WebTrain - What is it really? WebTrain is a new programming language for the WWW that has been specifically designed for education and training applications. Why build a new language? Learning management systems have mainly been built using existing WWW languages like JAVA, HTML, ASPs, XML, Cold Fusion etc. Whilst those technologies are good for the WWW, they have limitations when
applied to education and training. The current State run VET E-Learning systems are University designed and they are great at what they do (in Universities). They were never designed to operate in the VET sector yet State governments have thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at overseas companies and software to try to make it fit. They never will. This has all been at the expense of Australian companies. Australia has many situations where apprentices and trainees are being forced to train using university style learning strategies because their teachers have an academic bent, a university designed LMS and they know no better. The students have no choice but to put up with it. Eg. Metals is only one subject area but it requires a specific type of Learning Management System, not a generic one. All subject areas require their own strategy, not a generic one. WebTrain was built to address those shortfalls. We have created over 400 ELearning applications that address the actual needs of the VET system and its students. What makes us different?
Reverse Engineering Speed of development Tracking and reporting Assessment types Programming language Customisation Sustainable models of online delivery The Amount of Content available using WebTrain (1200+ units of competency over 20 Training Packages) Reverse Engineering The majority of software platforms require some level of staff and professional development to train people to use them. WebTrain has a very quick learning curve. Instead of you knowing where to find the necessary tools, WebTrain figures out who
you are, where you are and what tools you need. The tools find you Speed of Development 1 Why learn WWW languages? The languages you learn will probably not exist in a few years. WebTrain can remove the need for developers to learn any new language. This adds up to development times that other packages only hope for. Speed of Development 2 Resources must to be managed. It is very difficult for teachers and untrained developers to develop a system that allows them to upgrade and find their files. WebTrain manages resources in many ways. Even if you forget where you left certain files, WebTrain can figure it out for you. Tracking and Reporting
Detailed Student Progress reports Graphs generated on the fly about time spent online Reporting on Tutor activity Reporting on Developer activity You can decide on what you want recorded and how you want the reports displayed Assessment Types Multiple Choice
Multimedia Tick a Box Drag and Drop Print it out and email to your Tutor Print it out and mail it to your Tutor Programming Language Allows customisation of resources and Learning Management System to individuals Has no limits in the education and training field Every introduced functionality has been added due to actual needs rather than using technical wizardry to produce a make do solution. Allows WebTrain to produce E-Learning sites with any content, look and feel and logo for any organisation within an hour. That is on the WWW and with all necessary training ready to go. What makes E-Learning work?
Every VET online resource must have 7 levels. Miss one and it wont work. The online resource must: Be capable of being administered Be capable of being tutored Be capable of being edited and managed Be capable of being learnt Contain relevant content Be delivered within a very simple, easy to operate LMS Sustain itself and pay its way educationally and financially The Toolboxes being developed by ANTA have missed most of these points to some extent because they have aimed their resources at using LMSs that are University designed and at producing learning objects not working resources. They produce resources that wont work online unless a huge investment is undertaken by the organisation wishing to deliver these resources. There is one, however, that is still growing after 6 years of use within the VET sector.
Sustainable Models 1 In late 1997, WebTrain was selected for a Series 1 Toolbox in Metals Engineering mainly because we already had an LMS that was designed for the VET sector. The content for that Toolbox (13 units) was developed using a WebTrain based LMS under licence to ANTA. A single site was created and hosted by WebTrain to deliver that content. The Toolbox was completed on time and within budget in 1998. Throughout 1999 and 2000, 3 people were paid under the toolbox funding to support any organisation that wished to use this Toolbox. WebTrain also hosted an E-Learning site (for free) to support any organisation who wished to use this Toolbox online. The 3 people listened very carefully to the RTOs and their students and made changes to the LMS that was specifically
required for Metals online. In 2001, WebTrain split this E-Learning site up into 2 sites (which we again licenced for free) in order to handle the excessive student numbers. In 2002, WebTrain split one of these sites into 7 sites (one for each Australian state and we again licenced these for free) to handle the increase in the numbers of students. In 2004, we have split the 7 State sites up into 23 sites (some of these sites are for individual departments within TAFEs and Secondary Schools and we still licence them for free). We now have some 40 units available within the Metals sector. http://www.webtrain.com.au/metals.html A great many of the organisations using these materials and the WebTrain based LMS that supports it have been with us for 6 years. We expect that the number of sites will increase in 2005 to over 50 in order to handle the increase in student numbers. Some 2500 students per year is the figure for 2003. 2004 is already higher. These organisations are paying a fraction of their previous paperbased material costs by using ELearning as an alternative. Sustainable Models 2
Multimedia or not? Is it necessary and is it sustainable? Most multimedia is sometimes used because it is bells and whistles and it looks great to some people. Very little thought is put into what effect it will have on the Learner. If you want an insight into what mismanaged multimedia production does to a student, watch the start of the Simpsons TV show. It is useful in certain applications (and Webtrain does use it when it has been well thought out and directed) It is extremely expensive and therefore very difficult to recover development costs. Sustainability is also accountability in the spending of education dollars Ask yourself 3 questions. Before Multimedia came along: Was the main resource in a classroom a Text Book or paperbased document? Did that resource contain mostly black and white text and images? Did it work? If you are being honest, you will know that your answer to all 3 questions was Yes It begs the 4th question which is what it is all about. Why did it work? The answer is The difference between success and failure in a classroom is the TEACHER. Put your efforts into producing the best TEACHERS and you will succeed no matter what medium you use (online included). If you were in a race for our life, the management and organisation would be last and
TEACHERS and STUDENTS would be first every time. That is not necessarily on the minds of training organisations. A lot of E-Learning organisations in Australia do what is convenient for them, not the people who can make them successful. STUDENTTS AND TEACHERS. It is no different in the virtual/online classroom. The TEACHER is the key. The only difference is that different tools are used. Sustainable Models 3 Example/Scenario 1. I have a group of 15 students with a very good teacher. All of the knowledge is in the teachers head including fantastic methods of teaching the subject. This group is going to be examined externally. 2. I have another group of 15 students with another very good teacher. This teacher has access to the most unbelievable, whiz bang, bells and whistles type of resource that
money can buy. This group is also going to be examined using the same exam as the first group. What is the difference in outcomes between the groups? The answer is very little except that the second group could cost many times more to train/educate. Why do it? You can never recoup the cost. The resource also has a limited lifespan. If online education and training is to succeed, practitioners must be educated as to the pros and cons of using multimedia. From experience and having a successful business that relies entirely on online education and training, we know that multimedia is very over-rated. We do use it but we are very careful about where it is used. Content Subjects Available Business Services IT Metals Engineering Retail Workplace Trainer and Assessor Business Admin Hospitality Electronics Quality Security Guarding
Harness Racing Financial Services Professional Development of Teachers Horticulture Tourism OH&S Construction Automotive Aged Care Child care IELTS Preparation ESL Primary School Maths Rail Training Nursing Accounting Real Estate Agriculture Summary
WebTrain allows an organisation to produce their own online solution that can be altered at any time WebTrain can also provide a total solution for your organisation
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