Designing Training

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 Each stage in the diagram is explained in more detail in the following sections.


A lot of training in the printing industry is delivered to people who are employed, so engaging with employers and understanding their needs is a very important initial step in designing training to identify specific requirements and expectations. But it’s not just at the beginning that it’s important – keeping closely connected to industry needs is important throughout the training cycle.

Training in the printing industry should always involve close cooperation amongst employers, associations and industry representatives to ensure a productive workforce and that current needs are being met. To remain viable, RTOs must ensure that training aligns with current business strategies. There are different ways that RTOs can engage with industry, for example by establishing partnerships with employers or establishing advisory groups.

For more information about establishing partnerships with industry, go to


Under the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations 2, all providers must have strategies in place to provide quality training. This includes training strategies that meet the requirements of the relevant Training Package. Training and assessment strategies must be developed in consultation with industry. Training and assessment materials must also be developed in consultation with industry representatives.

A learning/training strategy is an organising framework for the delivery and assessment of a group of units or a full Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification. It provides an outline of how a particular qualification will be delivered and assessed. A typical training strategy may include the following specifications:

  • the focus of target groups and their characteristics
  • the selection of particular units of competency available for the qualification, within the packaging rules set out by the Training Package
  • options for structuring delivery including broad content structure
  • pathways for learners
  • delivery approaches (on-the-job, off-the-job, blended)
  • assessment information
  • staffing
  • operational requirements.

The following learning/training strategy template may be used by RTOs to assist with planning appropriate training to meet industry needs. Here is an example of a training strategy.

Need to include an Automotive learning/training strategy sample template here

When working with trainees and apprentices there is a requirement to complete a ‘training plan’. This document details some similar information to a training strategy, but is for an individual.

Choosing electives
Learners often make their elective choices through negotiation at enrolment, based on needs and interests. If the learner is based in the workplace, the employer is usually included in planning the choices, depending on the needs of the workplace and the job role of the learner.

For trainees and apprentices, the elective choices are often included in a training plan, which forms part of the contract of training. This contract outlines the roles and responsibility of all the parties involved and is a legal agreement between an employer, an apprentice or trainee, and the training provider.


‘We have a training plan with standard list of units for each qualification that we take out when we enrol learners. That’s just a place to start – we sort out what works best for both the employer and the learner. If we don’t have particular equipment to train learners on, then we work out a way to access it.’

Standard training plan templates for traineeships and apprenticeships are available from State Training Authorities (STAs), who are responsible for the delivery of apprenticeships/traineeships in their jurisdiction. For further information and resources available, visit the STA website in your state or territory

– links are available at:

Need to add an automotive sample training plan here


A training program supports the implementation of a training strategy. While a training strategy outlines the delivery of a qualification as a whole, a learning program breaks this down into individual units of competency and provides a detailed plan for learners to achieve the specified training outcomes.

Information specified in a learning program may include:

  • its purpose
  • the target group, their needs and characteristics
  • the training specifications and the outcomes to be achieved, such as the units of competency or other specifications
  • the content of materials and the learning activities involved
  • training and assessment approaches, including context, mode and methods of delivery and assessment methods and tools
  • the structure and sequence of learning, including timeframes
  • any required resources and other implementation requirements, including methods of ensuring a safe learning progression.

Some issues to consider when designing a training program include:

  • Learners and their needs – an understanding of learners and their needs is essential for a successful learning program. This includes an understanding of the learner’s current level of skill and knowledge and any past experience they may have, as well as any particular requirements the learner may have such as LLN needs and, if in the workplace, their job role.
  • Resourcing implications – when designing training, consideration must be given to the resources that the industry will need to contribute. This may include equipment, personnel or other resources and is discussed in more detail in the following sections. The availability of these resources may impact on how and when to deliver training.
  • Industry needs within a unit of competency – when a connection is identified between a training need and a unit of competency, it should be noted that training is not always required for the entire unit. The specific needs of an organisation, in relation to the unit of competency, should be considered and efforts focused in that area.
  • Common areas of need across several units of competency – in completing a needs analysis, areas of need which repeat across several units of competency may be identified and addressed through a common learning activity.

Identifying activities and resources
For training programs to be effective, consideration must be given to the resources available and the types of activities selected. RTOs need to ensure that wherever possible the resources and activities included in the program reflect actual industry conditions and address the standards of performance required in the workplace. Every industry and individual organisation has its own unique processes, reporting lines, materials and equipment, and these should be taken into account in training program design.

The resources required to design and deliver a training program include both the materials and items that form the focus of the learning program as well as support materials. When designing a learning program, consideration should be given to industry documents such as position descriptions, manuals, policies and standard operating procedures. These resources should be included as part of the learning materials used by participants if possible.

