The City of Wyndham continues to undergo rapid change in its demographics and character, due in part to a high and increasing birth rate and a large influx of new residents and relatively young population. With significant cultural diversity including the largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Greater Melbourne area, the richness of culture is woven throughout the entire community. In order to ensure excellent social, health and economic outcomes for our growing and wonderfully diverse population, Wyndham City Council is committed to building and maintaining a lifelong and life-wide learning culture which is dynamic, diverse and accessible to residents across all life stages.
What is a Learning City?
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines a Learning City as one “which effectively mobilises its resources across all sectors to maximise the opportunities for lifelong learning for all its citizens”. Wyndham was officially welcomed into the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2019 and is very proud of the key achievements and progress that is has made in the years since. Wyndham proudly stands as a global leader and supports individuals and local communities on their learning journey.
As a member of the Global Network of Learning Cities, Wyndham utilises UNESCO’s “Learning
City” definition as one which:
- Promotes inclusive learning from basic to higher education
- Revitalises learning in families and communities
- Facilitates learning for and in the workplaces
- Extends the use of modern learning technologies
- Enhances quality and excellence in learning, and
- Fosters a culture of learning throughout life
Wyndham City Council’s Learning City Portfolio Committee provides input and guidance to deliver on the Learning Community Strategy actions helping to improve learning outcomes in Wyndham. The Committee is made up of members of the community and key learning stakeholders and strives to ensure Wyndham residents have access to quality education and learning opportunities.
Below you will find some of the work Wyndham has done in local, national and international forums.
Learning Community Strategy
Learning is fundamental to the well-being, prosperity and sense of belonging of all people.
Council has established a strong foundation for lifelong learning within the community since the creation of its first Learning Community Strategy in 2010. The recently adopted Learning Community Strategy 2018-2023 outlines a commitment to ensuring the benefits of learning are available to all Wyndham residents and promotes a learning community culture where equity and inclusion are the drivers of planning, engagement and delivery.
The Learning Strategy identifies a range of priority skills such as Learning Agility; Literacy, Numeracy and Language; Digital Fundamentals & New Media; Civics; Employability and Leadership.
The Learning Strategy will foster these priority skills through a range of Strategy actions focused on Celebrating living and learning in Wyndham, with the Learning Festival as the signature event; Advocating for equity and quality in service provision; Facilitating partnerships and collaboration across sectors to create new learning models and deliver outcomes for all; and Innovating learning and fostering new entrepreneurial spirit through integration with, and promotion of, Wyndham’s Smart City agenda.
Global Learning Festival 2021
The Global Learning Festival is returning in 2021 running 8-11 November 2021.
Participate in free, online learning events from around the world and experience firsthand the benefits that lifelong learning can bring to you, especially during uncertain times.
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2021 LearnWest Learning for Earning Festival
The LearnWest Network are proud to share their final report on the inaugural for the 2021 Learning for Earning Festival, which took place in May 2021. The project was an important collaboration between six councils from Western Melbourne (Wyndham City Council, Melton City Council, Brimbank City Council, Hobson's Bay City Council, Maribyrnong City Council and Moonee Valley Council) to support our various communities in learning and earning to improve outcomes across the west.
This project also included an important collaboration with the Australian Learning Communities Network, which partnered with Wyndham to support an International Development student from RMIT University, Ava Ter, to lead the writing of the final report and the collection of stories of Most Significant Change.
The report includes an interesting analysis of the initiative and an evaluation framework that captures important qualitative and quantitive data. This project, which ties into Action 12 of the Learning Community Strategy, is unique in its cross-council collaboration in learning in Australia.
2021 Wyndham Learning Festival
The Wyndham Learning Festival (WLF) is Wyndham’s largest annual learning event, focusing on promoting learning across the lifespan. Following a challenging year for all in 2020, the 2021 WLF was a smaller, curated program ensuring that all community members had the opportunity to find a learning event of interest. With the theme of ‘Re-emerge, Connect & Thrive’, the 2021 WLF provided a celebration for the community living through a challenging time and offered hope for reemerging brighter and better into the future!
As collaborators on the delivery of the Festival, now in its sixth year, the Wyndham Community and Education Centre (Wyndham CEC) and Wyndham City Council (WCC) share a passion for learning and recognise the far-reaching social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits of promoting lifelong learning. Whilst initially planned as a hybrid event, the 2021 Festival was switched to completely online due to a prolonged lockdown in Victoria. This meant that some events could not proceed, as they did not translate into the virtual space, reducing the number of events offered to 43 (down from a planned, smaller than previous years 55 events).
