Speech for Ms Low Yen Ling at the Launch of In.Learn 2020 and Opening of In.LAB

Published Date: 28 October 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Ng Cher Pong,
Chief Executive, Singapore Workforce Development Agency,

Mr Tan Kay Yong, Chairman, Lifelong Learning Council,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

It gives me great pleasure today to unveil a new chapter in the transformation of our Continuing Education and Training (CET) sector.

In the past, when we talk about leveraging technology for CET, the common thinking has typically been about online learning, or looking at video recordings of actual classroom teachings. Through concerted efforts by everyone all round, we have achieved much through this mode, and online learning has become much more prevalent than before. Today, we take the next step forward, to fundamentally look at how learning innovation, enhanced with the latest technology, can significantly improve the effectiveness of CET.

Under this new paradigm, we will see a shift from technology and infrastructure, to learning innovation, as well as collectively building a conducive and sustainable eco-system to support this. We are all quite concerned with the issues of learning context, effectiveness, efficiency, quality and accessibility.

This paradigm shift takes place against the backdrop of SkillsFuture, where Singaporeans have the opportunities to develop to maximise their potential through lifelong learning, even after the formal learning years, regardless of their starting point in life. We hope through all these changes, each and every one of us can take greater ownership of our own learning path to stay relevant and skilled today as well as for the future. SkillsFuture also helps enterprises integrate skills development and recognition into their businesses.

iN.LEARN 2020

I am very delighted that WDA has developed a national learning innovation strategy - iNnovative Learning 2020 or iN.LEARN 2020, to catalyse learning innovation in CET as well as adoption of technology-enabled learning by training providers, organisations and individuals.

With an overall budget of about $27 million for the next three years, iN.LEARN 2020 will boost capacity for learning innovation, as well as encourage the purposeful use of innovation by adult educators and training providers to transform the design, development and delivery of CET. This will lead to a shift from the current predominance of training in a traditional classroom setting, towards blended learning where greater self-directed online learning can take place outside the classroom and at workplaces.

With this, we hope to develop a CET ecosystem that “lives and breathes” learning innovation - where learning in classrooms is complemented by both online learning as well as workplace learning. iN.LEARN 2020 will create such an eco-system through a comprehensive five-pronged approach of People, Ideation, Collaboration, Technology, and Intelligence.

First, People. An innovative and technology-enabled CET eco-system must be underpinned by adult educators who are not only technology savvy, but also skilful in using technology purposefully to make learning much more flexible, personalised and accessible for our learners. Since April 2014, the Institute for Adult Learning has revamped the Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment. This programme, also commonly known as ACTA, ensures all new adult educators are able to effectively deliver technology-enabled CET. I am very pleased to update that the ACTA programme has been revised to focus on Trainer and Assessor competencies, with added emphasis on active learning, facilitation and incorporation of technology to help learning. The Institute will also be offering a slew of programmes at iN.LAB to continually elevate the adult educator community’s capabilities in the use of technology for pedagogical design, curriculum development and facilitation.

The second and third thrusts of “Ideation and Collaboration” are closely inter-twined. Fostering an innovative culture is necessary to drive constant innovation and ideation. To this end, iN.LAB will have a conducive environment to facilitate such ideation and the collaboration process as well as positioning iN.LAB as the go-to place for learning innovations. At iN.LAB, we will showcase innovative learning solutions that could be widely adopted in the CET industry.

For instance, one of iN.LAB’s partner is Playware Studio, who has been working with Jurong Health Services to develop the ‘Jurong Health Virtual Nurse’ gamelet. Jurong Health Services is the first healthcare institution in Singapore to use 3-D virtual reality gaming to simulate caring for patients. In fast-paced clinical encounters, the flexibility of the outcomes offered by virtual games is important as it will allow the nursing and healthcare crew to be able to practice without posing any risk to real-life patients.

