Quality auditing of online delivery

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					        Quality auditing of online learning

                                      A guide for AQTF auditors

Project 15
Strategy 2002 Projects
Developed under The Australian Flexible Learning Framework
Managed by the Flexible Learning Advisory Group on behalf of all States and Territories in conjunction with ANTA.

OCT 2002

                                                                     -1-                                            -OCT 2002
Table of contents….


About the resource

Using the guide

Standard 1

Standard 2

Standard 4

Standard 6

Standard 7

Standard 8

Standard 9


                                                                  -2-   -OCT 2002
         As the contexts and flexible delivery models in which vocational education and training is delivered expand, keeping abreast
         of how these developments impact on the Standards for Registered Training Organisations is an important aspect of an
         auditor‟s work. The growth in the use of information communication technologies to support delivery of training and learning
         has sparked an interest in learning practice and the technology systems used to support them.

         This resource for auditors focuses on the implications of on-line delivery models for compliance under the AQTF, and was
         developed as an initiative of the Australian National Training Authority within the Strategy 2002 Australian Flexible Learning

About the resource
         This guideline has been developed as one of a range of resources to support auditors and to supplement the national AQTF
         resources: Standards for Registered Training Organisations (ANTA 2001) and the Evidence Guide for Registered Training
         Organisations and Auditors (ANTA 2001).

         The purpose of the guide is to provide:
             a broad commentary on the implications of online delivery for compliance with the Standards for Registered Training
             suggestions for the types of evidence available for online learning which will support compliance
             a starting point or base from which auditors can identify their individual information needs and access further
               resources and tools.

         Only those standards where there is a more specific implication because of the online learning context are addressed in this
         resource. The guide has been developed in consultation with auditors and online education experts.

Standards addressed in the guide

                Standard 1:                           Standard 2                 Standard 6                      Standard 8
                    1a                                    2.1                        6.1                             8.1
                 1.3 a & b                                2.2                        6.2                             8.2
                    1.5                                   2.3                        6.3                         Standard 9
                   1.6 c                              Standard 4                                                     9.1
                    1.7                                   4.1                    Standard 7                          9.2
                    1.8                                   4.2                        7.1                             9.3
                    1.9                                   4.3                        7.2                             9.4

                                                                   -3-                                                          -OCT 2002
Using the guide

This resource is a useful starting point for you to explore some of the implications of the Standards for RTOs in an online learning
environment. The design of the guide closely follows that of your other national auditing resources.

You may find this guide useful for identifying your own information needs. It provides you with links to other resources for auditors.
These resources are embedded within the commentary or evidence sections for the Standards discussed in this guide.

The additional resources extend or expand on the commentary section of the guide, and they may take the form of a glossary, an
exemplar, short explanation, web site page or checklist.

You may decide to review the resource in its entirety or select those standards or aspects of the standards which are more
appropriate and relevant to your needs at any time during the audit process.

                                                                  -4-                                                           -OCT 2002
The resource format

The commentary and the examples set out in this guide are by no means exhaustive. Rather they give a specific context to the
Standards and examples of evidence.

 Read this column to access
                                                                               Read this column to access:
          a commentary on the application of the standard in an
                                                                                   examples of possible evidence of compliance in the context
             online learning context and,
                                                                                       of online learning and,
          links or references further resource materials available
                                                                                   further resources to support auditing
             to the auditor.

 Standard 1.7

 The RTO must have a written plan for its business that is consistent with its scope of registration and scale of operations

 Learner support
 Planning for learnr support systems may include the provision of                   Projections for student/teacher ratios for online delivery
 appropriate and timely information, online turors, help desks, orientation         Infrastructure support plan and policy documents, identifying technical
 programs and learning support resources. These are all important                    and educational support strategies for learners and staff
              An exemplar of
 considerations for business and operational planning.
 Technology a technology
              plan or a
 Developing a technology plan which is integrated in the business
              checklist of
 plans is a recommended strategy for online deliverers. This planning
              content areas
 tool might include strategies and plans for the infrastructure which                                   Examples of web pages
 will support for aonline learning goals and activities.
               the technology                                                                           identifying learner
              plan                                                                                      support strategies,

                                                                               -5-                                                                         -OCT 2002
The RTO has systems in place to plan and provide quality training and assessment across all its operations


a.   The RTO must keep written policies and procedures for ensuring quality training and assessment consistent with its scope of
     registration and scale of operations

Commentary                                                                  Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Policies and procedures encompass online learning
Policies and procedures for ensuring quality training and assessment        Examples of evidence might include
consistent with scope and scale of operations take account of the online
learning context.                                                              A web site map for the RTO (useful in demonstrating location of
                                                                                information and functions on the web site).

