Legislative changes came into force on 1 September 2020 that now means the National Regulator can request student records from RTOs in a specified electronic format. For providers who are still managing paper-based student records now is the time to develop a strategy to digitise these documents. ASQA are yet to advise RTOs of the information technology requirements for electronic student records but in planning now to transition your record keeping systems you can anticipate future needs. The following information provides RTOs with food for thought in relation to managing student records electronically.
Learning Management Systems:
Learning Management System, also referred to as LMS, in simple terms is a software application for managing e-Learning which helps in administration, documentation, tracking, and recording. Typically, a LMS provides the user with a way in which to create and deliver learning content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. Some systems may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussion, video conferencing, and discussion forums. An LMS enables automation of grading and reporting thus providing valuable data statistics. One of the advantages of an LMS is the functionality for easily adapting and reusing materials over time. This is because the system is a central repository for all the content housed within.
Blended or hybrid learning is also made possible via an LMS. This delivery mode means having the opportunity to combine multiple forms of learning including eLearning, simulation-based learning, mobile learning and classroom-based learning. If you are moving from traditional, face-to-face classrooms or training, using an LMS can save you tremendous time and resources. RTOs can significantly reduce expenses such as facility hire, travel and printing costs while giving students the flexibility to learn at their own convenience from any location. It is important to note that the technology doesn’t replace the trainer/assessor, it is a powerful tool that can allow you to scale the delivery of your courses. Many RTO’s had to pivot to online training when COVID-19 happened and it has been realised by most that blended delivery models are here to stay to ensure continuity of business should a vaccine to end the pandemic not be available any time soon.
In choosing an LMS platform RTOs should consider one that has the ability to integrate with its other IT systems preferably with features such as single sign on for accessibility.
Much has been said in recent times about us needing to rethink and digitise traditional learning pathways (PWC) and disrupt the modality of learning (DESE) due to the rapid and constant changes in technology in the workplace (NCVER). If COVID-19 has taught us anything by disrupting the VET sector it’s that our trainers and assessors need exceptional digital skills to use the technology we provide our learners with and to be able to train them in the digital skills they need for the future jobs emerging from the pandemic. RTO managers shouldn’t assume their staffs’ existing qualifications mean that they are also digitally literate and capable. For RTOs to be industry relevant and in order to compete with non-traditional training providers (EdTech) who are agile and quick to keep up with the pace of change, CEO’s should consider how you can ensure the digital skills of your RTO workforce is current and sufficient.
Digitisation of Records:
Digitising is defined as the process of converting any hardcopy, or paper-based records into digital format. Document scanning is essentially digitising paper documents. Through the use of a scanning device, hard copy documents are converted into electronic files for more efficient storage, security, and management. Digitisation benefits businesses as paper records are expensive to physically store, hard to track, easy to lose and time-consuming to create. Risks associated with managing your RTOs physical documents include theft, natural disasters, human error, lost records, and more.
Using technology and processes to bring your records into the digital age is a benefit to your staff and customers. The advantages of getting rid of paper based records is increased productivity, reduced costs and stress, accessibility and data security. Both your administration and training staff’s productivity can be affected by the inability to access correct information because of outdated and manual systems. They are held back by information not being shared in a central place. CEOs of RTOs must consider what capability and capacity they have internally to implement a digitisation strategy and consider the external threats and opportunities of introducing such an initiative.