The virtual world technology is able to support multiple participants who are connected online as they role-play and interact in real time. It lets participants test their clinical reasoning skills in patient-care and shows how their various decisions could lead to different outcomes. The simulation allows them to reflect and learn from the consequences of their actions. It is also easy for educators to update the course materials as they do not need programming or coding expertise. By showcasing the possibilities made available by Playware as well as other showcase partners, we seek to encourage adult educators and training providers to experiment with cutting- edge solutions in learning design, development and delivery.

Besides showcasing successful examples, iN.LAB will seed collaborations to sustain the spirit of innovation within the CET community by bringing various stakeholders, including government, technologies, practitioners and industries to work together to generate ideas and innovate. I think we all agree if we operate in our own individual silo, the scope for innovation may be very limited. But if we are all prepared to venture out of our comfort zone, especially to take a more multi-disciplinary approach, innovation can really take place. To support innovation, WDA will be offering two grants: the “CET Innovation Fund” to support learning innovation efforts that have strategic impact in focal CET areas; and the “InnovPlus” Grant or IP Grant, administered by iN.LAB to encourage learning innovation efforts as well as prototyping of solutions.

At the CET community level, iN.LAB will be organising “InnovJam” activities to help build a culture of innovation in a fun way. We hope to encourage individuals from different disciplines to contribute and collaborate, as well as produce “bite-sized” innovation with simultaneous interaction with peers and associates.

As ideas germinate and are fleshed out, grants from WDA, IDA and SPRING will be made available to support the development of these good ideas into innovative projects.

To enhance and accelerate the design, development and implementation of blended learning, WDA will collaborate with partners and relevant agencies, such as IDA.

Fourth, Technology. WDA will pilot a proof-of-concept of a Total Online Learning Solution to facilitate the entire online learning process, from design and development to delivery and assessment. The pilot aims to ascertain the need for such a system. We have also gathered feedback and input from training providers and adult educators and they felt that someone must put in the investment to do this and to see if there is a real market need. If there is, we will find a way to formalise it. By doing so, we hope it will allow our CET providers to experience this pilot’s benefits without having to sink in huge upfront investment. This pilot will provide a seamless learner experience across content and devices, thereby empowering our adult learners to search, access, participate, collaborate and contribute to the whole process of blended learning.

Learners will also be able to do so in both formal and not so formal learning spaces, and the system will be designed to support personal learning networks, lifelong social learning capabilities as well as on-going communities of practice.

Finally, Intelligence. Learning innovation and experimentation must be backed by applied and evidence-based research to gather intelligence and provide feedback on how we can best harness technology in learning design and delivery. This feedback will fine-tune solutions that are being implemented. To this end, the Institute for Adult Learning will lead such efforts in partnership with local and international research institutes and practitioners.

A Call to CET community to Step Up

Transforming the CET industry through learning innovation and technology will take time. The investment of $27 million in iN.LEARN 2020 is an important step for us to drive the CET transformation. WDA envisages that by 2020, all WSQ training providers will be delivering at least 75% of their full WSQ qualifications via blended learning. At the same time, we envision by 2020, that all the training providers within the Lifelong Learning Institute and Devan Nair Institute will be leaders in the adoption of innovative learning approaches. I am sure that the learning experiences of adults through this transformed CET system will be significantly enhanced, and we can greatly benefit from this change.

I believe that this transformation can only work if everyone is on board. So we are counting on you to multiply these efforts to more friends, families, associates and colleagues to persuade them to come on board and be part of iN.LEARN 2020. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to be part of iN.LEARN 2020 to transform our learning innovation. Use iN.LAB to explore possible learning technologies, network and collaborate, as well as innovate to create new learning solutions for our learners. Let’s all work together to create a progressive, forward-looking CET ecosystem.

With sound pedagogy principles and new, relevant and engaging ways to foster effective learning, the CET community is very well-placed to help equip our workforce with the skills and mastery to stay competitive and also help drive Singapore towards an advanced economy as we embrace a culture of life-long learning. We are counting on each one of you to be that multiplier and fire-starter.

With this I am pleased to launch iN.LEARN 2020 and officiate the opening of iN.LAB.

Thank you.

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