Staying Ahead of Disruption: State of Vocational Education 2023 [ANZ]


Rewatch the “Staying Ahead of Disruption: State of Vocational Education 2023” webinar, a live discussion to help educators and institutions understand how they can face disruptive challenges to be successful as they navigate 2024. Join Marita Bird (Educational Design Manager at TasTAFE), Kerri Buttery (CEO at VETNexus), and Paul Pellier (Managing Director at Accelier Education) as they discuss the findings of our global study, the 2023 State of Vocational Education in Australia and New Zealand.

Video Transcript
Alright, Alicia. It's just tipped over eleven. Do you want me to get I'm gonna get it going? Yeah. Perfect. Okay. Gonna start things now.

Hello. Thank you for being part of our webinar today about the state of vocational education this year, staying ahead of disruption. We're just waiting on a few more folks to arrive. So we kinda kick things off in just a minute or two. So Hold time will be with you shortly.

Alright. Thank you for joining us. I can see some people on the line. So we'll get, we'll get going with this. We wanted to start by acknowledging the traditional custodian on the land we meet on.

In Sydney, the gadigal people, we pay your respects to their elders both past present and emerging, their ongoing knowledge, resilience, and struggles, as the first people of this land, we now call Australia, and we thank them for having us on their country. And you can see some of the artwork here from our reconciliation action plan, that we've got in action as well. So, let's kick things off. So, by way of introductions, so Ed Bray, I lead the international marketing teams here at Instructure. I'm joined by three panelists whose resumes are as impressive as they are intimidating.

I'll start with Marita. Marita is the education design manager at Taztafe. Prior to that, she's been developer, teacher, manager, and then shifted across into the that sector. Welcome, Marita. Thanks.

Of course. Next we have Carrie. Carrie Buttery is the CEO and founder of Vetnexus and digital literary license. She's worked in the Australian education sector since the nineteen nineties with a background as a business and technology leader, curious passion about use of technology and education, not only how this can be used to engage learners, but also streamline the role of the educator. Welcome Carrie.

Thank you very much. Perfect. And lastly, we have Paul, who's the founder of Managing Director Education, which is an RTO with over a decade service, and to the success of the Australian vocational education educational training sector. Paul's got a software development backgrounds, He loves crafting streamlined, highly automated business systems using technology, freeing his team to do what they do best, which is serving clients with a delightful course experience. Welcome Paul.

Thanks. Thanks for having me. Of course. I'm reading all your resumes. I'm I'm loving all the little bits and pieces learning more about each other.

We had the opportunity to also engage prior to this, and I just wanna say thank you to our panelists for helping us explain the state of vocational education. So let's kick things off. So, this is a survey that we ran in September of this year. It's the third year we've run the state of vocational survey. And over the year, things have changed a lot.

I think when we first launched the survey, we were still dealing with COVID COVID was a thing back then. And even last year, we're dealing with the after effects of COVID. Every year, the survey looks a little bit different. So some of the questions we retain and remain the same, but some of them changed because obviously the dynamics of the industry change. So, for the purpose of this conversation, we focused on the Australian results.

So we survey two hundred and five people, that are split across, trainers as well as, administrators across, across all of Australia. We've also got results for New Zealand and for the Philippines. This was an APAC wide survey. And so certainly check out our website if you wanna find out more about either of those markets. But for the purpose of this conversation, will keep things fairly centered around Australia.

So when we launched the survey this year, we're looking to explore, as I mentioned, a few different areas that are really sort current with the vocational industry right now. And there are four key findings that emerge from the survey. So, firstly, the vocational education education landscape is changing. So we know that, the current landscape looks very different to what things did a year ago, and that came out really strongly through the survey. Secondly, technology has become kind of table stakes in a lot of ways for, the vocational sector, and that came through in the study really strongly as well.

Thirdly, graduate employment continues to be really, really important, but there are certain challenges and we'll have a conversation around some of those and best ways we can navigate some of those two. And lastly, progressive institutions are better navigated to navigate some of this disruption So let's delve a little deeper on each of these. I'll be talking through some of the stats here, and then we'll just open it up to a conversation with the other panelists here. I guess, one of the first trends we looked at was the increased competition from universities. And just to help you understand these graphs here, you've obviously got a key here But the top two is a combination of the top two scores here.

So the sixty nine percent you're seeing here, people that thought there was either high competition or very high competition from universities. So I guess it might start with you, Paul. So, the increasing competition from universities, is this something that you're seeing on the ground, at ex at Xcelia? No. I could I can certainly say, I mean, you know, we we're provided that works with a lot of other RTOs, and I could certainly see where this might happen for certain providers depending on the space that they're working in. In our case, though, I I would say the opposite.

