Remove government funding and lets see who survives!

Over the years and again recently I have heard a number of people suggest that one way to deal with some of the issues around the VET sector would be to remove all government funding for a period of time (say 12 months) and see who survives.  The suggestion is that this would cull providers who are not financially sound, don’t have strong fee for services business and who are doing the wrong thing. The thinking is that if there are no incentives then there is no reason for profiteering enterprises to be in the market.

Now aside from the fact that there are a lot of people who are looking for employment, or improved employment opportunities who rely on various funding arrangements to achieve their educational goals (I am not going to talk about this explicitly here), there seems to be an underlying position in these statements.  A positions that is when people say remove funding they are actually saying remove funding from non-public providers.  However if we remove that underlying position and just ask the question, who would survive if all government funding to the VET sector was cut for all providers I think what we get is a much more interesting position.

So who would survive out of all the providers, both public and non-public, if all government funding was stopped for 12 months.  Lets look at the non-public side first.  Would the big boys survive, those top five providers who have who have massive enrollment figures up to 15-20,000 students?  Maybe they would, there certainly have the capital to be able to weather a storm of this nature, but would we seen campuses in every suburb and gigantic corporate offices?  I think not, I think the downsizing would be swift and severe and it would have to be.  These businesses survive and remain profitable only to a large extent on the constant flow of new students into the system.  I  suspect that we would see  carnage at the top end of VET town if something like this were ever to be enacted.

What about at the other end of town, the small providers, the mom and pop shops, the niche market players and in general the not for profit sector?  While I think there would be damage here I think the damage would be less.  A lot of these businesses already operate on successful fee for service models and while there student number might reduce, a lot would weather the storm. Another reason for this with this group I think, is that most of these providers have high levels of commitment to the sector and to student outcomes.  They’re not in the business for the money, they are in it because they want to be and they believe in it.

Where we would see the most carnage is in the middle tier.  In those businesses where there are lots of competing players, margins are small, cash flow is tight and even a bad month makes paying the bills look a little bit shaky.  Now I know no one out there wants to admit it but there are a lot of providers in the middle range who are in just these circumstances, where even a small change in the level of government funding for a qualification has profound effects on their business and staffing.  This is where we would see the biggest losses in terms of sheer numbers of providers, and therefore training and administration staff.

But what about the public sector?  Lets put aside arguments about public good, the need for strong TAFEs etc and just for a moment consider what would happen if government funding was removed across the board for all providers.  Even if we said that the various state government could still support TAFE through capital and infrastructure costs, but they had to generate all of their operating costs through fee for service models and received no direct or indirect funding for students.  They had to pay for things like staff wages, resources and general operating costs just from the money they could generate.  How many of the 57 public providers would be left?  Well I think there would be a lot vacant office and training space up for lease or sale at the end of the 12 months.  The vast majority of public providers would simply not survive.  The public sector providers would be decimated.

Of course let’s be honest here when people call for funding to be removed from the sector, that is not really what they are saying, what they are saying is lets remove funding from the non-public sector and give it all back to TAFE.  It is interesting though to think about what would happen if all funding was actually removed from everyone.


Anyway that’s just my opinion.


VET FEE HELP accounts for only 6% of all enrollments

So when I commented on the recent release of the Total Vet Activity data from NCVER  I said that one of the issues with the data was the fact that it didn’t capture or have a way of delineating VET FEE Help Data from other data within the set.  While this still remains true if we look at the statements made by NCVER’s Managing Director about the data and in particular his comments about TVA and the VFH data from the Department of Education we can see some interesting information.

Firstly lets just look at the raw 2014 figures;

  • 3.6 million enrolments in VET programs
  • 492,000 enrolments in Diploma of above programs
  • 217,000 VET FEE Help enrolment in Diploma or above programs

So what does this data tell us?

  1. Only 44% of all programs at a Diploma level or above were VFH assisted.
  2. VET FEE Help programs accounted for only 6% of all VET programs in 2014

There is of course some other interesting data that can be found in the Department of Educations statistics on VFH for 2014.  The Data is not the easiest to interpret as some of the spreadsheets take a little bit of looking into to see exactly what they are saying, but if you are interested you can take look for yourself.  For me the interesting things that come out of that data particularly when taken in conjunction with the TVA data are;

  • 95,000 or 43% of all enrolments were done by the 5 largest VFH providers, Evocca, NSW TAFE, Careers Australia, Study Group and AIPE
  • The 10 largest VFH providers account for 55% of all VFH enrolments
  • The other 260 or so providers account for only 45% of all VFH enrolments
  • The 4 largest providers each have enrolments double or more than the number of enrolments for the fifth largest provider

Now while there is a lot of argument around the accuracy of completion rates and how the data is set collected etc, here are a few interesting items.

