2020 – the year of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos that sparked from it. For the VET industry, it was the year of rapid transition to online training and learning, with many RTOs not having the functionality for online training until the unprecedented events of last year. With the whole industry moving towards this change, re-evaluation of training techniques and effectiveness has also occurred, and an online learning environment, including tools such as virtual classrooms and online assessment, has been embraced by most.
It’s hard to imagine a world without mobile phones in everyone’s hands, and learners are acutely aware of this when presented with outdated learning methods. According to CNBC, by 2025 almost three quarters of the web population will access the internet solely through smartphones. In order to meet learner expectations, the VET sector will continue to move towards smartphone-accessible training and content that can be displayed via multiple outputs, such as through apps.
Blended learning is a fundamental shift in the way trainers and learners approach learning material. Incorporating application of theoretical knowledge in a practical setting can be achieved using online resources, whilst staying compliant and supporting active participation from all parties involved in the learning process. Online assessments are the future of assessment, with authoring, mapping, reviewing, assessing and marking capabilities at a standard that allows trainers and assessors to deliver smoother assessment. Learners will even be able to undertake assessments on their mobile devices, such as within a learner portal app, allowing for instant feedback, easily uploading evidence for RPL, reviewing course progress and more.
The industry’s technological change of incorporating online capabilities and mobile platforms is only the beginning. With rapid global technological advancement and changing learner expectations, training organisations will need to have high levels of flexibility and a technology-driven mindset. Technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the future of vocational training. With some professions already utilising VR in training, more and more will follow suit.
For instance, some departments in Australia and the USA are training firefighters with VR, and the advantages have been abundant. VR can train learners in a real-life scenario, such as a dangerous setting where fire is involved, with no harm to the learner or the environment. VR is also being used to train surgeons, a job that is highly complex and holds high risk. Additionally, Australian company VisionTek have developed mixed reality multiple asset formation flight training, which is the first and most realistic of its kind in the world.
All in all, VR can be incredibly useful for learners by offering a real-life scenario that allows learners to test the boundaries of their skills and make mistakes without serious repercussions, until they become proficient.
Work based learning (WBL) has been integral for VET for many years, but we will see it increase in importance in 2021 due to upskilling needs. WBL has proven to be an effective way to prepare learners for the workforce, and with unemployment rates likely to remain fairly high due to the pandemic, WBL will play an integral role for learners, and is a highly attractive aspect of VET for those who are considering vocational education.
Here at aXcelerate, WBL will certainly be important for us as we launch our WBL journey.
Microcredentials are another aspect of VET that have been in the industry for many years but will increase in importance in 2021. Shorter form credentials provide the opportunity to easily articulate and execute the skills within a skill set, and contribute to lifelong learning. To ensure learners have the skills that the future workforce needs, microcredentials can ensure knowledge is consistently updated for the duration of a worker’s career.
Overall, this new year is looking bright for the VET industry.
Want to know more about VET in 2021? Learn more about the future of training and education here.
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