“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson
We can’t say we disagree with Mr. Branson on that one. ‘Doing’ is essentially the foundation of the VET sector, and for good reason. Practical learning is perhaps the most effective aspect of any learning. After all, what good is theoretical knowledge if you can’t apply it in a practical sense?
Here, we discuss on the job training, how technology is changing this aspect of Vocational Training for the better, and why ASQA is supportive.
What is On the Job Training?
Essentially, it is hands-on training that is delivered in a workplace environment. To achieve competence there may be a number of practical tasks that are completed under the direct observation of a supervisor and/or Trainer & Assessor. Whilst a workplace supervisor is generally not qualified to make a judgement on competence, they can identify whether the student is able to complete the task to industry standard, therefore providing evidence to support the final outcome.
Training providers must ensure students are given the time, have the relevant experience and have access to required resources and facilities to learn safely and practice all requirements to achieve competency.
It is imperative there is regular contact between the RTO, workplace supervisors and students, to make sure that students are learning and developing the required skills to achieve competence.
As the student is observed undertaking the required practical tasks, Trainers and Assessors can gather evidence to support their judgement of competence. Evidence of any training and/or assessment in the workplace must be maintained and kept by the RTO to support the competency judgement of the Assessor.
On the Job training and assessment is an effective way for the students to gain access to the hands on skills required to ultimately show competence in their chosen field.
What is Simulated Training?
In some instances, where assessment conditions allow, assessment can be carried out in a simulated environment.
Whenever an RTO uses simulated assessment it is essential that the environment the assessment is conducted accurately reflects the conditions that would typically be found in the workplace, ensuring it is as realistic as possible. Where a simulated environment is used for an assessment, it does not take away from the listed Assessment Conditions listed in the Assessment Requirements field noted in a unit of competency.
Where simulation is allowed the RTO must review specific requirements and ensure the workplace environment can be accurately simulated.
What Does ASQA Say?
ASQA has been supportive and encouraging of the adoption of of tech for training and assessment, and this includes for workplace observations.
When simulation is allowed, RTOs must review course requirements to confirm that the learner can accurately replicate a simulated workplace from a remote location.
They stipulate that all equipment and resources are required as mandated in the Assessment Conditions field of the Assessment Requirements. The activities must be realistic and reasonable.
When an assessor isn’t able to attend at the workplace, RTOs can use other methods to conduct real-time observations, such as video recordings and live video chat like Skype or Zoom
Assessors can view the student’s activities remotely and, using the same observation checklists as they would if they were in person, make valid and sufficient judgements.
You can read more about ASQA’s Distance Learning Guidelines here.
The Tech Advantage
Technology is changing the way we approach on the job training in a few ways.
AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) equipment now allow training organisations to add digital elements to a learner’s view or even create an entirely simulated environment. This can be beneficial for industries where health and safety is a concern. For example, it is unlikely that you’d ask a student to demonstrate anything that involves using a hazardous material, but you could easily replicate an identical environment and situation using VR.
There is also the option for real-time video-based assessment that is particularly useful for role-play scenarios, where a student can be assessed based on answers and reactions.
Next we have Online Training and Assessment Systems which, when fit-for-purpose like Cloud Assess, make it easy for RTOs to gather supplementary evidence from third parties, like workplace supervisors.
No matter what type of learner your student is, be it visual, aural, verbal, etc., practical learning benefits almost all students. By getting hands-on experience in any unit of study, you learn quicker and develop a better understanding of what it is you’re studying. Furthermore, students remember what they’ve learned for longer periods of time.
“The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” – Richard Branson
Mr. Branson, we couldn’t agree more.