Online learning arrangements might impact on a range of organizational         Downloaded copies of the web pages for the RTO‟s policies and
policy and planning areas, for example: risk management, access and             procedures
equity, staff recruitment, induction and ongoing development and
capabilities for online delivery and assessment                                Web site addresses for example the URL for the RTO and relevant
                                                                                web pages for information and learning activities
The RTO web site menu bar and navigation systems indicate where
information about the RTO‟s policies and procedures are available.             „Guest‟ access logon supplied where required for access to pages.

                                                                      -6-                                                              -OCT 2002

a.   The RTO must have an organizational chart and duty statements or terms of reference that show the lines of authority in the RTO, the
     responsibilities and allocation of functions.

b.   The organizational chart and duty statements must set out the role that each staff member of the RTO has in implementing and
     maintaining the RTO’s training and/or assessment system.
Commentary                                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment
Roles and responsibilities for online learning                                     Organisational charts and duty statements identify responsibilities
Organizational charts and duty statements cover all aspects of service              for:
delivery and administrative operations, including those for online learning.         Website management, development and maintenance
                                                                                     Development, maintenance and authorization of web site
                                                                                       content, including learning and assessment content, marketing
The organisational commitment to online learning is reflected in the                   and advertising content. Development and or purchase of online
allocation of responsibility for the range of functions associated with                learning and assessment resources
delivering online services and training.                                             Coordination of online tutoring and learning facilitation
                                                                                     Provision of technical support for online learning.


The RTO must document and implement policies and procedures for dealing with customer complaint, grievances and appeals in a
constructive and timely manner.

Commentary                                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                        -7-                                                              -OCT 2002
Electronic communication                                                        Examples of evidence of compliance:
RTOs using online technologies for some or all of their learning/
assessment strategies may maximize the opportunities provided by                    Appropriate web site pages for learner information might be found in
electronic communication tools to provide timely and efficient services              sections of the RTO web site such as:
to their clients.                                                                     „About Us‟
                                                                                      „Student Information‟
Electronic lodgement and online forms                                                 „Contact Us‟
In an online learning environment provision for the lodgement and                     „Policies‟, Code of Practice
notification of receipt of a complaint, grievance or assessment appeal
                                                                                    Copies of downloaded web pages which provide information to
may be electronic, using online forms.
                                                                                     learners about the procedures for complaints, grievances and
Two important considerations for RTOs are:
        How learners access information about relevant policies and
         procedures for customer complaint, grievances and appeals in a            Web pages which could include:
         constructive and timely manner, and                                         RTO Contact details
                                                                                     Name/s of the key RTO personnel (eg Director, Principal,
        How learners or staff negotiate their customer complaint,                     Faculty Head and administrative staff, telephone and fax
         grievances and appeals after the initial lodgment stage.                      numbers
                                                                                     RTO site location or office premise addresses
Clients may need to have access to a choice of a range of communication              Postal addresses
tools (eg phone, fax and email) to discuss the issues involved with their            Email addresses
case so that the learners experience with administrative matters is as fair
in the online environment as it is for „on site‟ learners is a desirable goal      Electronic forms
for RTOs.                                                                          Electronic receipt notices

Contacting the RTO
Learners may need to contact or visit an RTO, so details about location
address, postal address and other contact details are important

Receiving and recording customer complaints and grievances in an
online environment may suggest additional considerations for the
RTO; for example information about the electronic process to both
staff and students and systems for:
     Notification of receipt of electronic lodgment
     Transfer and storage of electronic information
     Security and confidentiality
     Recording systems

                                                                         -8-                                                               -OCT 2002

c. The RTO must maintain a register of all agreements made under Standard 1.6. a

Commentary                                                                      Examples of evidence for an online learning environment
Partnerships and agreements
In an online learning delivery an RTO may have agreements or                    Copies of partnership contract or agreement specifying levels of service,
partnership arrangements with other organizations for components of             roles and responsibilities, and if appropriate partner access to web based
their service delivery. This may be particularly relevant for workplace         learning and assessment systems.

Agreements relating to the design and content of learning and
assessment strategies are discussed in relation to Standard 1.8 and
Standard 9


The RTO must have a written plan for its business that is consistent with its scope of registration and scale of operations

Commentary                                                                      Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                          -9-                                                                -OCT 2002
Business planning for online learning
Principles, quality measures and benchmarks for quality online                      Copies of the business and planning documents relating to the
learning have emerged from practice and research into online learning.               online delivery. These documents may include refererence to::
Many are derived from the Distance Education experience over a period
of time and more recent on-line delivery.                                               Reasons for the RTO delivery of online learning, its target groups
                                                                                         and their needs
Organisational commitment                                                               Identification of human and financial resources for development
Commitment to online learning may be found in the code of practice,                      or purchase of learning resources and strategies, technology for
mission statements and allocation of human and financial resources for                   design & development of learning resources,
development, implementation and evaluation of on-line learning.                         Staff qualifications and expertise in online learning
                                                                                        Projections for student/teacher ratios for online delivery
The development of web based learning arrangements requires                             Infrastructure support – technical and educational
significant planning and sustained support over a long period of time                   Communication strategies for clients and staff
                                                                                        Design, development and testing documents for the web based
Learner support                                                                          delivery, such as project reports, design statements and
Planning for learner support systems may include the provision of                        evaluation reports.
appropriate and timely information, tutors, help desks, orientation                     Production and maintenance budget for web site
programs, learning resources and contact information (see Standard 6)                   Meeting notes from internal stakeholders.

