The Amount of Training – Part Three


Introduction

Hi there, this is our final installment on our amount of training blog series. I have to say that the feedback we have received about this blog series has been quite overwhelming. I really do appreciate the great feedback that people have sent through. The repose demonstrates to me that providers out there are searching for answers and guidance on this stuff in plain language. Anyway, I am very glad that the series has been so helpful to so many. Here we go on the final installment!

In this edition we are focusing on the final piece to the puzzle of all things amount of training which is the “rationale” for a shorter delivery timeframe or a reduced amount of training. This edition is all about the rationale, where did it come from, what is the basis for a rationale and how do we document a rationale statement in our training and assessment strategy?

What is a “rationale” and why do we need it

The illustrious ASQA fact sheet that I have referred to a few times during this series relating to the amount of training (click), makes a very specific and deliberate reference to a “rationale” that seeks to explain why a course is being delivered in a shorter timeframe than is defined in the AQF volume of learning. It’s worth including the full quote from the fact sheet so here it is:

If your RTO is considering that its training and assessment strategy should specify a shorter timeframe than that defined in the AQF volume of learning, you will need to be able to identify and explain why there is a variation. Your training and assessment strategy may include a rationale explaining how, based on the previous skills and knowledge and needs of students, a specific student cohort:

  • has the characteristics to achieve the required rigor and depth of training; and
  • can meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter timeframe

It’s important to note that the concept of a rationale is not something that comes from the RTO standards. In fact, the word “rationale” does not even appear in the standards. My friend Google tells me that the definition of rationale is a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief. So, the regulator has introduced their own adjunct to the standards via a fact sheet which is a non-legislative instrument that has zero legal standing. A fact sheet is like a guide. It is intended to help us interpret the requirements of the standards. The issue I have in regard to the amount of training fact sheet, it is being treated like a legislative instrument and is influencing how auditors interpret compliance with the standards. In fact, auditors are going beyond the requirements of the fact sheet and that is where I have a major issue.

I see RTOs being made non-compliant by inexperienced auditors just because there is no rationale statement in their training and assessment strategy. I am not talking about courses which have a short amount of training either. I am talking about courses which are well designed and are being delivered in an absolutely generous amount of training. All of a sudden, the need for a rationale statement has become a mandatory requirement in the training and assessment strategy regardless of the amount of training being delivered in the course. According to the fact sheet, a rationale may be included required where the training is being delivered in a short amount of time or a reduced amount of training.

This is reinforced within the self-assessment for initial registration which asks the applicant for: a rationale is documented where the amount of training is to be provided to a student is of a short duration.

and

Later in the same document the evidence required to support the application requires: rationale for any training product that will be delivered in a duration shorter than that recommended for the AQF level.

So, questions:

Q: Is it mandatory to include a rationale statement in your TAS?

A: No it is not; however, because ASQA have such poor auditor moderation and a lack of control over its auditors, there are many that will make you non-compliant even if you have a suitable allocation of training and course duration.

Q: Do I recommend you include a rationale statement as default?

A: Unfortunately yes. In order to protect yourself from the thick grey area of ASQA auditor subjectivity, I do recommend that you include a rational statement as a standard inclusion. Sometimes you may provide a rational to explain why a course has a longer duration than normal or to simply explain the rationale around the course design structure. If not to explain a short duration delivery, use it for good in other ways.

The basis for the rationale

To identify the basis for providing a rationale for a reduced amount of training, we need to look at Clause 1.2 closely. Here is Clause 1.2 in its current form:

1.2. For the purposes of Clause 1.1, the RTO determines the amount of training they provide to each student with regard to:

a) the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the student;

b) the mode of delivery; and

c) where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units and/or modules being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification.

