Solving the Dichotomy of Distance Learning and Quality Face-to-Face Time
I was taking time recently to reflect on the professional training market here in Australia. Insources has been delivering training since 2004, and in that time we've seen a lot of changes. Of course, the first thing that springs to mind is the impact that technology has had (and continues to have) on the way that we live our lives today. I also considered that many people in the commercial world seem to have more time constraints today—perhaps it's because technology allows us to do more within our working days. However, it struck me that perhaps lack of time means that too often we're willing to compromise to achieve our end goal.
This is a familiar challenge for Insources. We deliver training in quality and compliance for RTO managers and assessors, and our aim is to deliver the best training and outcomes for our students. Over the years, we found the most successful training recipe has always been to combine great quality face-to-face training with on-the-job time spent developing the skills and knowledge just learned. It's not simply a matter of attending a few courses. Ten years ago, we noticed that our students were struggling to attend their three blocks of face-to-face training and return to their offices to continue to develop skills in their roles. We reduced our face-to-face sessions from 15 days to 10, and then eventually to seven, but we found that this actually increased pressure and stress on our students, and our completion rates dropped.
We concluded that despite developing strong online content and learning courses to support our students, the drop in quality face-to-face teaching was the cause of the lack of completions. We introduced webinars to overcome this challenge; however, feedback from students was that they still needed opportunities to interact with their trainers rather than consume more material. We also observed that students only had small amounts of available time, maybe 30 minutes in the evening or on weekends. They didn't have large chunks of regular free time in their schedules. So we turned to technology to help us solve the dichotomy of delivering distance learning while maintaining quality face-to-face training.
We've recently introduced the Canvas learning management system (LMS). The platform is highly interactive and allows us to deliver great quality face time. Students can schedule time to talk with their teachers when they need, they can consume and interact with course materials at a time that suits them and they can apply their knowledge to their job roles to develop their skill set. The platform is easy to use and intuitive, which is really important for both trainers and students—ease of use should never be a barrier to learning. Most importantly, technology has ensured that time-poor students using distance learning don't experience poor quality training. Far from it, in fact. Canvas has allowed us to maintain exemplary quality distance training with valuable face time.
To learn more about how Canvas supports RTOs, visit www.canvaslms.com.au/vet.
Chief Executive Officer
Insources PTY LTD