We've just had some really remarkable results from collaborating with universities. So I mean, right now I'm sitting here at an office, out of Southern Cross University, which is a beautiful place to to work out of. And, you know, they've been very accepting of, for us, basically, running an RTO out of here, which is cool. We've also got tape as part of the complex. There's another partnership in the vet sector.

And, some of our biggest projects over the last couple of years have been a really strong and tightly integrated collaboration. With Griffith University as well. And, so it it's just yeah. That that's very a surprising result, I guess, in some ways, if I look at it through my lens, but I could certainly see how it might not be so surprising for others. Yeah.

And I love what you talked about working with Griffith and other universities. And I think when we caught up prior to this, I think you I think you're thinking it is complimentary, not necessarily competitive, and I just love that sort of different tape on how to work with, with some of our universities in the system. Marita, how are you, collaborating with universities across Tasmania? We're working in a similar situation Paul, where we have a really diverse range of products. So, the more diverse you are, I think, they're probably the better off you might be. We're collaborating, especially in agriculture space.

I know that kind of sounds a bit heat because we're from Tasmania, but, you know, we've got, a center of excellence up in our North West Coast to it very far. And the universities are actually running their trials out of that farm. Like Paul was talking about, we, you know, we have co locations, so especially in our creative space. So we collocated with some of those areas. And in some of our, what we would probably commonly refer to as feeder programs, So our diplomas, we're actually co designing with some of, you know, they're actually a stakeholder in some of that.

So that that way when we're, our students are going through that part, that diploma pathway, they're moving into a uni course, and they're really confident. So they're part of the design, and they're actually, you know, named up as a stakeholder, then we regularly meeting with them. We have a scheduled meeting with the unis, and our department of occasion and so and bet. So all of all three of us, that happens every, I think, two months. So so that we're not treading on each other's toes and that we're trying to kind of feed each other.

So it actually like Paul was saying, it's really complimentary. We're not seeing an increase in competition, really, at all. Yeah. I think, you know, we seem like we're in agreement here about this. Carrie, do you think our tiers and universities complement each other? I do.

And, we're seeing more, and maybe this comment coming more from the pathway of there is a lot of universities also becoming RTOs. So dual sector providers. And so maybe some of that, competition is being recognized that these universities are, delving into the vet space as well. But, yeah, generally, it's a a really good pathways for an RTO to be working with universities so that their students have got that continuation through past diploma level. Perfect.

Well, it seems like we're all in filing agreement there, but I think there's some really good takeouts for people that might see it as competitive. And I think the key take out I have from this conversation is just how do you work better together and how you do you collaborate rather than, you know, being competition with some of the university providers. Let's move on to, the next finding, which is once again, all about disruption. As we're just reading through some of the stats here, I will just ask people If you do have questions along the way, just please pop them in the Q and A. You have a Q and A function, as part of Zoom.

So pop your questions there, and we'll try and get as many as we can at the end of the webinar, but you can ask questions just along the way. So let's talk about the current inflationary environment. So We asked a question to what degree does your institution's number of the student enrollment changed in the current environment. And you can see it was, almost eighty percent had some form of increase despite that sort of current inflation. I don't know.

It's funny if you cast our minds back through a year ago, the conversation was very different. It was about COVID. It wasn't about cost of living and inflation, which tends to dominate headlines at the moment. But this one was a bit of a surprise that, you know, it's a bit of a double edged sword where people obviously struggling with some of this, but then the vast majority of institutions are actually seeing increases in enrollment. Carrie, I might start with you.

Do you think of some of the factors we can attribute towards this uptick? I think people are struggling the cost of living, and then they're looking at the jobs that they've got at the moment and saying, how can I get to that next level? And maybe that's by doing a qualification so that I've got you know, something that I can get a promotion. It might be that they're looking to change jobs and generally If we want something that is a better job, than what we've got at the moment. Generally, we're going to have to go and do some sort of training and upskilling So I think people see it as a pathway towards, increasing their income to to move on to something else. And also just touching on what you said about COVID, COVID was what we saw that massive exit from people from the jobs that they'd been doing and deciding they wanted to do being different. Everyone made big changes in their lives.

And again, big changes, you know, if you're going into a different career, you're going to have to do some sort of study. And as we know with many jobs, vet is a really good pathway to get into something, much faster than going and doing a four year university degree. Yeah. I think as well there's been, like, a a trend towards lifelong learning as well, where you know, it used to be, you know, you break traditional education, you finish high school, you go to university, you're kind of done. I think increasingly, people are realizing that they need to constantly be educating themselves and rescaling.