  • RMIT (not one of the big players) seems to have the highest number of completions at around 2,300 which appears to be about 50% of its enrolments
  • TAFE NSW, 2200 completions or what appears to be about 10% of its VET FEE Help enrolments
  • Careers Australia, 1192 completions or what appears to be 7% of its VET FEE Help enrolments

Now as I said whether or not we can really actually say anything from these enrollment and completion figures remains to be seen, particularly when we see the next lot of completion figures for 2015 and if we see a marked increase in those rates.

So where does all of this leave us in relation to TVA and VFH?  I am not really sure and the problem with the statistics is that you can use them to say a lot of things, but I think the one thing we can safely say is that the actual number of people accessing VFH in relation to the overall numbers of VET students if quite low and as I have said before, if it wasnt for the amounts of money that seem to be floating around I suspect that this whole thing would not have even rated a mention in most of the newspapers and media outlets let alone almost daily coverage.


Anyway that’s just my opinion

Total VET Reporting – Lets talk about the figures.

So as some of you may have noticed I have had a little break from my usual posting schedule, mainly due to spending most of the last 2 weeks working with an organisation to delivery some initial TAE training to a large group of their staff.  Of course while I was having a break we saw the release of the Total VET students and courses data 2014 and a number of other documents which relate to it including Equity groups in TVA 2014, both of which I found to be very enlightening reads.  There have already been a couple of responses to the data, most notably Rod Camm’s which to me was quite reasonable, but I thought that I might look at some of the things which jumped out at me.

The first thing that really did leap out at me as I started to look through the data was, what part of this data related to VET FEE Help and what related to everything else and then I saw in explanatory note 30 – ‘It is not possible to identify VET FEE-HELP assisted activity by funding.’  Now I have to admit that this let me down a little when I read, because one of the things I was really interested in looking at in the data was the relationship between VFH and other kinds of funding, but as we can’t currently identify it there is not much that can be done.

So what are some of the figures which I found really interesting; firstly it was the break down of the actual number of students,  3,908,000 students enrolled in training with 4601 Australian providers, or 849 students per provider on average.  Let’s look closer at this however, as a lot has been made of the break up of figures between public and non-public providers and the effect that non public providers are having on TAFE admissions, with non-public providers servicing 57% of students.  What is not often considered, when we hear people talk about this is the massive disparity in the number of public vs non-public providers.  There are 57 TAFE institutes training 1,065,600 students and 2865 non-public providers training 2,252,900 students or 18,700 students per TAFE vs 786 students per non-public provider.  These numbers bear thinking about, at least to my mind, whenever public providers suggest that they don’t have enough students to make ends meet.  Even at a figure of say $2,000 per student, in terms of revenue that is over $35,000,000 on average for a TAFE as opposed to $1,500,000 on average for a private provider.  Now I know that I am talking in averages here and that there are big, small and medium players in both parts of the sector, but I still think it is interesting to consider.

The majority of students were male over the age of 25, which I personally found interesting because our student demographics are more slewed towards female participants. This has a lot to do with the fact that the vast majority of the training we deliver is in community services, where around 85% of the workforce is female.

What about the programs these students are undertaking, 30% of all enrollments were in Certificate III level programs and 86% of all programs completed were at a Certificate I-IV level.  This I think says something very important about the system that we have and that at its heart it is focusing on the right thing, that is, those programs that really are going to make a difference to people’s employment outcomes and their workforce participation options.  Business and commerce was the area in which most people studied, followed closely by community services.  While it has been suggested that the amount of business and commerce training being undertaken relates tightly to the VFH, its marketing and the perceived ease of deliver of these courses, and while we can’t see what amounts of these courses were funded using VFH or at least not from these figures, general business skills are deeply embedded in most of the things that people do so having a high percentage of people here may simply portray the market.  This could also be said of community sector qualifications, which are the second most popular.  The community sector is one of the largest employment areas and one in which the need for workers continues to grows.  It could be suggested that if areas like these were not high on the list that this may well be far more concerning than the current situation.

