RTOs must establish an ‘amount of training’ (AOT) for each qualification they deliver as required by Clause 1.2 in the SRTOs 2015. These hours must be documented in your training and assessment strategies (TAS’s). ASQA is concerned with providers delivering sufficient training to support learners to gain the required competencies. Their regulatory approach in relation to course durations has been to advise RTOs to use the AQF ‘volume of learning’ (VOL) range as a basis to determine an appropriate AOT for the qualifications being delivered.
Identify your learner cohort characteristics:
You need to distinguish in your TAS’s the different types cohorts you are delivering to and identify their characteristics e.g. inexperienced or experienced learners. If your RTO intends to deliver to learners who are new to the industry area and/or who do not have any workplace experience, the AOT required that is described in the training and assessment strategy would closely match the timeframe listed with the AQF volume of learning. However, if you plan to deliver to a learner cohort that already has defined skills, knowledge and workplace experience appropriate to the industry, a shorter AOT may be sufficient to ensure that each learner has fully absorbed the required knowledge and has developed the skills required in a range of different contexts.
Identify your mode of delivery:
Your mode of delivery may influence the AOT you are providing, and the training and assessment being provided. The hours you allocate between supervised and unsupervised learning activities will depend on the delivery mode used. For delivery modes that incorporate asynchronous online or self-paced distance delivery you need to ensure you have documented in your TAS the support and assistance available to the learners while unsupervised by the trainer. This will ensure the justification you provide for a short AOT is valid. If you are a CRICOs provider delivering to an international student cohort you need to be mindful off using appropriate delivery modes that meet the requirements of the National Code 2018.
Provide a breakdown of amount of training hours:
The AOT essentially comprises the formal learning activities you provide to a learner. These formal activities can include classes, lectures, tutorials, online or self-paced study, as well as workplace learning. It’s important to note that it includes any learning activity directed by the trainer whether supervised or unsupervised. The VOL includes all teaching, learning and assessment activities that are required to be completed by the student to achieve the learning outcomes. The AOT is incorporated in the VOL. If your RTO is not delivering a full qualification, the AOT to be provided may be a proportion of the AQF volume of learning. This can be calculated by taking the minimum VOL hours for the qualification that the units of competency identified sit in and dividing it by the number of units in the qualification. This will give you the VOL hours per unit. Make sure the AOT hours identified in your TAS correlate with the actual training hours documented in your schedules and timetables.
Provide justification for your short course duration:
Where you have identified a course duration shorter than the minimum AQF benchmark range for the qualification you need to provide a rationale in your TAS for the reduction in time given. Your explanation needs to define why the hours identified are suitable for the specific learner cohort. Your experienced learner cohort may have existing skills and knowledge and RPL and credits could be applicable therefore shortening the timeframe for training provided. You may also refer to ‘gap-training’ or accelerated learning reflective of the learner’s existing competencies. Where you have identified clustered learning and/or assessment in your TAS that can also provide a justification for a reduction in course duration/hours.
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