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I would recommend taking a look at the recent articles highlighted in this VET News about the shift that has occurred toward online learning. I think online learning is fantastic and it has been a savior during lockdown. A worrying trend that I am noticing is an increasing trend of RTOs intending on shifting their courses to an online delivery as a business as usual approach even after Covid. I am talking about courses that involve high levels of practical skills such as individual support, trade training and first aid. I do worry about what this will mean in the long term for the quality of VET teaching and the acquisition of durable skills. It is very difficult to teach and assess complex work routines and skills online even with tools such as zoom, et cetera.
Maybe I am just getting old? It will be an interesting space to watch and reflect on in 12-24 months from now in terms of the outcomes measured in the workplace. I will be interested to watch if the funding agencies will start to place limits on online learning for specific courses. At the end of the day, they are paying for a quality service and outcome and I will not be surprised if there is a gradual push-back toward face-to-face learning if employers are not happy with the skills of those qualified and entering the workforce. There is nothing more valuable in VET than a competent and experienced trainer right there with the learner, demonstrating and explaining a skill and then watching the learner practice the skill and giving feedback. That is the essence of VET and is difficult to achieve through a device.
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