What This Year Meant For the Future of RTOs

What This Year Meant For the Future of RTOs

This year has been unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread social and economic hardship. If there was a silver lining to be found, it was that many used this time to focus on self improvement. Whether they found themselves out of work, or looking to up-skill, vocational education was the answer for many.

Now, as things continue to get back to normal for us, we wanted to look back to see what we need to do moving forward.

Here are our suggestions for getting you on the right track for 2021 and beyond!

Unpacking Your Need For an Online Assessment Solution

Even without the unique challenges of this year, you likely have several reasons to turn to technology to solve your business problems and become more efficient, sustainable and future-ready.

Some examples include:

  • Huge amounts of data to process
  • Requiring a bullet proof audit trail
  • Having more tech savvy students
  • Wanting a paperless office that is more sustainable
  • Needing to increase efficiency in your RTO for profit / growth

It could be all of the above and more.

The reasons are compelling, and ultimately if you are not moving forward with tech you are connected to the past, not the future, which is where your target market is.

So how does Online Assessment fit in with this?

First you must decide what is at the core of your business as an RTO – learning or assessment?

Learning Management Systems (LMS) host learning content online, making it easier to connect with students remotely and at any time. However, they don’t always provide a compressive assessment space. They may include quizzes and auto marking but fall short where skills and competency are concerned.

Read more about why your RTO needs a fit-for-purpose Online Assessment Solution.

Top Tips For Taking RTO Assessment Online

Future of RTOs

Once you have made the decision to go online, there are considerations that must be made. Knowing exactly what you need is an important step in making sure you choose the solution that will best suit your RTO and your learners’ needs.

Consider the assessment methods you’ll be using, clients you’ll be working with, different scenarios of assessment, and the environments you’ll be supporting your learners in. Each of these things changes the scope of the online assessment solution you need and must be thoroughly understood. Your TAS is a good starting point if you’re not sure.

How the Right Digital Solution Will Help Your RTO Survive and Thrive

Going online doesn’t stop audits from happening. Compliance still needs to be top of mind.

With physical distancing requirements implemented, this year saw many training organisations rush to implement a digital solution. Some of this was done well, with appropriate resourcing and a large number of hours invested in making this decision. Some unfortunately were not. Inappropriate technology and insufficient training left holes in training and assessment that will leave RTOs susceptible come audit time.

Based on recent audits and internal reviews, student engagement and support during online training is a top cause for concern. This is an ongoing issue with online learning. The students of today expect everything to happen faster, with many believing that feedback and support should be nearly instantaneous.

To read more about how implementing the right digital solution can help you survive and thrive, and stress less at audit time.

How To Enhance Your Online Training and Assessment

Taking training and assessing online is a step in the right direction toward making sure your RTO is future-focused and appealing to today’s tech savvy students.

But with it comes new responsibilities and obligations. One of the main areas of concern with online training and assessment is Authenticity. This is a key ingredient to the Rules of Evidence. How do you know that it is the student attending the virtual classroom, submitting the assessment or evidence portfolio when it’s remote? It is still the responsibility of the RTO to have measures in place to ensure authenticity regardless of the change in environment.

There are steps that can be taken and measures put in place to ensure that the student is indeed who they say. For example:

  • Create an online form entitled, “Student Declaration”, that states the work is their own and not copied or submitted by anyone else. Include an electronic signature that is written, not an image pasted into a box.
  • Ask your students to provide identity documents at the start of an assessment or in a private online waiting room before they come into a virtual classroom.

Future of RTOs

Although online and blended delivery methods for learning aren’t new, the COVID-19 pandemic brought them to the forefront. For some who have found themselves recently out of work, re-skilling and up-skilling have become essential. Courses that are flexible, easily consumable and industry relevant are in high demand.

Microcredentials have become a popular option this year. These bite-sized courses can be created by breaking down a unit of competency and can be fully accredited and endorsed by an industry body.

They are often accompanied by digital badges that are portable, verifiable and are recognised as an employability skill or mark of proficiency. They can be shared on social media, online portfolios, websites, etc. In instances where courses require regular updating, such as first aid, they can also be expired.

This method of learning appeals to students because it offers an option to pinpoint the exact skill they would like to focus on and earn. This allows people to up-skill and keep up-to-date with industries that are rapidly evolving. It is for these reasons that microcredentials are likely going to remain in high demand.

What Your RTO Can Do To Be ‘future-ready’

The learners of tomorrow are looking for flexible and affordable study options. Last year, of the 4.2 million VET students in Australia, 81% of them were part time. Whether they prefer face-to-face, online or blended learning, your courses will have to stand out as the best option.

The future is tech. Online delivery is a must. Your potential students are online and you have to be too. And this doesn’t just apply to remote learning. With online learning, training and assessment, the student can be anywhere; this includes the classroom, library or work placement. Online delivery makes assessment digital, portable, flexible and easy to adapt to your assessment conditions.

Next, keep an eye out for funding options. This year the Federal Government offered incentives to higher education aimed at helping the unemployed gain anew skill via distance learning while in isolation. There were other incentives introduced for training organisations to get future ready, with grants up to $10,000 offered to update existing technology.

Be sure to check out this website, as well as local and state government sites for any announcements on grants that you may qualify for.

This year saw unprecedented change and challenges for most. We remain hopeful that 2021 continues to see us on the right track towards social and economic growth and recovery.

Future of RTOs

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