One objective of the curated program was to enable providers to run smaller, interactive events. The ability to interact with attendees, and to meaningfully field questions from the audience met the needs of both event providers and participants, particularly at this challenging time. Approximately 1400 people attended the 43 events that made up the 2021 WLF, with over 1800 people registering. The learning events came under eight categories:
- The Arts (performance and visual), crafts, & hobbies
- Business, jobs & career
- Science, technology & digital literacy
- Health, wellbeing & self-care
- Language, faith & culture
- Cooking & food culture
- Children & families
2020 Wyndham Learning Festival
The Wyndham Learning Festival took place between 23-30 November 2020 and offered more than 150, free online classes, talks and workshops led by over 78 different providers. The festival was led by Wyndham Community and Education Centre and supported by Wyndham City Council and sponsored by Victoria University (VU) Polytechnic. This year’s theme was ‘Healthy Learning, Healthy Lives,’ with activities relating to this theme offered for all interests and ages, including Chinese lantern making, Brazilian drumming, karate classes for beginners, dance grooves from West Africa, lessons of global cooking skills, Ancient Egypt Hieroglyphs, and the Matsunaga Institute in Hawaii shared stories of resilience, peace and conflict resolution.
In response to the pandemic, the working group took the Festival fully online, taking the opportunity to bring the world to Wyndham and Wyndham to the world, including attendees and events that came in from across the globe. We are excited to share that this spotlight on Wyndham has created some dynamic and fortuitous new partnerships and networks, further enhancing and profiling the work and leadership of Wyndham as a Learning City.
Wyndham City Council led various key events during the Learning Festival including this year’s signature event, WYNtalk: Finding Your Voice with Clare Bowditch which took place on 29 November. This fun, confidence-boosting, empowering and interactive event had the charasmatic Clare sharing stories from her own life, singing and answer questions. There were over 180 registrations for the event, and over 50 attendees on the day including the new Learning City Portfolio Committee holder Cr Jasmine Hill who welcomed the audience. Those that could not make it have the option to view the recording in the future on Council and WLF websites. Another key event included the Australian Learning Communities Network 2020 Roundtable, which was co-led and planned by WCC and the ALCN, and featured dynamic presentations from various speakers and learning cities around entrepreneurship, resilience and sustainable communities.
Starting the session off was Judith James, PASCAL Observatory Board member and former Head of Strategic Regional Collaboration, Swansea University, Wales, U.K. with her presentation on Why in a Post-COVID world it is important to develop an entrepreneurial spirit within communities. Martin Probst from Wyndham’s PROfound Leadership shared his insights on developing entrepreneurship leadership skills. A presentation from Gwydir Shire was provided then Wyndham Council’s own Daryl Wilson shared some inspiring local examples of innovation. The event concluded with a round-table of tasters of opportunities and challenges in learning communities around Australia, from Melton, Townsville, Sudbury (W.A) and back to Hume. A recording of the session can be accessed here.
The Learning Community team also led an event where researchers Charlotte Bagnall from Manchester University and Lisa Mundy from the Murdoch Institute, spoke about the Middle School-Aged Years, wellbeing and COVID-19 to an intimate group of policy makers and educators working in this space. We are pleased to say this partnership will continue, and in collaboration with the WCC Middle Years Working Group led by Karen Thomson, we will be collaborating on a transitions project during 2021.
Finally, the Learning Community team partnered with the Department of Education Koori Engagement Support Officers for the West, Lisa and Judy to run a Professional Development session ‘Brief Introduction to the Kulin Nations’. The event had 40 attendees and was MCeed by Jac from the LC team. After information on Acknowledgement to Country, traditional owners, Bunjil the Eagle and the importance of history and cultural ties, discussions shifted to the challenges that the Aboriginal people have had since the arrival of white settlers. The rise of activists like William Cooper was discussed; such activists fought against discrimination and advocated for human rights. The discussions then moved to cultural significance sites across Australia and their importance to the Aboriginal people.
On moving forward and closing the gaps, the hosts noted that in as much as most of the communities are still struggling and passing on at a young age, there were positive strides that had been made, especially on the health for elders with illness. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant the local communities were affected as people could not see each other. The Aboriginal community is close knit and not being able to see other family members has impacted the mental health of the community greatly, and it was observed that some young people had been lost because the lockdown had been too much to bear. The hosts then spoke on the Indigenous early childhood activities in Wyndham, and other activities like the Wyndham walk, cultural day at cultural sites, and lessons from the presenters in those sites.
