BEWARE! Are You Delivering A Compliant Online Course During COVID?

With COVID striking Australia so quickly, RTOs were forced to scramble to piece together distance or online training without properly considering the risk to their RTO being non-compliant with the standards for RTOs. I talk to RTOs every day who are unaware of the requirements they need to meet if delivering training online or through distance learning. The requirements clearly laid out by ASQA HERE.

I have written this article to help RTOs survive and thrive with a proper transition to online or blended learning.

Can you demonstrate how your RTO has delivered the Amount of Training required in the Standards through your Online Systems?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that an RTO can simply put their learner guides and assessment tools in an online environment and call it online learning or even worse e-learning. I should make it clear that ASQA does not consider this approach to be structured training as required in the standards for RTOs.  Moving to online learning requires a strategy similar or more rigorous to the classroom to ensure students receive a “trainer-led” structured training program with all the support they would receive in the classroom.

At a recent audit where I assisted an Online Training RTO, ASQA picked out a selected list of learners from qualifications on their scope and requested reports showing all trainer contact, communication, actual training conducted (eg.webinars), login records, and training activities completed. They wanted actual data records that showed how long was spent on each. They then dissected the data to determine the amount of time each learner has spent doing each activity. Next, they checked that against the organisation’s training and assessment strategy, and the standards for RTOS, to ensure that it aligned to the required amount of training requirements. For example, a Certificate III qualification is 1200-2400 hours of structured training. 

My first question is, could your RTO provide ASQA data for each student that shows they have completed 1200 hours of online or blended training as described above? Many RTOs I have spoken to do not have systems that collate, analyse and report on this level of information. They simply don’t have the evidence to support running a compliant online course.

Can your RTO demonstrate how you Monitor and Support your learners in an online environment?

What systems and process do you have in place for identifying students who may be slipping behind? Can your RTO provide evidence that you have the systems and use them, and then back that information up with support and training assistance?

This often requires a comprehensive system and reporting, as well as processes and procedures to act on the data. Finally, you need to have systems to then record how you have responded to support these online learners. Many RTOs I speak with can not show evidence that they have these processes in place for their online delivery.

Is your Online Training a bit piecemeal?

In your scramble to get online, has your RTO scraped together a bunch of siloed systems to try and meet the needs of your learners? By this I mean, are you delivering files through one system, webinars on zoom, results through another system and communication through others?

There is a big problem with this approach, besides the obvious compliances challenges caused by having evidence across a bunch of systems that don’t integrate and cant be reported on. This approach is inefficient, often ineffective, and creates a complex and confusing experience for trainers and learners. It generally leads to non-compliances because the evidence is simply lacking or impossible to bring together in an adequate format to demonstrate compliance.

Are you still using old outdated technology to deliver your online training?

So often I speak with RTOs who have stuck with old, outdated Learning Management Systems, File Sharing Systems or even worse, Student Management Systems to try and deliver online learning. For all of the reasons above, unless you have some very comprehensive and time-consuming way of collecting all of the information/evidence that these systems don’t, you will find it really challenging to pass your next audit.

ASQA’s NEW focus on Online Learning

My recent experience with the ASQA audit of this Online Training Organisation was that the auditor seemed hell-bent on finding student support issues, they dug harder than they ever would with a face to face provider. IN FACT – I would say that this auditor seemed to have the mandate to find a way to show that the online provider was not adequately supporting their learners.

The RTO, despite delivering the training online, had not put tracking in place to adequately record the time each learner had spent on each activity, so, despite the learners completing the training, the RTO had challenges to provide hard evidence that each and every student had completed the amount of training as outlined in the standards.

As always, it is about evidence and your RTO needs to ensure you have rock-solid systems and processes in place to record and collate all the time an individual students spends on training in your online system. Can you RTO do this right now?

There is no excuse for NOT delivering AWESOME COMPLIANT ONLINE TRAINING

In this day and age,  a very cost-effective state of the art, Learning Management System (LMS) costs very little. Our LMS Packages get down to as little as $1 per student per month. Systems like our eSkilled platform have incredible tools for compliance and delivering awesome, engaging training (online or blended) built-in. Tools such as:

  • Integrated Virtual Classrooms – with video. audio, whiteboards, break out rooms, chat, multimedia presentations such as video PowerPoint all integrated. Classes display on students calendar and up and coming events and students are notified of events to ensure they attend.
  • Rapid e-learning Authoring Tools – that make it easy for your trainers to quickly create awesome interactive training straight into our platform and it is all track for completion, ensuring you have the evidence of training needed at audit.
  • Integrated Student Messaging – So you have all the evidence of student support in one system. This can then be reported on, so you can show evidence of all of your student support for every individual student. You can message groups as well as individuals.
  • Multimedia and eLearning Support – Provide awesome multimedia and e-learning files to engage your learners. Quickly and easily share youtube and other public domain content relevant to your courses. There is a wealth in awesome FREE multimedia training content online. While they engage with this content in your platform, you have evidence of them being online and engaging in your learning activities so you have evidence for audit.
  • Comprehensive Completion and Activity Report – Because our system tracks all activities and system activity, you can get awesome reports on student activity to quickly and easily identify learners falling behind.
  • Analytics Reports – Our platform also uses machine learning to identify disengaged learners of courses that may be at risk of failing.
  • So Much MORE – Above is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of functions and features of a state of the art LMS.

If your RTO is at risk, due to any of the reasons listed above. I seriously recommend moving your online training to a platform properly designed to deliver amazing training, as well as providing your organisation with the evidence you need to ensure compliance with the standards.

It doesn’t need to be our LMS, however, if you are interested in a Tour for our eSkilled LMS platform, just get in touch through our Contact Us Page. You can also view our complete range of LMS PACKAGES HERE.