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Your short course business - 5 key considerations

June 10, 2019

The short course space is a fast-paced high volume business. Short courses that offer practical and relevant certifications attract the interest of a high volume of students. To handle demand, RTOs need to ensure the student journey is seamless and be on top of compliance so that time is maximised training students rather than in administration of courses.

Here are 5 important areas to consider when managing a scalable, profitable and compliant short course business:

1. Build a strong brand to attract students

Many students opt to take on a short course to update existing skills or acquire new skills in a specific, targeted area. Often, prospective students may not be actively seeking a qualification but are attracted to your courses by the brand and the possibilities it represents! Creating a strong brand for your training organisation that presents consistently throughout the student experience will ensure your RTO attracts and retains the right learners. Your website and social media communications need to be consistent, responsive, relevant and rich in dynamic content.

Learners do not come to websites looking solely for a subject, but for the entire pathway and even lifestyle that go with it.” - Lucy Perkins, LDA


2. Provide eLearning

The worldwide eLearning market is projected to be worth $325bn in 2025. Popular eLearning courses offer rich, multi-sensory learning experiences that both educate and entertain. Online learning empowers students to learn at any time, at their own pace through digital devices as well as interact with trainers and peers.

Even if your short courses involve face-to-face training, eLearning can facilitate student led collection of evidence or provide additional learning content outside the classroom. Introducing eLearning is a great opportunity to review existing training content and ensure it is transferable across online platforms.

3. Adopt the right technology to automate high volume

Is a course up for renewal? An assessment due? Need to remind students of important key dates? Whether it’s student communications, payment plan invoicing, bulk online assessments or report generation, automation will save hours of manual inputs into various systems. Not only are manual systems time consuming, they limit scalability and always involve risk of human error.

Imagine how much time would be saved if the process of enrollment was automated - instead of sending emails back and forth to confirm a students course bookings, a prospective student gets a link with class times available, they select one, and it simply populates their calendar and the trainers calendar with enrollment details. Automating short course bookings will save a huge amount of time in the early stages of high volume training process.


4. Get a handle on compliance

For RTOs delivering short courses, AVETMISS reporting is critical. Australia and New Zealand are in the process of tightening the rules around they way training organizations capture, store and use student data. This strict compliance environment can be an RTO headache - but it doesn’t have to be.

Getting a grip on compliance doesn’t mean you need to know every word of ASQA’s standards. Short course compliance can be managed by leveraging a student management system (SMS) that organises AVETMISS data. A good SMS will collate and generate all your AVETMISS reporting, and even provide real time actionable error warnings and verified USIs direct from the system.

5. Online Assessments

Whether your short courses are delivered face-to-face or via eLearning, an online assessment engine is cost-effective, sustainable and allows for easier compliance mapping. Online assessments can be taken at a time that suits learners be it during class, at home or after work, on a device of their choice. Think QTI-compliant quizzes, observation checklists, assignment-based questions and even RPL.

Using an all-in-one system will take the pain out of managing short course assessments. Many tools enable intuitive authoring, automatic marking and customisable reporting and publishing. A digital platform that is cloud hosted is not only highly secure but can be rapidly scaled to manage more students and assessments on demand. Online assessments are a no-brainer for short course providers to increase productivity and save costs.

If your RTO is not already offering short-courses it may be time to start! With a carefully crafted brand strategy, eLearning options, workflow automation and online assessments, you will be on the way to a profitable, scalable and compliant short course business.