3 Things you can do to Help your RTO Right Now

Help_your_RTO_right_nowWhat can you do to improve your RTO in the next 5 minutes? Check out these quick and easy actionable steps to get the most out of your next five minutes.

1. Get amongst it

Simply take five minutes to read this blog. Then take another five and implement one of the many suggestions below. You will be 10 minutes older and your RTO will be better off than if you had spent it looking at cat memes. This industry is CONSTANTLY changing. With what feels like a new discussion paper or draft standard dropped on us each week or month it is important that you take the time to stay up to date. This can be as simple as perusing a quarterly magazine, looking up the latest from your regulator or reading a VET based blog post (woohoo you’re doing it!). Staying up to date doesn’t mean spending hours curating the largest collection of VET articles to read during every spare moment you have, instead focus on reading important and relevant articles and papers that will impact your RTO. Take action:

  • Sign up to receive newsletters from your industry – these could be based in VET or the industry you train in.
  • Join a LinkedIn group and read their discussions. This is a great resource not only for maintaining your industry knowledge but also for networking with likeminded professionals.
  • Start a discussion in a LinkedIn group. Do you have a burning question? A new perspective? Want to share an article?

2. Shine your digital footprint

I’m a big believer in checking out a business online before giving them my money. If a friend suggests going to a new restaurant you know that I am on their Facebook page scrolling through their updates before the reservation is set. I wanted to know if I am just a super stalker or if this is common practice –it turns out that up to 81% of consumers will conduct research online before a big purchase. One of the biggest factors of my research is looking through the businesses social media accounts (if they have them) and seeing how they respond to customers. This is a great indication of what to expect both during the transaction and post-purchase. This means I can get a fairly good idea of how the company rates – if the restaurant has a bunch of negative reviews and next to no online customer service you bet that I won’t be going there tonight. The same rings true when a customer is choosing which RTO to complete their training with – make sure your RTO’s online image compels the learner to sign up. Take action

  • Find all your social media accounts and look at them like you are a potential customer. Is your branding consistent? Are there reviews or testimonials from past clients? Are they positive? What is your message? Does it compel you to reach out?
  • Read through the “About Us” and “FAQ” sections on your website. Do they read well? Do they answer common questions? Would a potential learner be compelled to reach out? Would a potential learner (or their employer) feel comfortable trusting and working with you?
  • Google your company to see what results turn up. Now turn on incognito to see if the results change based on your browsing history (find out how here: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001378.htm). This is what your customer will see when they search for you.

3. Know what they know

“Most importantly, if you’re going to ask (for feedback), be ready to change.”

- David Maister

Your greatest asset is your customer. They will either be complimenting or complaining to their friends about your services – wouldn’t you prefer to know which it is. And if the training was part of their job, what are they saying to their boss or supervisor? One of the greatest ways to ensure that your products and offerings are resonating with your learners is to simply ask them. Seeking and implementing feedback should be an integral part of your RTO’s processes – not just to fulfill a requirement but as a tool put towards a genuine interest in improving your learner’s experience. A set of simple surveys sent out to your learners at various stages during their time with you can be extremely useful. Online tools like surveymonkey (find more here: http://whinot.com/blog/2012/4-online-survey-tools-which-one-is-best-for-you/) almost make it too easy to seek feedback. This blog here even outlines 10 rules for creating valuable customer surveys: http://www.helpscout.net/blog/customer-survey/. Take action:

  • Create a short survey designed to send to learners when they have finished their studies with you.
  • If you already gather feedback: review the way that you currently collect feedback. Is there a better way? What sort of completion rates are you getting? How can you improve this?

You made it all the way to the end? Your first five minute block was super productive – here is a cat meme anyway (you deserve it): I was supposed to pick up carl Let us know what other short, sharp actions you can take to help your RTO in the comments section below.

Major Issues that RTOs Face when Dealing with Language, Literacy & Numeracy

MajorIssuesThatRtosFace


In recent years we’ve worked with a number of RTOs looking at ways to manage training, assessment and compliance across the board. Our experience shows that there are a lot of different ideas out there and that each RTO finds a way that fits best for them. One area we’ve looked at in particular over the last few years is language, literacy and numeracy (LLN).


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With focus coming from different areas (No More Excuses report, TAELLN unit and the development of the ACSF) LLN assessment is a major part of most enrolment processes. Our experiences have shed light on a few common issues with managing LLN in RTOs:

Throughout this article when we talk about ‘core skills’ or the ACSF we are also talking about language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) as these form part of the core skills framework.

