On Friday 23 October 2020, Tonga Skills for Inclusive Economic Growth will launch three skills training courses on Moodle, an online learning management platform, which is being used to organise and present these instructional videos produced earlier in the year. The production of videos to deliver training was in response to COVID-19 lockdowns and social gathering restrictions that prevented face-to-face, group training settings in Tonga during March to April 2020.
The three training courses available via the Moodle platform are: Food Safety and Handling; Traditional Tapa Printing; and Product Design – Jewellery Making. They can be accessed free of any costs at tongaskills.moodlecloud.com or via a link available on the Tonga Skills website. The videos are narrated in Tongan and the Tonga Skills Moodle site can display instructions and forms in either Tongan or English.
A course feedback survey enables viewers to provide general information about themselves and feedback on the contents and quality of the material. This will greatly assist Tonga Skills staff to measure the reach, interest and effectiveness of the training videos, which people can access from anywhere, anytime – even in very remote areas and outer island communities of Tonga using mobile phones, personal computers or portable devices.
Use of the Tonga Skills Moodle site was recently piloted with a sample of participants from previous trainings facilitated by Tonga Skills including some from remote areas and outer islands to trial accessing the videos via the internet. The pilot proved to be a success with a range of positive feedback indicating that viewers benefitted from the trainings and found it very convenient to be able to access the courses when and where they chose. They were pleased that all information and instructions on the site were in both Tongan and English.
The two participants from the outer islands of Ha’apai and Vava’u were impressed with the production quality of the videos. The internet connection in Ha’apai experienced only occasional issues with interruptions to streaming due to slower internet speed. They reported that this did not prevent them from enjoying and learning from the videos.
“As a trainer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MAFF), I have not fully understood the principles of food hazards, food-borne diseases that cause food poisoning until now. This available resource will help us to share with the people we work directly with in the communities, so they are more aware of these important food safety skills,” said Mikaele Saipa’ia, Senior Officer of MAFF-Vava’u branch.
Whilst internet access and affordability can be barriers to online learning in Tonga, the Tonga Skills pilot demonstrates that online learning delivery is possible and that there are a whole range of benefits and opportunities for skills providers who want to be innovative and expand their reach to deliver more skills to more Tongans.
Tonga Skills hopes to produce more skills training videos in the future. In the meantime, the Program is promoting the three existing courses to people across Tonga and looks forward to receiving feedback and comments that can be learned from to improve future online training in skills that are useful, in demand and that help people to learn new skills.
Tonga Skills is an Australian Government investment, working in partnership with the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training and the Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board to support inclusive economic growth through skills development in Tonga.