A Comprehensive Guide to Contextualising Units of Competency Leave a comment

This article provides an overview of the guidelines for contextualising units of competency, a process used in the vocational education and training sector to ensure that each unit of competency is relevant to its specific application.

It will explain why contextualisation is necessary, what factors are considered when contextualising units, and provide tips for ensuring the process is carried out effectively. Additionally, this article will outline the processes involved in assessing contextualised units to ensure they meet industry standards.

What is Contextualisation?

Contextualisation is an important part of any training program as it helps learners understand how skills and knowledge will be applied in the real world. It makes training resources more accessible and relevant to them by bringing their experience and context into their learning. Contextualising materials allows learners to easily recognise how they can apply the concepts presented in a lecture or training to real-world scenarios.

For example, suppose you are teaching a customer service unit. In that case, contextualisation involves providing training materials that use customer service scenarios that are specific to the industry in which your students work. This could include examples of handling customer complaints, upselling products and services, or anticipating customer needs. This provides valuable insight for learners on how to best address customers’ issues in their particular field of practice. Additionally, contextualising content can help develop unique problem-solving skills that cannot be acquired through generic courses alone, making it even more valuable for learners.

Why is Contextualising a Unit of Competency Important?

Contextualising a unit of competency is an important step for any Registered Training Organisation (RTO). There are several reasons why this is so, and one of the key ones is to ensure relevant training materials are provided to the students. When correctly contextualised, students can learn skills that can be directly applied in their chosen industry or career path. It also allows them to understand better how the skills taught in the classroom could be used outside and without an instructor’s help.

Another reason why RTOs must ensure every unit of competency has been properly contextualised is that it is a requirement set out by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). If an audit reveals that an RTO has not followed these guidelines, they can face severe repercussions, including losing their registration, so getting this aspect of education right is essential. In addition, if students don’t receive quality contextualised training, they may have unrealistic expectations when they reach their desired profession, ultimately leading to dissatisfaction either from employers or employees when what they can do doesn’t match up with what was promised.

Guidelines For Contextualising Units Of Competency

In order to make contextualising easier, guidelines have been set up to guide the process. These guidelines range in detail but often involve identifying the intended audience, tailoring delivery methods to match students’ learning styles, integrating extra resources or examples relevant to learners, providing assessment criteria that reflect specific outcomes, and encouraging peer collaboration. By following these steps, RTOs can create interesting learning experiences that align with their target audience’s needs while adhering to government regulations.

Identify Student Needs

Identifying the needs of students is a crucial step when it comes to delivering effective training. Through pre-training assessments, such as questionnaires or interviews, instructors can gain valuable insight into what their students already know about the subject matter and what kind of gaps need to be filled for the training to succeed. This feedback can then be used to adjust the training materials’ content or structure to meet the learners’ needs. Not only tailoring the training ensures that everyone is learning at their optimal level, it also helps engender trust between teachers and students.

Use Relevant Scenarios and Examples

Using relevant scenarios and examples to contextualise learning materials effectively ensures students are engaged and can easily apply the topics discussed in the classroom to their own experiences or workplace. Presenting the concepts in a familiar context helps build understanding better than generic scenarios that could apply to any industry.

For example, if teaching a customer service unit to students who work in the tourism, travel, and hospitality industry, a scenario where a customer calls to complain about a service would be far more appropriate for them than something taken from another field. Such role-playing exercises encourage critical thinking skills and help promote empathy by allowing students to practice their customer service skills in an environment that mirrors what they’re likely to experience beyond the classroom. This allows them to expand their knowledge base and gain valuable hands-on experience, which can prove invaluable when searching for employment opportunities after graduating.

Understand the Industry and Work Role

Understanding the industry and work role that students are in is vital to properly teaching them key skills and knowledge related to their job. This allows instructors to identify what specific skills and knowledge need to be covered by the training and target any necessary legislation and regulations applicable to their industry. Instructors should also be knowledgeable about their students’ specific tasks and job roles so that they can provide materials that cover all of the necessary skills needed for the job.

Contextualising learning materials with industry-specific terminology helps professionals better understand how certain concepts or ideas apply directly to their day-to-day work. Incorporating terms from the industry throughout lessons will help ensure that relevant material sticks with them long after the training session has ended and when it comes time for implementation, they will be able to recall all of the important details pertaining to their role. This approach makes courses more effective as students better understand how course information applies directly to their field.

