As a VET professional, I always asked from different stakeholders on how to contextualise the assessment tool and learner resources so, here I have answered all the questions related to contextualisation with relevant examples.
Q1: Definition/meaning of contextualising.
Contextualisation can be achieved by modifying assessment tools and learner resources to meet learner’s and employer’s requirement so training and assessment will be meaningful to them. According to the SRTOS 2015, clause 1.8 – training and assessment must reflect the learner’s needs; therefore, you need to contextualise your assessment and learner resources; otherwise, you may receive non-compliance in your next audit.
Examples of contextualisation
- You are an RTO ‘XYZ’ purchased or created assessment and learner resources for classroom delivery and your RTO is now preparing to deliver the same course for workplace delivery. In this case, you need to make changes in your assessment and learner resources so it will be suitable for learners.
- XYZ RTO is delivering BSBWHS001 unit in hospitality course and dental course. In this case, work health and safety (WHS) requirements will be different for both courses and content of one or both courses may not be relevant, therefore, you need to contextualise your assessment tool and training resources to meet industry standards and requirements.
Note: The contextualisation must be aligned with your RTO policies, procedures, assessment system and must meet the training package requirements. If you compromise training package and industry requirements, then you may receive non-compliance in the future.
Q2. Why do we need to contextualise the assessment tool and learner resources?
In simple words, to deliver meaningful training that meets learner needs and meets compliance requirements – SRTOs 2015 Clause 1.8.
Q3. Who can contextualise the assessment tool and learner resources?
- Trainer and assessors – It is advisable that your trainer/assessor make the required changes in the assessment tools and learner resources because they are the subject matter expert and they will deliver the unit. However, you need to conduct the quality check to make sure your RTO is not compromising the training package and compliance requirements.
- You may outsource to the professional who is a subject matter in a particular industry.
Q4. What information do I need before I start contextualisation?
I always check the training and assessment strategy before I start any contextualisation. I usually check the following information:
- Key characteristics of learner cohort – for example, international students, students are working in the industry. This will help me to identify who are the learners, what prior knowledge and qualifications they have completed so I can contextualise the resources according to the cohort.
- Deliver mode – For example classroom, online, workplace. This will help me to identify different assessment methods and how to collect the right and sufficient evidence from the learner.
- Duration and contact hours of the unit and course – Based on this information I get the idea to design assessment instruction, resources and session plan.
- Entry/admission requirements – This information helps me to identify that learner prior educational, English and age requirements.
- Course code and name – This provides me the information on what specific industry that I need to focus on while I contextualise the assessment and learner resources.
- Unit requirements- I check the unit requirements from Training.gov.au website to identify the evidence requirements and what area/criteria of the unit can be contextualised.
Q5. How do I contextualise the assessment tool and learner resources for the unit?
I mainly follow the following five steps to contextualise the resources:
Step 1: Research- In this step, I follow the information explained in the previous question.
Step 2: Review of available assessment tools and learner resources
In this step, you need to identify all the relevant resources are available for the unit including:
- Student assessment pack
- Marking guide
- Mapping document
- Relevant policies and procedures
- Relevant form and appendixes
- Learner guide, PowerPoint slides, session plan
Step 3: Identify the areas/section that required updates
I ask the following question while reviewing the assessment tool and learner resources:
Questions related to learner resources-
- Is learner resources information relevant to the industry?
- Is provided industry related examples and information’s in the learner resources are aligned with the industry?
- Is learner resources meet training package requirements?
- Does the subject matter expert review the resources?
- Is a session plan aligned with the delivery hours or timetable?
Questions related to assessment tools –
- Is assessment tasks are aligned with the industry and delivery mode?
- Does the subject matter expert review the assessment tool?
- Is simulation tasks are closely related to the real workplace?
- Is assessment tools meeting the training package requirements?
- Is assessment methods are appropriate to the industry and learners?
Step 4: Make changes
Based on the information collected from the above steps, now I have a much clearer picture of what changes required in the assessment tools and learner resources.
You need to make sure that you need to meet training package, principles of assessment and rules of evidence requirements.
Please refer the ASQA guidelines on the principles of assessment and rules of evidence HERE.
Step 5: Quality check
After the contextualisation, make sure someone from compliance background reviews the assessment tools and learner resources to make sure that RTO meets ASQA and other legal obligations.
I believe that after completing this guide, you will have a better understanding of how to contextualise the assessment tools and learner resources. Through contextualization, you can improve the training and learner will be motivated and improve the satisfaction level.
Sometimes off the shelf resources may not be sufficient to meet your learner cohort requirements, so you need to consider contextualising your assessment tools and learner resources.