And, obviously, the RTO sector is where a lot of people go for those types of training. Marita, are you seeing any change in, you know, what your incoming batch of learners are expecting? Yeah. We're seeing we're seeing a really strong integration and a real shift away from I don't wanna use the cloak for return, but, you know, flashing the pan technology. So technology, the fly by night, so we get, we get a lot of flashy vendors that come our way, and and that kind of over COVID, it was quite attractive. But now what we're doing is we're moving back into what's easy to use, and we stop, all that integration.

So it's been, it's been a really good learning curve for us, with kind of scaled back a little bit more than what we've probably ever did before. But what we've also seen is, especially we've got, like, a a stronger, federal focus on foundation skills and literacy skills. So we're certainly moving into a space where students are better supported that integration, there's more storytelling, there's more authentic content learning happening through that integrated tech. And we're certainly seeing some more of the industry technologies. So they're actually recognizing that the value of students learning in that space.

So especially hate to use aid again, but where our students are using Agriwebs. So they're building their calm plans. A simulated environments are using Agriwebs. So they're all they're using the tech with we're, getting that at great prices, but it's something they actually use when they leave. So it's been those kind of partnerships have been really blue, especially when there's a a strong industry focus in that space.

Yeah. You think about, you know, the rate of change, like, you know, COVID was a real catalyst, and then the rate of change hasn't stopped. I know we'll get on to some of the other disruptive things like AI a bit later on, but, you know, there's constantly a need for people to be rescaling. And, you know, you think about the role of RTOs, and it's probably never been as important as this right today. Speaking of technology, so maybe it's a good segue into our second trend, which is around how technology has become integral to success.

So we asked a question over here, overall, how is your institutions' use of technology impacting student success? And, you know, very close to a hundred percent, both across trainers as well as administrators. So, obviously, people feel that technology has impacted student success. I think if we, you know, were wound and went back in time to a few years ago, I I don't think the stats would have been quite as strong as this. Paul, how does technology help shape, teaching and learning at your institution? Oh, in many ways, and we've been using it for a very long time. And, I think one of the biggest ones for us when we first adopt Canvas, for example, and this is a really simple example, but I'd never actually thought of getting somebody video feedback on an assignment until Canvas came along and just had this little thing and we click a button and make a video and and give feedback to your students that way.

And it was that was a huge game changer But it the reason I bring that there's lots of other examples like that and, you know, as as you said in my bio, I've got a software background. So I've, you know, we're we're building all sorts of crazy things, especially more recently that are doing really fun and tricky things, but I don't think that's what impresses the students I might talk about that a little bit later on, but, I think the real goal is when we're adopting any kind of technology is what what role does it actually play in benefiting the student and their journey and their experience and their outcome? And that video example is just just fantastic because it doesn't you know, it might speed up the process from an administrative point of view a little bit, but the experience of the student, especially if they're doing a fully online course, of getting to have this kind of, asynchronous dialogue seeing the trainer face to face and getting that genuine feedback. And it's it's frequently cited as one of the the key features that I really enjoyed about their experience in doing the course for this. So whenever we build technology here, know, either something in the back end that streamlines things or if we, adopt a, you know, software from a, a, another vendor. It's always with the goal of, you know, yeah, it might help things behind the scenes, but where it frees up time for our trainers, how does that benefit the students? And and chiefly, does this give us more time to actually spend either face to face or one on one with students or basically does it give us more time to connect? So the technology is is never there to kind of to replace the humans.

I know so that that's a big theme at the moment with generative AI is that, yeah, how can we replace the humans? But, really, if we can offload some of the administrative stuff or the the heavy lifting that maybe even if if you look at the compounding effects something that might have tied up a trainer for one or two minutes in a repetitive task that they might do ten times a day. You know, you start to rack up the hours when you look at it over a period of weeks, or months, and if you look at it over a large team, and so those little gains of a couple of minutes because a bit of generative AI just helped summarize their feedback or something like that. You know, that's a that's quite a few hours they get to spend then face to face with students or, you know, one on one on a video call, and and that's a huge goal for us. So, I I've just year on year, I've just seen all these really, incremental but fantastic improvements as a result of adopting technology. Yeah.

I I love some of those points. And I think as well, the industry or at least the, you know, the software providers, they've had to shift as well if you think, you know, back you know, ten, twenty years ago, was very much based on the administrator. And, now it's really become student focused. I don't know here at Instructure. You know, we base a lot of our product development on student outcomes.

And so I think that comes, you know, it comes through really strongly when you see stats like this. Marita, obviously, you know, you've been at test tape a little while now. If you think sort of over the last sort of couple of years, like pre COVID, post COVID, Like, what changes have you seen, in the use of technology? We've seen a a strong, personal connection, like Paul was saying. So we had this emergency response. I'm not even gonna mention COVID because kind of over it.

But what what we've seen, in this space is that people have devices now where previously they may not. And we've had a real mobile first design policy. So fifty percent of our learners actually use the app. Like, which is fascinating, because I had no idea that it was that strong. So, that's changed the way that we did.