Another of the figures which I found quite interesting was in the equity group data.  By far the two largest equity group accessing VET were students from a non-English speaking background and students from rural and remote areas, with their participation rates being much higher than indigenous students or students with a disability.  Again within these groups we see that the overwhelming majority of students as with the general student population are undertaking certificate I-IV level programs, which as I said above is I think a good indicator that the heart of the system is targeted properly.  As we would also expect in a system where the vast majority of training delivered is around entry-level job roles, government funding made up around 60% of the way in which people ‘paid’ for their training with fee for service making up the rest.

So are there any disturbing pieces of data in this report.  In my honest opinion, when we consider that this is the first time this data has been collected and we don’t have a lot of previous data to base assumptions on, I don’t think there is.  I think the big thing is that this data needs to be improved and perhaps integrated with the data collected around VFH and other programs and then sliced and diced to give us a better picture of what is happening as will also happen as we accumulate data sets over a number of years and can begin to make comparisons.

Anyway that’s my opinion.

An enormous thank you to everyone

I just wanted to say an enormous thank you to all of you my readers, both directly via the blog and those who contribute to the conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter.

When I started this blog a number of years ago,  back in 2011 as a bit of a thinking and conversation place for myself mostly around organisational learning, there was no way I ever thought that it would grow into what it is today, one of the most read blogs on Vocational Education and Training in Australia, with such an outstanding group of people who offer their own insights and commentary on the subjects and topics I talk about.  I have gained so much both personally and professionally from little project.

I am deeply humbled when I look at the number of people who visit this blog every day and the number of those people who choose to comment and interact either here on the blog itself or on LinkedIn or Twitter.

I like so many others of you believe deeply in the importance of the Vocational Education and Training sector to Australia’s future and ongoing prosperity.  It is easy at the moment to get caught in the darkness and the negativity and to fail to see the amazing work that so many people and organisations both public and non-public do in this sector to really help people, to change their lives. Everyday I hear stories of how VET has changed people’s lives and taken them to places they never imagined that could go and it makes me proud to part of it.

And while I am saddened by the activities of such a small proportion of sector, who put their own wealth over the outcomes that are possible for so many people who utilise vocational education. I am deeply proud to be associated with and be friends with so many outstanding people whose sole  goal is to provide Australians with the best possible educational outcomes.  I feel an enormous sense of privilege to not only know you all to one extent or another, to have so many of you read my sometimes a little ranty musings, but just to be able to work in this sector .  A number of years ago at the Australian Training Awards I was asked what it was that had kept me involved in Learning and Development and the VET sector for so many years.  My answer was simple, because when I wake up and go to work, I know in my hear of hearts that we are doing something good, something worthwhile, and something that changes people’s lives.

I still believe that and feel that way today, what we do matters, it changes lives, it creates futures for people and hopefully makes us better people in the process as well.

So to all the friends I have made along this journey, my readers, be they regular or one-off, all of the people who comment and offer their views, the people I agree with and those who challenge and argue with me.  Thank you and I look forward to us all continuing this journey for a long time to come.

So where exactly is this epidemic of dodgy private RTOs

So a lot has been made recently in the media and senate reports and in statements by places like the AEU and others about this epidemic of dodgy private sector RTOs who are ripping of the government and public and destroying VET in Australia.   Well I for one am just sick of it.  So lets look at some actual facts rather than sensationalist media beat ups and ideologically motivated political posturing and see if we can’t get to the bottom of it.

Much has been made by the ABC in recent days about the results of the ASQA audit into a number of VET-FEE Help providers with claims of only 1 in 3 VFH providers being compliant.  Rather than however relying on the ABC let’s go to the source itself, the actual report from ASQA and see what that says.

Firstly it seems really important to note that this was not a report on all providers, ASQA in fact only audited 21 providers approved for VFH. In order to understand this investigation fully we need also to consider ASQA’s methodology around this project.  There methodology was ‘analysing the 110 complaints and identifying 16 RTOs approved for VET FEE-HELP that were of concern to ASQA; ASQA had received complaints from two or more students about each of these RTOs. An additional control group of five RTOs for which there had not been any recent complaints were included—these RTOs were selected because each was a large provider with a significant number of students enrolled under VET FEE-HELP arrangements’.   Interestingly of the 110 complaints investigated by ASQA 21 were found to have insufficient evidence in relation to them, 20 related to matters outside of ASQAs remit and a number were about brokerages rather than RTOs.  After deciding on the 21 RTOs to include in the project ASQA audited them and interviewed 417 students across these RTOs.