  1. Consistently assessing the LLN levels of learners without spending hours with each person, or employing a full time LLN expert.

One learner may require more help than others in some areas. It is important that you are able to identify the needs of each learner to identify those ‘at risk’ of dropping out or failing due to language, literacy or numeracy issues.

  1. Working out the LLN levels for a unit or qualification.

A unit or qualification must be analysed to work out the core skills that it contains. This job is generally done by an LLN practitioner, course coordinator or trainer. However there is a chance that different people may interpret the units differently. It Is also very time consuming and may not necessarily fit into existing staff workloads.

  1. Managing learners with different LLN levels in the same class.

Each learner has strengths and weaknesses. It is important that you are able to identify these to see if there are any common trends for all course participants, or identify individual learners who may have more specific needs to successfully complete the course.


In response to each of these problems, Safe Work Resources has developed a holistic approach to easily managing LLN.

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Assessment of the ACSF core skills (and broader foundation skills) can be done in a number of ways:

  • There are practitioners who specialise in identifying core skills and providing guidance to RTOs on how they should work with learners to develop these skills.
  • A number of Industry Skills Councils have produced ‘how to’ guides explaining the techniques that can be used to identify core skills in units and this needs to be combined with an understanding of the ACSF to decode the levels identified.
  • One final option is to use software to analyse units and qualifications to give you the results quickly and easily.

The LLN Robot system has been developed to work out the ACSF levels of units and qualifications, as well as making training recommendations by comparing a learner’s levels with the levels of the qualification they want to do.

You can find out more about LLN Robot here.

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Regardless of how you have assessed learners in the past, there is a need to ensure that your evaluations produce results that can be compared to the ACSF core skill levels. As more training packages are streamlined there will be more emphasis on these ACSF levels.

The Free Online LLN Indicator Tool available here is a good starting point for LLN/ACSF assessment.

In brief, the test has a range of questions that addresses Learning, Writing, Reading, Oral Communication (Listening) and Numeracy.

You can find out more about how it works and other developments in this article.

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As part of the enrolment process it is important to identify any difficulties that a learner is likely to face where their current LLN/ACSF skills are under-developed.

Using LLN Robot you can compare a learner’s current LLN/ACSF levels with the levels associated with a unit or qualification. The system will produce a series of recommendations wherever a gap is identified and should be used to inform decisions made around training strategies including additional support services and alternative vocational pathways to assist the learner in achieving their training outcomes.


Future Improvements:

Based on feedback from over 100 training organisations and educational institutes there are a range of improvements under development for both the LLN Indicator Tool and LLN Robot. A brief outline of these can be found below:

LLN Indicator Tool LLN Robot
Corporate branded option with:

  • Assessment up to level 4 ACSF.
  • Secure login.
  • Database of results that can be exported and uploaded directly into the LLN Robot system.
  • Increased database of unit profiles.
  • Improved qualification profile interface.
  • Creation of upskilling training resources when comparing learner results to qualification profiles (more details below).

Upskilling Training Resources

Currently in development are a range of training resources that can be used in conjunction with your current training program to assist in upskilling learner core skills. These resources are generated based on the comparison between a learner’s current skills and the profile of the qualification they are enrolling in.

The resources will include information and activities that the learner can complete in or out of the training environment to support the development of their core skills throughout the duration of training. These resources may be used as pre-course learning modules or introductions to topics and industries to help learners ease their way into a more formal learning environment by preparing them for the training that will follow.

Each set of resources is compiled specifically for the needs of a learner and will be available in a range of contexts to suit learners who are enrolling in different subjects including:

  • Community health.
  • Industrial sectors.
  • Business and administrative duties.

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Online LLN Indicator Tool

OnlineLLNIndicatorTool


After a year in development Safe Work Resources launched an online LLN/ACSF assessment tool to provide an indication of a person’s current skill levels. This indicator tool has been available online for free since the start of the year and has been used to assess thousands of learners in that time.


blog10.10.14_2 (3)Before getting into the details of the assessment it is important to note that the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) does not match the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF).

  • The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) has 10 levels from certificate 1 to Doctoral Degree.
  • The Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) has 5 core skills, each with 5 levels (1-5) as well as a pre-level 1.

Certificate 3 does not equal ACSF core skill level 3.

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Core skill levels are not based on qualification levels – two different qualifications as the same certificate level can have very different core skill levels associated with them For example some certificate 4 qualifications reflect a higher understanding of mathematical processes (level 4 numeracy) while other certificate 4 qualifications have much lower focus on numeracy (level 2 numeracy).