Whoever came up with this brilliant inclusion within the standards is obviously of and from the foundations of vocational education training. The clause reflects the essence of competency-based training and assessment. If I had the chance to rewrite it, I would make a small change to include a requirement for a rationale and also make it applicable to “learners” plural, such as:

For the purposes of Clause 1.1, the RTO determines and provides a rationale for the amount of training they provide to learners with regard to,,,

The clause acknowledges that students entering the course who may already hold some existing knowledge and skills are likely to be capable of completing the course in a lesser amount of time. It acknowledges that VET courses can be designed and delivered in different ways that can have a fundamental influence on the amount of time required to deliver a course. The reference to the mode of delivery in the clause is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of the clause and we will give this a lot of focus later on. The clause also acknowledges that some students may enter a course and already hold some units of competency (credit transfer) or can be recognised for some units of competency (RPL) before they commence training therefore reducing the amount of time required to achieve the overall qualification. I do think the sub-clauses are robust enough to give the RTO every opportunity to provide a rationale based on their training analysis and that is essentially the focus of this post.

Let’s look at each of these sub-clauses in detail and identify the different reasons within each that can lead to a reduction in the amount of training and provides examples:

1.2 a) the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the student

This first clause is the most common considered by both providers and regulatory auditors. Even the regulators fact sheet focuses on this rationale the most. It is fairly obvious through the wording of the clause what it is about and how it might be applied. What I find with clients, is that they often only consider this a valid option where the student might have completed a lower level and related course. This type of circumstances is obvious, and this would certainly give you strong justification for a reduced amount of training. As an example, if a cohort of students were entering the Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery after having completed the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. The students would obviously have quite significant pre-existing knowledge notwithstanding the potential 20 odd units of competency that they can receive credit transfer. Of course, the credit transfer aspect is relevant under a different clause but clearly, if the student is already competent in participating in environmentally sustainable work practices (as an example) then they are likely to have some pre-existing knowledge and skills going into a unit like Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices. A comparison of the knowledge crossover between these two units of competency gives you a sense of the student’s pre-existing knowledge and skills.

We need to consider other circumstances where a student may have acquired pre-existing knowledge or skills prior to entering a course. As an example, if we are delivering a course in working in confined space. Our target student is an existing workers referred by their employer for training in confined space. The target student will have completed their workplace induction and orientation training and is already applying safe work practices in the workplace. This includes using PPE, identifying and reporting hazards, completing safe work method statements, contributing to work health and safety participative arrangements, et cetera. Those familiar with the confined space unit will know that many of these knowledge and skills are applicable to that unit of competency. So, by the consequences of the target student being an existing worker and having completed their workplace orientation and induction training, it is logical that these learning requirements in the course can receive a reduced amount of training. The students workplace experience has provided them with pre-existing knowledge or skills.

Many of us develop competency through workplace experience. As an example, I am quite capable of publishing a basic website and managing an online marketing campaign. I have never received training in this, but have undertaken my own research, asked lots of questions and learn from the experience of others in the workplace. Likewise, a person that has been working in disability care for the past three years with no prior formal training would clearly have quite significant experience coming into a Certificate IV in Disability. We find disability care providers who have many employees who do not hold qualifications and are seeking to enrol their employees with an RTO to receive both recognition and training. This is a great example of where these students will have strong prior skills and some basic knowledge but will generally not hold the underpinning theoretical knowledge required to achieve the qualification. It makes sense that a course designed to support this cohort would recognise these pre-existing skills and provide a pathway to achieve the qualification in a reduced amount of training. We need to tell this story as part of our rationale for the amount of training.