Learning design
Learning activities are designed for the specific context. Development of
the learning activities will usually take account of:
 the needs of the target groups,
the types of interaction and collaboration between learners
the provision of resources to learners (see Standards 7 and 8)

Learning outcomes/assessment
(see Standards 8 and 9)

Developing a technology plan which is integrated in the business
planning documents is a recommended strategy for online deliverers.

This planning tool might include strategies and plans for the infrastructure
that supports the online learning goals and activities. It allows the RTO to
integrate educational objectives and technology planning for the overall
business directions for the RTO
Experienced online educators highlight the importance of selecting
technology to fit the educational objectives, not vice versa.

                                                                        - 10 -                                                               -OCT 2002

The RTO must document and implement procedures to:

i.    identify and manage risks concerned with compliance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations, and
ii.   correct and prevent any failure to comply with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations and the RTO’s quality system,
      policies or procedures

Commentary                                                                        Examples of evidence for an online learning environment
Web site stability and risk management                                               Agreements with „partners‟ or contractors which indicate service
The stability of a web site and its associated infrastructure are critical            conditions including
factors for successful learner participation. Stability of the learning                  Student numbers covered under the agreement/licence
arrangements depend on quality and maintenance of technical systems                      Period of service of the agreement
supporting the learning; the security of all aspects of the services and                 Conditions of the service including support arrangements
learning and assessment activities provided by the RTO online.                           Renewal arrangements.

Learners may be disadvantaged if technical systems fall down for any                 Analysis of data collected through feedback button on the website
period of time. The RTO‟s risk management plans may take account of                   and amended policy and procedures documents resulting from
actions and contingency plans in the event of technical difficulties,                 improvement actions.
particularly as they relate to the provision of learning resources and

Continuity of service provision
Continuity of service provision by the RTO may be affected by
agreements with others for any of the following services which underpin
Standards 6,7,8 and 9:

         Outsourced curriculum development, maintenance of learning
          resources and materials.
          Web site hosting for the delivery of learning resources or
         Licensing arrangements for the use of a learning platform or

                                                                         - 11 -                                                              -OCT 2002

a.   The RTO must collect and analyse stakeholder and client feedback and satisfaction data on the services it provides, and
b.   The RTO must use the information mentioned in Standard 1.9 a to review its policies and procedures

Commentary                                                                       Examples of evidence for an online learning environment
Client feedback
RTOs may collect feedback electronically from its clients, or through its             Electronic receipts provided for online feedback forms
website. Planning may include provision for:                                          Copy of technology plan

           Acknowledgement of receipt of feedback.                                   Copies of specific feedback forms and responses for online
           Responsibility for managing web files and collating electronic               learning delivery
            data.                                                                     Learner surveys include questions relating to online learning
           Systems to integrate with continuous improvement                          Summary of feedback data
                                                                                      Meeting notes and planned activity for acting on feedback
           Alternative mechanisms for feedback.
           Feedback questions directed at online delivery and

                                                                        - 12 -                                                                  -OCT 2002
Standard 2. Compliance with Commonwealth, State/Territory legislation and regulatory requirements

The RTO ensures compliance with Commonwealth, State/Territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its
operations is integrated into its policies and procedures, and compliance is maintained

Standard 2.1

The RTO must identify and comply with relevant State or Territory laws including Commonwealth or State/Territory legislation on:
   i.    occupational health and safety,
   ii.    workplace harassment, victimization, bullying,
   iii.  anti discrimination including equal opportunity racial vilification and disability discrimination,
   iv.   vocational education and training; and
   v.    apprenticeships and traineeships.

