Satellite lessons: Vocational education and training for isolated communities


At the Western Institute of Technical and Further Education (WITAFE) in New South Wales (NSW), vocational education and training (VET) courses are being delivered to students in isolated homesteads and remote Aboriginal communities by Interactive Distance eLearning (IDL).

IDL provides satellite-supported two-way broadband voice, one-way video and Internet access for school-age and adult distance education. Adults commonly access VET courses offered by WITAFE using the equipment provided to their children who are students of a 'School of the Air' or through community facilities in remote Aboriginal communities.

By providing lessons via satellite to isolated students TAFE NSW is helping to counter long-standing inequities in distance and rural education by decreasing the digital divide and assisting with rural renewal. Through a case study, this paper examines the influence of the provision of IDL and Internet access for adult students in isolated homesteads in NSW and also the benefits and challenges of teaching and learning with IDL.


Kylie Twyford
ARCL Project, University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus, Ourimbah NSW

Stephen Crump
ARCL Project; Faculty of Education, University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus, Ourimbah NSW

Alan Anderson
ARCL Project, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus; Music Technology, Southern Cross University, NSW


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rural, remote, isolated, Aboriginal communities, distance education, interactive distance learning, VET, expanded curriculum, connectivity, interactivity, connectedness


PP: 127 - 135

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