Online learning in the VET sector
The Strategic Review of Online Learning in the VET sector is identified as a regulatory risk priority in ASQA’s Regulatory Strategy 2020-22 and in the 2021-22 Regulatory Risk Priorities. ASQA uses a risk-based approach to determine the most significant risks to achieving ASQA’s purpose, which is to ensure quality VET and the integrity of national qualifications issued by training providers.
We have undertaken this review in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders.
As part of this review, we published a report ‘Strategic Review of Online Learning in the VET sector’ in January 2023.
Insights papers and other resources
As part of the strategic review of online learning, we published the three insights papers below and a webinar series.
We also commissioned two research pieces to explore both the constraints on, and the opportunities of, delivering two qualifications from the most-impacted training packages delivered partly online. These qualifications are CHC33015 – Certificate III in Individual Support and SIT30816 – Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.
Read the results of this research, from Griffith University.
The research drew on data from:
- responses to the survey described in detail in Insights Paper 3
- training package enrolment data
- qualification requirement documents
- specific unit/s of competency within each qualification (key document)
- the training package
- companion volume implementation guides
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has also released a range of reports on online and blended training delivery in vocational education and training, including ‘Delivery of VET: emerging trends in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’.
In the review, ASQA commits to the following actions, and makes the following policy considerations, designed to support continuous improvement in supporting and enhancing the quality of VET delivered online.
Through our integrated, planned and risk-based approach to regulation ASQA will undertake performance monitoring of a sample of providers delivering products of concern online, including a focus on specific provider responsibilities under the Standards. We will report on the outcomes of these regulatory activities including sharing insights with the sector.
ASQA will strengthen existing education products and develop new guidance to support providers to self-assure their operations and continuously improve performance against the Standards in the context of risks of online delivery. ASQA will test these products with stakeholders to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and deliver on intended outcomes.
ASQA will develop guidance for its quality assessors to support consistent application of the Standards and ensure assessment practices keep pace with innovation in relation to online delivery.
Ordinarily, English language qualifications delivered under the ESOS Act cannot be delivered fully online, because of the importance of cultural immersion in achieving the learning outcomes. Explicit allowance for fully online delivery of these qualifications was made by ASQA and TEQSA as a temporary measure in response to COVID. Support for ELICOS providers and a planned approach to return to compliance with the ELICOS Standards should be considered in consultation with stakeholders.
ASQA will consider the risks associated with delivering online learning and the self-assurance systems in place to assure quality outcomes for online or blended delivery when considering the overall level of risk for an applicant or registered provider, and the broad range of regulatory approaches to respond to the relevant risks identified.
Policy consideration 1
ESOS agencies should monitor the data sources available to understand achievement of learning outcomes, student support and wellbeing required of ELICOS providers. This will provide greater assurance of market maturity and inform any future policy settings.
Policy consideration 2
The Department of Education to consider ways in which the outcomes intended by requirements set out in Standard 8 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code) and the ELICOS Standards can be safeguarded whilst not constraining expansion of English-language training by ELICOS providers.
Policy consideration 3
In developing policy in relation to the applicable Standards, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) should consider provider responsibilities including trainers and assessors having the appropriate capability to conduct training and assessment online; ensuring the authenticity of online assessment; and appropriate training and wellbeing supports for students studying online. The review of Standards for Registered Training Organisations currently under development by the DEWR is an opportunity to support quality assurance of training and assessment delivered online.
Policy consideration 4
The current review of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) led by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) could provide improved data and definitions to capture the diversity and characteristics of the online market. This would assist ASQA to better target our regulatory activities to address risk and support providers to deliver quality training and assessment online. The availability of up-to-date information on public websites linked to the AVETMISS data, namely My Skills and training.gov.au, is also critical for students, funding authorities and employers to make informed choices about training.
Consistent with ASQA’s Regulatory Operating Model (ASQA 2021, p.9), these actions will involve actively engaging with stakeholders and the regulated community to work collaboratively to enhance quality VET delivered online.
If you would like to share information with the system review team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to working with you to promote continuous improvement in the delivery of online learning in the VET sector.