The Australian Flexible Learning Framework's Indigenous Engagement Project aims to advocate the benefits of e-learning and strengthen the role of Indigenous people and communities in shaping VET provision. The project is now in its third year. During the first two years it funded seven innovative projects which use technology to reduce barriers to Indigenous participation in education and training.
In 2005, the Indigenous Engagement Project commissioned a report to develop strategies and opportunities for 2006 and beyond . The report revealed that there is considerable evidence of e-learning and innovation occurring within Indigenous communities, but much of this is happening in isolated pockets.
It recommended that, rather than participating in e-learning for e-learning’s sake, communities should spend time before embarking on an e-learning project to assess whether e-learning can help them meet the community’s broader objectives and what methodologies will be of most benefit.
The 2005 report also listed some critical elements that bring positive outcomes from e-learning projects, confirming previous research on Indigenous VET undertaken by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research .
The outcomes of the 2005 report were used by the Indigenous Engagement Project to design the 2006 program, which included funding and support for four separate projects. On 5 December 2006 an end of year forum was held in Brisbane to bring together the four projects and display and discuss their challenges and achievements.
This report, on the Indigenous Engagement Project 2006 end-of-year forum, firstly provides some information about each of the four projects involved, and draws out a theme or ‘key insight’ which came out of the project’s presentations at the forum. The report then records some broader messages about leadership, e-learning and Indigenous programs which emerged from the forum discussion and also notes some ongoing issues faced by projects in incorporating the seven critical elements for positive outcomes.