I was given the opportunity to present an idea to a network of Outreach workerswho are looking at blogs and various online tools in their own practices. Some excitement was generated around the idea with a name already flowering for it, “Pay It Forward Learning”. The name was nominated by 2 in the group referring a movie and book of the same title. I haven’t seen either of them, but will be watching the movie at least to begin with…

Following is an outline of the idea:

  1. Set up a wiki to collaboratively develop and deliver course materials on. I have set up the Pay It Forward Learning wikispace for this.
  2. Select or develop a Training Package that leads to recognition in an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
  3. Transfer the list of competencies required for recognition in that course to the wiki, from the National Training Information Service (NTIS).
  4. Design assignments for each of the competencies that require students to create learning resources for that competency. Include quality links and other student learning resources to assist that student learn that competency.
  5. Students using the Pay It Forward Learning wikispace are encouraged to keep a weblog of their efforts, uploading assignments as they complete each competency.
  6. When the student has completed all the assignments in a Training Package, they submit their weblog and assignments for Recognition of Prior Learning to any participating RTO.
  7. The RTO assesses the weblog, noting any assignments worth loading to the Pay It Forward Learning wiki.
  8. Any assignments that are used in the wiki, the student receives a discount to the fee they are required to pay to receive assessment, formal recognition, and certification.
  9. Any gaps in a student’s competency, identified through assessment and testing is filled through face to face training.
  10. The student has an option to act as a mentor to the next student, and pay out part of their fees in hours.

NB. Many students in Australia will probably need to be issued with a laptop and a broadband internet connection. Internet connections at the time of writing this concept were as low as $30 per month, and a laptop complete with free and open source software could be obtained for under $500. These costs could be invested into the student with a view to reclaiming the amount through either eventual cash repayment, mentoring time, or learning resource developments.

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