ALaN WA Newsletter – March 2015

Welcome to edition 17 of the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network of Western Australia Newsletter!

Views expressed by contributors to the newsletter are their own and, unless expressly stated, do not reflect the opinions of their employers/organisations.

This contents page links individually to each article enabling you to go immediately to those of your choice. Alternatively, if you go to the main blog link, you can access the articles by scrolling down the page.

We welcome your comments and contributions to our newsletter. If you are an Adult Literacy/Numeracy practitioner in Western Australia or indeed, anywhere in the world, we invite you to subscribe and comment. If you are interested in joining the GoogleGroup for our network, please visit our “How to join” page and complete the online form.


1. A look at the updated CGEA Implementation Guide

2. This year’s WA Adult Literacy Council (WAALC) Conference

3. A new social media Community of Practice for LLN (Foundation Skills) Practitioners

4. Professional learning coming up in WA

5. Conferences in the next few months

A new social media Community of Practice for LLN/Foundation Skills) Practitioners

As some of you will know I am involved as a Foundation Skills Champion with the National Foundation Skills Strategy Project. Our small Community of Practice made up of the Champions is working to extend our network to ALL Foundation Skills (LLN/Employability Skills) practitioners throughout Australia, so that we form a National Network (Community of Practice). This will give us wider opportunities to connect and share and a greater voice to participate in discussion. One of the strategies we are adopting is the use of social media for online networking. We are initially using Facebook and also Twitter.

PLEASE JOIN US – the more people who join and participate the more vibrant and sustainable our network will be!

FS Soc Network1

Through Facebook and Twitter we can:

  • Use posts and comments to discuss ideas and issues in Foundation Skills delivery
  • Seek feedback and reflect on activities
  • Share and find resources, links and information about Foundation Skills
  • Ask those “just-in-time” questions when we need help with ideas, activities, resources
  • Have real time discussions (using Twitter chats) on “hot topics” that can be archived for later access
  • Gain the experience to meet our students on their own “home” e-ground

If you are already on Facebook then visit and join the FS Teach Group: or type

If you are already on Twitter then follow me @JoHart and tweet me with the #tag #FSTeach

If you are not yet on Facebook and/or Twitter visit Online social networks for PD and networking or type for info on signing up to either or both and getting started.

Please also download our “Building on our Foundations” flyer and share with colleagues to encourage them to join.

Hope to “see” you on Facebook and Twitter very soon. 🙂



What’s in a name – PLN, PLE, CoP?

I posted in the last newsletter about what is a “Personal Learning Network” (PLN). There have been some discussions in my PLN recently about Communities of Practice (CoP) and whether they are the same as PLNs – this seemed a good time to talk a little about our own ALaN network and where it “fits” in to the scheme of things.

If you work for an RTO you probably have the perpetual problem of proving your industry currency and professional development actvities. This is particularly difficult for LLN practitioners like ourselves who have no “industry”. Belonging to and participating in a CoP is one way that you can provide some evidence that may be helpful in convincing employers and auditors of your currency and ongoing PD activities.

I agree with Steve Wheeler’s interpretation as given in his recent post PLN or CoP? For me the significant factors are:

  • that a CoP often has some form of facilitation/moderation which may be formal or informal, whereas my PLN operates largely though serendipitous interactions;
  • interactions in a CoP are almost entirely related to professional matters in a fairly narrow field whereas in my PLN they include personal and social interaction as well as a broad range of professional interactions not limited to a narrow focus.

I see the PLN/CoP as a continuum with the PLN at one end of the spectrum, and at the other, the very formal facilitated/moderated CoP with one or more managers having allocated time to spend fostering interactions between the members.

PLN or CoP

My personal perspective in seeing the PLN/CoP as a continuum is, of course, based on my own experience. I have a well established PLN that I began developing in 2008 and I have also been involved for about the same length of time in our very specific CoP made up of Adult Literacy and Numeracy teachers in Western Australia. As those of you in the network are probably aware I am a facilitator for this network/CoP which operates primarily through a GoogleGroup. My perception is that many of the aggregations formed on and through social networks are CoPs to varying degrees. For example on Twitter some of the #tag chats such as #kinderchat and #gtchat:

  • focus on professional practice;
  • are facilitated/moderated;
  • are at least semi-formal;
  • aim to share knowledge; and also
  • provide opportunities for both synchronous and asynchronous interaction.

Groups in Facebook eg “FacingIT” and LinkedIn eg “Australian VET Leaders”, and Communities in G+ eg “The Global Classroom Project” provide similar opportunities.

If you are not already a member of our network then consider joining (visit the “How to join” page in the newsletter to find out how to do this). If you are already a member of the ALaN network (especially if you mostly “lurk” – this means read the posts/emails but not participate much) then think about taking a more active part in the future so that you can add your participation in the ALaN network to your auditable records for industry currency and PD .