Either that's changed the way we actually have teachers creating podcasts because they're recognizing that students are busy and that they're trying to do other things. So the, you know, all that all the benefits that technology brings, it gives the student back more time as well. So it's actually been, in lot more flexibility. We've seen a strong uptake. We've also seen a lot of our support services extend their hours.

So It's not this nine to five business that we've had before. We've got students that are popping into libraries at seven o'clock or contacting support at nine o'clock at night. And those things, are now available where prior we wouldn't have. So it's actually had a really positive impact And I think it's also allowing them to be a little bit brave. So, some of the technology that they're using here We use it.

We have a strong VR focus at the moment in our libraries, and, they're actually built and wholly I mean, there are half a dozen books and five rooms, the way they do VR now. And it's it's really interesting. And students are feeling really safe in that space. So where, you know, before they were doing things for the first time and it might be on a real person or it might be in a real situation, where they're even having, you know, psychological least their conversations with an avatar. And it this kind of stuff is it's it's just been, really good for our students.

It's really good for our teachers, but also too. We're getting better outcomes out of it. So it's been really good. Yeah. So many great examples there, Marie.

Thank you for sharing. I love hearing all the different applications of technology across the industry. It's so it's so cool to hear. It's funny. We I I attended a Zoom conference, a few months ago, and they did this they had this sort of usage pre curbed.

And then, obviously, the to spike over COVID, and then the usage post COVID, and it seems like it came back a little, but it's it's still way ahead of where it used to be. And so it feels like some of the habits that we formed over COVID have just, like, continued on, which is, which is great to see. Carrie, I know, obviously, you work a lot of different RTOs. Do you have any tips on integrating technology? Yes. To touch on both of the things that that Paul and Marita have both said, and the graph that we've got has trainers and administrators.

So there's probably things for both. From an administrator per perspective, I would be saying have a look at workflows. You need to map out what it is that happens in your RTO, what is the workflow, And from there, you can then work out what technology you need. So there are so many toys out there. There are so many things that we could be using.

And like Paul said before, you know, they're creating some crazy stuff. It's looking at what is going to be useful and what's going to work for your RTO because I get RTOs asking all the time about different things. And I'm like, well, it actually depends. It's that there isn't one solution that fits everybody. So in terms of integrating technology, from an administrator perspective, workflows and mapping out what it is that you actually need and what's going to be of benefit to you.

From the trainer perspective, hundred percent what Paul said, it's using technology with purpose. So not just because it's there, not just because you think, oh, well, if we do this, that's different to everybody else. And like Marita said, they're having psychologically safe conversations with an avatar. That's awesome. It's giving them a real purpose for what they're doing, and it's not just because they've got technology.

So let's use it. Bear probably the key things that we need to be considering. Awesome. Some, some great examples of some great tips there from from our panelists. We did ask another question just around what aspects of technology are most integral to success, and we gave there was a list and obviously people could select as many as they liked, but You can see here, a whole range of aspects are considered integral, to success.

And so let's start with yourself, Marita. You know, returning back to face to face. Are there any examples of how deeper integration technology that can add value to the student experience? Yeah. I think all of our technologies, one thing that we're moving towards now. And my as if we were we probably more streamline than we ever have, is to make sure that they're talking to each other and that we have a single source of truth.

So the data for us is really, really important. But it can also be really overwhelming because every it seems that every technology, company or see if your software company are moving into more and more different things. So, you know, even just looking at a plagiarism software the other day, it was kind of like, okay. So that's great. And, yes, you can mark there.

But we've got somewhere else to mark, and then all of a sudden, they'll open up of these, you know, kind of idiosyncrasies in a really regulated environment. We need be really sure that we have a single source of truth. So it it's important that we don't we're not attracted by too much of that sort of stuff. And also to be looking at, streamlining of permissions for things. So it's not about coming at things with a stick.

It's about what site. So we're finding, that the more integrated it is, the better the data, the better the data, the better that we can see what students are actually up to. And we can have a more human centered design approach rather than, you know, with this fun fancy thing open in that space. Yeah. Perfect.

I know Paul, when we caught up the other day, you sort of looked at these different aspects and you were talking about the sort of inter they interrelated in some ways. Do you have any sort of any experience to share around the interrelationship between these? Yeah. I think I've just mentioned that what I said before is that, you know, I think if you were to ask students at the end of a course who who really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, you know, they're probably not gonna be saying in their feedback. Oh, gee, they they did a great job in integrating technology, but they probably will say things like G, it was really fantastic how I got, really timely feedback on my progress and performance, which is one of the the the one at seventy six there, or it was really great how I got to collaborate with my peers, and we worked on a project together, and we built this. Isn't it great? So I think it's really cool to see the interplay with these things.

