This session was presented to the conference by a one way video, two way audio link with Telecom Training Services in Melbourne. The editors have prepared the following summary of the speech, graphics and video excerpts used in the session.
Training is an integral part of Telecom's activities and must be an effective contributor to corporate goals. Telecom Training Services (TTS) was established in 1988 as a shared resources unit which supports the business and functional divisions of Telecom. TTS brought the previous training units into one unit which now has to operate on a full cost recovery basis. TTS deals with other Telecom divisions as clients who may, if they choose, seek providers other than TTS for meeting their training needs.
Telecom's investment in training is estimated to be $250 million per year, including the costs ascribed to travel and accommodation for trainees and their absences from their workplaces. TTS, with about 1050 people and an annual budget of about $104 million, provides about 70 to 75% of Telecom's training. The activities range from initial technical and trade training to corporate management training. Operations of TTS are directed from the national office in Melbourne, which includes a national design and development unit for research into training delivery, materials development and other topics. At the five regional levels, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory, and Western Australia, the major activities are delivery of training, although some customisation of national courses is undertaken. Regional office people may also participate in the work of the national design and development unit.
Telecom Training Services has a business plan. The four main objectives are
TTS is working towards improved access through greater use of distance learning and communications technologies as in telelearning and video conferencing. Training has to be timely, available when the client and learner want it, and responsive totheir needs. We are moving away from reliance upon "front end" training towards a life long learning perspective.
The content of training has a client focus. TTS uses skills audits to ensure that training is job oriented, and modular approaches that permit clients to select what they need. Integrated skills training is important, particularly in relation to developing a customer and business orientation for Telecom's technical people. Competency based assessment is also important, needing to satisfy supervisors that skills are being transferred to the job. Challenge assessments are used because there is no need for trainees to study for skills and knowledge if they can demonstrate prior acquisition.
The introduction of open learning approaches into TTS activities represents an evolution rather than a revolution. The gradual introduction of new techniques appears to give better acceptance by clients and learners. Trainers need to be introduced into a new way of working, in which learning is less centred upon the instructor and the roles of facilitator, tutor and designer become much more important. New methods for training have to be coordinated with other changes, such as the recent restructuring for the technical officer grades.
Telelearning, in the form of audiographic teleconferencing, is giving encouraging outcomes. The Optel Telewriter, for example, has been used for point to point and multipoint conferencing (refer also to Bresa 1990, in this volume). Audiographics can be very successful with certain types of courses or parts of courses, and there are attractive savings in the costs of travel, accommodation and absences from the workplace. Video conferencing is used for some types of training, for example the induction course provided to newly recruited engineers. Depending on the needs, this may be two way video and audio as in Telecom's 2 Mb/s service, or one way video, two way audio, like IBM's ISEN (refer Cheng 1990, in this volume). Videodisc and CD ROM technologies are at a research and development stage at the present time.
|Please cite as: Gallagher, F. (1990). Open learning and Telecom Training Services. In R. Atkinson and C. McBeath (Eds.), Open Learning and New Technology: Conference proceedings, 154-156. Perth: Australian Society for Educational Technology WA Chapter. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/olnt90/gallagher.html|