It is also important to consider the resources and assets that are required for the learning program. Some factors and considerations include:

  • Equipment – Is there equipment that can be made available for training purposes, or is all equipment in use as part of day to day operations?
  • Personnel – Who is available to either provide or attend learning activities? Will work schedules need to be re-arranged to accommodate this?
  • In some cases people will be able to learn while they are involved in day to day operations, particularly when the training is about equipment or machinery use.

Good training strategies and programs use a mix of methodologies. They allow learners to:

  • understand the level of performance expected of them, according to industry performance standards and qualification requirements. It is essential that expected levels of performance are made clear. Documents including photographs and diagrams can help do this
  • understand how the training will improve their own work practices and how this relates to their ability to meet industry requirements
  • observe a demonstration of the skills or competencies required
  • practise the skills or competencies required and receive feedback to improve performance
  • review and understand the criteria for evaluation or assessment, prior to undergoing assessment or evaluation.

The observation and practice of skills can occur in a number of environments and often involves a combination of settings. This includes both:

  • formal training settings, such as the classroom or a simulated environment, and
  • on-the-job settings, in a live or off-line situation where learners are given the opportunity to use the equipment they would be expected to use as part of their everyday tasks.

A number of methods can also be used to provide learners with observation opportunities and feedback. Some common options include:

  • learners taking on additional duties or responsibilities to provide opportunities for practice
  • self study material, which could be paper-based or online
  • shadowing and buddy systems which provide opportunities to observe tasks taking place in a live setting.

The method, or combination of methods, used for training delivery is largely driven by the nature of the tasks involved in the training program and the resources required. However, there are some other important issues that should be taken into consideration, such as:

  • the physical environment, which may be different from workplace to workplace
  • the people involved, who may or may not actually work together
  • the difference between a training or simulated environment and ‘live’ working environment
  • the instructional styles of managers, supervisors and those providing training opportunities; these may often differ. This is particularly relevant in considering how feedback and instruction are to be provided.

Another important consideration in designing a training program is safety. Although learning on-the-job using real equipment and machinery may initially appear to be the best method for learning, in many cases individuals will need preparation in a different environment.


Contextualisation refers to tailoring units of competency to suit specific needs. The units of competency included in the Automotive Training Package describe, in a generic manner, how an experienced worker performs particular functions in the workplace. These generic descriptions are written in a way that makes them applicable to all work places within the industry and need to be contextualised to reflect the conditions of each individual enterprise or workplace where the unit is being delivered.

If units of competency are used as they originally appear in the Training Package, without contextualisation, industry may not get the learning outcomes that best meet their needs. Units need to be contextualised so that the performance standards, terminology, equipment, facilities and operating procedures unique to the industry or organisational activities are clearly articulated in relation to the generic information contained in units of competency.

In practice this means that RTOs or industry can ‘modify units of competency to reflect the local outcome required by an individual and/or enterprise4 ’. This can be achieved by including, modifying or substituting text within the unit/s of competency, so that it is specific to a workplace context.

Examples of contextualisation could include:

  • substituting enterprise specific requirements for generic terms in performance criteria, for example workplace specific policies and procedures
  • adding to the range of conditions, and adding enterprise specific requirements, for example information about specific equipment or processes
  • identifying any particular skills and knowledge required to perform the tasks in the workplace and add to required skills and knowledge or make it more enterprise specific
  • identifying the kinds of evidence candidates may be able to provide in their job roles, and adding to the evidence guide

However, in all cases of contextualisation “the integrity of the outcome of the endorsed unit/s of competency must be maintained ”, for example, elements and performance criteria must not be removed, distorted or narrowed.

The contextualisation process
The following is the recommended process to contextualise units of competency.

1. Determine the units of competency relevant to the work of the enterprise.

2. Contextualisation is best undertaken by, or in coordination with, those who are most familiar with the tasks described by the relevant units of competency. It may be best to work closely with industry experts – someone like a supervisor, senior operator or safety officer who will have the most familiarity with the operations and functions described in the Training Package.

3. Review the entire unit, including:

  • Elements, performance criteria, foundation skills, range of conditions
  • Assessment evidence, performance evidence, knowledge evidence to become more familiar with the parameters for how the elements and performance criteria can be contextualised

4. Complete the contextualisation by answering the following question(s) against each element and the way in which it is described by each of the performance criteria. The most important questions to answer in contextualising elements and performance criteria is ‘how do we do it?’ and ‘how do we know when it has been done well?’

This question can be expanded in consideration of:

  • other people who support or inform the task
  • when and for how long the task(s) occur
  • where does the task occur
  • what specific materials, equipment and information are required to complete this task?

Queensland Department of Education Training and the Arts, 2011, Training
Packages @ Work, Back 2 Basics, Edition 4, p.25