6 Critical Steps to Choosing Quality Learning Resource
Buying training materials for your new course is one of the most critical decisions you will make as an RTO. This decision has massive implications for your RTO’s Reputation, Compliance and Overall Student Experience.
We have been through this process many times as RTO directors trying to secure the best training tools for our trainers and students, balanced with the quality and features required to demonstrate compliance at audit and keep our RTO’s operating with a “low-risk” rating from ASQA.
This page is dedicated to providing you with critical things to look out for when choosing your new Learning and Assessment Resources based on our own experience shopping for training materials.
Beware Bad Learning Resources
Did you know that in their 2017 report ASQA published that around 80% of RTOs were non-compliant with Standard One at audit?
Standard 1 of the National Standards for RTOs 2015 is the largest of the Standards and should not be taken lightly. It specifically relates to training and assessment strategies & practices, validation, trainers, and training & assessment resources.
It is hard to understate just how serious the consequences of non-compliance with Standard One of the National Standards for RTOs are for your RTO. Non-compliance can result in:
- Failure at Audit & Expensive Audit Rectifications
- Sanctions & Conditions on RTO Trading
- Loss or Suspension of RTO Registration
- Legal Action Against the Directors & CEOs in Breach of National Legislation
Yet how many times do we see RTOs buying the cheapest learning and assessment materials without doing any due diligence? They then release these tools to their trainers and learners, or take them to Addition to Scope Applications/RTO registrations without any preparation and come completely unstuck at audit.
If you follow the recommendations below, you should avoid making the common mistakes we see so often with RTOs rushing to buy the cheapest Learning resources without consideration of the impact on their CEO, Learners, Trainers, Compliance Staff – and really risking losing their entire operation or business when they’re found non-compliant with the standards…
1. Ensure You Get a VALID SAMPLE
Many training resource providers will have a single unit on their websites which represents EVERY resource they offer. I have seen so often that this sample is “cherry-picked” – the best-looking, most compliant unit they have and is generally NOT representative of the final resources you will end up with.
Make sure you are provided with a sample of the unit or qualification you are looking for, not a random unit from another qualification or even training package. Be sure to ask for a sample that covers a complete Unit of Competence and have an experienced resource validator analyse the assessment tools against the unit requirements to ensure it will meet competency requirements and Pass Audit.
2. Get Your Assessment Tool Sample Validated
Almost every other day we have RTOs asking us to urgently provide them with Compliant Learning Resources that will get them out of their “Audit Woes” and save their RTO. The cost of a few hours to properly validate an assessment tool is nothing compared with the cost of putting your RTO at risk of sanctions – or even worse, deregistration.
Validate a sample unit first to see the real cost of your purchase before wasting your money buying the whole thing. Redevelopment or rectification is extremely expensive and many resource providers will only rectify based on ASQA reports. By then it is too late and your RTO has a bad audit report on file.
Your validation is only as good as your validator. If you don’t have the skills on your team, we recommend engaging a reputable RTO consultant. If you need a recommendation here, let us know, we are only too happy to recommend a quality RTO consultant with a proven track record.
At Compliant Learning Resources, we have our resources internally validated and externally validated by a subject matter expert to ensure compliance, industry relevance and learner friendliness.
3. Do Your Assessment Tools Come With Mapping Documents?
The last thing you want is to be at Audit and be scratching around trying to find where the unit requirement has been met within your Assessment Tool. You want to ensure that your new Assessment Tools come with comprehensive and easy to follow mapping.
At Compliant Learning Resources we not only give you a mapping Document; we also map all of our assessment tools at the task level in the Assessor Guide so you can quickly and easily show an auditor of work colleague what an assessment task maps to. We make it easy so you don’t even need to reference a mapping matrix, however, we still provide one if you need it.
4. Does The Learning Resource have a Simulated Work Environment?
Simulated Work Environments or Virtual Workplaces come with the most comprehensive, sophisticated Learning and Assessment Tools. They emulate a working industry business to give your learners who don’t have access to a workplace a “real-world” simulation with workplace documents, communication, policies and procedures, client/stakeholder records and other essential documents. These “simulated business” resources are critical to allow your learners to gain invaluable workplace knowledge and skills before they practice their skills in the real world.
Simulated businesses can allow you to train and assess your candidate without requiring a workplace or vocational placement and enhance the learner experience – meaning you can provide a pathway to complete the course for many more students. Learning resources with Simulated Learning Environments cost little if nothing extra compared to “normal” training resources, but offer HUGE value for your RTO. Why would you choose training materials that don’t include this vital resource?
5. Is there enough Learning Content?
So often we see learner guides emulate the performance criteria with just a couple of paragraphs copy-pasted from the internet to inform learners of what they need to know for that unit. Others do not provide any learning content at all!
