Call for greater funding for e-learning 


An alliance of NT educators is calling for increased funding of e-learning tools to empower struggling Indigenous adults in literacy and numeracy.

A team from the Northern Territory Government, Industries Services Training (IST) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) has just returned from a Territory-wide roadshow called EnablingNT that gave regional and remote teachers a taste of the latest digital learning technologies.

A strong response from teachers, educators and students has led the alliance including the NT Department of Education and Training (DET), local training organisation IST and the Service Industries Training Advisory Council (SITAC) to call for an increased roll-out of digital learning technologies in bush education.

Two mobile classrooms wove their way from Alice Springs to Darwin last week, visiting regional and bush communities to demonstrate a range of e-learning software that connects cultural values of local communities within the education process.

Teachers, educators, students and community leaders from Ti Tree, Ali Curung, Tennant Creek, Elliot, Daly Waters, Larrimah, Katherine and Bachelor test-drove the latest training resources that encouraged the cultural values of local communities to be built within vocational education subjects.

These include voice recording programs to support literacy and numeracy skills among Indigenous learners, using new media to improve retention of staff in NT Parks and Wildlife and a program to improve retention in the financial services sector.

CDU Director of RemoteLink, Paul Fitzsimons said vocational training was the backbone of adult learning in the Northern Territory and interactive electronic learning tools could be important assets for educators.

“We believe engaging and interactive learning is critical in assisting regional educators and students to enhance their vocational education and training experience,” he said.

“Our feedback from regional teachers shows how important this software can be in boosting the future of bush students in the Northern Territory,” he said.

Regional Operations Manager at DET and event organiser, Ross Lindsay said the event was aimed at boosting vocational training in the bush, but was equally appealing to primary and secondary school students.

“This trip was about getting feedback from communities who want to see this become an integral part of their education because it can appeal to students of all ages and abilities,” he said.

“They want these tools integrated into the education system because they capture the imagination of students."

Chief Executive of Industries Services Training, Tammy Kassiou said: “E-learning technologies used in partnership with existing methodologies provide students wherever they may be with greater access to vocational education and training opportunities.”

The E-nabling NT – taking the show on the road 08, was supported by the national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. It aimed to demonstrate usable e-learning tools within Australia’s vocational education and training sector.