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Interactive Distance E-learning for Isolated Communities: The Policy Footprint

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Crump, Stephen; Twyford, Kylie; Littler, Margaret
  • Journal Name: Education in Rural Australia
  • Journal Number: Vol. 18, No. 2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: New South Wales, Northern Territory

This paper provides information on the policy strand of an investigation into the Australian Research Council Linkage research project into 'interactive distance e-learning' [IDeL] following the introduction in New South Wales and in the Northern Territory of Australia of satellite-supported two-way broad-band internet services for school-age and adult distance education. The 'policy strand' context is the expansion and reform of educational services to these communities. One key conceptual development, explored on the basis of early data collection, is that of the shared nature of the IDL project, between governments and between public and private sectors. In particular, this is being explored within the concept of "knot-working"; that is, how the project has built up a distributed network of expertise. This aspect of the presentation draws upon the concept of communities of practice. The attraction of this approach is reinforced by the notion that leadership development is best facilitated in situated learning contexts and that participants desire development support from "fellow travellers" rather than designated experts. The concept of learning from "fellow travellers" is central to the notion of 'communities of practice' (Wenger, 1998).

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