Improving Training07/05/2015 10:09:54

Seen in the Higher Education Supplement of the Australian today:
“Training Probe on External Audit’s Path”

This article reported that a long running review of Australia’s Training Package system is expected to conclude this month. This is the latest in a series of reviews that have been undertaken since training packages replaced the old training system in 1999.

Those of us who worked in the old system understand that this was a major shift. The old system prescribed not only what should be studied but also other things including course delivery and course materials.  The emphasis was shifted onto assessment of prescribed “competencies”, and auditing that process; and away from the actual delivery of education –the teaching and the learning.

This article stated:
“… there was a strong view amongst submissions that the implementation rather than the design of vocational education training packages, was the cause for concern,…”

It talked about colleges “….failing to provide clear information to a prospective student about the qualification they were signing up for, where the training would be undertaken, how long the course would take, what support services are available and costs associated with them”

It also referred to the fact that quantity of training had in cases been degraded referring to a “crackdown on miraculously short diplomas”

Clearly, there have been, and still remain, serious issues with the training package system.
We were an RTO and offered accredited courses during the 90’s and through to the early years of the training packages. Along with other colleges, we submitted serious concerns about a system that increased emphasis on student assessment at the same time as reducing control over course duration and delivery.

We attended a national meeting of Horticulture Training institutions in Adelaide, around 1997, where training packages were considered, and serious concern about the concept was expressed. I saw an industry survey around 2000 that showed serious concern, if not outright opposition to the training package concept (from ACPET). I have seen a great deal of criticism, many reviews, and much comment about “degradation of training” since then.

For these reasons; we resigned our RTO status and left the “mainstream” education system in Australia, around 2003. We have since then worked hard to develop an alternative system that emphasises learning over assessment. We believe, at the end of the day; that students succeed after study because of what they learn, not because of the exams and tests they pass!
Learning is a process that develops and strengthens by encountering information, applying that information, revisiting and using it in different ways. Skills need to be repeated to become ingrained, and for performance to be improved. Time is required for learning to be proper sand effective.

To learn is by no means the same as being shown how to do something once by a teacher, immediately repeating it, then being declared competent. This however is a process that can and is  used by some, if not many, colleges that have been running training package courses. Fast learning can only be short term learning –but when learning incorporates repetition and is spread over time, it can become long term and produce a far better trained workforce. That is what we do; and we believe this is why we see such an outstanding rate of success from our graduates.




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