                                  Commentary                                       Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Operating across jurisdictions                                                   Web site pages with information and links to relevant bodies.
When RTOs enrol across states and territories learners will need to be           What’s New information for both staff and students – providing
aware of the jurisdictions under which the RTO operates. Appropriate              updates in relation to relevant legislative changes, Training Package
State and Territory agency contact details, links & information assist            changes course or assessment requirements.
students understand the registration system under which the RTO

                                                                     - 13 -                                                               -OCT 2002
Standard 2. 2

The RTO must ensure its policies and procedures meet the requirements of Commonwealth or State/Territory legislation which are relevant
to the RTO’s operations, and that:

   i.    staff are provided with information about legislation which significantly affects their duties; and
   ii.   clients are provided with information about legislation that significantly affects their participation in vocational education and

                                  Commentary                                             Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Vocational licensing information
Specific vocational licensing arrangements are set by each state and                    Staff intranet pages for relevant policies and procedural documents.
territory for particular trades and this may need to be incorporated into               Induction material outlining rights and responsibilities for students,
web site information where appropriate.                                                  and staff
                                                                                        Minutes of meetings
Legal issues for online learning                                                        Student and staff electronic forms indicating receipt and
Legal aspects related to the design and development of web based                         understanding of requirements for course participation or
learning resources and information are considerations for the RTO,                       employment.
because of issues such as: ownership of materials, intellectual property
and compliance with copyright.

Research into the legal issues in flexible learning highlights a range of               Web site design and content which includes:
issues for consideration including copyright and intellectual property,                   Compliance with copyright regulations
content regulation, privacy and freedom of information.                                   Appropriate disclaimer statement located on the web site
                                                                                          Copies of privacy policy.
Considerations for legal issues in online learning                                        Provision of ACN/ABN details
    Appropriate security features                                                        Domain ownership/trademarks
    Monitoring student traffic in the online learning environment to                     Codes of practice and policies relating to legislation requirements on
      ensure there is no inappropriate traffic                                             the RTO
    Monitoring content so that it does not contravene laws and                           Last update of site
      customs in other jurisdictions where it may be viewed.                              Details of maintenance of site.

                                                                            - 14 -                                                                -OCT 2002
Standard 2.3

The RTO must ensure that it has all the insurance cover necessary to carry out its business, including insurance for workers
compensation, public liability, professional indemnity, building and contents.

                                  Commentary                                    Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

When a range of employment agreements are in place (for example               Copy of staff award, contract arrangements, employment contracts
employees or contractors working from home) RTOs may need to check             or enterprise agreements.
issues such as professional indemnity and workers compensation                Copies of insurance documents covering equipment and resources
                                                                               related to online delivery

                                                                  - 15 -                                                            -OCT 2002
Standard 4. Effective administrative and records management procedures

The RTO has effective administration and records management procedures in place

Standard 4. 1

The RTO must document and implement procedures to assure the integrity, accuracy and currency of records that include, but are not
limited to:

   i.    secure storage, including backup of electronic records;
   ii.   retention, archiving and retrieval of student results for a period of 30 years and transfer consistent with State or Territory registering
         body requirements

Commentary                                                             Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Learning management systems in online learning                            Documented procedures for staff and student identification and access to
Possible considerations in the choice of a learning and                     web site sections and electronic information systems, including log in,
assessment management system or learning platform may                       password.
                                                                          Receipts from internet service providers
        volume and level of learning activity
        security measures for records authenticity and integrity         Reports from qualified and accredited web site „testing‟ agencies
         including “log in” and “password” arrangements,
        staff authorisation levels and access to electronic              Purchase or licence receipts for learning platforms and software
         information and files,
        appropriate student access levels in an integrated learning      IT support contracts
         ware/student management system.
        procedures for security of learning and assessment               Testing of backup systems for reliability
        procedures for authenticity of student assessment
        access of students to personal information online.
        access to Training Package information online
        web site identifies last updating date.

                                                                       - 16 -                                                             -OCT 2002
Standard 4. 2

The RTO must maintain up-to-date records of:
 ii.  enrolment and participation; and
  iii.   fees paid and refunds given

Commentary                                                             Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Online fees and electronic transactions                                Examples of evidence of compliance:
Where arrangements for payment on-line are in place, a secure             Copies of electronic enrolment forms, acknowledgement messages
system meets industry standards for security and                          Copies of discussion board interactions
confidentiality.                                                          Reports generated from learning management systems
                                                                          Contracts, licences or agreements with learning management systems.
Participation and enrolment in online learning                            Purchase of learningware
Protocols for participation and enrolment in online learning courses      Details of service providers
may differ to traditional face to face learning activities, where
individual sessions are usually documented. Recording
participation in an online learning program may be achieved
through a range of strategies over and above submission of

Learner participation
RTOs may want to track learner participation through interactions
with the tutor or other students, or through scheduled synchronous
or asynchronous forums which are tracked and monitored.

