If the national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the TVET SA Team anything, it would be that, to stay ahead in the skills development game, we would have to further embrace available technology and adopt a blended learning approach to deliver our learning programmes continuously and effectively.
When the national lockdown was enforced for the first time a year ago, Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd (TVET SA) was in the fortunate position that we were already more than halfway through the development of our first e-platform based learning programme offering.
In 2019, TVET SA partnered with the FP&M SETA to convert its existing Team Leader skills programme comprising 5 credit bearing unit standards, into an E-learning programme for Team Leaders and Supervisors in a manufacturing context. The initial lockdown period was productively used to complete the outstanding elements of the Team Leader E-Learning Programme, in time for its planned launch in June 2020.
The TVET SA team reviewed the existing Team Leader programme contents and adapted the learning programme activities to include introductory videos, downloadable readings, portfolio activities and other E-learning tools such as multiple-choice quizzes.
The professional videos featured experienced TVET SA facilitators. The aim was to capture the attention of the learners and to drive home the most important aspects while also providing the learners with the familiar face of a TVET SA facilitator that they could relate to.
The learning programme was launched on 30 June 2020 with the enrolment of 18 participants on a pilot project to test the validity of the programme and the E-learning methodology. The group successfully completed the programme at the end of November 2020 and their results were verified by the FP&M SETA at the start of 2021.
In addition to the knowledge and practical skills that were imparted during the course, the learners also developed some essential life skills such as self-discipline, time management, and taking responsibility for the monitoring of their own progress as they advanced through the course.
Learners were further encouraged to combine the knowledge and skills obtained from the E-learning programme with their own experiences gained in the factory when completing their assignments.
For some learners it was a speedy introduction to the world of computer technology and they had to quickly adapt to a new way of learning using laptops or smartphones to access the learning programme content and complete and upload their assignments.
Throughout the programme, TVET SA provided technical and programme support. Regular feedback sessions were facilitated at the end of each unit standard, coinciding with the writing of a Unit Standard Summative Assessment.
One of the learners that enrolled on the course was Shahieda Sables. Shahieda started her journey at Prestige Maitland in 2002 as a Sewing Machine Operator.
Since going on the TVET SA Team Leader E-Learning Programme, Shahieda has grown exponentially which lead to her promotion as a Supervisor.
The course taught her how to communicate and work with people, and how to solve problems. The course also provided her with more insight into the operational requirements of running a production line.
Once she completed the course, Shahieda said “I feel ready to be a Supervisor” and her entire team can attest to this. One can easily see how the skills that Shahieda has acquired during the course have become the foundation of her management style.
Since November 2020, a second and third intake of learners have been enrolled on the programme and the learners are making excellent progress.
For more information on the Team Leader E-Learning Programme click here.