Understand the Learning Environment

The learning environment is vital to consider when creating and delivering training. Different delivery modes, such as online courses, classroom-based learning, and eLearning materials, are available. Each one has its own pros and cons that must be considered in order to decide which one is best for learners.

Online courses are convenient and flexible but can lack the personal touch that comes with classroom-based learning. Meanwhile, eLearning materials provide more interactive content and a personalised experience when compared to an online course. Classroom-based instruction is more social and engaging than online or eLearning options, but it does come with the restriction of being presented in person on predetermined dates and locations. It is up to each RTO provider to decide which learning environment will work best for their target audience. Factors such as cost, time constraints, and learner preferences must all be taken into account when making this decision.

Focus on the Unit Requirements

When embarking on delivering a training package, focusing on the unit requirements is essential. This means studying the evidence requirements for each unit and looking at what specific elements need to be contextualised. Any associated RTO training resources should also be consulted to support preparing the materials for delivery.

Delivery of a training package calls for evaluating how the units within it will be best utilised. Careful consideration should be paid to engaging with learners and prompting interaction, allowing activities that build on the knowledge already acquired and stipulating any entry requirements if applicable. Also, look into potential assessment strategies that can ensure delivery provides appropriate evidence against each element within the unit framework. Delivering in this way allows those responsible for assessing to quickly identify where a learner may have areas of weakness so they can give the necessary support efficiently.

Review the Learning Resources

The learning resources must be suitable for learners’ skill, knowledge and level. If the resources are not appropriate for learners, it will cause them to have difficulty understanding the material and dilute their learning experience. Therefore, it is important to customise the learning resources according to each group of learners’ skill level and knowledge base. This means adjusting the content to suit different levels of understanding and providing extra guidance and support where needed.

It is also important that these learning resources be aligned with industry standards in order to ensure they are relevant to work roles and environments. To do this, having an expert review your training materials is a good idea. Expert reviews can help ensure that content is up-to-date and accurate so that students receive a comprehensive educational experience. Having experts review educational materials can also guarantee quality assurance so students can be confident that what they learn is beneficial for their career development.

Check Your Assessment Tools

When designing courses for classroom delivery, it is important to make sure that the training materials are functional and applicable to the learners’ situation. To ensure this is achieved, one tactic suggested is to invite experienced professionals from the industry – such as recruiters or senior employers – who can give guest lectures about their area of expertise and share insights on how the industry is progressing. This will enable learners to obtain a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught in the program.

Another helpful tactic for contextualising materials for a classroom setting includes creating realistic simulated work environments where learners can directly apply what they’ve learnt from class lectures. This kind of immersive learning experience allows students to practice their skills while getting valuable feedback on their performance. It also encourages collaboration amongst peers and assists in developing essential workplace soft skills like team communication, problem-solving, etc. Along with these strategies, it’s important to keep classes interesting by regularly updating case studies so that they are up-to-date with current events related to the topic at hand.

Modify Your Assessment Tools

When modifying assessment tools, being aware of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) requirements is important. The proposed assessment instruments must measure student performance against the stated competence outcomes reliably and validly within the constraints of workplace or industry contexts. Assessment reform is an ongoing process involving changes to existing assessments and/or creating new ones. Contextualisation should not impact overall unit outcomes but instead should consider various factors such as industry expectations and existing support resources.

In order to ensure learners are receiving top-quality training and being assessed fairly, consideration must also be given to which type of assessment would work best in each learning environment. Examples include oral presentations, written exams, case studies and projects; however, instructors must understand how each method can help develop their skills in each field. By tailoring assessment methods to each learning environment, instructors can create content-specific assessments that will lead to a successful career within their teaching trade.


One of the best things about contextualisation is that it allows Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to get creative with their training. It can open up different ways of learning and engaging learners; however, the standards RTOs must adhere to remain unchanged despite this. The integrity of industry skills and requirements, including legislative enrolment and licencing, must be maintained at all times throughout the modification process.

To ensure an RTO stays compliant with these requirements, VET Resources provides specialised support catered to managing and delivering training courses.

If you would like to learn more about how VET Resources can assist you in contextualising your units of competency, contact our team today.

Suggested Read: Easy guide to Contextualise your assessment tool and learner resources

The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get Free Sample