                                                                       - 17 -                                                      -OCT 2002
Standard 4.3

The RTO must develop and implement version control procedures for managing materials that relate to its scope of registration (including
Training Packages, accredited course documents and learning/assessment materials) so that:
    i.     materials are reviewed for currency by authorized and competent staff prior to issue or re issue;
    ii.    A list of material with the respective issue and/or amendment status identified is maintained; and
    iii.   All persons required to perform any function under the RTO’s scope of registration have ready access to all necessary current

Commentary                                                                      Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Maintaining learning web sites
A critical issue in online learning is the maintenance of the online            Examples of evidence of compliance:
„learning‟ site and its content.
                                                                                Documentation of review processes and web site maintenance schedule
Considerations for the RTO may include:
   * systems for reviewing functionality of web pages and the currency
   of learning and assessment material, particularly the currency of the
   Training Package or Accredited course
   * Maintenance and checking of internal and external links on the RTO
   web site, particularly for the information provision and learning
   * Maintaining and authorizing a system for „last version‟ or „updates‟
   on the web site
   * Strategies for back up of learning resources
   Security of learning resources

Authorization levels for online access
Authorization levels for managing version control of web based material
are considerations for RTOs.

                                                                       - 18 -                                                          -OCT 2002
Standard 6. Access and equity and client service

The RTO applies access and equity principles and provides timely and appropriate information, advice and support services
which assist clients to identify and achieve their desired outcomes.

Standard 6.1

The RTO’s policies and procedures must incorporate access and equity principles

                                                                  - 19 -                                       -OCT 2002
Commentary                                                                 Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                  - 20 -                                                         -OCT 2002
Accessing on-line learning                                                           Planning documents or memos related to developing online
Initially online learning was seen as a more technologically advanced                 learning.
form of distance education – with a goal to increase participation rates in          Web page is endorsed with Bobby approved logo.
educational activities; potentially removing barriers of time and place so           Documents which indicate how alternatives are presented to
often associated with formal study. Online learning offers a range of                 learners unable to access the online learningware.
possibilities for all types and groups of learners.                                  Referral information and partnerships for provision of support
Planning for target groups and access                                                Tools developed to support access to web based learning
The design (both pedagogical and technical) of the online learning is an             Information about specific online support programs or links to
important consideration for the planning stages when target groups and                introductory internet skills such as using the Internet
learner needs are identified. Once target groups have been established               Minutes and meeting notes that address access and equity
and planning and design commences, RTOs can test out their site from                  principles
the perspective of their learners or involve learners in usability testing.

Web site Accessibility
Increasingly, compliance with the W3C accessibility standards –
“Bobby” Certified, is seen as a benchmark for accessible web site
Bobby is a web-based tool that analyzes web pages for their accessibility
to people with disabilities. (see PD resources)

Tools and resources for accessible web design
A range of tools are now available to support RTOs in design of
accessible learning web sites
Communicating with learners
Communication strategies with learners may need to include options or
alternatives based on learner needs and preferences (ie telephone, email,
fax) identified in the enrolment and educational counselling stages of the

Accessing the web site
Web site design manuals highlight the need for „intuitive‟ and logical
navigation systems, if students are to participate effectively in online
learning. The use of appropriate navigation, icons and metaphors in the
design will ensure a good interface for the learning. Consideration of
design issues such as text, graphics, audio, video, icons, and the system
requirements for design and content will reduce learner problems and
requests for assistance.

Accessibility and bandwidth are important considerations for RTOs
when designing online learning activities and material.

                                                                         - 21 -                                                            -OCT 2002
Standard 6. 2

a.   The RTO must set out its access and equity policies in a code of practice or similar document
b.   The RTO must ensure that copies of any instruments developed under Standard 6.1 are provided and adhered to by staff.

Commentary                                                                      Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Code of practice is online                                                         Web site page or copy of code of practice and information about how
The RTO‟s code of practice is usually located in a logical part of the web          this is provided to learners if it is not available on the web site
site, for example in sections such as About Us, Student Information,               Web Site map indicating location of codes of practice and policies
Policies, Information.

Standard 6. 3

The RTO must disseminate clear information to each client, prior to enrolment, about each of the following:
   i. client selection, enrolment and induction/orientation procedures;
   ii. Course information, including content and vocational outcomes;
   iii. fees and charges, including refund
         policy and exemptions (where
   iv. provision for language, literacy and numeracy assessment;
   v. client support, including any external support the RTO has arranged for clients;
   vi. flexible learning and assessment procedures
   vii. welfare and guidance services;
   viii. appeals, complaints and grievance procedures
   ix. disciplinary procedures;
   x. staff responsibilities for access and equity; and
   xi. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) arrangements

