Our very own Rob Bright, Managing Director of Cloud Assess, recently held a webinar with Toby Jones, Commercial Director at Learning Vault, to discuss the learner experience. The main topics included:
- The current landscape in VET
- Experiential/Immersive Learning
- Assessment Design
- Microcredentials and Digital Badges
Here, we expand on these ideas and discuss what your RTO can do to truly ‘wow’ the learners of tomorrow.
The current landscape in VET
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much about our day-to-day lives. It’s difficult to even remember life before physical distancing, hand sanitiser and face masks! In times of difficulty it is important to look for the silver lining, and in this case it appears that learning and self-improvement played a large part in getting people through the worst parts of the pandemic, and will continue to play a key role in social and economic recovery.
For some who have found themselves recently out of work, re-skilling and up-skilling have become essential. Courses that are flexible, easily consumable and industry relevant are in high demand.
Last year there were 4.2 million VET students in Australia, and with 81% of them being part-time, it would appear that the majority are looking to vocational education as a means to improving their employment status. This year, that number has remained strong. Though no official reports have yet been published on the amount of learners enrolled in VET for 2020, many of those that we speak to have not been negatively affected, with some even reporting that COVID has had a positive affect on their business.
What is certain for every RTO is that the landscape has likely changed forever. More and more learners are looking for options, whether that be in-person, online or blended. Your courses will have to stand out as the best option.
So, what can you do?
Experiential/Immersive learning options
First and foremost, to ‘wow’ your learners you’ll need engaging, industry relevant, consistent content.
There is software readily available that is making it easier to create this type of content. Looking back 5-10 years, businesses needed to create their own app if they wished to connect with their audience this way. This was a very arduous and expensive undertaking. Luckily, technology has evolved and websites can be so responsive now that an app is not the only answer.
Good web design skills and the right software can facilitate the solutions to create and provide a user friendly interface by using content that works across multiple devices. Some of our favourites include:
A simple yet effective software to create custom, interactive courses. There is a huge asset library with built-in templates and themes that will help you create beautiful, professional-looking content.
Designed for creating educational content, it includes an integrated cloud-based solution for building accessible visual learning environments on your own learning platform. Create 360 degree tours using photo and video that includes different interactive overlays such as notes, maps, music, video, background audio, etc.
Create all kinds of interactive content including presentations, infographics, video presentations, quizzes, etc. This simple tool is easy to use and with a large template and resource library you can make engaging, interactive content suitable for e-learning.
Perhaps for the more experienced designer, Adobe Captivate helps you create beautiful, mobile-ready courses with built-in slides and interactions. Edit SVGs and convert them to buttons, play overlay videos and add multiple overlays slides during interactive video.
Ensuring learners have the best experience possible is on the forefront for RTOs. But this can be no mean feat. Utilising a purpose-built solution for Training & Assessment will support your ambitions to stand out from the pack.
How is a learner consuming content?
If you work in an RTO, this is probably a question that you ask yourself often. However, how often do you ask how a learner is consuming assessment?
This is something you need to understand before you begin building assessments.
Toby explained that at Learning Vault they were noticing students signing in to complete a knowledge assessment of 50 or more questions and having a high bounce rate. This means learners were signing in, viewing the assessment size, having a mild freak-out, and immediately closing it. Additionally, there was a spike in learners cramming to complete assessments right before the deadline.
But when knowledge assessments are broken into bite-sized pieces of 15-20 questions, a higher number of learners were engaging with it right away.
What does this tell us?
First, procrastination really is the eighth deadly sin and some learners will always wait to cram their work in right before a deadline.
And second, rather than having a huge singular event, when knowledge assessments are broken into blocks that can be finished on a lunch break they are more easily and readily consumed.
Which takes us to the next top trend…
Microcredentials and Digital Badges
What’s the difference?
Microcredentials are the course, and Digital Badges are the representation of the course.
Microcredentials can be created by breaking down a unit of competency into different micro-courses. These can be fully accredited and endorsed by an industry body.
Digital Badges that contain a line of URL that is portable and verifiable can then be awarded. They are recognised as an employability skill or mark of proficiency and can be added to social media profiles, online portfolios, websites, etc. In instances where courses require updating on a regular basis, such as first aid, they can also be expired.
In study, rather than committing to the expensive and time-consuming process of earning a diploma or degree, students can pinpoint the exact skills they would like to focus on and earn. They may have already completed their education or training and are looking to fill the skills gap, or are simply looking to up-skill.
Microcredentials will be in high demand to meet the needs of the future workforce for a few reasons. So many skills, particularly in any industry related to tech and the digital space, are rapidly evolving. What may have been the most up-to-date learning or credential two years ago could now be out of date. Workers need to stay relevant in order to remain competitive in the current job market.
By offering microcredentials that have been carefully planned out with industry consultation, your RTO not only provides learning pathways for more students, but also, students with the right skills for real jobs.
What does this all mean for RTOs?
So much has changed this year, but what remains the same is that learners are looking for content that is engaging, interactive and easily consumable.
With so much competition, RTOs really need to focus on creating the best learner experience possible. Thankfully, this can now be done relatively easily and economically.