E-learning Options For Small Business

Manager: Tony Atkinson - business [at] lmsbc.com.au
Facilitator: Karen Atkinson - atkinsontraining [at] aapt.net.au

Sponsoring RTO: Lake Macquarie Small Business Centre

Target client groups: Skills shortage; Learners in the workplace

Project summary:
The Lake Macquarie Small Business Centre is a Registered Training Organisation providing training, mentoring and advisory services to business. Its market is primarily small and medium enterprise. This project consists of a team of 9 representing RTOs, Small Business, Training Participants, IT experts and Industry Associates. The Lakeside Learners team will investigate and identify the most suitable social software option to assist in creating a network of support for learners at LMSBC.

Online presence: (blogs, wikis, EdNA Group, websites, flickr tag, del.icio.us tag etc)

Postcard from the Field

Proposed LearnScope visit/s: Alex on Sept 4

Team events (focus, date, time, availability to other teams)


Background to the project:
The LMSBC has identified in the past the isolation associated with distance and workplace learning. LMSBC aims to create a network of support through E learning in which learners may develop supportive relationships with LMSBC staff, trainers, other learners and small business owners. This project will also increase access and equity by offering alternative learning methods and interactive resources for all learners.
New opportunities arising for our team are expanding our current knowledge in E learning options and being able to offer further learning options to our participants – as well as information sharing through technology.

Proposed project outcomes:
1. To investigate and identify the most suitable social software option to assist in creating a network of support for learners at LMSBC.
2. To increase the confidence and competence of team members in using E Learning
3. To identity the social software which clearly supports the philosophy of work based learning.
4. To identify the suitability of the LMSBC website to facilitate E learning.
5. To implement the chosen software option into LMSBC’s network of support for learners.

Benefits to client group:
Small Business is notorious for being time poor. Our small business clients and learners will be able to access the E learning network forums/blogs etc at a time suitable to their work and lifestyle allowing better access and equity for all learners.
Learners will be able to access other learners, LMSBC trainers and staff in a supportive network to share information and ideas.
The LMSBC will include information regarding our E learning options for Small Business on our promotional and enrolment materials to allow all participants and learners to access the technology available – at any time.
Incorporating E learning options will better cater for differing needs and interests of each person as they will be able to ask questions, post hints about learning and assist each other in a collaborative and interactive manner

Evaluation strategies:
  • Evaluation of the impact of this project will be made through feedback obtained from learners through discussions, use of E tools, and online surveys.
  • Additionally, learners will be encouraged throughout their learning experience to provide LMSBC with feedback on the value of network support.
  • People who have experienced studying prior to the use of E support and are now studying with this support are asked to make direct comparisons as to the benefits of this network to their learning.
  • The positive effect of this E support will be reflected in an increase of referral from past participants. This impact can be recorded and measured through our training enquiry management system.

We are capturing our learning via:
  • Minutes and Brainstorming – Which will record how the project is progressing and how the team is learning more about E Learning and flexible delivery for small business
  • Surveys and questionnaires that are recorded at the start, during the project and at the end to identify learning as it progresses – as an indication of how far learning has come within the team
  • By identifying whether outcomes are being achieved throughout the project and at the end
  • By using an online journal and online discussion with the Team – this will allow team members to assist each other with learning and share ideas and knowledge even when the team is not meeting together
  • Quotes and anecdotes from Team Members during meetings and virtual meetings with the Project Team – to allow each member to identify what they are learning and how this knowledge can be utilized and shared within the group

We hope to share our learning via:
  • Progress discussed on Website
  • Distribute our first Blog- ask people to contribute
  • Subcommittee and board meetings
  • Workshops introducing technology involving industry groups and learners
  • Reports to in house meetings, staff meetings, Managers etc
  • LearnScope Conference presentations
  • Ongoing involvement in national network groups
  • Involvement in industry, community or VTE networks
  • Staff development

Proposed project products/outputs:
  • Team blogs
  • Development of a new resource/ product
  • Project portfolio – including links, stories, products, MP3 files, mindmaps, FlickR tags