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Project Description


E-learning for Homeland Computer Business

Indigenous e-learning champion networks for very remote community microbusiness

What is the project about?
Indigenous people in very remote communities are beginning to explore the use of computers to build their communities, particularly through the development of family level small businesses. Researchers from Charles Darwin University in a project called “ICT and Remote Community Capacity” (see www.cdu.edu.au/inc ) are working with groups of people in a different contexts who are interested in using computers to develop livelihoods which don’t involve CDEP. The people we will be working with in this research already have computer access, and over a number of years have been requesting computer based adult education through e-learning (including ICT, English, and business skills).

This project is about finding good ways to do teaching and learning over the internet, and to use these ways to help Yolngu develop their community businesses using computers, the internet, and other digital technology. We will work with three communities, Gawa, Donydji and Mapuru, and with e-learning champions in each of those communities. The Yolngu and other researchers and teachers will be learning about computers, business management, and the delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET).

Who will be involved?
The Australian Flexible Learning Framework has provided the money for the project.
The project also involves Lorna Murakami-Gold, John Greatorex, Michael Christie, and Bryce Anbins-King from Charles Darwin University, and Oscar Datjarrnga from the Marthakal Resource Centre which is a homeland resource centre operating from Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island in Northeast Arnhemland.
The other partners are all the people living in Yolngu homeland centres resourced by Marthakal, and looking for ways to use computer technology to build sustainable communities. There are twelve communities served by Marthakal, with a total of around 150 people on CDEP. We have contracted to work with only three communities, but are already working with others, and will continue to do so.

The Indigenous champions identified to work in the project are: Lorna Murakami-Gold from Charles Darwin University, Oscar Datjarrnga from the Marthakal Homeland Resource Centre, and Nguluwidi from Mapuru, Guthadjaka from Gawa, and Yindiri from Donydji.

What do we want to do?

  • Work with the Indigenous ICT champions to develop a network to engage, deliver and evaluate VET e-learning for CDEP workers interested in developing small businesses at Gawa, Mapuru and Donydji. ;
  • Set up and work through researcher networks so the champions and other community members can collaborate with other researchers, and government departments including Indigenous Business Australia, and the NT Government Indigenous Economic Development Taskforce
  • Find out about all the CDEP workers in the Marthakal area and work out some possible training options for Homeland Centre people interested in business.
  • Deliver business training using computers
  • Negotiate with homelands the best course content and ways to deliver it.
  • Evaluate the work: computer hardware and software, ways of connecting to the internet, teaching content, ways of teaching over the internet and in small workshops.
  • Use this website (www.cdu.edu.au/centres/aflf) to let people know about the work.
What will people learn?

The Indigenous champions and the community people they work with will be able to study how to:
  • use business technology
  • operate a personal computer
  • develop keyboard skills
  • prepare and process financial/business documents
  • produce simple word processed documents
  • provide information to clients
  • operate a presentation package
  • buy on-line
  • sell on-line
  • provide information to clients
  • bank on-line
  • send and retrieve information over the internet using browsers and email
  • apply literacy skills to using an indigenous language.
  • complete workplace cash transaction
These units come from Certificate 1 in Business, Certificate 1 in IT, Certificate in Spoken and Written English and the Certificate 1 in Access to Employment and Further study.

The champions will also learn who to negotiate with to get e-learning and business training and support, and how to keep support e-learning at the local level.

What will we end up with?

Our fist aim is the support the ongoing sustainability in very remote homeland centres.
We want to achieve:

At the community level:

  • Yolngu microbusiness operators will have better access to ability to use computers for their ongoing work. This will include completed modules (like the ones suggested above) and certificates
  • e-learning champions in the three communities who have developed confidence, ability and recognition in the using computers in their communities
  • communities involved in the new discussions around the role of ICTs in the ongoing struggle to be supported in living on traditional land

At the Homelands Resource Centre level:

  • networks and prospects for further collaboration with government and CDU
  • improved knowledge base for policy and practice for supporting small businesses in homelands as part of the strategy to reduce welfare dependence

At the national level:

  • final report of the activity which details the successes and problems and makes recommendations for further work
  • website which details project milestones, as well Yolngu perspectives on the project, and academic outcomes of the research
  • possibly some tailored software
  • possibly some academic research papers