I'd say that top one that really stood out there at ninety four percent integration of technology, can be used to leverage all these other point that are there. So that that's just something that stood out to me. And I always, as I mentioned before, I really like to think about, always very learner focused, like, what what are the things that are going to create great outcomes for, for graduates for learners and give them a really fantastic experience. And then the rest of it kind of falls into place underneath it. And if it doesn't serve that purpose, I'm kind of wondering what it's what it's there for.

But, you know, these aren't surprising these things. These are and they're it's a good list. Yeah. Interesting. You see the integration of technology is kinda underpinning all of it.

Obviously, the role of the of a learning management system, I think becomes really important because you've got some system that can integrate other systems. And so, obviously, you know, I work for Canvas, sorry, Canvas. And so, I that's what we do, but, there are other learning management systems as well, but, to show the importance of the integration piece. Alright. Let's move on, to our next trend, which was all around graduate employment.

And so you can see here, we asked a question of, you know, how effective do you believe institution is at preparing students for the workplace. And you can see, the top two, like, overwhelmingly trainers, administrators, everyone's considering that they are very, very effective, preparing students for the workplace, which is great to see. But we also asked a different question, which is what what do you struggle with? And you can see here that, you know, sixty one percent, it was actually the highest, stat here, sixty one percent of institutions struggle with graduate employment. And so it's kind of, this was a bit of a surprise. People think they're doing well, but it's still something that keeps people up at night clearly I mean, Marita, do you attribute these struggles to the current inflationary environment or a widening skills gap or the development technology or or some other factors, were where are your thoughts on this? Yeah.

This is actually a really interesting statistic like you were saying it's, you know, we think we're doing alright, and then all of a sudden it's like, oh, hang on a minute. I think one of the things in this space is And how do we track and we report on this information? So, for instance, if you have a certificate two course and you send a shoot and out to work placement and they never come back. It that's the best result ever. Like, so the workplace have have in your apprentice, and, you know, so it's not to say that what we did is pro is to prepare that student didn't actually help and probably also know, sometimes, I can't fit their employment, but it's I think really data in this space is really interesting because we don't know So a student, it'll be reported as withdrawn. But in actual fact, it's a really successful outcome.

So it's it's always tricky. I think data analysis is about perception and motivation. And so if we had a better way to track that post employee. And so I think that that would be that would be a good idea. Yeah.

And it's so important. I mean, especially in the space. Like, when you think about the nature of the education, it is very practical for school based education that's intended to get people into the workplace. But I don't think it's exclusive to IPOs. We we ran, a k twelve roundtable last week, and this is a big topic of conversation.

It's like, what is the purpose of education not for education's sake. It's to prepare people with the skills they need for life. And so I think it runs across the whole gamut of lifelong education, but, obviously, in RTO's, we feel it a lot because that's, the nature of a lot of the courses that are put together. Paul, is this impacting you? Are you being impacted by this at all? No. I mean, the the big figure there is the employment rates where, I guess, the the predominant product that we do is TAE teacher education.

So most of our students that come on board are are already placed in an enrollment, in a in a job or have a really good promise of up and coming work. You know, they're coming from, you know, they're an industry professional and, and they've been approached by their their local tape or whatever, and they wanna go and teach in that area. So that's kind of, you know, the the comes for us are are really good mainly because of the the the people that that are coming on board. So we haven't had to really think about that too much, but I can see, it's such an important figure. So for any audio that he's looking at that number, for themselves and going, gee, you know, he really need to what can we do to lift our game here? I can see it's a very important figure.

And completion rates, that's that's also important as well. I mean, there can be many many factors that, attribute to completion rates or non completion. That's a that's a figure that we looked at quite a number of years ago, and we really wanted to spend a lot of time working on how we can lift that. And, I think we do really well in that space now, but I think it's good for any, provider to identify these points of weakness and really double down on them if they're an issue. Because I I think if any of these things are a particular problem for an RTO, it it's very difficult to stay in the game.

I think so. Perfect. Well, we might move on to our last trend. And just a reminder, if you do have questions, pop them in the Q and A, and then we'll try and get to them at the end. Yes, the last one, which is around, progressive institutions, which are better placed to navigate disruption.

And so you've got a couple of different, stats here. One is what we looked at heavy LMS users, and so people that, you know, you know, high doctors, the LMS and use it very frequently. And then we have the non heavy LMS users, and the the samples kinda split between the two And what we did was we looked at, all these different sort of, factors over here that they might struggle with. And you can see Across all the range of factors here, profitability, student retention, completion rates, and scaling enrollments, heavy LMS users were much more less likely to struggle the non heavy LMS users. So, Maria, do you have any theories on why this might be the case? I I think to be honest that in this space, it's really, what, you know, it's really obvious.