Before we move on then lets just have a quick look at what this says.  Of all of the complaints received by ASQA there were only 16 RTOs out of more than the 270 VFH providers that had two or more complaints lodged against them, in fact 70% of all of the complaints ASQA investigated related to only 16 providers.  Slightly under 6% of VFH providers accounted for almost three-quarters of all of the complaints.  I don’t know about you but that seems like a small amount of providers rather than epidemic, widespread or rife to me, but hey that is just my opinion.  Before I jump to any other conclusions however we should look a little further.

Of the 21 providers investigated, seven were found to be compliant at the conclusion of the audit and a further 8 were found to be compliant, but ASQA determined that certain conditions may have been warranted to address potential issues.  71% of the providers investigated were found to be compliant at the end of the audit cycle.  Of the remaining six,  five are subject to some form of continuing scrutiny and one has had its registration revoked.  Hmmm I am still not seeing an epidemic, and it also seems to directly contradict what the ABC reported.

If we look then at the limited information supplied in the report on the figures for 2015.  ASQA has received an additional 162 complaints, which is more than in 2014, but, lets consider the context of these complaints.  Half of these complaints related to RTOs that were already part of the investigation project and 25 of them related to 4 providers who were already subject to regulatory activity and 1 for which ASQA has already issued an intention to cancel registration to.  So it still seems that looking at the continuing figures the vast majority of complaints relate to a very small percentage of all VFH providers (under 10%).  The real problem of course, or at least the reason that there is so media attention is the figures that are involved.  Problematically rather than the amount of money flowing from VFH to providers being spread fairly evenly across all providers, the vast majority of the money is going to a relatively small number of providers, in particular the very largest private RTOs in the country, of which at least a couple were included in the ASQA investigation.

The other thing that I find interesting about all of these media reports is that if you analyse them, they, almost without exception related to no more than 5 providers, in fact in most of the recent stories across the various media outlets there has been a focus on 2-3 providers, again some of the biggest providers.  Why?  Well that’s easy, that is where the sensationalist headline grabbing dollar figures are aren’t they.

I have said it before and I have no doubt that I will say it again,  there are issues with small percentage of providers, either in relation to VFH or in general, but that is all it is.  The vast majority (and this clearly born out in all of the figures) of providers are simply out there day in and day out providing great outcomes for their students.  But does the ABC or any of the other media outlets report that, of course not, because that isn’t news.


Anyway that is just my opinion.



Senate Report into Private VET Providers

So as most of you are aware the Senate Committee has recently release its Report into the operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education and training (VET) providers in Australia.  So I thought I would take at look at the report and some of the recommendations and put some thoughts and comments on it out there.

My first comment is on the membership of the committee which with 2 ALP, 2 Greens, 2 Liberals and one National Party member, does seem to be, just on initial observations slightly weighted to the left of the Australian political spectrum.  Not that this should in essence make a real difference one would hope, however as regular readers of this bog would note I have been quite critical of the very one-sided view of the VET sector which seems to be held by the Greens and in particular Senator Lee Rhiannon.  One would hope however that party political concerns could be put aside in these cases and that sensible and well-considered analysis of the facts and information be the central theme of the report.  Of course those of you who make it through to the end of the report will of course see that the Greens could not help themselves and had to make their own set of recommendations which only serve to show their lack of understanding of the sector and unwillingness to move from there uninformed (or shall I say informed by the AEU and others of that ilk) view that the only problem with the sector is that there are private providers and that TAFE can solve everything.

The actual report itself makes 16 recommendations, most of which at least on the surface seem fairly reasonable.  Now it is not my intention to look at each of the recommendations in detail, but rather just to comment on some of the major ones and some of the ones which might be viewed as little more controversial.

Recommendations 1-4 are just really common sense in my opinion, it is blatantly obvious that there needs to be a serious review into the VET FEE Help system, the providers utilising it and that methods of controlling the costs associated with these loans, particularly what could be termed as bad debts be considered.  I myself tend towards regulation around the actual upper limits which can be charged for various courses rather than a simply lowering of the overall threshold or some other method.  Insisting on certain prerequisites such as year 12 or equivalent may have an effect, but I fear unless rules like this are spelled out in intricate detail, all that will result if a repeat of the LLN skills requirements which was of course no barrier to unscrupulous providers.  Lowering the repayment threshold is also not a viable consideration as it does unfairly target those who are already in vulnerable financial situations and for whom a qualification may be of the most worth.

