Workshop III

A course designed for supervisors and mangers in the field of horticulture aiming to boost productivity in the work place.

Course Code: BGN302
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Develop a capacity to plan, implement and assess management strategies, applicable to your industry sector. Through PBL (problem-based learning projects you will develop a "real world" relevance in your overall learning experience.

Lesson Structure

There are 3 lessons in this course:

  1. Evaluating Workplace Efficiency
  2. Human Resources Supervision
  3. Plan Workplace Projects - cyclical or finite.


Problem Based Learning (ie. PBL) is a way of learning that was originally developed for teaching medicine in universities in America (1980's). The concept was adapted and applied to horticulture teaching by Vancover University a decade or so later. In 2003, our school adapted the concept to use in distance education courses.

This concept in essence involves the student working in teams to deal with a hypothetical issue. Every aspect of the issue being investigated is highly prescribed and carefully constructed to lead the student through a pathway of experiences that are going to achieve carefully prescribed learning outcomes.

For the uninitiated, a PBL project may sometimes appear of questionable value; but extensive academic studies have shown that this method of learning is every bit as effective as attending face to face practicals, lectures or workshops. In fact PBL has been show to have a variety of long term benefits over and above what is normally achieved through more conventional education.

Each PBL Project Begins with a Prescription of the Issue to be Dealt With

For example:
Project Aim
Identify efficiency problems that occur in the production process at a workplace, develop efficiency improving procedures, and follow up and improvements’ assessing procedures.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the efficiency of workplace operations
  2. Develop procedures for improving workplace efficiency.
  3. Implement strategies to improve workplace efficiency.
  4. Determine indicators to assess strategies efficiency.

Problem Definition
You are a manager in one section or department of a big company (relevant to your industry sector). Your boss wants you to evaluate the efficiency of your workplace operations, and to suggest and implement changes that will improve your section’s sustainability. 

Your section’s profits have been level for a while, and the shareholders want to improve the company’s profits without major inversion. Your department is of interest to the company, but profits have not grown for the last 6 months. You have the same number of clients, and incoming business is the same than before, nonetheless some clients are complaining about your services, in terms of quality and service time.

You suspect there are several different problems causing delays and loss of quality. Your initial assessment agrees with this, but to confirm this you will need to undertake a thorough investigation of the business’s operations efficiency and collect further evidence to make decisions. You want also to involve your staff in the process.

Your job is:
  1.1  Determine 5 different areas for major improvement in workplace efficiency from specified workplaces.
  1.2  Direct a half hour committee meeting to develop procedures for improved efficiency in a specific workplace
  1.3  Develop a plan to implement and follow up efficiency improvements.
  1.4  Develop indicators to assess workplace efficiency improvements. 

Following this, the student is directed on how to establish a team (with a mentor from our school, and sometimes one or more others); and how to proceed from there.

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop

Dr. Lynette Morgan (Crops)

Lyn has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. Her first job was on a mushroom farm, and at university she undertook a major project studying tomatoes. She has studied nursery production and written books on hydroponic production of herbs.

Gavin Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many course

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