Delivering Training

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Learning on-the-job enables learners to learn at the same time as being employed. On-the-job learning usually involves workers being trained through mentoring, through shadowing skilled workers, or by receiving instruction from supervisors or trainers who come into the workplace.

An on-the-job learning pathway is identified by:

  • identifying the specific goals for training
  • describing the tasks and activities required for learning
  • sequencing the activities to best meet the worker’s learning styles
  • deciding on the model of guidance or mentoring
  • deciding when and where practice will occur.

A useful model for delivering skill-based training, as covered by many units in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package, is the DEDICT model1 .

The DEDICT model has two distinct phases: the instruction phase and the practise phases. In the first phase the facilitator is responsible for delivering the key requirements of the skill. Then, in the second phase, the learner leads the process providing the learner with the opportunity to practise and master the skill.

Workplace supervisors
Instructions for workplace supervisors involved in preparing candidates for on-the-job assessment are available on the IBSA website.

Off the job learning is just that – learning that happens away from a work site, which may cover learning in a classroom or a training room, online learning or simulated learning. Lots of training is presented this way, using all sorts of different delivery strategies.

Wherever possible, make links to carrying out the job task or role in a work like situation.

Simulated learning environments can provide very effective learning environments for learning.

Units of competency in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package may be assessed in the workplace or in a simulated environment, so learning should also be connected to a workplace. Units suitable for delivery in a simulated environment include those where:

  • the safety of the candidate and others is at high risk
  • there is limited opportunity to present evidence of work-based practice and so waiting for such evidence would either be unreasonable, create unfair delay in the assessment process, or risk de-motivating the candidate
  • learning could result in a breach of confidentiality or privacy.

Simulated environments should reflect a real workplace environment as closely as possible, including:

  • work conditions that reflect those found in the workplace and include facilities, equipment and materials used in the workplace for the activities being learned; they should also reflect the relationships, constraints and pressures of the workplace
  • consideration of would be typical ambient conditions encountered in the normal workplace as well as reflect the typical workflow involved
  • information available to the learner on the nature of the activity must be consistent with workplace policies and practices
  • the activity which the candidate must demonstrate in order to be assessed as competent must be realistic and reasonable in terms of scale
  • information available to the candidate on the nature of the activity must be consistent with workplace policies and practices.

In reality, most training delivered against units and qualifications from the Automotive Training Packages are a blend of on-the-job and off-the-job, in a mix that is appropriate for the learner and the workplace in which they are employed. More information to be added including online learning.


The way that information is presented to learners will be influenced by whether delivery is on-the-job, off-the-job or blended. There is often an overlap between the required skills and knowledge, or the underpinning knowledge, required across units. When this occurs, units can be clustered together for delivery and real workplace activities often combine aspects of a number of units. This is sometimes called integrated or holistic delivery.

Clustered delivery can be an efficient use of time and training resources, and be a better match to what really occurs in the workplace.

It is important that training programs show which units, or parts of units, are clustered together for delivery so that employers and other stakeholders understand how the requirements included in each unit are being covered in the training.

One way of making information easy to follow is called chunking. Chunking involves breaking information down into sections or parts and then dealing with the parts one piece at a time.

Ideally you should limit yourself to three to five chunks of information at a time. Why five? Learners can store between five and nine pieces of information in short term memory at one time. Learners have greater capacity when they are feeling alert and awake, or when the information is simple and well structured and they are familiar with the terms and concepts.

Retention of information decreases when learners are tired, the information is complex or unfamiliar or the language and terminology is unfamiliar.

Sequencing is ordering the timing of when material will be presented to the learner. The way material is sequenced will impact learners’ comprehension.

There will always be different ways to sequence the learning program for learners, and often the sequence will be logical. Following are some approaches to consider when deciding on the sequence of material2.

Making adjustments to suit
All learners have different needs and often a training program needs to be adjusted to suit the needs of particular learners. The term ‘reasonable adjustment’ in legislation relates only to people with a disability. However, all learners will benefit from inclusive practice that tailors delivery to individual learner requirements.

Reasonable adjustments include, for example:

  • using personal support services, such as providing a reader, Auslan interpreter or scribe, or an attendant carer
  • using assistive technology or special equipment to access training materials
  • changing the format of training materials, for example providing information recorded in a format that the learner can listen to, rather than read
  • making adjustments to equipment or the physical environment
  • allowing for breaks in time to allow for medication or fatigue.

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As mentioned earlier, the connection to industry needs and standards should be maintained throughout the training cycle. The following are a couple of ways to ensure that this happens.

Trainer’s skills
The skill of trainers also need to be taken into account. Trainers must maintain currency of industry skills under the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations. This occurs in different ways for different RTOs and trainers. Some RTOs provide and encourage opportunities for industry placements, and often trainers maintain currency through the regular site visits to industry locations to visit learners and their work supervisors, where there are lots of informal opportunities to learn. Sometimes though, specialists are required for particular processes or equipment.

Validating learning materials
It is important to keep in touch with industry around learning materials to ensure that they reflect industry standards and current, relevant practice. Again, it’s also a requirement under the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations. RTOs seek industry validation in various ways, including arranging formal meetings, online forums and asking for direct feedback when on site visits.

Evaluation is an important part of the development cycle for any training program. It provides an opportunity to evaluate the strategies and tools developed, and can be used as a mechanism to provide feedback to improve learning outcomes.

The 4 step approach
According to Kirkpatrick3 , the reason for undertaking evaluation is to determine the effectiveness of training. He suggests a four level approach which, although originally designed for the evaluation of formal training sessions, can be applied as a useful tool to evaluate learning programs and strategies. These levels are outlined below.

The first level is really about how participants ‘react’ to the learning experience. It is a measure of customer satisfaction and is usually evaluated by ‘tick and flick’ sheets about whether the participants liked the trainer, enjoyed the program or found the material easy to understand.

The second level is about whether skill and knowledge has improved. A trainer may teach people how to use a printing press (skill) or about new fire safety requirements (knowledge). It is usually evaluated by ‘testing’ participants in some way. Because contextualised units of competency describe standards of performance for individuals, performance evaluation is thoroughly described and undertaken through the formal act of assessment.

Most training strategies and programs aim to change behaviour. In other words, rather than learn how to operate a printing press more effectively (skill), employers want to see that the individual operates the printing press safely and effectively to produce printed materials. Rather than just remember the fire safety requirements (knowledge), employers want to see that the individual actually implements those requirements at work. Some of this behaviour change depends on the learning program, some depends on the workplace itself. Kirkpatrick argues that in order for behaviour change to occur the person must:

  • want to change
  • know what to do and how to do it
  • work in the right climate
  • be rewarded for changing.

The first two requirements can be met by the learning program. The second two rely on a positive attitude in the workplace and supportive management.

Note that ‘be rewarded for changing’ doesn’t necessarily refer to financial reward. It might for example be a positive comment or encouragement from a supervisor or colleague.

The final level, results, is about successful outcomes for learners and meeting industry skill needs. This might include learners who have increased their productivity and decreased their wastage, and benefits to industry such as a decrease in days lost to injury, improvements in quality or time of production. These are really the measures for a return on investment in training. In essence the enterprise needs to undertake a cost benefit analysis of its overall training approach.