In an effort to simplify this process, four industry experts discuss the advantages and what to look for in an online assessment solution.
Expert 1: David Garner on the Advantages of Online Assessment
Former General Manager Regulatory Operations at ASQA, and industry expert David Garner recently hosted a webinar during NVPDW week on Unpacking Remote/Online Assessment Options.
David recognised that the advantages of taking training and assessment online are many. Adopting a digital solution reduces long term resource requirements meaning there is long term savings. An online solution will enable you to have:
- Increased flexibility: this is especially true for younger learners who may prefer an unfixed schedule.
- Reduced disparity for learners in remote areas: for those who may be limited by availability due to their location, the option for online training and assessment may be very attractive
- Fit-for-purpose systems (like Cloud Assess) improve record keeping and retention: this can all be automated through workflows and run in the background.
Expert 2: Phill Bevan on Using a Fit-for-Purpose Solution
“The purpose of digital is to provide better, greater, faster, cheaper services. This is what technology does.”
– Phill Bevan, vetr
Phill emphasised that when considering a truly fit-for-purpose digital solution, it’s important to find one that fits to your existing mould. You shouldn’t be forced to change your existing resources, you should be able to incorporate them, after all, you’re not making a massive shift, you’re just adopting a more flexible method. A truly fit-for-purpose digital solution will allow you to continue delivering training and assessment at the same level, while maintaining your own workflows.
Think of it like this, incorporating technology shouldn’t feel like a big step change, more like swapping out your clipboard for an iPad. You will still be able to do everything you were already doing, just more efficiently.
Some things to ask yourself when considering a digital solution are:
- How do we implement these solutions?
- Is it unique to our needs?
- Does the provider understand the requirements and how we assess?
- Can we gather quality evidence?
- How do I get the most out of the technology?
Expert 3: Kerri Buttery on Ensuring Authenticity
Kerri discusses Authenticity, and that it’s a major area of concern for training providers. How can you make sure that it is the student doing the assessment and not someone else doing it on their behalf? It really comes down to some of the same principles you would use in face-to-face assessment plus a few extra things.
Firstly, agreements around use of logins and passwords. While this is just an agreement, and there is no guarantee it will be followed, it still needs to be there to make sure it is in the student’s mind when they sign up that they are not to give that password to anyone else – not even their workplace supervisor.
Secondly, online authenticity statements. If the LMS can’t do this, then you may need the student to sign a document to upload, or use an online signing system that you can integrate with your LMS. Again, they may sign saying it is their own work and you don’t know for sure that it is, but it makes them think about it.
The type of evidence that is collected can provide a third way of ensuring authenticity. Just because assessment is online doesn’t mean it can’t be ‘live’. Use of webinar or meeting software means you can interview the student and see that it is them on camera – if used for some verbal questioning or observation of skills then this provides direct evidence where you know what they can do. Also, inclusion of unedited videos can show to an extent the skills or knowledge of your student. Some LMSs allow for recording directly into the system, rather than students creating a video, doing some creative editing, and then uploading.
Expert 4: Rob Bright on Productivity and Sustainability
Founder and Managing Director of Cloud Assess, Rob Bright saw the need for a fit for purpose solution that could enable RTOs to better manage their compliance requirements, scale their processes and enhance the learner journey.
Whether you have needed to create assessments, gather and retain evidence, collaborate with students, assessors or trainers, huge amounts of time can be spent printing, processing, scanning and storing (or losing) important documents.
He has seen the evolution from paper-based assessment to online assessment have a huge impact on the productivity of Cloud Assess clients with one RTO automating over 300,000 tasks in less than a year.
David Garner summarised it perfectly: when looking at online assessment solutions, make sure that they are set up to handle the specific requirements for the VET industry. For example, you should be able to retrieve assessment records easily, without the need to print them out. Auditors should be able to sign in and access your records and view them as an assessor. If this isn’t an option with the software, it’s not right for VET.
In summary, never forget that regardless of your method of delivery or what solutions you use, the unit requirements remain the same. Make sure you do not deviate from the requirements as this will lead to non-compliance. Hence the importance of a fit-for-purpose solution with your compliance requirements front of mind.