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C H A P T E R    3

Spotlight On trainers and assessors:
Professional development

Chapter 3 aims to help providers develop and maintain their staff’s skills, knowledge and expertise as trainers and assessors.

Providing professional development for trainers and assessors brings many benefits to your students who will experience the most current and relevant training industry opportunities, in a modern and appropriate training environment.

Vocational education methodologies and techniques

 

In the VET sector, trainers and assessors are required to have specified training and assessment credentials as a minimum. By continuing to develop VET professional skills and knowledge, trainers and assessors are better prepared to manage to the variety of teaching and assessment scenarios they encounter.

Changes to Vocational Education Training (VET) methods are generally prompted in order to be more responsive to student and industry needs, and to produce more efficient and effective student outcomes.

 

Ensuring your trainers and assessors stay current with the latest educational practices helps your students to transition more successfully from the classroom to the most current environment there is, the workplace.

Currency in VET learning and assessment has benefits for your organisation in terms of reputation and results.

Trainers and assessors can develop their skills and currency through participation in formal learning and by participating in networking and learning methods such as:

  • participating in internal or external courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences (i.e. courses run by professional development providers as well as internal programs provided by your RTO)
  • demonstrating recent completion of a training product, about VET and competency based training and assessment
  • reading relevant publications
  • participating in learning networks - various professional associations hold forums about vocational training and assessment
  • taking part in validation or moderation activities
  • shadowing or working closely with other trainers and assessors under a mentoring arrangement.

Continuing development in a changing environment

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a marked impact on the operations of training organisations around the world. It is an example of how sudden and responsive changes to delivery methods and practices may be required across the sector.

Providers who are agile, can adjust to new technologies and are familiar with current vocational education practices, will have more success adjusting to operational challenges. Online learning has become a particularly vital tool as providers have dealt with the challenges of the last year in particular.

To successfully implement agile methods, it remains critical that trainers and assessors are also supported to develop their own skills and understanding of delivery in an online or other distance learning environment. When changing delivery from face-to-face to online learning, trainers and assessors benefit from understanding how to use the most modern, available software systems, and how to deal with challenges around developing training and assessment methods and practices. This can include creating accessible learning materials and being able to validate assessment submissions.

This topic is of interest to ASQA and we recently launched our Strategic Review into online learning in the VET sector. Our strategic review seeks to support providers and trainers and assessors to continually improve their online delivery capabilities.

In October 2020, the Deliver E-Learning Skill Set was released in the Training and Education (TAE) Training Package. This skillset is created from two existing diploma level units and was designed to assist qualified trainers and assessors to continue to develop their skills in an online training environment.

Evidence of development

The delivery of training and assessment does not constitute professional development on its own.

Professional development activities require structure and a clear link to how the trainer and assessor’s skills and knowledge have been enhanced through their participation.

Professional development can also be formally or informally managed. It may not be necessary that trainers and assessors attend formal training courses, when they can obtain benefits from a combination of other interactions such as shadowing or following another trainer, reading the latest information on a topic, and continuing to actively seek out new competency-based training methods to trial.

However, whether formal or informal, your organisation must ensure that you have planned and implemented development opportunities for all trainers and assessors. This includes those being accessed via subcontracting and third party arrangement, to ensure your staff have the space to learn and continue their development.

In addition to recording the evidence of staff participation in professional development opportunities, your RTO should also actively review the outcomes of the activities, and implement these learnings to improve your RTO’s training and assessment practices.

Useful tips to further develop skills and knowledge

 

Use a calendar

Use a calendar to plan out - and to record - professional development activities for staff across the year.

Conduct skill reviews

Conduct skill reviews to determine both industry needs and the development needs of your individual trainers and assessors.

Actively promote

Actively promote professional development opportunities in team meetings and other communications.

Discuss

Discuss new initiatives implemented in your organisation as a result of past professional development activities.

As an additional resource, VOCEDplus is produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and is funded by Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

The VET Practitioner Resource draws on VOCEDplus, NCVER products and external links to present a range of information, both free and for purchase, designed to support VET practitioners in their teaching and assessment practice and in undertaking research.

Useful tips to further develop skills and knowledge

 

Use a calendar

Use a calendar to plan out - and to record - professional development activities for staff across the year.

Conduct skill reviews

Conduct skill reviews to determine both industry needs and the development needs of your individual trainers and assessors.

Actively promote

Actively promote professional development opportunities in team meetings and other communications.

Discuss

Discuss new initiatives implemented in your organisation as a result of past professional development activities.

As an additional resource, VOCEDplus is produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and is funded by Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

The VET Practitioner Resource [M1] draws on VOCEDplus, NCVER products and external links to present a range of information, both free and for purchase, designed to support VET practitioners in their teaching and assessment practice and in undertaking research.

Feedback

Questions?

 

Still have a question? Check out the Users’ guide to the Standards for RTOs 2015, or send through a question for consideration for our webinar via our website.

 

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ASQA

Follow the links below to visit other chapters in the Spotlight On series.

Visit Chapter 4

Ensure those working under supervision have opportunities to learn and develop skills as part of supervisory arrangements.

Visit Chapter 2 Chapter 2 aims to help RTOs determine the workplace competencies of trainers and assessors.

 

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