Core skills are based on the requirements of a job that a qualification relates to or prepares you for. Core skills are not a pre-requisite for training, but are an outcome to be gained or bolstered through training.

Throughout this article when we talk about ‘core skills’ or the ACSF we are also talking about language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) as these form part of the core skills framework.

How The LLN Indicator Tool Works:

The Online LLN Indicator Tool is an evaluation test that has been developed in line with the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). The purpose of the tool is to provide an indication of the level of a learner across the 5 core skills as a starting point for training. As streamlined training packages are released and updated over the next few years it will be important to ensure that all learners are at the appropriate level across the 5 core skills by the end of training. This will help to make sure they have the skills to meet the requirements of the job once in the workplace.

The test has a range of questions that addresses Learning, Writing, Reading, Oral Communication (Listening) and Numeracy. It is important to note that the core skill of Oral Communication (Speaking) is not addressed within this test and needs to be assessed using other means or methods.

The result of each test is displayed in a ‘spikey profile’. These results address ACSF levels 0 – 3. A result of 3 indicates the learner is at level 3 (or higher) for a core skill.

lln-results-300

The results can be emailed directly from the web browser window and a copy of the result should be sent to the trainer. Once the browser window is closed the information is lost. No LLN results are kept after the completion of the test.

At this time ACSF levels 4 and 5 are not tested within the online environment due to the complexities of making judgements for these levels. However this is one area where further development is underway. More details can be found later in this article.

Interpreting the Results:

Results should only be considered as an indication and should not be used in isolation as a means of determining the ACSF levels of an individual. Our recommendation is that the test is conducted within a training organisation at the point of enrolment. This will allow all parties to prepare for any additional training that may need to occur.

There is always a margin of error that may occur based on the computer literacy of the learner, hardware malfunction or inadequacy or general user error. For this reason it may be useful to have a learner repeat the test to ensure accuracy of results.

Please refer to the ACSF website for information on how to interpret the results of the spikey profile and what each level indicates.

Testing Based on Qualification Enrolment:

One question that has come up on a number of occasions when discussing LLN/ACSF assessment with RTOs was whether or not a specific test is used based on the qualification level or subject. This may seem like a logical link to make however, the qualification level and topic should not necessarily influence the format or method of LLN/ACSF assessment. Both LLN and core skills are basic ‘Foundation’ skills that apply to all areas of a person’s life. For this reason the ACSF has provided examples of how core skills can be used or demonstrated in personal, workplace and training environment/s.

blog10.10.14_2 (6)

In an effort not to create a bias towards or away from people with experience in the workforce or in formal training environments the tool we have developed is placed firmly in the ‘Personal and Community Domain’. This keeps assessment of core skills in familiar, unbiased territory appropriate for all audiences regardless of industry or workplace experience.

But what about more difficult qualifications? Shouldn’t they have a more difficult test? The simple answer is no and let me explain why. The fact that a learner is enrolling in a particular qualification has no bearing on their current LLN/core skill levels and no expectation can be fairly applied. These skills are not a pre-requisite for entry to training and any deficit or gap should be managed using a range of options.

By using a single test that builds in complexity as the learner answers correctly you can determine the upper limits of that learner’s skills. The aim of the assessment is to find each person’s highest level for each core skill. This assessment should not be influenced by the complexity of the qualification, but rather the two profiles (learner and qualification) should be compared to inform future decisions about training – you don’t need a more difficult test to do this.

blog10.10.14_2 (4)

Limitations with Online Testing:

When developing an online assessment there are limitations on the level of complexity that can be used at higher ACSF levels. To give an example, level 5 writing consists of a range of sub-criteria that include ranging abilities from using logical organisational structures in writing to using specialised vocabulary and drafting and revision processes. In a testing environment, the assessment would consist of a number of smaller tasks building on each other and requiring highly accurate and successful completion of each step. Given the complexity of an approach like this there is more opportunity for an inaccurate result based on user, system or connectivity error.

Time constraints of LLN/core skill assessment is also a real issue and requiring a learner to complete hours of work just to determine higher ACSF levels is more often than not an unfeasible impost on both learner and RTO.

Given that the highest level ACSF skills are predominantly reserved for Diploma to Advanced Diploma and beyond it is not necessary to assess beyond level 4 ACSF as any person with at least level 4 will have the opportunity to develop the level 5 skills required throughout the training process. It is not a requirement that a person is already at level 5 before they begin training, but that they are skilled to level 5 by the time they enter the workforce with the completed qualification.

