Monday, 2 March 2009

Mahoodle Hub

Last week I stood in for our work based learning advisor (Theresa Welch) to deliver a short presentation to a consortium of local training providers. This was part of a two day launch for the Staffordshire Providers Association and the Black Country Training Group. They work across the West Midlands with training organisations delivering a range of vocational education and training for Young People, Adults and Employers.

These two organisational networks work independently of one another, but are being funded under two unique projects funded by the Association of Learning Providers, which could allow closer collaboration. Both networked communities of trust will use two interconnected suites of virtual learning environments (VLEs) that can connect via a central (Moodle) HUB. This ability to link once previously separate Moodle VLEs together has been available for a while. This ability for students and co-workers to share resources across VLEs has much potential for collaborative working and partnerships with Colleges and Universities for example. Coupled with these networked VLEs these training providers also have the option to utilise an embedded (single sign on) eportfolio system called Mahara. (Left click above image to understand the HUB). This modular and therefore scalable system was first instigated for some training providers in Devon and Cornwall a few years ago. Derrin Kent, the man who put that together has learned some lessons and is keen to help West Midlands training providers benefit from this unique network idea based around a central HUB.

Follow these two links (Provided by Carnegie College) for short video clips on what Mahara can do:

These two separate work based learning networks are being trained up in the use of Moodle and the importance of change management to allow the embedding of e-NVQs and general distance learning concepts to become reality. This is all being provided by a local company who specialise in Open Source software, training and course creation services. The holistic way that TDM ltd is approaching this project sounds very pragmatic and is pointing to educating providers to adopting change of practice and the embedding of technology as a long term solution to assessing and training busy workers and professionals. It is a model of awareness, training, collaboration, and technical solutions that could benefit other sectors.

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