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A New Era: How Virtual Learning Will Keep RTOs Healthy In a Pandemic

16 - March - 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The virus that has spread across the world is increasingly having an impact on the global community and is a rapidly evolving issue.

What's at stake from a business perspective for RTOs?
Schools and workplaces could be forced to close and you may even need to shut the doors or your business.

Depending on your own health and what your health care professional has advised, you can still continue business activities.

Here’s how:

Set Up Virtual Learning Classrooms

A virtual classroom is exactly what it says on the box. It’s a classroom held online. A bit like a webinar, but it’s literally a place where the trainer meets online with all learners in the same way they would conduct a normal lesson with real time interaction between all parties.

Virtual classrooms can take place through videoconferencing. Each participant has the ability to present learning content and collaborate in discussions. The trainer has the role of moderator who guides the learning process and supports group activities and discussions.

Using technology like Zoom or Skype you can hold classes in the same way you would if everyone was literally in the room together.


  • Internet
  • Computer/tablet/phone
  • The relevant software

Set Your Team Up Remotely

With the rise of cloud computing a vast amount of the work we do these days can take place remotely. Become a zero touch business with solutions like Asana for planning work, Slack for internal communication, Google Drive for sharing documents and Cloud Assess for keeping your training and assessment processes moving.

Remote Year was set up with the intent to get companies to realise the value of remote working. It can reduce attrition and contribute to business success.

The Queensland government released this overview of cloud computing and these particular benefits apply during this pandemic:

Business continuity
Protecting your data and systems is an important part of business continuity planning. Whether you experience a natural disaster, power failure or other crisis, having your data stored in the cloud ensures it is backed up and protected in a secure and safe location. Being able to access your data again quickly allows you to conduct business as usual, minimising any downtime and loss of productivity.

Collaboration efficiency
Collaboration in a cloud environment gives your business the ability to communicate and share more easily outside of the traditional methods. If you are working on a project across different locations, you could use cloud computing to give employees, contractors and third parties access to the same files. You could also choose a cloud computing model that makes it easy for you to share your records with your advisers (e.g. a quick and secure way to share accounting records with your accountant or financial adviser).

Flexibility of work practices
Cloud computing allows employees to be more flexible in their work practices. For example, you have the ability to access data from home, on holiday, or via the commute to and from work (providing you have an internet connection). If you need access to your data while you are off-site, you can connect to your virtual office, quickly and easily.

Access to automatic updates
Access to automatic updates for your IT requirements may be included in your service fee. Depending on your cloud computing service provider, your system will regularly be updated with the latest technology. This could include up-to-date versions of software, as well as upgrades to servers and computer processing power.

You can read more here

Check Out The Best Sanitising Practices if Face-to-Face is Unavoidable

In many cases, in order to conduct effective assessment, face-to-face observation is often required. In the instance that no one has shown symptoms or tested positive it is advisable to follow these practices if still conducting business as usual:

Mobile phone cleaning
The Huffington post published this article referring to official advice from Public Health England (PHE), which is leading the charge on all things hygiene and coronavirus-related in the UK, is that we should be cleaning and disinfecting “regularly touched objects and surfaces using regular cleaning products”. Read more here

Sanitising practices

virtual learningEquip staff, students and any visitors with alcohol based hand sanitiser and soap within public facilities. 

Signage around your premises
Have signage up in relation to good hand washing practices (according to government guidelines we should be washing our hands for 20 seconds) and as a general reminder that if your staff, students or visitors are feeling unwell, to avoid coming in and to work remotely or in accordance of your policies.

The image to the right has been provided by the Australian Government.

Pick Trusted Sources of Information

Keep abreast of your local news and national news and try not be scared off by the social media frenzy. Pick a news provider that is trusted and independent and follow the advice from the Department of Health including your own state health department.

"There is no education like adversity." Benjamin Disraeli

With the advances in technology that we have today, we could be witnessing the dawn of a new era in which we can operate businesses remotely with little to no impact on business service levels. Time will tell. Until then, stay safe!