Centacare has made its first foray into digital learning with the launch of two modules for the Cert IV in Mental Health.

Led by RTO Manager Katie Ryan, the project was made possible by a $50,000 Department of Innovation and Skills building capability grant, to develop the training and assessment resources and implement the learning strategy.

Developed by Invalue Consulting, the online platform utilises learning management system, Vasto, and builds on Centacare’s more than 20 years’ experience providing face-to-face training and mental health supports.

With COVID-19 flipping traditional learning upside down, Invalue Consulting Director Kahiwa Sebire said the online platform gave Centacare crucial flexibility in distance education.

“It has instantly expanded the audience of learners Centacare can reach, while providing some of the tools, models and templates needed to develop further capacity, thinking and content in the future,’’ she said.

The digital platform is supported with live discussions through Microsoft Teams, to connect students with peers and staff.

“It’s definitely not designed to be something that requires a learner to be all by themselves, sitting at a computer, clicking through,’’ Kahiwa said.

“There are multiple opportunities for students to talk to other people because that’s a really important part of how Centacare’s face-to-face training has evolved, and we wanted to bring as much of that as possible into the online space.’’

Each learning session is supported with additional resources such as links to supporting texts, and transcripts of in-course material. For example, a video discussion with Kim Formosa, Executive Manager of Health, Wellbeing and Education at Centacare.

Learners are able to track their progress as they go, with each task marked off as they are assessed or automatically graded by the learning management system.

“From an assessor’s point of view, that enables us to automatically see how people are going and if they need extra support around the reading,’’ Katie said.

It is hoped the full suite of units will be available online within six to eight months giving students a “blended’’ learning experience combining face-to-face and digital activities.

“Further growth in this area will enable us to reach out into regional communities and meet the need of cohorts and individual that may prefer online learning to traditional classroom-based learning,’’ Katie said.

The project was supported by Invalue Consulting instructional designers, Adrian Jansz and Ramya Narasimhan, and Centacare staff Tanja Humphries, Kirsty Woodfield and Julie-Anne Coates.

Centacare will be offering existing workers the opportunity to complete Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work with classes commencing in February. For more information please contact the RTO on 8215 6700.