In considering these different situations where the student holds some pre-existing knowledge and skills, we need to acknowledge how this will impact on the training and assessment strategy. I advocate the following approach:

  • Cohort Focused. Develop the training and assessment strategies specifically for the individual cohort. You want to avoid training and assessment strategies which are generic and could apply to any student. The training and assessment strategy needs to reflects the individual course requirements for the particular student cohort based on your analysis of the target student.
  • Target student description. Include a detailed description of the target student including information about their prior work experience, education level, current employment status, assumed prior knowledge and skills, availability, et cetera. This is really important because, if we include commentary in the rationale for the amount of training about the student’s pre-existing knowledge and we don’t back this up with details in the target student description then the auditor is likely not to accept your rationale.
  • Entry requirements. You are allowed to set your own local entry requirements according to your course design. These are in addition to any entry requirements that may be set by the training package. If your course design and amount of training has taken into account the target student is an existing worker in the banking sector (as an example) with a minimum of three years experience, then it makes sense to identify this as an entry requirement. If your rationale relies on a certain level of prior knowledge and skill then I advise you to identify this as an entry requirement. I was doing some work with the client a couple of months ago in regard to the certificate III in carpentry. The amount of training was a bit low and we were trying to develop a rationale in support of this. The client identified that over 95% of students would typically complete seven units of competency from the qualification via the VET in Schools program. It made sense to identify this as an entry requirement as we can then reliably account for this credit transfer therefore reducing the overall qualification and the required amount of training.

A really key point to take away here is that, it is really important that all of these things are in alignment. Your statement of rationale should not contradict the entry requirements or the description of the target student. It is also important to ensure this information is aligning with marketing material. Marketing material must be accurate and the key point of comparison to determine this is the training and assessment strategy.

1.2 b) the mode of delivery

As outlined earlier, identifying a rationale in regard to the mode of delivery is often challenging. Part of the challenge with this clause is the terminology they use. The words “mode of delivery” can mean many things and, many of us would simply default to things like classroom delivery, online delivery, workplace delivery, etc. It absolutely relates to these but, I interpret the mode of delivery in this context to have a broader application in terms of how the course is delivered and particularly how the course is designed. Having grown up in Defence as a training designer, I have long experience in developing courses using either a clustered or holistic design approach. Most of you would be familiar with clustering. Holistic course design; however, is less common and is where the entire course is like one big cluster and we deliver the training from start to finish in a logical learning sequence without any overlap. The student achieves the competencies at the end of the course once they have completed all of the assessment tasks. Unit clustering and holistic delivery are by far the most efficient and genuine course design methodologies and is often favored by enterprises. You can imagine how these types of course design can generate efficiency in the delivery and have a significant effect on reducing the required amount of training.

We also should consider the efficiencies that can be created through other strategies such as the trainer and student ratio. It totally makes sense that if you are delivering a course with a trainer / student ratio of 1:12, this will be entirely more efficient and effective from a learning perspective than a trainer / student ratio of 1:20. It is not uncommon for some of our clients to be delivering skills training with a trainer / student ratio of 1:8. You need to look at your course to identify how the mode of delivery is making the delivery of your course efficient.

Sometimes it is simply the case that there is no particular mode of delivery factors to claim. As an example, the course is delivered unit by unit via classroom training only with a trainer / student ratio of 1:20.

When considering the mode of delivery, I consider the following key factors:

