Digitisation seems to be on everyone’s mind at present as another article in this issue shows. It is driving changes in the ways people work and also learn. COVID has bought the issue to the fore too.

This is a couple of 2021 offerings from the International Labour Organisation (ILO). One – a policy brief – is relatively short, about 12 pages, and it summarises a more fulsome 140 page report entitled: ‘Digitalization of national TVET and skills systems: Harnessing technology to support LLL – An enquiry and action framwork’

The report

The big report is divided into about 10 sections. It covers a wide range of topics, but we are going to concentrate on how “digitalization can affect training and assessment, and the impacts it can have on how we develop, certify and recognize skills.” This is covered in section 6 of the report and is probably the area of most interest to VDC News readers.  We’ll touch on other issues too, though.

Figure 12 on page 49 outlines some of the features where digitisation plays a key role for providers, including: content, learning and student management systems, digital content authoring and web conferencing and virtual classrooms to facilitate online or distance learning. This is to say nothing of approaches to delivering digital skills and other capabilities that learners need immediately and throughout their future life and work, so look at what the report and the policy brief have to say about those issues.

Moving online

As we found here in Australia, the move to more digital and online approaches to delivery needed to be very quick, so was not necessarily done as well as it could have been. We, like many others, were underprepared.

The ILO is really suggesting the need to consolidate, learn from and build on these recent experiences. As the report suggests:

“Supporting fully online learning requires a substantial investment in course design, fit-for-purpose learning content, teacher training and the development of new administrative processes … It requires nothing less than a different business model to support the different approach to teaching and learning.”

This quote from the ILO’s report rings true from the Australian experience. Like others, we have

“… struggled to provide student and teacher access to computer equipment and reliable Internet, to implement and support technologies for live workshops (web-conferencing services), to provide suitable learning resources for online learning, to train teachers to facilitate online sessions effectively, and to cope with a new level of privacy and security issues.”

In the next issue we will be highlighting a new report from NCVER, entitled “The online delivery of VET during the COVID-19 pandemic: part 2” which is due for release on 23 February. Let’s see what that says!

Where the real future lies?

Blended learning will be the future, perhaps, by combining (or enhancing) “the face-to-face component of courses with varying levels of online activity, including accessing information, completing online activities, engaging with other learners and managing assessment processes.” Digital readiness for online or blended delivery requires four core systems: (1) learning management systems, (2) assessment systems, (3) content development systems, and (4) live classroom systems.

And finally …

The policy brief and report both have a lot of useful information in them, including (in the report’s case) a link to the Commonwealth of Learning’s Moodle implementation course. There are also some useful publications and other documents associated with the ILO report, and an audio file that can add value. Go here to access them.