So if you're if you're a heavy LMS user, I feel like you're exploring a little bit more. You're using more. You're integrating more. So therefore, potentially, you're a little more brave. At that point in time because if you're not a heavy LMS user, you probably haven't explored some of the boundaries and some of the things that you can achieve.

So It's certainly, an interesting statistic, but I think we'll most simply sit in a way, because we're these organisations are already in this space. They're already doing it. So to scale up, it's a lot quicker than what it is if you had to. Sorry. Yeah.

Perfect. Paul, any surprises here? No surprises, and it paints a very clear picture, but I echo what Marie has said. Yeah. Perfect. Lastly, Carrie, is this sort of a trend you see more broadly, with the institutions you work with? Yeah.

For sure. Essentially all of the different figures there for for each item. So scaling enrollments an organization that is using an LMS is able to roll things out. They have online resources, so it makes it a lot quicker and easier. To scale those enrollments rather than having to get booklets printed and and those sorts of things.

And that rolls on to things like profitability. We get a lot of RTOs More so a couple of years ago, there's a lot less now that are still doing this. But, you know, even pre COVID, we had RTOs that came to us who wanted to move on Canvas because they were spending one of them was spending about five hundred thousand a year on printing and postage and they needed to stop spending that, because also, you know, they'd send things out to students. And where the students then what did they do with that paper? So, yeah, all of these things makes it a lot easier to automate things. And make better use of resources.

So it makes sense. Yeah. I mean, it's a production caveat. This is not necessarily causation. So this is correlation, but you can see the correlation between, a lot of these and and technology usage.

And I think I think we talked about this before. Technology by itself doesn't do the job. It's the adoption of technology that really makes the difference. And I think that's what these stats kind of prove out. Alright.

So let's move on to, our last finding here, which is around AI. And I think, Carrie, you've made a good point, which we could have a whole webinar just on this topic. It is obviously a hot button topic, not just for RTOs, but education more broadly. And so a couple of different stats that we're looking at here, firstly, you know, we're looking at what the experience with generative AI tools you can see it's a real spread of, you know, some institutions are just banning things outright. Some of them people are using it.

Some people use, but they don't really show what they're doing with it. And some people don't use and don't know how to get started. And then on the right here, you've got some, you know, key findings about the different uses for AI tools, and you can see there's a whole range of, things that people are using it for. Obviously, this is, a big trend in the industry, and think education in some ways is struggling and come to terms with what it means. I think the example, you know, we use internally is like when we have the calculator, it came out, and everyone was like, oh my goodness.

Like, everyone's use the calculator and cheat on their mess homework and things. And, obviously, now that's just, like, it's part of everyone's phones. And so it's just part and parcel of what we do that's my phone. So, yeah, I guess, let's start talking about AI, and, Paul, I might start with you, which is what role is AI playing in teaching and learning, at Xcelia? And are your are your educators and students using it, or have you banned it? No. We've we've embraced it.

But, you know, in doing so, established some really clear guidelines around how it's used. So just setting up some really clear parameters so that when when people do feel tempted to use it, they used appropriately and, you know, try to help people understand. And it's surprising, you know, despite all the the attention when you're in a tech space, you know, it's kind of almost pretty obvious, but it's surprising how many students actually just don't know about its existence. And, you know, when they're shown what it can do, they're really blown away, which is pretty interesting. And behind the scenes, you know, in terms of our team, we're using it really heavily again, in automations, like, you know, we would alright, code.

It's basically one of my behind the scenes hobbies, and, we we build all these cool things that, just help make things just that little bit easier. And and it can be really those small things. I'll give you an example. We had a bit of a pain point some time ago where we found that, you know, our quality improvement initiatives so that there are continuous improvement. A few a few things are being lost.

Just just little ideas that were happening in the moment, you know, in in chats amongst our our team, you know, like on our chat channel. And we just wanted a way to to capture them in the moment. And we had this clunky continuous improvement form was digital, but, you know, really, at the end of the day, it was just like a real pain in the backside to kind of get some information into our system to to kind of flag it to something that then needed to be improved and reviewed and whatever. So we we essentially just built a little, as as part of it. We've got a chatbot that does all sorts of cool stuff, but but we added in a feature where basically they just, you know, do at Xcelia bot QI, and then we we were finding all these ideas for improvement were happening in these sort of on the flight chats between teams.

And now they can just quickly tag the bot and write know, a sentence or two of what needs to be fixed and boom, off that goes into the system. And then behind the scenes, the generative AI looks at that thing It creates a short summary for the title. It, you know, sort of suggests a couple of ideas for, you know, how that might be implemented. And just does some of the kind of the heavy lifting behind the scenes just to make it really easy. So we're capturing all these ideas now, and we're not missing anything and we're able to then go back and prioritizing.