  • Blended modes of delivery. Sometimes an RTO will be using a “blended” mode of delivery. This may involve (as an example) the delivery of training in a classroom on a part-time basis combined with access to online learning activities and on-the-job training. There is certainly a case to be made with this type of multi-mode course delivery that it is efficient. The student has the benefit of engaging with a trainer to receive learning from experience person. They reinforce this learning outside of classroom time by completing online learning activities and then add meaning to the learning via application on-the-job. This is a very well-rounded learning pathway and often leads to deeper learning more quickly.
  • Unit delivery structure. This question refers to considerations such as:
    • The units  are delivered individually and lockstep (one after the other). This is both the most common way that contemporary competency-based training and assessment is delivered and is also by far the most inefficient. There are virtually no time savings in an individual unit lockstep model. It is the most common because it aligns better with funding arrangements, commercial resources are supplied predominantly in a single unit format and unfortunately the sector has basically lost the skills required to design any other training model. I know that sounds harsh but seriously, it’s true. Where have all the competent training designers gone?
    • The units are delivered individually and parallel. This is where each unit of competency has its own learning and assessment without any reliance on other units and multiple units of competency are delivered in the course program at the same time. This is more common when we have a full-time course and throughout the week, students will engage in different learning activities and assessment events from different units of competency. This type of model sometimes does generate efficiency particularly where there is common knowledge that exist in multiple units of competency and so learning activities can have a benefit across different units of competency. This is slightly more efficient than lockstep.
    • Units delivered in clusters. Clustered unit delivery is very efficient. By combining two or three units together and removing the overlapping knowledge and skills within those units and delivering learning and assessment events which integrate all of the unit requirements, we get the result of a very efficient learning and assessment pathway. There are many different types of clustering models. I have a preference for work activity clustering where we design the learning and assessment around workplace tasks or routines that involve multiple units of competency. Analysis of the units of competency in the cluster to identify the overlapping skills and knowledge can give you a sense of the type of saving you are making. The efficiency for clustering is most evident when you consider assessment. If I have three units of competency and on average, we have four assessment tasks per unit (12 assessment tasks) which need to be individually scheduled and conducted, compared with those three units integrated into a clustered assessment package with maybe 5 assessment tasks. That is a potential reduction of more than 50% in the assessment load and the same potential exists for the clustering of learning with the removal of any overlapping or duplicate learning content.
    • The learning is clustered, but the assessment is not.  Obviously, the clustering is the same as above, except in this case we are getting an efficiency benefit from the clustered learning but not from the assessment. This is a good strategy in terms of the amount of training because, as we discussed in the first edition of this series, we don’t particularly get any benefit in our amount of “training” from time spent doing assessment. We get the most benefit in terms of providing a rationale if the efficiency is weighted toward the learning rather than the assessment.
    • Knowledge clustering. Knowledge clustering is where you front load a lot of the common knowledge that relates to most units of competency into the early modules of the course. By delivering this common knowledge early we then get the benefit from this delivery as the course progresses reducing the need to go over this knowledge again and again. There are some classic courses where this works really well such as certificate IV in building and construction or the certificate IV in real estate. These types of courses where most of the units of competency share similar knowledge are perfect for knowledge clustering to generate an efficiency in the delivery.


1.2 c) where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units and/or modules being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification

This last sub-clause in clause 1.2 is fairly straightforward to apply and interpret. If your student cohort is typically entering the course with verifiable current competency or there is the basis for recognition of prior learning, then potentially, the student may receive recognition for these units of competency prior to a learning and assessment pathway commencing. This would obviously have the effect of reducing the amount of training to achieve the qualification given that less units are required to be delivered. Some examples where this may occur, are where students may complete lower level qualifications before entering the higher qualification; therefore, receiving some credit transfer. Students may complete units of competency during a per-apprenticeship program and therefore receive those units as a credit transfer prior to commencing.

Occasionally, we have assisted clients in developing a cohort approach to RPL where the target learners works within an enterprise and we can collect both individual and collective evidence in support of a recognition of prior learning process. Once this is completed prior to the course commencing, this then reduces the number of units required. There are many types of situations where this last clause does contribute to reducing the amount of training. Every now and then, I do come across a client who identifies that learners are entering the course with some credit transfer, but this is not reflected in the strategy at all. This is why it is important to develop a training and assessment strategy focused on particular cohort or delivery model.

How to document your rationale

Documenting the rationale is sometimes the part in all this that people have the most issues with. It is common for clients to understand the rationale for a reduced amount of training but find it difficult to explain in words. Luckily, words spew out of my head easily! 🙂 I do recommend that you use the sub-clauses of clause 1.2 to provide you a framework to describe your rationale for a reduced amount of training. It makes total sense to me that we use the standard itself to explain this compliance related content to auditors. The best way for me to explain how to document your rationale is to provide a couple of examples. As I explained above, I would do this by providing details of a target learner, entry requirement and the rationale for the amount of training.

