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NBN helps with virtual classroom

Vocational education and training health students in regional Western Australia are among the first in the country to trial a “remote learning” classroom via the national broadband network.

During the five-month pilot program, clinical simulations have been captured in Perth and streamed in real time to nursing and aged care students more than 70 kilometres away in the Peel region, south of the state’s capital.

Challenger Institute of Technology hospitality and human services director Kerry Donovan said the technology is part of a regional strategy to train and retain more students locally.

The institute is currently working with the Peel Development Commission on a “learn local” campaign and with neighbouring universities to increase training options and student pathways.

“This technology has the potential to increase training opportunities for students living in the Peel region by providing remote access to practical and relevant simulated nursing training,” Donovan said.

Sixteen students currently enrolled in the Certificate IV in Aged Care and two foundation units at Murdoch University have participated in the trial, which is likely to be expanded across the region to include diploma in nursing students.

She said the web-conferencing technology facilitated the participation of Peel students in clinical demonstrations simultaneously with fellow students in Perth. Students could ask questions and participate in discussions with their “remote” trainers during the broadcast in preparation for undertaking clinical placements.

Locating suitable streaming technology and upskilling staff to use the technology were identified as initial challenges.

The live streaming project is part of the national VET e-learning strategy to expand broadband-based training. Peel is one of the first sites in WA to rollout the broadband network.

Linda Belardi

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