But that's just one example, but there's heaps of other ways we're using it. And it's just been really, really beneficial for both us and our students Yes. There's some concerns about authenticity, but I think benefits have far outweighed any concerns. And we've I feel like we've done a really good job in, mitigating any of the risks and issues around the use of it as well. We talked about progressive institutions being better placed to manage disruption.

I think you're a great example of that, Paul. So, yeah, look at you go. I love all these little examples that you're sharing. I think you made a really good point around guidelines. And so I know we've been very thoughtful in structure about our implementation of AI and how we integrate it into our tools, and we've got a very well understood policy around AI.

It needs to be intentional. So we need to be intentional about what we're doing with the use of AI. It needs to be safe. So student privacy and things like that need to be at the forefront of development, and then it needs to be decimal. And I think, you know, across the company, we all understand the role of AI.

We understand how it's being used, but I think having those guidelines really help, organizations move forward and adopt AI in the right way. Marita, know, you've obviously, you know, you've got lots of educators. They're probably experimenting with the AI. You know, what's been your experience with educators and how do you think they can leverage or benefit from AI, at Tastafe? Oh, look. We've got lots of people doing lots and things some of which we probably don't know about, but, what I have been seeing is that I think vets in a really good place, for AI because we are so skills focused.

So I think, I hate to say, but there's no, you know, five page essays here. So it's really hard to kind of not be authentic in that space. What we've seen is we've seen people building really strong simulated environments. So for those students that aren't in the workplace, we now have a greater focus on those simulated environments. So we always had them.

But now we're backing them up with, you know, things like, you know, intranets, and we're integrating different quotes. So students are actually saying So they have these virtual walk arounds, and they go in here, and they go, okay, whose policies and procedures for auto body, but yet I might wanna own business. So I'm gonna go and have a bit of a IP. So we're no longer mutually exclusive across our calls, which is really nice. But our teachers have been using it for things like model answers or, you know, teacher assessment packages.

What are the terminology used? So they can get a little bit more grit in what they're doing. Things like that. We're actually seeing, we're seeing it used for the purposes of good. Like Paul was saying, we we've got guidelines. We've got we've certainly embraced it.

We've said to students like this is when it's good, and this is when it isn't. And this is, you know, this is how we're gonna support you to use it. I know our foundations areas are heavily using it as well, which is really good. A lot of letters are saying it's really helping me kind of understand in a plain and natural language. So Yeah.

No. It's been a a almost like a assistive technology in a way. Yeah. I I've heard the expression copilot used a lot with AI, help, like, how do you use it as a kind of co pilot in driving what you're doing? And all all these examples I love, it's it's almost like it's kind of spawned the whole new area of creativity, as people think about all the different uses and and how they can use AI in their day to day. I'm Carrie, do you have any best practice you can share, specific to RTOs and how they can use it as part of their educational experience? Yeah.

Like merida, I was really surprised by the number of responses that have said AI tools are banned. Especially in vet. I can understand it from the university sector because of the essays and the report writing and those sorts of things, but I feel like in vet, we can be making the most of this because we are training our students for the workplace and those work places, we'll be making use of AI. So I feel like as educators, we need to get across it first ourselves. So let's have a look at how the organization from an administrative perspective, like Paul's doing with his bots that he's been, putting in place.

And then also from the trainers and educators, how we can use it to develop our resources, so that we can be really familiar with it and then look at how we can then support students. So until we get across it, it's really hard to give students the right guide. It's something that's changing so quickly. So it is going to be difficult for us to get all across. So that's just going to be okay.

Well, we to be familiar with everything. We need to have some things in place like an AI acceptable use policy. Like Maria just said, there will be people doing things and using things don't know about. So, it will be that people will go off and experiment and learn. That's how we learn how to use these things.

But having an acceptable use policy, having an organizational approach to okay. Well, at the moment, these are the tools that we'd investigated that we feel are safe for us to use because we need to have a look at things like data privacy, ownership of IP, where that information is coming from, teaching our students and our staff about bias and hallucinations and misinformation a whole range of things that we need to be looking at there. So get the educators up to speed, have a policy in place and then look at how it can be integrated into your units of competency. Actually, Paul, I think it might have, did you share something that had been looked at from the FSO around all the units of competency in their training packages? Yeah. Yeah.

That's right. Yeah, with the the FSO, they they based I think they had someone else do the the report, but, they, yeah, they gathered a lot of data on, I think, they analyze some I have three or four hundred units of competency, and they used AI to do that too. It was a really good example of actually using that to, gather their data. So, yeah, And looking at then how AI can be incorporated into the delivery and of those units of competency in terms of performing the job in the workplace. Yep.