Before you invest in training resources, check:
- Does the package actually include a learner guide/learner resource/textbook with the training materials?
- How big is the learner guide?
- Does it genuinely include the number of pages of content advertised, or has the developer used double spacing and huge white spaces to “pad out” a small amount of content
- Does it provide your learners with a step by step guide to learning and practising the skills they have learned to gain competency in the subject that they are learning? For example, are there diagrams, examples, activities and other content to cement understanding?
- Have you checked that you would be able to complete the assessment tools with the learner guide provided?
This is a critical pre-purchase check. So many times we see RTO buy assessment tools for old learning resources or even complete off-the-shelf products where the learning resources do not prepare the learners for the assessment tasks they are going to undertake. We also frequently get calls from clients that discover their “cheap” resources package relies on printed learning resources that cost a fortune per student, or can’t find any learning content for their assessment tools at all meaning students largely reliant on expensive direct trainer support.
Part of your validation process is to ensure that all the knowledge and skills required in the assessment tasks are covered by your learning content. Poor learning content leads to poor learning outcomes and upset disengaged learners. Make sure you know what you are getting in advance.
6. Choosing the Right Licence?
There are generally two main license types. A pay per student type and an unlimited type. To make the best decision here you need to determine how many students you’ll be training and conduct a break-even analysis. I recommend looking at your investment over a three year period to get an idea of the real cost. This will help you work out if you are better off with an unlimited student use licence OR a pay per student license.
Pay Per Student License.
I have found it can cost anywhere from $200 to $1000 per student for a complete qualification of learning and assessment resources under the “pay per student” model, depending on the number of units and resource costs. This can add up quickly if you have a lot of students, or expect rapid growth in enrolments. The last thing you want to do is start with a per-student resource and then realise that you have spent tens of thousands of dollars on materials and either need to continue paying expensive license fees or transition to a new training resource.
This model generally works well for course areas with very low student numbers (normally less than 20 students total). An advantage is less upfront investment – but check for setup fees, annual subscription costs or other ongoing fees that may not be obvious when you get the initial price-per-unit-per-student quote.
Unlimited Student License.
The benefit of this license is that you can enrol as many students as you want and pay no extra fees for the learning and assessment tools. You will normally receive the materials in an editable digital format which means you can often brand up the resources in your own organisation’s name and logo for a more professional look. You can also modify and contextualise assessments after validation which is critical for your RTO’s compliance.
This model generally requires a reasonable number of enrolments per annum to ensure a solid return on the investment, however in many cases will work out substantially cheaper where enrolment numbers are strong. This model generally ranges from $3000 to $20,000+ depending on the qualification.
The key to making the right decision is doing your homework on expected numbers and working out which model will best suit your organisation.
Need Help Finding QUALITY Learning Resources? We can Help! – Find Your Learning Resources Here
Depending on the Course, we often use simulated businesses with online intranets that your students can access to assist them in their learning journey. These simulations replicate “Real World” businesses and provide your learners with access to policies and procedures, business forms and templates as well a scenarios and case studies to properly prepare your learners for working in their vocation when they graduate.
Best Practice Learning Design Process
At Compliant Learning Resources we follow a best practice development process recommended worldwide called the ADDIE Method. This ensures that the final training resources that you buy are of the highest quality and meet all competency requirements. We have written a comprehensive blog on our design process, so feel free to read about if HERE – Instructional Design Process. Development of all learning resources starts with research, industry consultation and extensive evidence planning and mapping process to ensure that there are no ‘gaps’ in learning or assessment tools. The instructional design process ends with validation by SMEs and our quality control team to ensure that you receive only compliant, quality learning resources.
The full development of each training resource includes:
- Industry consultation
- SME consultation
- Research and writing
- Internal Validations
- External SME Validation
- Complete mapping of the resource, and
- Final quality control
You Get A Rectification Assistance Guarantee For ALL Assessment Tools
With Compliant learning resources, you can ensure that your RTO training materials meet ASQA standards through our rectification assistance guarantee. You can read about our fantastic Post-Audit Rectification Assistance Guarantee.
Our RTO training materials will impress your learners and trainers with easy to read and easy to follow instructions and assessment tools!
What Will You Receive In Your Training Resource Package?
Your training resource package will include:
- Assessment Workbooks
- Assessor Guides with Comprehensive Assessment Benchmarks
- Learner Guides (which remove the need for additional third-party textbooks)
- Extensive Mapping Documentation
Compliant is also able to fulfil custom training resource development requests for any VET training resources, so contact us today to discuss your project and how we can help. Call 1300 885 484 or email [email protected].