Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Toolbox?
- How can Toolboxes help me as a trainer?
- Why are Toolboxes being developed?
- Who decides how the Toolboxes are developed?
- Is there a difference between the different series of Toolboxes?
- How do I obtain a Toolbox and what do they cost?
- How do I know if a Toolbox competency is current?
Flexible Learning Toolboxes are high quality, cost effective e-learning products that are provided on CD-ROM, and can be installed on a server or used on a stand-alone computer.
Toolboxes are designed to support the delivery of vocational education and training (VET) qualifications from Certificate I to Diploma level. There are also two Equity ranges providing resources in the areas of LLN, Indigenous youth and Vision impaired learners. They come with a teacher's guide and installation booklet and can be customised to suit different learner or workplace training needs.
Teachers and trainers can use Toolboxes to help deliver over 190 qualifications and more than 910 competencies from a wide range of nationally endorsed training packages. Toolboxes have been designed to be used by public and private training providers, as well as industry and businesses, delivering on and off the job training.
There are more than 100 Toolboxes available covering a diverse range of educational and industry areas including the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Horticulture, Information Technology, Tourism, Frontline Management, Health and more.
Toolboxes focus upon effective teaching and learning activities and support a central role for teachers and trainers, who can adapt and contextualise the materials for their own audiences.
Most Toolbox resources are designed to support delivery of a qualification. The Equity Toolboxes were developed to support groups such as Indigenous groups, learners with a disability and learners with literacy and numeric needs. Some of the materials may be used to build a portfolio of evidence for assessment purposes. However, assessment is the reponsibility of the RTO and teacher. Each Toolbox includes a teaching guide and installation information and is aligned to a particular Training Package.
Toolboxes have been developed with ongoing funding and support through the Australian Flexible Learning Framework since 2000.
Collaboratively funded by the Australian Government and all states and territories, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework is a national strategy that works to provide the VET system with e-learning skills, professional development opportunities, resources and support to meet today’s increasingly technology-driven learning environment.
Visit the Australian Flexible Learning Framework website: www.flexiblelearning.net.au
Toolbox development occurs within the Australian Flexible Learning Framework established by the Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG).
The Project Steering Group comprises senior flexible learning managers from several states and territories, and representatives from DEEWR and Industry Skills Councils. Its meetings determine policy issues relating to Toolbox development, the selection of projects and the evaluation of project outcomes.
The National Toolbox Project Managers provide support to the Steering Group and implement its decisions.
A mentoring team, currently led by Edith Cowan University, provides advice to each Toolbox development team.
Funds have been provided for twelve series of Toolboxes, and the rework of one of the earlier series:
- Series 1 (1998/1999) released 1999.
- Series 2 (1999/2000) re-released 2004. (Original release in 2001.)
- Series 3 (2000/2001) released 2001.
- Series 4 (2001/2002) released 2002.
- Series 5 (2002/2003) released 2003.
- Series 6 (2003/2004) released 2004.
- Series 7 (2004) released 2005.
- Series 8 (2005) released 2006.
- Series 9 (2006) released 2007.
- Series 10 (2007) released 2008.
- Series 11 (2008) released 2009.
- Series 12 (2009) due for release 2010.
The Series 1 Toolbox development was a pioneering initiative "way back" in 1998 and recognised the need for evaluation and continuous improvement.
On the basis of an independent evaluation of Series 1 by the Queensland Open Learning Network, the Toolbox Steering Group defined clear specifications for Series 2 and refined these for each of the later series. The main changes include:
- a stronger emphasis on effective teaching and learning activities
- a central role for teachers
- greater reliance on web-based delivery
- integration of communication into the materials
- simplified installation procedures
- portability to a range of delivery platforms
- increased range of customisable e-learning content available to VET providers
- increased understanding of, and access to, the effective use of learning objects
- updates to e-standards and accessibility requirements.
Each year, evaluations of user's experiences with Toolboxes take place. The findings are used to develop guidelines for the next series of Toolboxes.
Toolboxes are packaged as CD-ROMs for installation on a training
provider's web delivery system. They are distributed by eWorks
All Toolboxes cost around AUD$400 which is a fraction of the actual development costs. Toolboxes can also be copied and distributed within a training organisation or workplace as long as they are not on-sold for commercial gain.
Learning objects from the Toolboxes have been packaged and are freely available from the Toolbox Collectiony in the National Repository. Instructions for downloading and using learning objects are detailed here:
'Using the Toolbox learning object collection' document (Word - 1.97MB)
Training Packages are updated continually, while the currency of Toolbox content is of importance it may not mean the Toolbox is removed from sale. Our own detailed research has shown that:
- Updates to training packages are often minor and in cases where there have been changes the overall intent seems the same.
- Competencies are sometimes combined into one or split into two or more competencies rather than completely deleted.
- Many or all of the previous competencies remain.
- New elements and associated criteria have been added.
- Toolboxes will still contain valuable resources for teaching and learning even if the training package has been updated.
In cases where the training package has changed dramatically every attempt is made to prioritise the rework of Toolbox content.
For training package, qualification and competency information visit the National Training Information Service website: www.ntis.gov.au