We have recognised that there is a need to gather indications of learner skill levels beyond level 3 ACSF and we are developing further assessment options to indicate up to level 4. But for the reasons discussed above we will not be developing assessments for level 5 in an online environment at this time.

Any LLN/ACSF assessment that you use within your own organisation needs to suit your purpose and your client base. A combination of face to face, practical demonstration (talking, listening, filling in forms etc.), RPL, workplace/3rd party evidence and an initial assessment will all contribute to building a picture of each person’s abilities and will help to inform both trainer and learner about the best training pathway to unlock future work opportunities.

Social-media-tips-for-new-businesses-620x413

Future Developments:

Based on feedback received there is a definite need for consistent assessment of the ACSF at higher levels. Many Certificate IV qualifications contain units with level 4 ACSF core skills required to perform the job (after training has concluded). Based on this we have been working on further assessment to indicate results up to level 4 in an online environment. These additional assessments will be made available in the ‘Corporate’ subscription version of the indicator tool. Additional features include capturing all learner results in a database accessed via secure login and filtering and exporting results for use in other systems, including LLN Robot (for more information please click here).

Weekly Digest

We have yet another edition of our weekly digest to share with you. We have created summaries of our most popular links for the week as well as reposting the links to all of the other great resources we have found. You’re sure to find a great resources or article in our mix. Please leave any comments in the section below.

5 Most liked

September edition of VOCEDplus Highlights | VOCEDplus
http://goo.gl/ymV51D
The VOCEDplus Highlights is a monthly snapshot of items that have been added to the VOCEDplus database. The latest edition includes snippets from Unemployment and underemployment in G20 countries, Immigrant skills in Australia, Canada and the United States, National skills bulletin 2014, Aspiring adults adrift in the United States, History of vocational education and training in Finland, Vocational training in Rwanda, Vocational training for renewable energy in Africa, and Training vouchers in Germany.

VOCED

Mskills Newsletter | Manufacturing Skills Australia
http://goo.gl/Li2vGp
Manufacturing Skills Australia publishes a monthly newsletter that helps you to stay informed about the latest in industry news, Training Package updates, workforce development, funding and events. If you are training within the Manufacturing sector make sure you sign up to their monthly Mskills Update newsletter. It’s free, easy and you can unsubscribe at any time you want, simply click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your newsletter. More info can be found via the above link.

MSA

Webinar: New to AVETMISS Reporting | NCVER
http://goo.gl/Dlbrzk
The National Centre for Vocational Education and Research are hosting a series of free webinars that are designed to provide information and assistance on meeting AVETMISS reporting requirements. This Webinar will be great for individuals who are new to AVETMISS reporting and would like an inclusive introduction to the requirements.

AVETMISS

Skills Action Plan for VET Reform | VET Reform Taskforce
http://goo.gl/R5z41m
The second meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council was recently held in Adelaide. The meeting outcomes included setting priorities for the harmonisation of apprenticeships, revised standards for RTOs, a review of training packages and accredited courses and streamlining data reporting for training providers.

COAG Meeting

The education revolution or devolution: the consequences of an iPad for every child | Australian Policy Online
http://goo.gl/grVgmq
As technology progresses the education industry is searching for ways to augment their classrooms with it. There is a growing trend for individual devices to be provided as learning aids. This journal article explores how our relationship with technology, nature and the purpose of education underpins how we relate with the world, and thereby harness opportunities for change.

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VET funding in Australia and the role of TAFE | TAFE Directors Australia Conference
http://goo.gl/lmBXgX

Skills In Action | UNESCO
http://goo.gl/Y3xajm

Data Support Bulletin | NCVER
http://goo.gl/AlFlxG

Communiqué for the COAG Industry and Skills Council Meeting
http://goo.gl/Rd8Rk2

Australia’s health workforce series: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers / practitioners in focus | Australian Policy Online
http://goo.gl/xNzXeL

Latest LSAY data releases | Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth
http://goo.gl/xZ07sL


 

New Product Released:

RIIMPO310D

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RIIHAN308D

RIIMPO206D

RIIHAN301D

 

2014 National VET Conference

2014 National VET Conference
http://www.velgtraining.com/national-conference

The 2014 National VET Conference was held earlier this week at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. This two day conference brought together a range of VET practitioners ranging from RTO managers to Instructional Designers.

The theme for this years conference was “Impossible is Possible Together” and focused on providing something for everyone with the three distinct streams:

  • Policy and Reform.
  • RTO Management & Compliance.
  • Training & Assessing.

The organisers Velg Training did a great job in putting together such a fun and informative conference. Below are some of the pictures that we captured throughout the two days.