A final WLF report will be finalised and shared in the near future, sharing challenges, achievements and quantitative and qualitative data on the project for 2020.
The article “Wyndham City: a tale of steady progress towards a sustainable learning community" co-authored by Diane Tabbagh and Dr Leone Wheeler (ALCN) has been published in Adult Learning Australia’s 60th anniversary Australian Journal of Adult Learning.
The 2020 Global Learning Festival - Final Evaluation Report
This is the final report for the Global Learning Festival, which took place in September 2020. This project was led by Wyndham City Council and Melton City Council, in partnership with the PASCAL International Observatory and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Australian Learning Communities Network Annual Webinar: In partnership with Wyndham City Council
On 11 May 2021, the ALCN, in partnership with Wyndham City Council. hosted a webinar: 'Australian Learning Cities: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.'
The webinar included a presentation by Peter Kearns, AM, ‘Learning cities in Australia: yesterday, today, tomorrow’, and by Jac Gomez-Torres, Wyndham City Council, reflecting on ‘Empathy Partnerships’ as part of Peter Kearns’ project for EcCoWell (as part of the PASCAL International Observatory).
Measuring Partnerships in Learning Cities Initiatives Using Collective Impact
The Learning Community team is excited to share the Collective Impact Assessment Tool (CIAT) evaluation for 2020 for the Wyndham Learning Community Strategy (LCS). Fifty-seven partners were ranked across our three outcomes for both their engagement and contribution to the 18 actions of the LCS.
This is a fine effort in partnerships which demonstrates we truly will only achieve the goals of the LCS by engaging, working with, and empowering others.
Despite the impact of COVID, there was excellent progress in partnerships involved in the LCS
A narrative on Wyndham Learning City’s experience.
Wyndham has recently completed the first-year partnership evaluation of its current Learning Community Strategy (2018-2023) (LCS), using the Collective Impact Assessment Tool (CIAT). This software tool was first developed by neighbouring City of Melton’s Community Learning Board by Peter Blunden, Dr Shanti Wong and Ian Wong, with input from Dr Leone Wheeler. It has been adopted by other councils including ours, and by organisations such as hospitals.
The underlying premise of Collective Impact is that no single organisation can create large-scale, lasting social change alone. This tool helps measure how and to what level our partners and ourselves are collectively achieving our strategy goals and designated actions.
Our LCS Strategy has 18 different actions, some led by us, and others led by key partners where our team play a strong supporting role. In 2019, our actions ranged from events such as the Wyndham Learning Festival, community-wide projects focusing on transition and equity, and globally as we became a member of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.
To achieve our actions, we collaborated with over 50 partners from both departments within Wyndham City Council to externally local community groups, regionally with learning networks, nationally with the ALCN and internationally with UNESCO. As such, measuring our collective impact and contribution was complex and brought challenges.
To prepare for the assessment for the first year of the strategy, we first set up our three chosen assessment areas based on our objectives and goals in our LCS. These areas change depending on the focus of the strategy or learning project being considered. Then we checked we had listed all the partners involved across the year in any of our actions or the strategy more broadly. Next, we completed a subjective assessment of ourselves and all listed partners, ranking each partner as either high, medium or low in terms of their contribution as well as their participation on the three assessment areas. Then we did a broad overall assessment of the whole strategy as a project in and of itself.
CIAT supported a clear analysis as to what level different partners contributed in 2019, and as to how they contributed to our different LCS objectives.
For our first year, we ranked moderately in our three focus areas for 2019. Our focus on celebrating living and learning in Wyndham was highest due to the large partner contribution in our learning festival. These first CIAT results support us to see a clear baseline and help drive our planning for the upcoming years of the LCS. It also gives us potential to improve over time with this data being representative from only one year and allowing us scope to compare and reassess annually.
LCS CIAT Assessment Result for 2019
To see a little more of our journey and results, check out our video. LCS 2018 - 2023 CIAT 2019 With Voiceover by Jac Torres-Gomez.
Wyndham City: A tale of steady progress towards a sustainable learning community
Wyndham City: A tale of steady progress towards a sustainable learning community as published in the Australian Journal of Adult Education - Vol 60, Number 3.
Authors: Leone Wheeler & Diane Tabbagh Co-Ordinator , Learning Community, Wyndham City Council.
The Australian Journal of Adult Learning (AJAL) promotes critical thinking and research in the field of adult learning as well as the theory, research and practice of adult and community education. Each issue features articles that have been double, blind -peer refereed.
Download full article - Journal is Australian Journal of Adult Education - Vol 60, Number 3.