingTrainingLearners/content/article_3033.htm



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