Recommendation 5 hits the nail on the head for me, as I have stated in other pieces there needs to be far better education of VET sector consumers to attempt to ensure that the ability of those unscrupulous elements to take advantage of uneducated consumers is reduced.

There are a range of similar themes running through the rest of the recommendations, most of which talk about regulation of the system and how this might be better achieved.   That there needs to be a serious and effective investigation of current providers is obvious in the extreme as is the fact that there needs to be some form of regulation of the brokerage market.  My opinion on brokerages is well know, in that I simply believe that in the vast majority of cases they serve no purpose other than to simply increase the price of a qualification and provide commissions to resellers who have little or no skills in relation to the sector.  It would be my personal position that I would rather the use of brokers for VET FEE Help programs be disallowed under legislation much as it is in relation to other government funding.  A particular example of this being the contractual arrangements around the QLD Vet investment plan subsidies where RTOs are prohibited from using brokers to recruit students.  This would in one fell swoop put an end to the brokerage industry and put the onus of ethical recruitment directly back where it should be, on the RTO and not require the need for additional regulation to be developed for brokers.  Removing brokers from the system would also I believe slow down considerably the flow the money to providers who were large users of brokers and also the more unscrupulous providers who rely on the ability of brokers to provide them with a continuing stream of new students. The concept of minimum standard hours while interesting is not one I think that would either be able to be administered in any way that made sense or have any real effect on completion rates and the ability of providers to manipulate the system.

The biggest single issue that I see within the sector at the moment is irresponsible, unethical and outright illegal marketing and student recruitment practices and most of these practices could as I have said above be resolved by the removal of brokers from the system.  On the general issue of quality of providers, I would make an open call particularly to those media outlets, like the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The ABC who have constantly bought up negative stories on the sector, which when one looks look at the content of, generally focus on a very small number of providers and then makes sweeping judgments about all providers, to actually come and look at the outstanding work being done in this sector by private providers.  I of course know that this will never happen because well that doesn’t sell does it.

I am also completely in favor of the concept of the a Training Ombudsman whose sole role is to deal with complaints and as has been suggested before close the loop, between providers, students, governments and the regulator so that everyone involved knows what is going on and is fully informed.

One final thing and this is that with any of these reports there is always a necessity to look at the background and agendas not only of those serving on the committee, but also of those who made submissions and how those submissions were interpenetrated by the committee, what information was taken out of them and in what context.  This is of particular note with respect to the information supplied by ASQA’s data and reports, where a casual viewing of the data may in fact be used to show something that a more in-depth review of it may not.  It is also of note when one considers the additional comments and recommendations provided at the end of the report by the Greens.  It is clear from these statements that the Greens came into the committee with a particular viewpoint and agenda and have in no way sought to be further informed or to change their ideologically motivated view in any way.


Anyway that’s just my opinion.


Can we improve online completion rates in VET

So as most of you are probably aware we are seeing evidence of very low completion rates for online learning programs in the VET sector in this country.  Indications early in 2015 were that those students studying in online only mode had completion rates of around 7%, as opposed to around 40% for those students which undertook classroom or workplace based training where there was shall we say face to face components of the training.  It is now being suggested that in reality online completion rates may be as low as 2% for a significantly worrying number of providers, with even strong providers having great difficulty reaching a completion rate of even 20% which is half that of general completion rates.

This situation raises a couple of questions for me;

  • Is online learning suitable for VET programs,
  • How do VET completion rates stack up against other online completion rates,
  • Why are rates so low, and
  • What can we do, if anything, to raise completion rates to a more acceptable level.

Before I go on I am going to put my heart on my sleeve and say that I am not a great believer in, in particular, online only programs in the VET sector.  Does this mean that I think that online learning has no place in VET, no.  What it means is that this is a competency based system, we all know that, and I have concerns that both for students and for assessors in online only courses proving that competency in a way that meets the required standards, while possible is I think far more difficult than in other environments.  I think that online learning in the context of VET qualifications may be useful when it comes to developing and assessing the knowledge components of a unit of competency, but where I have issues with it is in the development and assessment of the actual performance components, where more and more even in areas like community services we are seeing assessment criteria which say thing like ‘has provided information to 3 different clients accessing the service.’ How does one evidence and assess that through an online learning environment in any way which might simulate a real work environment.

