Recently, Cloud Assess hosted a live webinar with Phill Bevan, Community Advisor at vetr, called Defining the Toolbox of Tomorrow, Trends in PD for VET Professionals.
The webinar was around being agile and keeping Trainers and Assessors up to date with gaps in their technology skills.
We summarised some of the key findings from that webinar to create this blog.
What are the Current Trends in Professional Development?
Looking back 12+ months ago, there was a lot of tech adoption that was implemented quickly, as an emergency response to the rapidly changing social situation brought on by COVID-19.
Now, the focus is on improving skills related to training and assessing online.
We know that we will be operating differently for the foreseeable future, possibly forever. The rapid adoption of online or distance learning in 2020 offered many the opportunity to up-skill or re-skill in a flexible way, and for many, this remains the most attractive option.
So how do we build on and improve the student experience?
The focus has shifted away from what we should and shouldn’t do, to how do we do it? There has been so much PD that covered the basics, that the need is now for more detailed information about implementation. Trainers and Assessors are looking for practical ideas around best practice, strategies, case studies and technical skills that they can implement to improve student engagement.
Microcredentials, or digital badges, on the ‘how’ to deliver online can be earned and are often awarded for PD sessions, like attending webinars.
How the VET Community Can Help With Skills Gaps
In response to the growing demand for information on the technical aspect of training and assessment, ASQA has begun holding regular webinars, presenting a panel of VET experts who offer different points of view.
The most recent webinar was Online Learning - Beyond PDFs and Zoom, where the topic was ways to use EdTech to create an engaging online learning experience. The panel featured VET Industry experts Kerri Buttery, Bill Hamill, and Lea Stevenson. To read our Top 3 Takeaways from this webinar, click here.
So far in 2021, vetr has hosted 78 live events across 15 different partner organisations with 26 presenters. These sessions can be anywhere from 30 minutes to multi-day activities.
Phill explained that a lot of research has been undertaken on the volume of additional learning and PD that will be required in the future, and by 2030 it is believed that this will amount to approximately 3 hours per week.
The focus is expected to be much more flexible and practical, with a lot of ‘how-to’s’, spanning over several hours to full-day sessions. Based on feedback received, people are looking for longer sessions that really dig into detail about the particular topic, rather than just glossing over it in a top-level manner.
Some RTOs are even starting to organise custom sessions designed specifically for their team, with requests for presenters that will put on live, custom presentations that cover specific topics and information.
What is the biggest barrier for digital implementation, and what can we do about it?
The biggest barrier in a word is… change.
Many who work in an RTO have found that there are fantastic benefits when using a digital solution for streamlining tasks and analysing outcomes, the main issue is coming to grips with them and getting used to operating in a different way.
The first step is to understand what your exact requirements are, and finding a fit-for-purpose solution. The move online should not be a big step-change, rather it should fit into your existing processes, only more efficiently.
Next, VET practitioners must be motivated and enthusiastic about getting involved with new technology. After all, recent NCVER studies report that online students had better outcomes and better employment opportunities than those learning in the face-to-face setting, but had lower satisfaction. This is partly because some of the trainers and assessors were not familiar enough with their online solution to be able to utilise it to its full potential.
Phill explained, “One of the things that I think is really important is being able to communicate to all your stakeholders about what’s happening around digital transformation.” It’s imperative that everyone involved in the decision-making process has a complete understanding of the tools required and what the benefits are, including the financial benefits.
Our Predictions For the Professional Development Toolbox of Tomorrow
There is a massive amount of interest in everything digital, including using digital tools, supporting digital delivery, and undertaking digital assessment.
Digital networking groups are popping up for sharing information, resources and reports, and asking questions around particular interest topics.
People are starting to think more strategically about how they are going to embed digital tools and practices within delivery. These six areas are being looked at more and more, and presenters are focusing their efforts on them:
- Creating digital resources: how to create content that is engaging in an effort to increase student satisfaction. There is a huge need for practical information and ‘how-to’s’ around this topic.
- Automation: reduce administrative hours spent on tasks that can be set up through a workflow and done automatically. Redirect those precious administrative hours toward something really important, like maximising the student experience and quality outcomes.
- Remote student support: how to make sure your remote students are logging on, checking their due dates, and submitting assessment on time.
- Online assessment: making sure online assessments meet all the unit criteria while remaining compliant.
- Engaging students: keeping students involved and enthusiastic while avoiding complaints and possible audit.
- Online learning: discover the tools and resources available to make online learning engaging and accessible.
In this highly regulated industry, compliance also remains top of mind, especially with the numerous reviews that are underway and the constantly changing nature of the VET sector.
Phill explained, “We do need to make sure we’re meeting compliance requirements, and as those change, flexible, just-in-time PD is a big part of helping our teams deal with that change and then we also want to focus on quality. So what is the quality proposition? What is the student experience we’re providing? What is the expectation for industry that is the quality level that we need to meet? And how do we build the digital solutions that we need to support our team as we reach for that quality level?”
In this industry that is constantly re-shaping, it’s imperative that all VET practitioners are keeping up-to-date with the latest changes, regulations, and innovations.
Huge thanks to Phill Bevan, vetr Community Advisor, for his input into these findings.
To watch this webinar, click here.