And so that's where we need to be having a look at is how we can leverage on that. And that's three training packages, financial services, business, and IT, lots of other training packages that we need to go and have a look at. Okay. Well, how can we incorporate this as well? But it's about the guardrails keeping things safe, having your policies, procedures, and getting everyone, understanding the benefits, as well as the drawbacks. Perfect.

I think we could talk all day, around AI, but unfortunately, we are coming up to time Just a reminder, if you do have any questions or try and get to them, just add them into the Q and A box, in Zoom, but I did wanna wrap things up. And so just to recap, these these are the findings that we explored from, piece of research done by Hannah to research. So this was independent research for the independent panel. So it's not a instruction panel, independent panel of of people, trainers administrators. And I think, you know, through the findings, we establish that the landscape's changing.

Technology has become integral to success, for RTOs. Graduate employment is important, but it's also continues to be a challenge for the industry. And lastly, progressive institutions, and we have some great examples here, a better, a better place to navigate disruption. So I'm just gonna check the Q and A. And once again, reminder, just to add any questions you have into the Q and A function, But I might just kick things off.

So we talked a little bit about AI. Something that's come up recently is around, a quality when it comes to AI or or equitable access to AI. And I think, you know, OpenAI now have a paid feature, which gives you the latest version with all the up to date, technology and it, you know, passes a lot more websites and things to help, you know, informants AI technology, and you've got still the free version, but it's costing USD twenty dollars a month. So that's two hundred and forty dollars. Sorry.

You know, two hundred forty dollars a year when you convert that through to aussie pesos, that can be a lot of money. And so, you know, one of the things that we've been talking about is does that limit the accessibility? Are there people that gonna be, you know, disadvantaged because they might not have the same affordability that other students might would love to get your thoughts on, you know, equitability as it comes to some of these products. Carrie do you have any thoughts on the quality of access when it comes to AI. Yeah. It it definitely is does have the potential to broaden that digital divide.

So we've got people who already struggle with the three different parts of, visual inclusion, access accessibility, affordability, and ability, and those that don't have the you know, the skills or the knowledge or don't have the funds to access it, they they could get even left further behind them what they already are. So it does have the potential to broaden that gap. At the same time, when used thoughtfully and looked at in a way of how it can benefit those people. You know, there there are ways that that can be worked around, but I think that requires a lot of, thoughtfulness and not necessarily going to be the the mainstream approach. So I think it does have the potential of causing equity issues.

Yeah. Paul, reader, open it up to yourselves. Any any thoughts on this or any sort of plans on on how to make access to technologies like AI accessible for your student basis? I experimented with something earlier in the year where we basically embedded, the open AIs basically what you would see is chat GPT, embedding that into Canvas as an LTI. And it's it was very much a prototype, and and I'm it's sort of not something I was at the time able to commercially roll out, but the proof of concept certainly attracted a lot of interest. And I think one of the things is with a tool like that is is that it leverages the API, which is what happens behind the scenes of when you use the chat GPT web interface, and in that instance, the Institute itself puts the bill for the use of it, and it's billed differently.

It's not like a per user thing. It's kind of build basically on on usage. So in the same way that an institute might make decisions around, what resources they give to students and what resources they are students to bring into the course, that could be a consideration for the providers themselves. And if they use a tool like this, they can say, hey, you know, as part of that course, we give you access to to this tool. So that's that was my goal to create a proof of concept on that.

If you wanna see it working, there's a YouTube video of it up and running. But yeah, that's that's my thoughts. It can be done. It might be a a cost that's borne by the the organization. Yeah.

I love that approach, you know, taking the burden off students to go figure out themselves and make it easy for them. Marita, any thoughts? Just to round us off. Oh, to be honest, we don't have anything when you're as flashy as Paul, and I wish you keep going with it because we'd buy it. But, we certainly, our, like I said, our libraries have extended opening hours now and things like that. So we're we're doing a lot more online since we're doing a lot more help.

We're not, saying that students have to use it, so that's not something that we've actually gone down. We're certainly encouraging them to do so, and we're certainly showing them a lot more of the free products and things like that. We're not in place yet to have an organization like count. But, yeah, it could certainly be con that way. All would be on a tech trip.

I believe Maria just invited to Tasmaniaomania Paul. Well, perfect. Well, unfortunately, that's all we have time for. I just wanna thank our panelists once again, Paul, Marie, to Carrie, I always learn a lot having these discussions. Hopefully, the people on the online have also learned some things here, some best practice, some great examples.

So just wanna thank you once again. This was the state of vocational education in Australia for twenty twenty three, and we hope to see you again soon. Thanks all. Thank you. Thanks for having us. Thanks, Eddie.