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How RTO Managers Can Conquer Compliance

Posted 1st November 2016 Coleen Rivas

When I owned an RTO, I constantly felt like I was riding a bike up a steep hill of compliance. I always had the feeling that if I just got to the top, it would level off and I’d be able to enjoy the ride for a while. The problem was that every time I got there, I’d see there was another hill to climb – often steeper and longer than the last.

Managing compliance is a never-ending journey for RTO managers. Changes to standards, funding contracts, legislation, training packages and even industry practices – these things have RTO managers constantly updating, improving, changing and validating systems and resources. We’ve been on that road, and we know how much work is involved in running a compliant RTO.

One of the driving forces behind the establishment of Learning Vault was to flatten out some of those hills for our RTO clients, so they can spend more time on developing their business and providing quality training and assessment to their students. Here are some of those hills we can help to flatten…

Valid and sufficient assessment resources

“Our assessment resources are fully compliant”. Yep, I’ve heard it before too. It’s a big claim to make, particularly when compliance can sometimes be determined by a less-than-consistent auditing regime.
What you need (and what we actually provide) is this:

  • Detailed analysis and assessment mapping that covers:
    • all of the UOC components (PC, PE and KE)
    • mapping of Foundation Skills and Core Skills for Work
    • mapping of all formative and summative assessments
    • a detailed course plan that complements your TAS
  • Assessments that address the required assessment conditions, inclusive of workplace documents, resources, policies and procedures and case studies that included simulated interactions with others
  • Consistent and ongoing updates and improvements to the resources to address changes in training packages, industry practices or general continuous improvement activity (at no cost)
  • A guarantee to fix any compliance issue that is found in audit – any audit
  • Using any intelligence or improvements identified through our customers audits and applying these through regular updates in resources (at no cost)
  • Ensuring your RTO is updated instantly with any changes to resources so that your records remain current
  • Independent pre-validation of resources and validation documents provided at no additional cost.

Authenticity checking measures

Authenticity is always a sticky subject, particularly in relation to distance or online learning models. While student declarations go some way towards compliance in this area, RTOs really need to implement multiple strategies to ensure the assessment evidence submitted is authentic: both in terms of who has completed the work, and in the legitimacy of the work submitted.

One solution we’ve implemented into our online platform is the ability to conduct plagiarism checks and to quickly and efficiently identify any identical submissions. This function is easy to use, and we highly recommend that clients use this facility to demonstrate an authentic assessment system.

Well-designed assessment systems

It can be a tiresome task to ensure that all assessment submissions are consistently interpreted and that assessment results are consistent and comparable across an RTO. It’s been proven that unconscious bias and different perspectives can impact on the uniformity of assessment results, so RTOs must have systems in place that:

  • Ensure assessment decisions across different learners and different assessors are consistent
  • Demonstrate a well-designed assessment system that includes measures to minimise variation between assessors.
  • Provide evidence criteria (i.e. decision-making rules) to judge the quality of performance.

We’ve put a lot of thought into providing a reliable assessment system that minimises any inconsistencies in assessment decisions. Our system provides answer guides that include example answers, or detail specific criteria that must be demonstrated in a question or submission. We don’t feel that this is special – it’s an absolute must for compliance, and should be a standard feature from any legitimate resource provider.

What does make us different is that we provide a rubric for every question, activity or project task within our assessment suite. Our system allows for online assessment to save you time, with the benchmarks beside each assessment question or submission. I could spend all day talking about the benefits of the rubric assessment system, but you can find more detail over at Is Satisfactory Really Satisfactory?

Enhanced learning resources

Learning content is where lots of students are lost. There’s some good content out there, but there is also plenty of lazy and low quality stuff too. How many times have you experienced learning content that was bland, boring and too focused on theory, without any reference to how that information applies in a real workplace? Content is often developed in a tight formula that follows each Performance Criteria step by step. With some UOCs this makes sense, but often this doesn’t help in terms of the real world. You’ll find that our learning content is developed to ‘flow’ with more relation to how things realistically occur and intertwine. In terms of compliance we provide:

  • Mapping of learning resources within our UOC or Cluster analysis and assessment mapping
  • Learning resources that include examples and activities of practical application of skills and knowledge
  • Learning resources that are in plain English, that focus on practical and relevant workplace application
  • Engaging content. It’s not a compliance requirement, but it should be!

Be sure to check the fine print

Many resource companies offer a guarantee of the compliance of their assessment tools at audit, but be sure to read the small print. Much of the time you’ll find that you’re only covered for initial or addition to scope audits – and if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that they’re not the audits that cause the most worry.

If our product isn’t compliant at ANY audit, we genuinely want to know and we fix the issue. Not just for your RTO, but for all clients. We will adjust the assessment to meet any compliance requirement, and we will do it in the time frames you require.

Getting started

Learning and assessment resources are the one thing you can purchase that will impact compliance, student experience and profitability. We understand it’s a big decision, and we want you to be 100% confident that our resource is the right fit for your organisation. Don’t take my word on how good our product is. Call us on 1300 662 443 and take a good look at a content sample for yourself. Have your compliance team review it, show your trainers and see how it fits your framework. Chances are, it won’t cost any more than what you’re already paying (probably less), so take this chance to conquer those compliance challenges once and for all.

Written by Coleen Rivas // Managing Director

Coleen has worked in management roles within the training and employment sector since 1992 and within the VET sector including TAFE since 2001. What Coleen doesn’t know about training and education isn’t worth knowing! Recently, she sold her own highly successful RTO in which she had been hands-on in every aspect of the business including training packages, validation and professional development. This organisation held multiple Government contracts and delivered training Nationally. As a result, she brings a phenomenal amount of expertise and experience to Learning Vault to ensure we deliver world-class business and management content.