I have prepared the following examples:

Example 1: XYZ Safety Training, 1 Day Only, RIIWHS202D Enter and Work in Confined Spaces

Target Learner

The target learner for this course is an existing worker in local industry. The target learner will have completed the enterprise and on-site induction training for their current workplace which provides the learner with many pre-existing knowledge and skills relating to the use of PPE, safe work methods application, hazard identification and reporting and procedures relating to isolation lockout and tagging. In addition to this, the target learner is expected to hold competency in their day-to-day work. The target learner has been nominated by the enterprise to complete this training for a future work requirement and is being released for the purposes of completing the course.

Where an applicant for this course is not an existing worker or has not completed relevant site and workplace induction training, these applicants will be offered an alternative program with a longer duration of training.

Local Entry Requirements

The person entering this course must:

  • be an existing worker
  • hold competency to perform their day to day work
  • have completed enterprise and on-site WHS induction training

These entry requirements must be verified during the enrolment process. Where an applicant does not meet the entry requirements these applicants will be offered an alternative program with a longer duration of training.

Rational for the Amount of Training

1.2 a) the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the learner

The target learner has completed enterprise and on-site induction training which provides the learner with many pre-existing knowledge and skills. Based on the target learners current work experience, they are expected to hold pre-existing knowledge and skills in the following knowledge and performance requirements identified in the unit of competency:

  • interpreting and applying safe work method statements
  • apply tagging and lock out
  • selecting, wearing and caring for personal protective equipment
  • applying safe materials handling methods
  • remove tagging and lock out
  • complying with site and equipment safety requirements
  • complying with site isolation and site control responsibilities and authorities
  • locations of safety data sheets (SDS) information and application

1.2 b) the mode of delivery

This training is delivered face-to-face in both a classroom and simulated workplace setting. The majority of the allocated time on this course is spent performing skills training activities and undertaking practical assessment. To enable an efficient course delivery, XYZ Safety Training will allocate a trainer / student ratio of 1:5 for all practical training and assessment activities. This approach to small-group training enables better engagement with the trainer in regard to skills demonstrations and the provision of feedback on student performance. It also enables the practical assessment to be completed in a shorter timeframe whilst not sacrificing the level of supervision and the quality of training and assessment.

1.2 c) where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification

N/A

Example 2: XYZ CBD Training, 12 months, BSB51918 – Diploma of Leadership and Management

Target Learner

Learners entering this course is an existing worker preferably in a junior supervisory role with a minimum of three years’ work experience.  Learners will have the support of their workplace supervisor or employer to participate in the training. It is considered that the majority of the learner’s attending this course will be drawn from the CBD of Sydney or within a 5 km radius of the CBD. The majority of learners will be office workers currently working in a business context either from the public or private sector.

Learners will have a minimum education level of a Higher School Certificate (or equivalent) and be aged 21 years or over. Learners will have completed a language literacy and numeracy assessment during the enrolment process and demonstrate their learning capacity to undertake course.

Learners are typically undertaking this course in order to develop their skills and knowledge in leadership and management and to improve their employment opportunities.

Due to the learner’s current work status, learners are expected to have prior knowledge and skills relating to their current work and the workplace and enterprise requirements. This is expected to create some efficiency in the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.

Local Entry Requirements

The person entering this course must meet the following local entry requirements to ensure applicants are able to fully engage in the course and have the required learning capacity to meeting the course requirements. Learners must:

  • be aged 21 years or over
  • be an existing worker preferably in a junior supervisory role
  • have the support of your supervisor or employer
  • hold a minimum of a Higher School Certificate (or equivalent)
  • able to commit to the course duration and time commitment

These entry requirements will be confirmed through information collected on the enrolment form including confirmation from your workplace supervisor or employer.

Rational for the Amount of Training

1.2 a) the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the learner

The target learner for this course is described as an individual who is an  existing worker preferably in a junior supervisory role with a minimum of three years’ work experience. The entry requirements require that learners have the support of their workplace supervisor or employer to participate in the training. It is considered that the majority of the learner’s attending this course will be drawn from the CBD of Sydney or within a 5 km radius of the CBD. The majority of learners will be office workers currently working in a business context either from the public or private sector.