                                                                       - 22 -                                                            -OCT 2002
Commentary                                                                        Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Providing information to online learners                                             The RTO web site has information and tools available prior to
Where print based information is not provided to prospective and enrolling            enrolment which might include
clients, information and processes relating to 6.3 will usually be available
to learners on the RTO website.                                                        pre enrolment needs analysis tools
                                                                                       self assessment resources for learners for example getting ready
While being careful not to overload learners with information it is                     to learn online
important that learners have all the information they need PRIOR to                    assessing computer literacy and
enrolment,, for example:                                                                readiness
                                                                                       an induction orientation program to the resources and technology
        Tools to assist learners identify if they are ready for online                Clear identification of „enrolment period and contact hours‟ for
         learning (online learner readiness tools) and other options                    learners
        Pre enrolment information collection tools used by the RTO to                 language literacy and numeracy assessment information or tools
         identify learner needs. These will provide valuable advice for the            application forms and information for Recognition of Prior Learning
         online facilitators and the design of the delivery patterns for the
         course                                                                      Documentation of client support processes which might include::

                                                                                       timetables for key dates and activities
                                                                                       who provides the support during participation in the online learning
                                                                                       the type or nature of the support provided to learners, information
                                                                                        about frequency of contact between tutors and learners and the
                                                                                        turnaround times for answering emails
                                                                                       how student progress is monitored
                                                                                       communication modes used for support arrangements
                                                                                       contact details and arrangements for all students enrolled online

                                                                                     Documentation of procedures for verifying student performance and

                                                                                         Copy of plagiarism policy
                                                                                         Student agreements with RTO conditions and submission of work.
                                                                                         RPL processes and information.
                                                                                         Specification of requirements for course participation with
                                                                                          particular reference to technology and type of computer access

                                                                         - 23 -                                                               -OCT 2002
Each member of the RTO staff who is involved in training, assessment or client service is competent for the functions they


The RTO must develop and implement written procedures for the recruitment, induction, and ongoing development of each member of its
staff who is involved in training, assessment or client service; encourage and provide relevant opportunities for their professional
development; and monitor their performance.

Commentary                                                                 Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                  - 24 -                                                         -OCT 2002
Online learning and staff skills                                                  Examples of evidence of compliance might include:
Staff may need additional skills to facilitate learning in an online
environment. For example these might include:                                           The CV of RTO contractors, project staff or staff members with
                                                                                         qualifications and/or experience in distance education and online
        Facilitation skills                                                             learning.
        Technical skills                                                               A register of contracted learning facilitators or instructional
        Instructional design skills
                                                                                        Documentation of induction and PD programs indicating
        Managing the online learning environment                                        preparation for online delivery in areas such as : facilitating
                                                                                         groups of learners online, preparing web pages, moderating
These skills may be developed or acquired through a range of strategies                  online forums, technical skills for chat, bulletin board, email lists
including „on the job‟ experience and mentoring, PD courses and                          design of feedback etc
programs, formal courses.                                                               A staff skill and development register indicating PD activity and
                                                                                         skill areas for online knowledge and skill development.
The RTO may not have all the required skills within their organization and              Information notices/emails sent to staff updating on ANTA
may use contractual arrangements outside the organization to supply the                  initiatives for flexible learning
skills and services.                                                                    Participation in professional development networks for example
                                                                                         Learnscope, Re Framing the Future, Networking conferences
The demand for these skills is reflected in the growing number of „formal‟              Participation confirmation letters for ANTA flexible learning
courses available for teachers to acquire „online teaching and facilitation‟             projects or attendance at dissemination sessions
skills at a Graduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters degree level.                     Written policy for support of formal studies in online learning
                                                                                        Examples of staff or contractor products for online learning
Larger public RTOs may provide online short courses for their staff                      developed by or for the RTO
inhouse.                                                                                Documents relating to product orientation and software tools such
                                                                                         as acknowledgements of product awareness and training
                                                                                        Contracts for online learning consultants
                                                                                        Online/ distance projects undertaken by RTO staff
                                                                                        RTO self assessment activities
                                                                                        Performance management systems

                                                                         - 25 -                                                                 -OCT 2002

The RTO’s induction program and material for new staff must contain information where relevant to their job role, on each of the following:
   i.     Training packages
   ii.    Competency based training and assessment
   iii.   Vocational education and training requirements and policies

Commentary                                                                 Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                           Examples of possible evidence of compliance

                                                                              Documentation of mentoring programs for online learning
                                                                              Policy and procedures documents for supporting staff in attending
                                                                               courses and gaining formal qualifications in online learning
                                                                              Program outline or staff attendance lists for participation in online
                                                                               product orientation sessions
                                                                              Professional development plans or schedules for facilitating online
                                                                               learning, awareness of resources, use of internet for locating
                                                                               learning resources,
                                                                              Session outlines for awareness raising of national VET initiatives for
                                                                               flexible learning eg Toolbox use, flexible learning website, ITAB sites
                                                                              Recruitment documents for specific expertise in technical support in
                                                                               an online learning environment (eg specification of skills, product use
                                                                               and expertise
                                                                              communication channels for on site and off site staff
                                                                              online mentoring and help desk.
                                                                              Web site links to relevant ANTA and ITAB sites
                                                                              Information about how staff access Training Packages and related