Additionally (and it is important to note that this is anecdotal) it seems that at least a significant proportion of VET students who enter into online only training do not actually have a good idea of what they are signing up to do, the amount of work they will be required to undertake and the difficulty associated with working independently of other students and the other advantages of classroom based learning environments.  I have seen first hand a large number of students start as online students only to come back in a very short time frame and indicated that while they are happy to do the assessments online, they want to come to class, as they are having difficulties engaging with the materials and the assessments without that environment.

The next question is then how do the completion rates for VET courses compare with other online only programs.  If we look at MOOC’s in a higher education setting for example we see that completion rates seem to sit at around 7% which is it comparable, however we need to be careful with this figure because there is something interesting going on here.  The completion rate of 7% relates to MOOC’s where there course is provided at no charge to the participant and the participant receives only a statement of attendance.  There appears to be mounting evidence that when even a small fee is charged by the provider, ostensibly to provide the participant with a certified certificate of successful completion, that there is a significant increase in completion rates for those who choose to pay the fee.  Now given that VET students are paying quite a large fee for the privilege of completing their Nationally Accredited Training online one would think that therefore, if we look at the MOOC experience that there would be a fairly solid completion rate, but this seems not to be the case.

This then leads on to the next question, why are completion rates so low in the VET sector.  Firstly I think that if we relate this to the payment issue, unlike those paying to undertake MOOC’s, what would seem to be a significant number of VET participants have been sold the course on the ‘Study now, Pay later’ premise so that they do not feel like they have any financial commitment in the programs so if they don’t finish it, it doesn’t matter.  This is of course not the case with VET FEE HELP debts incurring on census date rather than on completion, so even if they do not complete the course  they still incur the debt.  While I think the issue of financial commitment to undertaking the course certainly has an impact on students mindsets in relation to completion, it is certainly not the only issue.  In addition there are certainly a range of other factors including;

  1. Lack of real learning support,
  2. Badly designed content (Often the content is very similar to in class content just provided in an online environment),
  3. Low digital literacy levels in students,
  4. Inappropriate courses for students (Students being enrolled in a Diploma when they would be better served by a Certificate level program),
  5. Complexity of both the learning material and the assessment tasks, and
  6. The need for significant time to be spent engaged with the online environment.

There are probably more, but these are I think some of the significant issues.

So what, if anything, can be done to improve the completion rates for online learning. One thing that may have an impact is better designed, shorter content.  It is well documented that the best results from online learning come when students engage for short periods of time with material that is interesting and engaging.  Reading pages and pages of text, watching a series of videos or listening to long audio files, in order to be able to complete assessment activities is never, (and this has been shown to be the case) going to be successful.  The best E-learning around is short, targeted and subject specific.  The problem that exists then would seem to be how to we create best practice e-learning in the VET sector, where there is often a significant amount of information a students needs to engage with and understand in order to be able to complete assessment tasks.

Low digital literacy and inappropriate course choice go somewhat hand in hand and relate to large extent to the way in which students are recruited and inducted into their course of study.  to complete a course of study completely online requires a set of skills that are lacking in a lot of students.  I am not just talking about computer skills here either, there are a range of study skills which people who have studied previously pick up and are able to utilise when faced with undertaking independent online learning.  These are skills that are often lacking in a lot of potential students and in particular those who have either never studied or not studied for a substantial period of time.

This is of course where good support comes in.  Things like synchronous facilitator led online workshops, where online work is treated as a group activity in a similar way to normal face to face learning have a clear effect on student engagement, as do things like regular contact between students and trainers, which should be more than just a weekly phone call asking them how they are going, a simple easy way for students to chat with each other, exchange ideas and begin to feel like a cohort rather than individuals studying alone.  There are lots and lots of great things that can be easily done to improve the support around online learning, but it seems that at least some providers just are not doing this, they are just signing people up, giving them their log in details and ringing them every now and again to ask them how they are going, which is in my opinion not real support anyway.

As I said earlier, while I see place for online learning in the VET sector, online only programs are at least in my opinion not the way to go for the vast majority of students, at least not unless providers are willing to put in a lot more time and effort than they currently are.


anyway that’s just my opinion.

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