Consistently working towards a seamless student enrolment experience means having a fundamental answer to an important question, why do we do what we do?
The second phase of the student journey focuses on the student enrolment experience with their Registered Training Organisation (RTO). RTOs can benefit from continuously enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities they have during the enrolment phase.
Providing quality outcomes for students is essential and emphasis is placed on the sector to continuously support, inform and protect students throughout every phase of the student journey.
The Student Journey
ASQA’s Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, focuses on a Student-Centred Approach to performance assessment, that is designed to follow a student’s experience in accordance with the five key phases of the student journey. The student journey considers every step a student takes before, during and after enrolment.
ASQA has provided an overview of the key phases of the student experience:
Informing and Protecting Students
Students have the greatest stake in the quality of vocational education and training, and for many it's an important pathway to gain employment or a career advantage. Students are not expected to understand the sector’s complexities and/or what is considered quality; therefore, it’s important that students are provided with relevant information and advice to make informed and confident decisions about training and assessment that best meets their needs.
ASQA have provided insight into some areas of enrolment that students find particularly important. These include:
- Accuracy of course advice to ensure their needs are met prior to enrolment
- Understanding course details including course duration, study requirements and assessment methods
- Recognising their own rights and responsibilities, in addition to their training providers
- Complete breakdown and explanation of costs, payment terms and conditions
When considering Clauses 5.1 to 5.3 Informing and Protecting Students, it's important to understand that the information and advice provided by RTOs must be clear and accurate to allow students to make informed decisions about course enrolment and whether the RTO meets their specific needs, taking into account the individual’s existing skills and competencies.
Prior to enrolment or commencement of training or assessment activities, RTOs must provide students with the following content:Consumer Rights:State/territory laws require RTOs to inform prospective learners about their rights as a consumer, which includes but is not limited to any statutory cooling-off period, if applicable
Course Code and Title: The national register, training.gov.au, assists in providing prospective students with training product information, including course code, title and currency to which the learner is to be enrolled.
Third-party Arrangements: Under an agreement, third party providers must market, advertise and/or recruit students in a VET course, in the name of the relevant RTO. Furthermore, prospective students must understand the RTO’s responsibilities including quality of training and assessment, issuing statements of attainment, and complaints handling.
Venue, length and modes of delivery and/or assessment: Clear information detailing where the training and/or assessment will take place, duration and delivery mode/s. This may include any third party details, providing the training and/or assessment, educational and support services to the learner on behalf of the RTO.
Entry Requirement: RTOs may assist students with understanding their obligations, by making them aware of any requirements they need to meet to successfully complete the program. Students should be made aware of any materials and/or equipment if they may need to provide and whether mandatory work placement is included in the training.
Support Services: Information on any cost associated with support services should be provided to students.
Fee Information: Prior to enrolment or commencement of training/assessment, students should be provided with information about all relevant fees. Students that are enrolled under any loan or delayed payment arrangement must clearly understand the terms of the arrangement.
Funding Entitlements: Information regarding government funding entitlements, that may affect access to future funding, must be disclosed to students.
Information about the USI: ASQA strongly encourages RTOs to remain diligent when verifying a students unique student identifier (USI) during enrolment. Remaining diligent may assist RTOs to avoid issues relating to data reporting and Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) certification.
Recommendations Around Improved Enrolment Processes
In Australia we have seen the impact that the pandemic has had on the economy. In recent times the state of Victoria has faced rapidly rising unemployment and dramatic economic decline. Their focus now, after the safety and health of Victorians, is supporting business, getting people back to work and driving a stronger recovery. This has intensified the importance of the recent Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy Review, that proposes recommendations for the Government to create a new independent body, FutureSkills Victoria, to drive a strong post-secondary education and training system.
Some recommendations that the Review proposes, that may positively impact the enrolment experience include:
- Establish a FutureSkills Insights student interface to support decision-making: The development of a user-friendly online platform to assist current and prospective students choose courses and providers. This may include information about the links between courses and jobs including entry points into further learning. Furthermore, it will provide information about course costs and fees, course requirements and support for students.
- Publishing Performance Data for Skills First Providers: Working closely with all skills sector stakeholders to identify VET provider performance measures, may help provide students with adequate information to make informed decisions about choosing quality courses.
- Establishing fair student payments: Introducing a more standardised approach to student payments for VET courses may help support transparency and fairness. When expanding VET student loans, a more cautious approach may help understand differences in earnings and risk profiles of VET students relative to university graduates.
- Ease eligibility restrictions: Further supporting Victorians who, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, are unemployed or underemployed by removing eligibility restrictions on governments-subsidised training and foundation skills courses. This may include providing course access with a focus on learner needs and quality. Furthermore, analysing the eligibility criteria for government-subsidised training may assist in providing access and equity, support long-term learning and maintain quality within the VET sector.
Providing prospective students with adequate information prior to enrolment is essential to support them in making informed decisions about their training and to create positive experiences throughout every phase of the student journey.
The recent events brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have presented challenges in terms of economic volatility and skills shortages. Therefore, now more than ever, continued improvements in the student journey is paramount for a more cohesive VET sector. Working together to power brighter futures by supporting, educating and training tomorrow’s workforce.
When it comes to creating a seamless student enrolment experience, four key focus points are:
- Flexible Enrolment Process: Providing students with a more flexible enrolment process, rather than a “one size fits all” approach may help create a more personalised student enrolment experience. For some students, enrolment may be one of the biggest academic decisions they have to make and they may feel overwhelmed at the thought
- Flexible Payment Options: Providing students with flexible payment options that fit within the requirements may make it more manageable for students to pay their fees and control personal cash flow. Offering efficient solutions to potential financial pressures may help eliminate any concerns and allow for a more seamless enrolment process
- Enrolment Accessibility: Acessibility is so important as students are always on the go and want things now! Having multiple software and device options available to students may make it easier to stay engaged. When it comes to providing enrolment documentation and gathering evidence, you want the process of recording, saving and retaining evidence to be seamless. Here we discuss ways RTOs can use technology in other areas of VET
- Continuously Improving Reporting Processes: Having a thorough reporting process that encourages productivity, transparency and efficiency has never been so important. Encouraging a paperless solution that reduces manual data entry, time and effort whilst increasing responsiveness will create great benefits for your RTO. An efficient reporting process will provide learners with the flexibility, consistency and accessibility they aspire to help support a seamless student experience
At Cloud Assess we help RTOs use technology to create exceptional Student Experiences and make on-boarding a breeze. We do this through providing the most up to date technology for Training and Assessment in Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Cloud Assess’s powerful Online Enrolment Engine Integrations will help you leverage more streamlining benefits and help create a seamless enrolment experience.