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VET Development Centre Specialist Scholarship: Event 2 – Professional development

Group activity
Facilitator Greg Stephens got us all thinking about leading projects and teams in this group activity.

Today I attended the second scheduled event for the VET Development Centre Specialist Scholarship. The event was a professional development session facilitated by Greg Stephens. During  the session, Greg presented his unique perspective on the following themes that mapped to the nine units that make up BSB51407 Diploma of Project Management:

  • The People side of Leading Projects
    • Leading projects in the contemporary workplace
    • Project Leadership – What’s important?
  • Leading through the Project life cycle
    • High performing project teams
    • Leading teams at each stage of the project cycle
  • Leading through Project challenges
    • Addressing resistance; when things go wrong; managing yourself

Greg also initiated lively discussion, activities and presented examples of:

  • model project success factors such as:
    • Pinto and Slevin’s 1998 list of 10 project success factors
    • Turner’s 1999 project drivers diagram
  • differences between project management and project leadership
  • project leader qualities
  • characteristics of effective leaders
  • characteristics of an effective team
  • situational leadership model
  • work preferences – team management systems
  • Belbin’s Team role summary descriptions
  • what drives performance and engagement
  • coaching the GROW model
  • Tuckman’s four-stage (Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing) group development model with Edison’s (Informing, Conforming and Deforming) expansion
  • tips for influencing, persuading and resolving conflict
  • guidelines for leading change
  • managing employee resistance to change
  • responding to indifference or anger
  • a resilience framework (Vision, Determination, Interaction, Relationships, Problem solving, Organisation and Self confidence)

VET Development Centre Specialist Scholarship: Event 1 – Induction

Introduction
VET Development Centre Specialist Scholarship: Event 1 – Induction

This year I was fortunate enough to be granted a VET Development Centre Specialist Scholarship. Specialist Scholarships are available to non-teaching staff who wish to develop their skills, capability and professional standing within the VET system. Among the services provided by specialist staff are student support, student administration, human resources, learning design, records management, purchasing, learning resources, information technology, occupational health and safety and financial management. The Specialist Scholarship Program focuses on the professional development of non-teaching staff in the context of high level administrative and specialist tasks required of them by internal and external stakeholders.

How am I using my scholarship?

I’m using my Specialist Scholarship to attend the AR Studio Augmented Reality Camp (ARCamp) at the Inspire Centre, Canberra in May 2013. Attending ARCamp will give me the opportunity to develop my practical skills in designing and building augmented reality learning experiences; access to technology, equipment and expertise to prototype augmented reality concepts and evaluate augmented reality as a technology and then determine how it can be best applied to new and existing learning contexts.

By the completion of my scholarship in late 2013, my goal is to have developed a number of marker-based and location-based augmented reality experiences that can be used and then customised by trainers and learners inside the institute and those outside in the wider vocational education community. My goal is to develop these augmented reality experiences in conjunction with enthusiastic teaching staff and teaching centres to make sure the augmented experience accurately represents real workplace activities. The types of real workplace activities I’m currently exploring for augmented reality experiences include hazard/risk identification in the workplace, apply control measures to a hazard/risk in the workplace and fire drill training.

An AR risk/hazard identification experience previsualised with Duplo.
A risk/hazard identification AR experience previsualised with Duplo.

What have I been doing?

Recently, I’ve been researching tools that I can use to develop my augmented experiences. For the moment, I’ve decided to use Aurasma to create my marker-based experiences and Layar to create my location based experiences. During this time I’ve also been using my iPad and a booklet of AR markers on loan from a colleague to explore a number of different marker-based AR experiences.

Days later or maybe even weeks later

Days later or maybe even weeks later is a concept for a collaborative workplace/institute/teaching centre-wide activity for staff and students designed to mend the physical and psychological effects of the Victorian government’s $300 million in cuts from the state’s TAFE sector. Physical and psychological effects could include closure of campuses, a reduction of courses being offered and job cuts.

This blog post contains exerpts from a conversation about the concept I had with myself on our organisation’s Yammer network. This blog post attempts to consolidate the concept.

I saw the activity taking place after the catastrophic event. It could’ve been 28 days later or even 28 weeks later. It doesn’t really matter. Just as long as the scenario provides an exposition,  defines the goal(s) to be achieved by staff and students and also describes the resources/materials that are available for use.

I saw the activity involving the every staff member and their respective teaching centre. From the top to the bottom of the organisational chart. The CEO would actually play a pivotal role in activity. They would be responsible for broadcasting/providing updates on the progress of the activity. These updates would also allow activity facilitators to adjust the activity if/when required.


I saw each teaching centre being responsible for helping students contribute a specific artefact or service from their particular area of expertise. The artefact or service (and production of) would contribute to the activity while also satisfying the students scholastic assessment requirements.

Nothing about the activity changes the need for students to demonstrate their skills and provide evidence of their competence. It’s just their output or artefact may change, but not how they work through the process of creating the artefact.

I didn’t want the activity to involve only our Australian based campus. I wanted the activity to be inclusive. What better way to reach out to our state and international counterparts than a part in a inter-campus activity.

Hospitality Tourism planning is highly complex and requires integrated and flexible approaches. The activity would reflect the typical nature of each particular area of study. for example, hospitality and tourism is a complex industry that requires flexible approaches and unique problem solving skills, particularly in the context of responding to a natural disaster. Real-world examples that require application of employability skills and dimensions of competency.


Scientist area always important in an activity involving zombies. They serve as one of the last hopes – finding a cure!

