Organisational capacity

Established in the early 1970’s as the Further Education Sub-committee, the acronym “MADEC” was first derived from the Mildura and District Educational Council (MADEC). The Council evolved from the need to attract educational resources and services into Northwest Victoria and MADEC was formally constituted in 1970 as a community-based research and development organisation, focusing on the issues of regional education provision. During much of the 70’s, MADEC’s work involved documenting the gaps in education in north-west Victoria and, to a lesser extent, devising and providing delivery systems to meet these needs. At the time MADEC, along with other similar Victorian centres (including the Council of Adult Education), contributed to the emerging regional education system and to the development of the local TAFE.

A strategic vision

The corporate strategic plan outlines how services will be delivered in outlying areas, and there is a big focus on developing online learning to help meet these goals. MADEC's capacity and commitment has increased over the last 6 months. Management is committed, the board not so much. The commitment is there to look at resourcing: the staff have the skills, they just need to be released.
5 years ago MADEC was involved in the flexible learning network for Sunraysia TAFE. These early days set the conceptual framework. Although most of the staff involved in that project have left, David is still there and drives the change.

Managing change

As the change agent, David's strategy is to start in the areas where there is no resistance to online learning, where the staff are supportive and IT savvy. This will enable them to get some successes on the board and then motivate the other staff.

Teacher readiness / capacity

Thre is still some resistance in the trainers to participate in online learning - they still see it as a threat. Having said that trainers in IT and business /services have put their courses online, as they have shown enthusiasm .
As far as the CGEA online trial is concerned, there is resistance. The staff will need to do more work to convince the teachers if the CGEA is to go online. Having said this, MADEC has a commitment to online, but the greatest issue is around adequate resourcing,and is possibly the biggest stumbling block. There is a need emerging for someone solely dedicated to developing online materials.

Professional development

The team was asked what their greatest professional development/support needs were as a result of this project and it htey had any specific ideas/plans for meeting these. Some suggestiosn were:
A dedicated person to putresources online rather than using current teaching staff. MADEC's training development officer will lobby senior management to dedicate these /resources. The project has highlighted that delivering face-to-face (f2f) and online are very different. They will need some general PD in how to structure changes form F2F to online. In this trial there was a lot of wasted time.
There is a need ongoing PD, particularly for the CGEA teachers as the client group is different and they have less education and often limited computer skills.

Technology Infrastructure

MADEC has a significant infrastructure, which is very well developed. The drawback is that security concerns can block access to easily accessible online tools for trainers. They do have scope and presses to open up the security to provide access to online resources. They are also investigating the possibility to setting up a separate system for students.

Blended learning as a business option

For MADEC, online learning is a sustainable business decision. it will enable them to provide access to a lot of qualifications in 2 or 3 different modes. It will provide more flexibility to better meet student needs, as training can be self paced.