Tips for reviewing your training products

By John Dwyer, Velg Training consultant

According to the Users’ Guide to the Standards for RTOs 2015, Appendix 1 Glossary, training products are materials associated with any:

“AQF qualification, skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course, and module”.

And as an RTO, according to (Clause 1.9), for each training package product on your scope of registration you have a responsibility to implement:

“a plan for ongoing, systematic validation of assessment practices and judgements”

What does this plan (review schedule) involve?

This schedule needs to define:

  • when assessment reviews will occur
  • which training products will be focused on
  • who will lead and participate in the review
  • how the outcomes of these activities will be documented and acted upon.

Each training product must be reviewed at least once every five years, with at least 50 per cent of products being reviewed within the first three years of each five-year cycle. NB: These requirements might change in light of the new seven-year registration period.

Prioritising reviews should be risk-driven depending on factors such as the:

  • numbers of learners involved
  • need for specialised trainers and assessors
  • need for access to highly specialised equipment
  • risks identified by the regulator such as marketing.

Sampling must be systematic and defensible.

Who can be involved in these reviews?
Ideally, to avoid potential conflicts of interest, reviews of assessment practices and judgements should be undertaken by people not directly involved in the delivery and assessment of the training product.

Reviewers need:

  • appropriate training and assessment qualifications
  • relevant vocational competencies
  • current industry skills
  • current VET knowledge and skills.

Industry experts may also be involved to ensure materials are addressing current industry needs. An important adjunct to systematic review processes is the maintenance of current RTO staff profiles to be used in selecting review panel members and also as a focus of the review process itself; e.g. does the RTO have access to adequate personnel to deliver and assess the training product involved?

What frameworks are training products reviewed against?
Training products are reviewed against the principles of assessment. To what extent are materials:

  • valid (“mapped” against unit requirements; satisfy industry requirements; pitched at the correct AQF level)
  • reliable (contain clear instructions for learners and assessors; include marking guides that define “satisfactory” responses; and are version controlled)
  • flexible (allow for reasonable adjustment)
  • are fair (not biased against or disadvantageous to the learner.) Judgements made must satisfy the rules of evidence.

Did the assessment process provide evidence which is:

(a) valid (evidence of what it actually claims to be evidence of);
(b) authentic
(c) current (reflective of current industry experience)
(d) sufficient (enough evidence to address all unit requirements)?

What follow up is needed?
The RTO needs to demonstrate that it has addressed identified weaknesses or non-compliance. Details of changes need to be documented (e.g. recorded in some form of continuous improvement register).

John DwyerJohn Dwyer is currently a Trainer/Consultant with Velg Training and has national AQTF/VET Quality Framework knowledge in education spanning more than 50 years. He brings RTO experience, having a comprehensive history in developing and delivering a range of workshops on assessment tools, RPL, moderation and validation processes relating to RTO compliance. For further information or advice:


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