                                                                  - 26 -                                                                -OCT 2002
Standard 8. RTO assessments

The RTO’s assessments meet the requirements of the endorsed components of Training Packages and the outcomes
specified in accredited courses within the scope of its registration

Standard 8.1

The RTO must ensure that assessments regardless of whether through a training and assessment pathway or an assessment-only pathway:
   i.    comply with the assessment guidelines included in the applicable nationally endorsed Training Packages or the assessment
         requirements specified in accredited courses;
   ii.   lead to the issuing of a Statement of Attainment or qualification under the AQF when a person is assessed as competent against
         nationally endorsed unit(s) of competency in the applicable Training Package or modules specified in the applicable accredited
   iii.  comply with the principles of validity, reliability, fairness and flexibility

   Commentary                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                  - 27 -                                                    -OCT 2002
A range of assessment strategies                                         Examples of evidence of compliance
The online learning and assessment environment suggests
additional challenges for the design and delivery of assessment.                 Planning documents for course development and design.
Some considerations for the online environment may include                       Design statements for web site and resources
 Strategies for formative and summative assessment purposes.                    Mapping of course components against units of competence.
 Use of online assessment – purchased or in house. Use of                       Student information pages refer to the names and codes for national
    commercial products – licence, purchase agreements                            qualifications.
 Task design for online assessment activity                                     Examples of formative assessment tools and tasks
                                                                                 Service standards for RTO course delivery staff
Integrating assessment and learning                                              Information notices to staff
Current research and literature in online learning highlight the                 Copies of email interactions between staff and learners
importance of the integration of assessment and learning.                        Bulletin board downloads
Assessment design (diagnostic, formative and summative) is best
incorporated at the course planning and design stages. Formative
assessment is a critical consideration in online learning. It is often
used to provide the building blocks for learning

Providing feedback to online learners
Feedback to learners in online learning needs to be timely and
personal. Provision of feedback to learners may be via email,
bulletin boards and discussion forums as well as through self
assessment activities. Designing feedback processes and
assigning staff are important considerations in the planning stages
for online learning and assessment.

Authenticity of student performance in online learning.                  Examples of evidence of compliance
A range of issues and considerations exist in relation to
assessment in the online environment.                                            Assessment policy documents on web site
They include:                                                                    Verification tools such as signed student agreements.
                                                                                 Security policies and procedural documents.
* authenticity of student performance                                            Risk assessment plan
* security of assessment tools and events                                        Technology plan
* procedures and policy documents for both staff and learners deal               Staff statement of duties
  with verification processes.                                                   Assessment information to learners
* policies relating to plagiarism and cheating available to students.            Purchase or licence agreement for computerized assessment tools
* signed Student Agreements to confirm learners understanding
  and agreement to RTO policies.

In a technology enhanced assessment system, planning and
policy documents may identify contingency planning for technology
breakdown. (see Standard 1.8 )

Provision of support for online learners before, during and after
assessments is an essential ingredient in this learning                  - 28 -                                                                -OCT 2002

Commercial assessment tools
Standard 8.2

    a. The RTO must ensure that RPL is offered to all applicants on enrolment
    b. The RTO must have an RPL process that:
        i.  is structured to minimize the time and cost to applicants; and
       ii.  provides adequate information and support to enable applicants to gather reliable evidence to support their claim for
            recognition of competencies currently held, regardless of how, when or where the learning occurred

Commentary                                                                          Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Recognising prior learning                                                             RPL policies and procedures available on web pages
Online services offer a range of possibilities for the implementation of               Identification of scope of registration for RPL purposes on web page
RPL processes. Initial identification by candidates of skills and                      Copies of electronically submitted applications and actions
knowledge against relevant qualifications can be facilitated through                    undertaken by staff
online self assessment tools and electronic submission of the                          Contact information on web site for enquiries from candidates
applicant‟s summary of proposed evidence.                                               (phone, fax and return email)
                                                                                       Provision for online „challenge test‟ where appropriate.
RTOs may support and encourage electronic submission of evidence for                   Processes for identifying RPL gaps and notification to students
RPL purposes. This is usually, accompanied by other contact and
verification with the candidate.

An orientation to RPL is a useful component of online RPL services and
can be linked to other assessments.

                                                                           - 29 -                                                              -OCT 2002
Standard 9 Learning and assessment strategies

The RTO identifies, negotiates, plans and implements appropriate learning and assessment strategies to meet the needs of
each of its clients.

