Contextualising learning materials is one of the most challenging tasks RTOs face. Adapting their units of competency and qualifications to tailor fit the needs of their students requires a lot of organisation, research, and expertise.
If you don’t contextualise your training resources, you could end up delivering subpar training and leave your students unprepared, lose clients, and even be found non-compliant by ASQA.
To avoid any potential problems, it’s best to contextualise as soon as you can and as best as you can. At Precision Group, we’re all about helping RTOs deliver the best training they can. It’s why we created this handy guide to contextualisation for RTOs.
Know the basics
Below are the basic concepts of contextualisation every RTO needs to know.
Understand why you’re contextualising
Before starting any project, you must understand why your end goal is supposed to be. When contextualising training resources and assessment tools, your purpose is to meet learner needs in concerning the work environment, industry, and work role.
Delivering quality training means adopting your learning materials and assessment tools to fit the specific needs of your learner cohort. Remember, it’s not a one size fits all scenario. You must modify your materials with the students in mind.
Find out what you can and cannot do
RTOs should be aware of the rules when it comes to contextualisation so they can still be found compliant. When it comes to adapting their learning materials, RTOs can modify units of competency, so it is in line with the outcome required by the learner or the organisation. You can add information to fit a learner’s profile or comply with the specific needs of the organisation.
RTOs may also package units of competency into a qualification with the elective options available as long as they maintain the integrity of the outcome of the endorsed units of competency.
Remember that RTOs are not allowed to remove anything from the elements and performance criteria, distort or limit the competency outcomes and use, and reduce the breadth of application of the competency and lessen its portability.
Contextualising for different modes of delivery
Contextualisation varies depending on the training delivery. Before you start contextualising your learning materials and assessment tools, take a step back and figure out which delivery method is best suited for your learner cohort.
Here are some tips when contextualising training for different training delivery:
Training for classroom delivery
For the best experience, consult with industry experts and verify that your learning materials are relevant to the current workplace experience. Having these experts and industry contacts be guest speakers during class will provide helpful insight to your students, as well.
Exchanging and sharing workplace stories and experiences in the classroom can also help learners get a better understanding of the role and industry.
Training for the workplace
When training for the workplace, it’s essential to align the learning activities with the organisation’s objectives and overall culture. Create activities and tasks that are relevant and are useful of the business itself.
Ask the employer for assistance when providing skills practice so you can be sure that your learners’ tasks are immediately valuable to all parties. Real workplace activities can also be advantageous as they provide opportunities for students to learn problem-solving skills.
A workplace mentor-mentee scenario may also be suitable for this training delivery method.
Training for online delivery
Provide an authentic online simulated work environment to mimic the actual workplace so learners can practise their skills with ease. Also, develop workplace centric quizzes and games to boost knowledge retention.
Hosting webinars with industry experts will also be greatly beneficial to the learning experience for your students.
Contextualising learning materials
Step 1: Replace generic terms and general descriptions
To make your units of competency more relevant to your learners, you need to identify all the generic terms and general descriptions and adapt them to a specific industry and job role.
Step 2: Identify the criteria for evidence of competence
Figure out the kinds of evidence of competence learners may be able to provide to satisfy the requirements of the unit of competency. Once you’ve done that, include them to the evidence guide.
Step 3: Add or modify information
Supplement any lacking information to the learning materials when needed. The information you add must comply with the specific industry or organisation’s desired outcome.
Step 4: Review the materials
Make sure all your modifications maintain the integrity of the industry skill and portability requirements.
Contextualising assessment tools
Step 1: Make sure the assessment context is clear
Consult with industry or subject matter experts to ensure clarity of the assessment context. Having an industry contact’s perspective will provide you with valuable information and will help you deliver exceptional training.
Step 2: Review the assessment resources
The criteria should complement the unit of competence. When modifying your assessment tools, always refer to your training materials.
Step 3: Follow the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence
Your contextualised assessments must follow the Principle of Assessments which are: fairness, flexibility, validity, and reliability. They should also follow the Rules of Evidence which include validity, sufficiency, authenticity, and currency.
By following the steps above and keeping in mind the vital information about contextualisation, you’ll be able to modify and adapt your learning resources and assessment tools quickly.
Successful contextualisation starts with great training materials. Check out high-quality RTO resources by looking through our expansive training resource catalogue. We’ve got a huge range of learning materials from a variety of leading resource developers in Australia. To learn more about our products, don’t hesitate to contact us here.