At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO Global Education Coalition said they were tackling the biggest learning disruption of our time, with over 1.5bn learners around the world affected in someway due to the pandemic. This caused a rapid and unplanned shift to cater and deliver learning and assessment in new ways globally.
Bringing it back to Australia, this is not all doom and gloom. The bid to boost the economy has put a spotlight on the importance of Vocational Education and Training (VET). In an article from The Australian they reported that investment in short courses and wage support to apprentices was close to $5bn last year, which they dub, “The largest-ever annual increase in skills funding”. Having ridden the wave from the disruption of the axed VET FEE-HELP scheme, the change to ASQA’s audit approach and government reform, your RTO has proven that it can survive change and disruption.
However, have you made the right decisions during the COVID Shift? Here are the trending areas you need to consider in order to future-proof your RTO:
1. Offer Online Training & Assessment
There is a disparity as to what “online” assessment is. This blog outlines that it is the combination of both remote assessment and digital assessment. The COVID Shift set off a massive wave of reactive migration to “online” with some not truly benefiting from the full value of what a truly robust online assessment process is.
A fit-for-purpose online training and assessment solution enables you to deliver your assessment inline with your unit requirements whether you favour face-to-face, online or blended delivery. You can seamlessly manage your learner journey from enrolment to completion.
2. Equip and Empower Your Team
Your RTO may have already documented a plan for when another lock down happens in your area, but have you planned for the changes in technology and pedagogy during these times? Consider the following:
- Training for Remote Delivery – not just a how to guide for using software, but how to effectively engage a group or individual in remote learning and assessing
- Online Assessment Design – your online assessment instruments need to be designed, not just transferred. For example, decision making tools need to include comments sections, notes and the ability to award competency judgements
- Embrace the flipped classroom – This learning model moves instruction from a group learning space to a blended one, where students engage with interactive content outside the classroom individually, and then use the group time for analysis and assessment. The methodology stems from the Trainer taking on a Facilitator role rather than a Teacher role as outlined in Mark McCrindle’s work
3. Know what your learners want
Tech and digital experiences are a huge part of life to the majority of your target market. They expect things to be easy and quick, as the digital revolution has influenced us.
In a recent interview with a Learner, we asked her what’s important when it comes to a digital experience and she stated:
- Ease of use to navigate and manage workload
- Quick and easy submission of assessments
- Easily consumable engaging content
- Portable and flexible so she could access her work whenever she had spare time
- Accessible means for communication and flow of information
Survey your Learners’ at each point during their Learner Journey to validate and assess how you are performing and whether there are any changes you need to consider.
4. Consider your compliance requirements when collaborating with Other Parties
What are your current processes for collaborating with parties outside your RTO? In a recent webinar, Kerri Buttery explained that you need to ensure any documentation from the supervisor is password protected and attached to a learner account.
5. Clear Communication is Key to Any Moving Process
Omnichannel experiences are the latest buzz word from the leading messaging technology companies. It refers to customers interacting with you constantly, but via multiple touch-points. To ensure you are always delivering the best experience you need to make sure you have a clear communication process and harness solutions that can adapt to the various device types your learners are using.
Check out the new Learner App from Cloud Assess. It’s fully responsive and adaptive to perform in the best way at any time for your learners no matter what device they are using. They can use it both remotely or face-to-face, in accordance with your Training and Assessment Strategies. It also includes a Message Centre to ensure you can effectively collaborate and engage with your learners.
6. Talk to industry
As outlined in FYA’s publication, our mindset needs to shift to reflect the more dynamic future of work where linear careers will be far less common and young people will need a portfolio of skills and capabilities to navigate a more complex world of work. Continue to work closely with your industry contacts and get on the front foot to determine exactly which skills are in demand, and then innovate to design programs that can be readily consumed to fit those demands. It might be solutions like microcredentials that could close skills gaps and generate a broader market of learners for your RTO.
How do you make the right decisions?
We don’t have a crystal ball but we can learn from our experiences and the predictions from thought leaders around the world that the COVID Shift will continue to force us to work differently.
Future proofing by definition means that something will still be useful or successful in the future even if the situation changes. Therefore, we need to listen and interpret the current rhetoric and make decisions that will continue to flourish in the future.