The activity would take place in real time and play-out over an entire semester, perhaps even the entire scholastic year. Although maintaining momentum over this period of time could be difficult. The pacing of the narrative would be informed by the deliverables of each course.


Testing the activity on a teaching centre could be a good way to identify issues.

Then I realised. Yes. This is a zombie game.

This activity would take place openly and in public. Non-students and staff would be able to observe the progress of the activity via the organisation’s website. Completing the activity publicly gives people the opportunity to see the work the students and staff are doing together (Outside an open day, showcase or expo context).


Then I realised the zombie metaphor is problematic.

Staff and students are not to blame for the funding cuts.


Although the activity may not be completely appropriate at this point in time, I do think there is potential for a collaborative workplace/institute/teaching centre-wide activity for staff and students to occur.

Unicorn City and the dimensions of competency

The description for the official Unicorn City trailer on Youtube describes the protagonist as ‘a hard core gamer creates a Utopian society based on rules of table top gaming in a desperate attempt to prove to a prospective employer that he has leadership skills.‘ The creation of a utopian society by the protagonist is a clear demonstration of the protagonist’s Transfer skills. Transfer skills are the capacity to transfer skills and knowledge to other contexts. These skills make up one of the dimensions of competency that need to be demonstrated by learners participating in Australian vocational education and training. Dimensions of competency are the knowledge and attitudes required to apply technical skills to regular and irregular workplace situations. Other dimensions of competency are:

  • Task skills – Undertaking and completing the specific tasks that make up the whole work activity as well as completing the individual actions that make up the task, such as identifying or classifying tasks to be completed.
  • Task management skills – Efficiently managing a number of different tasks to complete a whole work activity, such as evaluating the whole work activity, prioritising tasks to be completed and then continue to review or monitor the completion of each task and whole work activity.
  • Contingency management skills – Responding to problems or issues related to completing tasks in the workplace, such as changes in routine, unexpected results or outcomes from task or difficult and problematic clients.
  • Job/Role environment skills  – Responding and managing workplace responsibilities and expectations, such as working with colleagues, interacting with clients and suppliers, complying with organisational procedures or meeting industry benchmarks.

The 2011 Trainer and assessor currency program

Today I participated in the Trainer and assessor currency program. I had completed the Certificate IV Training and Assessment in 2010, so taking part in the program will help to make sure my qualification stays current. It’s also a requirement under Standard 1 of the AQTF guidelines for vocational education and training (VET) practitioners who deliver training and assessment.

The 4 steps involved in maintaining VET practitioner currency.

The program covered the 4 steps involved in maintaining VET practitioner currency. To remain current I must:

  • model high standards of performance
  • determine professional development needs
  • participate in professional development activities
  • reflect on and evaluate professional practice.

Model high standards of performance
The Model high standards of performance topic discussed:

  • how I can use organisational support mechanisms to help me model a high standards of practice. For example, I can could contact the marketing, compliance or ICT department for help.
  • how state and federal government policy guides the work I do. For example, the AQTF 2007/10 provides standards to make sure training and assessment is consistent across the country.
  • Contestability in Victoria. More information about contestability can be found at Shaping our future.
  • Professional techniques. For example, I must provide best practice examples of OHS, ethical behaviour/professional conduct
  •  Organisational/legal requirements. For example, documentation I prepare for the delivery of my training must contain VET sector legal requirements such copyright, privacy, duty of care, OHS and AQTF.

Determine professional development needs
The determine professional development needs topic discussed:

  • how currency and minimum VET sector teaching requirements can shape my career in the VET sector. For example, Dr John Mitchell refers to the ‘advanced VET practitioner’ in his article Capabilities of the emerging ‘advanced VET
    practitioner’ (87Kb PDF)
    .
  • how to maintain my CV to meet VRQA requirements. For example, include a detailed work history, education history, professional development activities, projects I’ve undertaken, subscriptions relevant to my work, documents I’ve published and networks I participate in.
  • how to find out about my rights and obligations as a VET sector practitioner. For example, Fair Work Australia, Multi Business Agreement and Australian Education Union, AQTF and VRQA.
  • how assessment must occur in the workplace or a simulated workplace. See guidelines for a simulated workplace described in the AQTF 2010 Users guide to the essential conditions and standards for continuing registration. I think that assessment could occur in the context of a workplace based Alternate Reality Game (ARG).
  • how organisational objectives are aligned with state, federal government policy for the VET sector.
  • how my professional development plan should outline my work and personal objectives, identify areas that require development, identify opportunities for learning, identify relevant work projects and relate to my organisational training needs profile.


Participate in professional development activities

The participate in professional development activities topic discussed:

  • how to choose professional development (PD) activities. For example, PD activities sold take into consideration my learning style, career goals and aspirations and contribute to the maintenance/currency of my professional VET practice.
  • how there are many external sources of support. For example, websites related to my professional practice, my Twitter stream, my personal learning network (PLN).
  • how informal (people working in industry, peers) and formal (industry organisations, communities of practice) professional networks can provide PD.
  • how technology can be used for PD. For example, using my Twitter stream to create my own personal learning network (PLN), participating in online events like MOOCs or webinars and subscribing to edtech related RSS feeds.

Reflect on and evaluate professional practice
The reflect on and evaluate professional practice topic discussed:

  • how to monitor VET sector developments and trends that impact VET sector professionals. For example, follow the research by the National Centre for VET Education Research (NCVER) and Australian VET Research Association (AVETRA)
  • how to manage feedback from colleagues and clients
  • how continuous improvement techniques and processes can be used to maintain professional practice. For example, evaluation and reflection on my own professional practice (my blog), ongoing education and training, team meetings and networking.