In our part 1, we had the opportunity to cover a number of topics relevant to writing a compliant and useful training and assessment strategy. Topics covered included:
- What is the definition of training and assessment strategy?
- Why is it known as a high-level view of a course/ training program or a “Helicopter—document”?
- What are the other terms we use for training and assessment strategies?
- What should we call our document according to regulatory requirements and guidelines?
- What information must be included in a training and assessment strategy?
- How a training and assessment strategy should be saved?
- How auditors use the training and assessment strategy?
- Why do we need a fit for purpose training assessment strategy?
- What a training organisation must consider when designing a training and assessment strategy?
In this part of the series, we will cover the following main points:
- Can a training and assessment strategy be used for different learner cohorts?
- What are the different learner cohorts?
Can a training and assessment strategy be used for different learner cohorts?
A simple answer to this question is “no”. The regulatory requirements require the training provider to ensure they have employed suitable and effective training and assessment practices after evaluating and assessing the needs of each of their learner. You can certainly categorise the learners, according to their preferences, needs and requirements into separate learner cohort but then you must design a learning and assessment strategy for each of your learner cohort.
You can offer learners a learning experience that is unique to the cohort they belong to by categorising them into smaller groups based on category they fall into. You can separate and organise discussion topics by cohorts so that participants only communicate with people from their own group. You can design course material in such a way that different cohorts of learners receive different assessments or training materials designed and prepared to meet their individual learning and training needs and requirements.
Regulatory guidelines related to this matter are:
Standards for RTOs 2015:
The RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices, including the amount of training they provide, are consistent with the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses and enable each learner to meet the requirements for each unit of competency or module in which they are enrolled.
For the purposes of clause 1.1, the RTO determines the amount of training they provide to each learner with regard to:
- the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the learner
- the mode of delivery
- where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units and/or modules being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification.
The RTO has, for all of its scope of registration, and consistent with its training and assessment strategies, sufficient:
- trainers and assessors to deliver the training and assessment
- educational and support services to meet the needs of the learner cohort/s undertaking the training and assessment
- learning resources to enable learners to meet the requirements for each unit of competency, and which are accessible to the learner regardless of location or mode of delivery
- facilities, whether physical or virtual, and equipment to accommodate and support the number of learners undertaking the training and assessment.
The RTO meets all requirements specified in the relevant training package or VET accredited course.
- systematically monitors the RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices to ensure ongoing compliance with Standard 1
- systematically evaluates and uses the outcomes of the evaluations to continually improve the RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices. Evaluation information includes but is not limited to quality/performance indicator data collected under clause 7.5, validation outcomes, client trainer and assessor feedback and complaints and appeals.
Let us understand this concept using some practical real-life examples.
The training organisation has the opportunity to offer training through different training delivery modes such as online, workplace, distance, classroom or blended (combination of two or more delivery modes). However, as the training organisation will not be able to use the same strategies, resources, equipment, and materials for all the different delivery modes. The same condition applies to the training and assessment strategies as well. Online learners might need access to learning management system, discussion forums, interactive training sessions, online meetings and so on when traditional classroom learners may need face to face, live interactions with trainers and assessors, set time and set location for training and learning activities, physical distancing, different set of equipment and training materials. Therefore, you will not be able to design a single strategy that can meet the requirements of these completely different kinds of learner cohorts.
Another example is for learners who may or may not require prerequisite learning and assessment criteria before enrolling into a course. There are several courses where students are required to have adequate and sufficient knowledge, skills and understanding to enrol into the course. Without meeting these fundamental enrolment and admission requirements, that can be set by the training product, a regulatory body, at state or federal level or by the training organisation, the learners should not be able to enrol, study and complete a course. You will therefore require two separate set of training programs, one for learner cohort who can commence training after demonstrating they meet the admission and enrolment criteria and another one for learners who must complete the prerequisites before enrolling into a course. This example also includes learners who need to improve their English proficiency skills before they can enrol to complete a training program, completing a training course before enrolling into a pathway program, completing a hand—on employment training program or work—experience for a certain time period and so on.
Note: Some of these requirements can be co-requisite (must be studied at the same time of completing other components of the training and assessment) and others are pre—requisite (must be successfully completed before enrolling into the training program).
We discussed this example in part 1 as well but thought to include again to ensure the readers understand why we need to develop separate training and assessment strategies to meet the needs of the different learner cohorts.
For example, a TAS initially developed to deliver training to mature students with substantial industry experience with a shorter delivery time frame and assessment methods which utilise the candidates prior experience- or application to the workplace. If the RTO’s new learner cohort has little to no experience, the TAS will not be fit for purpose.
There is also no “single size” template for a TAS. All variations must be correctly recorded through a customised or new training and assessment strategy.
What are the different learner cohorts?
The learner cohorts can also be based on a number of other factors such as:
- Location where training and assessment will be delivered, is it online, classroom, workplace, blended etc.
- The facilities, equipment, materials, support services and resources required to deliver the training.
- Skill gaps identified in the learner cohorts or expected pre-requisite knowledge, skills and work experience required to enrol and complete the course
- The course duration and timings and arrangements to cater these needs.
- Course entry and exit requirements
- English language proficiency requirements
- Support needs and requirements of each learner
- Disability, demographics, degree, dialect, difference
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, first in family to attend university, non-English speaking background.
- Multicultural, mind-set, motivation, morals
- Employment status of the learners
- Reason for enrolling into the course
- Relevant industry and work experience in the specific stream
- Course delivery structure and sequence
- Recognition of prior learning and recognition of current competencies
- Duration of the training course
- Other possible variations for learners with different learning and assessment needs and requirements
Note: This is not an exhaustive list and written for reference purposes only.
In our next editions, we will discuss:
- What should be included in a training and assessment strategy (TAS) template
- How to complete a training and assessment strategy (TAS) template
- Review and manage training and assessment strategy (TAS) tool