NCALNE (Voc) Remixed: Part 1


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to package and repackage the training that we do. Currently, we have a model for face-to-face delivery that works really well. Our current model goes something like this:

  • 5 days of training spread over about 4 months as two x two-day intensive workshops and a final wrap up session.

This allows us to cover all relevant content and set up assessment tasks and project work. From experience, this is the shortest amount of time that participants can get through the assessments in the way that they are currently structured. It also keeps the participant fee at a reasonable level.

We have a variation on this model that we also use with some clients:

  • 6 days of training (3 days, 2 days, 1 day) spread out over the same time period. This covers the same content and goes into much more depth with regards to specific literacy and numeracy training – things that are actually outside of the scope of the qualification, but really great to do to increase participant knowledge and skills.

This variation is more expensive, but it also works really well and we’ve delivered good value for our client organisations over the past few years. However, one of the issues we face is that for this delivery to be cost effective we need a minimum number of participants. 12 to 14 participants works well.

We’re getting a lot of interest at the moment from organisations who have groups of 7 or 8 who really want to do the training, but for whatever reason, can’t make the numbers that we need for it to be economically viable.

Usually, we suggest that they collaborate with another organisation with similar numbers to make up a group. Sometimes this works out and we can run the training. However, sometimes it doesn’t.

When it doesn’t we can sometimes offer a second delivery model:

  • That the participants do the work by distance.

This isn’t ideal. Our target group of trainers and tutors are, typically, non academic, “hands on” learners who need time to talk through the concepts and content, and usually prefer working in groups and with their peers. Distance learning just doesn’t work for some people.

We don’t have the technology infrastructure or funding to really provide an amazing online experience at the moment either. We’re working towards it, but we’re not there just yet.

Historically, we haven’t had the same robust structures around our distance learners. It’s also something we’re working on. But it’s hard to manage without a good infrastructure for online learning. We’ve had some success, but not as much as with our regular 5 or 6 days of training.

So what we’ve needed for some time is an alternative delivery model. Something that would work for smaller groups, that would be cost effective for us to deliver, and something that would still deliver the results.

There is a third model that we’ve experimented with.

  • Assessment of current competency which can include recognition of prior learning.

This is a little complicated because it takes us away from our standard assessment model. Our face-to-face delivery for 5 or 6 days, and our distance model both employ the same systems for assessment.

Assessment of current competency assumes that we’re working with practitioners who have some level of experience embedding literacy and numeracy. Our other delivery models are set up largely for us to work with tutors who are new to embedding literacy and numeracy.

Working with practitioners who already embed literacy means that we’re opening up our assessment approach to a much wider variety of interpretations of what this practice looks like. This means we often have to go back to the actual standards and elements and look hard at what is required.

It also means that, in addition to the compulsory unit standard that forms the core of the course, we use different electives… ones that suit the needs of practitioners more than tutors who are still learning the ropes.

No problem with that… it’s just a different process. But it can get a little messy as the kind of evidence that we get can vary greatly from person to person and we still obviously need to quality assure the process.

So… back to my question: What’s the best way to re-mix our current NCALNE (Voc) delivery to try and pick some of the best out of these various approaches and come up with fourth delivery model that would allow us to meet the changing needs of our target market?

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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