FE News speaks to Tony Perks, CEO of GO Vocational Ltd, about the role that technology plays in the assessment of vocational qualifications. Work-based Learning Operations Manager at Lifetime, Michelle Hyatt, also provides insight into streamlining assessment efficiencies in the active leisure industry.
The vocational journey is an intricate path for all involved. Throughout the duration the learner will work closely with their assessor to meet the necessary performance criteria. Regular meetings will be arranged at their chosen site of work to review progress and capture the required evidence of development and improvement. Enrolment, induction, training, assessment and guidance are all part of the learner journey. Each of these processes must be delivered, tracked and recorded to fulfil contractual requirements and ensure successful outcomes.
Labour intensive traditions
When compiling a learner’s progress report, manual record keeping can be a highly labour intensive and monotonous task. A sign-up document must be accompanied by a lengthy candidate assessment record (CAR), resulting in a large paper-based report.
In organisations where paper based recording is used, personnel run the risk of inputting errors and inconsistency between data sources when logging the information into an electronic system. To track a learner’s progress and draw on the appropriate funding information, accurate and up-to-date reports are essential.
In order to streamline the assessment process, we must look to overcome the diverse challenges that exist. Let’s consider then the four key stakeholders involved in the vocational qualification assessment process:
- Assessor: Regular and thorough visits must be completed with each learner.
- Learner: To judge their progress and identify areas for improvement he or she may require a clear view of their portfolio.
- Employer: To successfully compare student progress, the employer requires clear visibility of its entire learner base.
- Training provider: To ensure efficient funding draw-down, the provider requires an accurate and real time progress report.
The new era of assessment
To revolutionise the assessment of vocational qualifications, we must fully exploit modern day advances in technology. Transforming a traditional assessment process to an electronic based procedure can result in an array of benefits and efficiencies.
Lifetime, one of the UK’s top 10 largest training providers, has enhanced its vocational assessment procedure through a computerised assessment application. Substantial fiscal savings have resulted, not only per learner portfolio, but company wide.
Michelle reports: “Training thousands of NVQ learners at any one time, we experienced vast inefficiencies in manual record keeping. In order for our business to be at the forefront of the sector, we required an immediate solution.
“Since the implementation of our paperless application, known as GO Portfolio, we have not looked back. Business processes, operations and management have all been refined. Estimated savings are in excess of £500,000.”
Funding the journey
In order for training providers to submit accurate financial audits, they must comply with the strict criteria set by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Utilising an electronic database helps to ensure a faultless claim process.
“The ability to capture information and evidence, communicate it directly to the back office for verification and audit, as well as submitting funding claims information accurately to the SFA takes vocational qualification assessment into a new era,” says Michelle. “Training providers necessitate easy to use systems that save time and money; our paperless portfolio software has proven to do just that.”
Vocational learners step into a new age
Electronic assessment and recording is the future of vocational learning. Not only can technology assist tutors and assessors but an online candidate portal can assist a learner’s development. The learner can view their records and communicate with their assessor at the click of a button. Not only that, but they can access their portfolio from a location convenient to them; this might be in the comfort of their home or even the workplace.
To further enhance the learner’s journey, innovative solutions will allow the learner to submit information online 24/7. Not only does this allow seamless communication between the assessor and learner, but also ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning.
(Pictured: GO Vocational CEO Tony Perks)