Designing our approach for the new NZCALNE (Voc)


Currently, I’m working on the design for the new version of the qualification that we teach. This new qualification will update the existing NCALNE (Voc) and unit standard 21204.

I’m after some feedback. Outlined below are what I see are some of our major assumptions about how we want to deliver this course moving forward.

If you can stand it, have a read through and let me know what you think.

Just hit the voting buttons in the poll at the top to respond in brief. Or leave me comments if you want to provide more detail. Any and all feedback appreciated:

Teaching and learning approach

ALEC’s approach to teaching, learning, and assessment includes:

  • A shift to blended and distance learning using cloud-based digital platforms including Pathways Awarua.
  • Contact with tutors, check-ins, coaching and other support via phone, Skype, email, and SMS messaging.
  • Face-to-face consultation, support, workshops and labs tailored to the needs of customers.

In the past, teaching and content delivery has relied more on face-to-face delivery supplemented by text-based resources. With this programme, we expect to that teaching and content will be more orientated towards video-based and other online material.

Some of the reasons for this shift towards an online environment are economic. Many employers are working in restricted funding environments which means they are less willing to fund face-to-face training that removes tutors from their teaching environments.

We hold a number of assumptions about our planned approach. These are that our NZCALNE (Voc) candidates:

  1. Are typically existing practitioners already working in the adult education and training sector who are self-directed in the sense that they can cope with the demands of this professional development course part-time while working in their jobs. Candidates should also possess the capacity to use the learning tools provided to explore the content area on their own terms, but in a way that is well supported by us as needed.
  2. Bring to the training a growing reservoir of experience from their work in industry or education that becomes an increasing resource for learning. Candidates will also have different levels of experience using blended and distance education tools, so we can provide a range of different support mechanisms using different media to address this.
  3. Are ready to learn the content due to their roles as adult educators, and in particular because of the requirements of their employers or the TEC with respect to their training.
  4. Will find immediate application of the knowledge and skills gained through this programme, particularly with the components involving assessing or teaching learners. The focus of our programme is pragmatic with an emphasis on addressing real-world literacy and numeracy problems as they impact tutors’ teaching and training.
  5. Are motivated to learn for a combination of external and internal reasons. Intrinsic motivation will stem from a growing desire to teach and train in ways that are more aligned with best practice for adult literacy and numeracy.

In terms of applying principles from adult education to our own training, our approach is to:

  1. Explain the reasons why we are teaching specific things. For example, this includes the reasons why it is important to understand the context for adult literacy in New Zealand, or why it is useful to take a strategic approach to designing learning through mapping literacy and numeracy demands or looking at organisational processes. In the ten years that we have been teaching and assessing the NCALE (Voc) and the NCALNE (Voc), we have developed an approach to content design that is dynamic rather than static. This is built on feedback from our learners, graduates, and strategic partners. While the assessment standards will most likely remain static for medium-term future, we will continue to develop, update, and upgrade our content to match TEC requirements and new developments in the sector, locally and internationally.
  2. Make instruction task-oriented. Assessments, where possible, are in the context of tasks and activities performed by candidates in their jobs as tutors and trainers. This includes in relation to designing learning, conducting assessments, and planning and facilitating learning which is framed as a teaching inquiry project designed to have candidates experiment and explore different approaches and activities relating to adult literacy and numeracy education in their own contexts.
  3. Allow assessment activities to take into account the wide range of different backgrounds of candidates and their teaching or training contexts. Learning materials and assessment tasks are designed to allow for different levels or types of previous experience with teaching and training. Also, due to TEC contractual requirements relating to funding, candidates will gain a permanent real-world benefit by gaining this credential recognising the baseline knowledge and skills for embedding literacy and numeracy into education and training.
  4. Allow instruction and assessment activities to discover things including new knowledge about their learners and their teaching for themselves. Because much of the learning is framed in terms of a teaching inquiry project (design, assess, plan, facilitate, assess progress, evaluate), candidates will have the chance to fine-tune skill sets relating to education and training, and acquire and retain practical knowledge by doing the work. We’ll be there to provide support and guidance as necessary and help when barriers present or mistakes are made.

2 thoughts on “Designing our approach for the new NZCALNE (Voc)

  1. I like the way in which you are explicitly unpacking the need for and solution to blended/e-learning delivery. Mostly in the NCALNE space, I don’t see this being done very well at present – just a bunch of paper-based resources thrown up on a Moodle site.
    I also like how you’ve articulated the practicum as enquiry-based learning, and wonder whether you might look to have tutors share their findings, resources and victories online with the NCALNE community? could tutors post short clips of a resource, teaching sequence or learner projects in a shared space?

    • Hi Rachel. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll be cautious about how the inquiry-based approach is worded as I know this can scare off our tradies and others. But it will be more explicit in the new Diploma as this is exactly what we’ll call it including presenting it as an iterative model that tutors work through across several projects

      I’d love to have tutors sharing content online. There are barriers to this including how time-poor the tutors are and their own issues using the technology. Again, I’d like to push this in the Diploma space, perhaps as an assessment requirement, but I have reservations about how it would go down with tutors who are already slow to complete the normal aspects of the course work (let alone having to record video for e.g)

      I will be thinking about this in more detail over the next couple of months and would love to have your feedback as we roll forward

      Cheers, G

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