Weekly Digest

We have yet another edition of our weekly digest to share with you. We have created summaries of our most popular links for the week as well as reposting the links to all of the other great resources we have found. You’re sure to find a great resources or article below. Don’t forget to like our Facebook Page for all our product updates!

Untitled design (8)

What next for tertiary education? Some preliminary sketches | NCVER
http://goo.gl/GkBGWb
This discussion paper contains the ideas presented by a group of prominent thinkers reflecting on the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education report. Coupled with its companion volume, A differentiated model for tertiary education: past ideas, contemporary policy and future possibilities, these publications aim to generate discussion and debate around the future for tertiary education in Australia.

ncver

A stronger voice for industry on VET reform | Minister for Industry
http://goo.gl/ZrBwEH
The Hon Ian Macfarlane has announced a five-member Vocation Education and Training Advisory Board that will provide feedback to the Government throughout reforms taking in the sector.

The Board is made up of:

  • John Hart (Chair) – Chief Executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council;
  • Patrick McKendry (Deputy Chair) -  CEO Careers Australia Group and former Chairman of the National Quality Council and TVET Australia;
  • Tara Diamond – Executive Director, Industry Services at the Australian Mines & Metals Association;
  • Dominique Fisher – Executive Chairman and Managing Director of CareerLounge; and
  • Jodie Hughson – Manager for Quality, Learning and Workplace Development for Anglicare, Southern Queensland.

strongerVoice

Newsletter | TAFE Directors Australia
http://goo.gl/hgxFV3
The TAFE Directors Australia newsletter is always a great resource for keeping up to date with what is happening in the VET sector. The latest edition brings us a bunch of upcoming events, more information on the new VET Board, workshops on future-proofing your RTO, and commentary on the apprenticeships and traineeships slump. If you haven’t already make sure that you subscribe so you can get these updates straight into your inbox.

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Privacy Connections — 15 August 2014 | Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
http://goo.gl/e4n6Xd
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will be disbanded from 31 December 2014. However, until then they are a great resource of information around data retention, reasonable steps to protect personal information and the Privacy Act.

Folder stamped with confidential red confidential stamp paperwork documents 101052866

Understanding the non-completion of apprentices | NCVER
http://goo.gl/LNociw
This literature review was released back in June and explores the reason that “Approximately half of all apprenticeship contracts in the trades are not completed”. With findings that the most common reasons for not completing are employment-related this is an important read for all stakeholders in the Australian VET sector.

Understanding-non-completion


 

Exploring the teaching nursing home model: literature review to inform the national evaluation of the TRACS program | Australian Policy Online
http://goo.gl/x10ZJW

2014 National VET Conference | Velg Training
http://goo.gl/1HizIa

Draft Standards for VET Regulators 2014 | Safe Work Resources Blog
http://goo.gl/ldO7Pp

New Training Resources | Safe Work Resources
http://goo.gl/oAzf6T

Unique Student Identifier (USI) – Training Organisation Video | Department of Industry
http://goo.gl/dbNKCq

Win a New Car! | Safe Work Resources
http://goo.gl/dkt4WG

A differentiated model for tertiary education: past ideas, contemporary policy and future possibilities | NCVER
http://goo.gl/15xLSK

2014 Annual TRANZnet Conference

2014 Annual TRANZnet Conference 

The Safe Work Resources team have just gotten back from the TRANZnet 2014 Annual Conference that was held in Melbourne. Running over three days from the 6th – 8th of August this conference showcased speakers from regulators through to business leaders. IMG_1452The variety found in the discussion panels and professional development workshops were only matched by the range of roles and training backgrounds of the conference delegates. Bringing such a vast mix of content and attendees into a successful conference was a great achievement by the TRANZnet committee and we are honoured to have been so heavily involved in this year’s conference. IMG_1566 In keeping with our belief that training providers who support the professional development of their team should be rewarded we offered all conference attendees a complete set of training, assessment and mapping resources for free. This gave some of the delegates an opportunity to try our resources for the first time and allowed others to add a bigger range of resources to their repertoire. IMG_1603 Two of our team members, Matt Peachey & Stefania Cola, were able to share their expertise by presenting at the conference. Matt presented Language, Literacy & Numeracy Testing of Learners & Mapping the ACSF to Units of Competency and a workshop on the New Draft Standards for RTO’s. While Stefania presented a workshop on Setting up your Social Media Accounts & Management of your Social Message.IMG_1512


You can access the resources & presentations via the buttons below.

Matt2 Stef