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ASQA's strategic review into online learning

September 13, 2021

We all know online learning has experienced massive growth since the start of the global pandemic, and we’re unlikely to go back to seeing a world where the majority of training organisations only provide in-person training. ASQA recently published their first Insights paper as part of their Strategic Review of Online Learning in the VET sector. This first paper covers the most common and important topics raised by those who attended ASQA’s three ‘Feedback Loop’ webinars on online learning in the past year. 

The webinar focus topics were online learning capability, online learning compliance and EdTech awareness and capacity. From a poll conducted during the webinars, attendees were largely senior managers or compliance managers from private training organisations. Live online delivery, such as through Zoom or Teams, was the most popular response when attendees were asked to broadly classify their training organisation’s use of online learning. Responses also showed that 90% of attendees moved some training or assessment online in response to COVID-19. 

Online learning compliance

Most attendees were concerned about ensuring the delivery of compliant online training and assessment, as well as what is required to maintain compliance when delivering training online. An especially relevant topic of concern for providers was how to know if online delivery is equivalent to face-to-face methods of training, including maintaining compliance with direct observation requirements of the training package, ratios, obtaining evidence of online assessment (such as video evidence) and more.

According to the panellists, there are fundamental aspects of high quality online training, including: 

  • Student Interactions: When developing a course, the interactions that occur during online training need to be considered, such as how the student will interact with the content, other students and the trainer/facilitator.
  • Engagement: It’s important that students aren’t just passively absorbing content, but they’re fully engaged and even immersed in the training. This ensures they’ll have better memory retention of what they’ve seen and done in the training.
  • Interactivity: Good engagement levels somewhat rely on the level of interactiveness the online training platform can provide. A good Learning Management System (LMS) will provide online assessments and lessons with interactive question types, including hotspot, ordering items, matching lists and more. 

In terms of assessment, your LMS needs to be able to capture evidence required to maintain compliance. Direct observation is an interesting topic when it comes to online training, but the fundamentals remain the same for in-person and online training. Assessors need to be able to do live observation, meaning an assessor needs to be able to stop a student at any stage to keep them safe if they’re doing the wrong thing. 

Student needs and support 

Systems that can support the engagement of students’ learning online was an important topic to attendees in the webinars. A good LMS will integrate with your Student Management System (SMS) to help training providers better support their students. Features like automated surveys, learning plans and a virtual classroom integration will all assist with supporting student needs. 

Trainers and assessors

Getting everyone on board with online systems can sometimes be tricky. It’s integral that trainers are comfortable with using the training management system, and RTOs can facilitate this with the LMS provider’s remote training, support documentation and short training videos on how to learn the LMS. A good LMS will have online learning and assessment features that make it easy to create engaging online lessons and assessments. One of our favourite features to use here at aXcelerate is Learning Plans. Learning Plans allow trainers and assessors to schedule, order and present online course content and assessments in easy-to-navigate learning modules. You don’t need to be an expertly-skilled learning designer to create visually stunning Learning Plans, lessons and assessments that seamlessly guide students to competency. 


We recommend reading this article for more ideas about how to drive cultural organisational change to not only accept online training, but to embrace it.

EdTech

Some hallmarks of a good LMS for RTOs to deliver courses online include, but aren't limited to: 

  • The ability to create engaging course content and assessment
  • Assessment mapping
  • Learning Plans
  • Online enrolments
  • Attendance marking
  • Workflow automation
  • Surveys 
  • Integrated eLearning

Plus, your LMS should be integrated with your SMS to maintain compliance (we’re big fans of the one-system solution). 

If you’re looking for extra coolness for your LMS, some things to look for could be digital work-based learning and VR integrations

Additionally, if you choose the right system for your training organisation, you’ll likely save money in the long run (not to mention the amount of time you’ll save on compliance tasks). 

We were delighted to see that aXcelerate featured in the word cloud from webinar poll results on what EdTech solutions providers currently use: 

We’re looking forward to the next insights paper into online learning from ASQA. 

References

  1. Online learning in the VET sector | Australian Skills Quality Authority

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