Standard 9.1

    a. The RTO must develop and implement strategies for training delivery and assessment for each Training Package qualification and
       accredited course within the RTO’s scope of registration.
    b. The assessment strategies referred to in standard 9.1a must be developed in consultation with enterprises/industry
    c. The delivery and assessment strategies referred to in Standard 9.1a should identify proposed target groups, delivery and
       assessment modes and strategies, assessment validation processes and pathways
    d. The RTO must document the strategies referred to in Standard 9.1a on application for registration and extension of scope

   Commentary                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Developing online learning                                        Examples of evidence of compliance:
Online delivery of learning requires a significant planning and
development stage. RTOs may develop their products in-house or        Documented instructional design processes including a design statement
access existing online learning resources. Where off the shelf         which clearly relates to the Training Package and identifes target audience
or commercially produced products are purchased, processes for         and client needs
customization are considerations for the RTO                          Downloaded copies of online assessment tools designed to collect
                                                                       information for the learner and the RTO on learner needs and readiness (for
Benchmarks                                                             example electronic survey form, self assessment tools).
A number of benchmarks are emerging for the online delivery of        Course information on the web site including provision and information about
learning. Some of these include:                                       elective choices and core units within Training Package qualifications and
   Learner orientation to the program and the learning web            accredited courses.
     site,                                                            Surveys with students eliciting specific feedback on online delivery
   Provision of „scaffolding‟ and support for learners                arrangements (eg suitability for the online learning method, satisfaction with
   Level of interaction between learners and tutors.                  support arrangements, provision of resources, technical assistance)
   The range and quality of resources available to learners          Policy documents outlining response times and turnaround times for
   Signposts to help the learner navigate around the web site         feedback.
     (site maps and navigational tools)
   Provision for choice and flexibility
   Planning for integration of online learning and campus/work
     based learning
   Collaboration with other learners
   Timely feedback processes and monitoring progress

                                                                  - 30 -                                                               -OCT 2002
Standard 9.2

The RTO must validate its assessment strategies by:

   i.    reviewing, comparing and evaluating the assessment processes, tools and evidence contributing to judgments made by a range of
         assessors against the same competency standards at least annually; and
   ii.   documenting any action taken to improve the quality and consistency of assessment

   Commentary                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

    Planning validation activities                                Examples of evidence of compliance:
    Providing opportunities for assessment staff to review,
    compare and evaluate assessment processes and tools is an         Documentation of on-line assessment procedures in staff information material
    important consideration in the RTO planning cycle. RTOs may       Documentation of „testing‟ and functionality of online assessment items.
    make use of electronic communication and forums with staff,       Review of on-line assessment tools and maintenance
    or plan and conduct physical face to face sessions.               Validation of online assessment against other delivery modes for the same

Standard 9.3

The RTO must ensure that in developing, adapting or delivering training and/or assessment products and services:
  i. methods used to identify learning needs and methods for designing training and assessment, are documented
  ix. where assessment or training is conducted on-line or by distance, the RTO has effective strategies for learner support, monitoring and

   Commentary                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

                                                                  - 31 -                                                             -OCT 2002
                                                                  Examples of evidence of compliance:

                                                                      Introductory courses or activities for internet use and communication tools
                                                                       provided on the RTO web site or links made to sites where services are
                                                                      Resource links are current
                                                                      Maintenance schedule for web site content and links functionality
                                                                      Logs of email, phone or fax contacts with learners
                                                                      Bulletin board print outs
                                                                      Assessment information
                                                                      Printouts of bulletin board sessions
                                                                      Chat room documents
                                                                      Course material samples
                                                                      Forums where threaded discussions are being monitored and moderated.
                                                                      Information to students about participation requirements
                                                                      Staff roles and responsibility statements
                                                                      Procedure for monitoring participation and followup
                                                                      Evaluation forms designed for online learning context.

Standard 9. 4

The RTO must have access to the staff, facilities, equipment, training and assessment materials to provide the training and assessment
services within its scope of registration and scale of operations, to accommodate client numbers, client needs, delivery methods and
assessment requirements (including off-campus and on-line)

   Commentary                                                     Examples of evidence for an online learning environment

Organizational capability for online learning and assessment      Examples of evidence of compliance:
delivery modes                                                     Recruitment documents identifying IT skills, instructional design, web site
                                                                     design, online tutoring as required.
RTOs may self assess their readiness and capacity to to deliver    Asset lists of hardware and software resources
online learning, using organizational readiness self assessment    Planning documents for staff and student ratios for online learning
tools                                                              Feedback responses from students on satisfaction with services and staff.

                                                                  - 32 -                                                               -OCT 2002
Some of the aspects this might cover include:.                        Readiness for delivery online self assessment tools
    Staff skills (see Standard 7)                                    Initial planning documents for the online delivery showing assessment
    Access to appropriate technology and software                     strategies for the qualification.
    Online Learning design
    Equipment
       Staff student ratios for online tutoring and support

                                                                  - 33 -                                                             -OCT 2002