These entry requirements have been set deliberately in order to ensure that learners entering this course have already developed occupational skills of working in a business and in an organisational / enterprise context.

It is expected that because of this prior work experience and current employment status, the target learner for this course will hold the following capabilities:

  • Contributing to Work Health and Safety. Have a general understanding of workplace health and safety requirements including personal responsibility for identifying and reporting workplace hazards and contributing to work health and safety participatory arrangements. It is likely that many learners will have completed their workplace work health and safety induction training and may have participated in mandatory annual refresher training. Learners are expected to already know of the WHS Act, hazard identification and hazard controls.

  • Maintaining workplace relationships. Have exposure working with others to maintain effective workplace relationships. This will include working with people of different cultural backgrounds. Based on their enrolment and support of their current workplace supervisor or employer, it can be assumed that the learner is an effective communicator and contributes to maintaining a positive workplace environment. The learner is expected to have a basic knowledge of workplace requirements relating to equity and non-discriminatory behaviour and workplace policies applicable to their current workplace relating to resolving differences between workers.

  • Working as part of a team. The learner is identified as a person who is preferably working in a supervisory role. This means that the target learner works with other people either in a team or in a collaborative role. The learner is likely to have capabilities in working with others in a team and drawing on the strengths of individuals to achieve outcomes for the business. The learner is likely to have participated in strategies that support team cohesion and performance.

  • Market awareness. The learner may come to the course from either the private or public sector. Regardless of this background, the learner will have experience working in an organisation which is focused on goals relating to the provision of service and/or product production and sales. In that context, the target learner is expected to have a general knowledge of the market forces that influence the success of their work and the importance of understanding the market in order to focus the work effort to maximise results.

  • Operational awareness. The learner will have experience working as part of a public or private sector operation. It is likely that this is underpinned by an overarching operational plan in which the learner plays a part in the implementation and assisting to meet operational goals. The learner is likely to have awareness of the key inputs to an operational plan such as organisation, budgeting, meeting operational objectives and the necessity of delivering operational outcomes in accordance with any relevant legislative or regulatory requirements. These concepts are fundamental and likely to be well understood by the learner who has at a minimum three years’ work experience and is likely working in a supervisory role.

  • Participating in meetings. It is expected that with the learner’s work experience, the learner would have participated in various meetings of different formalities. It is also likely that the learner has led some meetings at the team or section level. Whilst these meetings may have been relatively informal, they would have a basic understanding of meeting agenda. It is expected that the learner will have a basic knowledge in meeting terminology, structure, responsibilities and the different modalities in which meetings can be conducted.

  • Contributing to continuous improvement. It is expected that the learner is familiar with the concept of continuous improvement and may have had exposure to continuous improvement systems of various complexity. It is almost certain that the learner will have contributed to continuous improvement in their current workplace giving their endorsement to attend the training. It is likely that the learner will have a basic understanding of systems used in support of continuous improvement and how continuous improvement benefits other business activities and systems.

Overall, it is considered that with the learner’s current work experience, the learner enters the course with quite significant prior knowledge and skills that enable them to commence the course ready to engage in the learning content with confidence. This should not be overstated and simply recognises that the established entry requirements have set the standard for the learner to commence the course at right entry level and that some of their verified experience and current employment will put them in a good position to engage in the course with efficiency. This is expected to have the effect of reducing the overall required amount of training. As an example, accepting that the learner would have participated in workplace meetings of various formalities, it creates the foundation for the learner to engage in the unit of competency relating to managing meetings with the degree of current insight and prior understanding and experience.

