Contextualising assessment resources (Part 2)
Contextualisation of training packages, accredited curricula and learning resources can be achieved without compromising the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. Contextualisation is the addition of industry-specific information to tailor the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 to reflect the immediate operating context and thereby increase its relevance for the learner. Contextualisation is ultimately defined as; the activity undertaken by a Trainer/Assessor to make units of competency, accredited curricula or learning resources meaningful to the learner.
How to contextualise units of competency?
Contextualisation is a process that we use to create learning/assessment opportunities that are more relevant to our learner. When we do this, we link the Unit of Competency to the client’s needs using language that they understand.
Contextualisation is achieved by including, modifying or substituting text within units of competency and usually within the assessment requirements including performance evidence, knowledge evidence and assessment conditions.
It is about providing training and assessment that is specific to an enterprise or individual learner.
Any modifications to a unit of competency must maintain the integrity of the industry skill and portability requirements, including all legislative licensing and any other regulatory requirements.
The following are some suggestions for contextualising units of competency to make them more relevant for specific industries or workplaces:
- Refer to the guidelines in the relevant training package. Usually, it will be possible to replace generic terms and general descriptions of equipment or processes and procedures with specific examples. For example, a guide working at Uluru may learn and demonstrate body language appropriate to the Pitjantjatjara people. There would be little point in that guide being required to learn and demonstrate body language appropriate for working among the Jewish community at the Sydney Holocaust Museum.
- Analyse the generalised statements about the range of work and job tasks specified in the units of competency. These may need to be aligned to a particular job profile and translated to highlight particular tasks and levels of performance that are relevant to a particular workplace.
- Identify the kinds of evidence that candidates may be able to provide in their job roles to satisfy the requirements of a particular unit of competency.
- Prepare evidence plans for the candidates, showing how they might collect the identified kinds of evidence.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
- If the Competency mentions Machinery, then we could use the exact name of the machine used.
- If the Competency mentions Equipment, then we could use the names of each item of equipment
- If the Competency mentions Location, then we could use the exact location, eg, Shed 1, kitchen bench, etc
- If the Competency mentions Relevant Procedures, then we could use the exact title of the procedure manual
- If the Competency mentions Relevant Personnel, then we could use the names of the people and their positions
Contextualise, but Follow the Rules
When it comes to contextualisation, we can be very creative. But, we need to make sure that we do not change the standards required of us. Remember: we must always follow the Qualification Packaging Rules of the Training Package.
When contextualising units of competency, teachers and trainers:
- Must not remove the number and content of elements and performance criteria
- May add specific industry terminology to performance criteria where this does not distort or narrow the competency outcomes
- Changes should not diminish the breadth of application of the competency and reduce its portability
- May add detail to the assessment requirements, where these expand the breadth of the competency but do not limit its use.
To make sure that we still follow the Training Package rules, we can read the Training Package itself, or we can get the advice of others, including:
- Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) responsible
- Our colleagues within the training industry or within the industry for whom we are delivering the training
- Accessing the Support Resources available for each Training Package at TGA (training.gov.au) can also give us some great ideas of what is appropriate.
When we are contextualising, it is a good idea to speak with the client to make sure that we really are going to link the Unit of Competency to the participants’ actual work.
When we are contextualising, it is a good idea to speak with others to make sure that we really are going to be delivering the Unit of Competency in accordance with the Training Package rules.