1.2 b) the mode of delivery

The mode of delivery for this course is identified as: Blended, combining classroom sessions and self-paced study. Not recognised in this mode of delivery statement is the learner’s current work status as an existing worker who is continuing to work parallel to the conduct of the course on a part-time basis. This combination of study modes and learner workplace participation creates the environment where knowledge and skills are acquired in the classroom through both theoretical learning and practical activities such as role-plays and meetings. This classroom learning is supported by self-paced study allowing the learner to prepare for future classroom activities and complete theoretical tasks which deepen the learner’s understanding about the course content.

Lastly and of most significance, is the learners current and ongoing workplace participation. The entry requirements have assured that the learner is an existing worker with a minimum of three years’ work experience and preferably currently working in a supervisory or junior supervisory role. This level of workplace engagement allows the learner to directly apply the acquired knowledge and skills from the course directly into the workplace therefore having the effect of deepening this aquired knowledge and skills and allowing the learner to apply meaning to how this relates to their current work environment.

Whilst there is no formal aspect of this course which directly involves the workplace, it is the simple effect of ensuring that the learner is an existing worker that adds a subtle and third dimension to the learning modality. This combination of modes of delivery is considered to have a positive effect on the efficiency of the training delivery and will have the effect on reducing the overall required amount of training through its efficiency.

It also should be noted that the learner instructor ratio for this course is set to a maximum of 1:10 therefore providing a high supervision ratio creating the opportunity for greater involvement and participation by learners with the trainer. This means that the opportunity for trainer influence over the learner is greater than if the course at being delivered with a high learner instructor ratio. This is also identified as having the effect of creating an efficient course mode of delivery.

1.2 c) where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification

Whilst there is potential that some learners may present with valid recognition claims such as recognition of prior learning and opportunities for credit transfer, this has not been factored into the overall learning and assessment pathway and the nominated volume of learning.

Learners who are awarded recognition of prior learning or credit transfer will complete the course in a reduced amount of training due to the reduced number of units required to be completed in a learning and assessment pathway.

Conclusion

During this series of posts over the last eight months we have covered a lot of ground. In The Amount of Training – Part One, we concentrated on getting to understand the fundamentals of concepts relating to volume of learning and the amount of training. We gave particular focus to understanding the unpublished rules of the regulator in determining the validity of non-supervised training that providers claim such as self-paced learning. The factors to consider in relation to non-supervised training were also discussed. We also emphasise the need to ensure that whatever you document within the training and assessment strategy, that it reflects the actual delivery which is occurring. No matter the temptation, always ensure that your training and assessment strategy speaks the truth.

In The Amount of Training – Part Two, we concentrated on how to describe your volume of learning. The emphasis of this post was to highlight the need to separate the description of your training activities from your assessment activities. It is important to ensure that we accurately describe both training and assessment separately in order to identify our volume of learning. We also discussed the importance of the course program. The course program is critical to showing how the planned learning and assessment activities presented as the amount of training are sequenced and structured over the course duration. It is important that not only supervised activities but also non-supervised activities are recognised within your course program.

Finally, in this post, The Amount of Training – Part Three, we have concentrated on presenting the rationale for the amount of training. Understanding the basis for the rationale and its relationship to clause 1.2 is important to identifying the opportunity to describe efficiencies in your course delivery. We also discussed and provided examples of how to present this information in a training and assessment strategy. A key point to take away from this final post is the need to ensure internal consistency in your description of the target learner, the entry requirements and your rationale for the amount of training.

It has been my absolute pleasure to prepare and provide this series of posts to the sector. I regularly refer clients to this content as a way of reinforcing the information that I communicate either on-site or over the phone. My overarching purpose of providing this guidance is to help RTOs to present compliant and logical structure in their training and assessment strategies and also to ensure that learners are getting access to sufficient training. Above all else, if you apply the concepts presented in these posts, my hope is that you will lift your arrangements to a level of compliance that is beyond the vagrancy of auditor subjectivity.

Keep an eye out for future post. I am intending to allocate time to the development of a new series of posts focusing on assessment strategies and assessment development. Watch this space.

Good training,

Joe Newbery

Published: 2nd May 2019

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