Revolutionary: “Integrated Vocational Learning Scheme” (My Proposal)


copyright-symbols-and-rules-you-need-to-know-04 2015

Intellectual Property of Dr. Bruce D. Watson, DEd Melbourne and attributed authors as noted.

For Private individual use. All rights reserved.


Note: This paper has been submitted to Department of Industry.

This Post is a response to the “Review of Training Packages and Accredited Courses – Discussion Paper” [] question — Is government and industry focussed on the right part of the system to ensure quality training outcomes? I say, “No”, but offer an alternative based on evidence.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. Bertrand Russell

We need to move on from the VET, i.e., “veterinary” and “war veterans”, label of vocational education and training. Bruce Watson


1. Integrated Vocational Learning Scheme (IVLS) Purpose

A collaboratively-led IVLS.

The IVLS is where adult vocational learning and the workplace are intended to collaborate, focusing on the transition from education and training to employment and community engagement.

2. IVLS Beneficiaries

Vocational educationists, For-Profit, Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTO Managers, “industry” and regulators — including practitioners, researchers, and students in the field of vocational education and training ——–together with institutions, organisations, companies and communities.

3. IVLS Advocate and Overseer

Chief IVLS Educationist

The role of a Chief Integrated Vocational Learning Scheme (IVLS) Educationist could be to ‘nip the problems in the bud’ before they develop and explained under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006

A Chief IVLS Educationist might work to create a new era in communication among vocational educationists, For-Profit, Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTO Managers, “industry” and regulators — including practitioners, researchers, and students in the field of vocational education and training ——–together with institutions, organisations, and companies actively engaged in development.

A Chief IVLS Educationist could provide:

1. advocacy for education competencies in IVLS trainer training

2. centralised and themed online discussion forums across traditional communication boundaries – e.g., educationists and “industry”

3. leadership through developing educational and training guidelines

4. networking events across traditional boundaries, e.g., For-Profit, Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTOS; industry, business and education.

5. fostering of partnerships, e.g.,

  • Consultative partnerships – for the purpose of receiving public input around change or to gather ideas for policies.
  • Contributory partnerships – formed to benefit an organisation or the community.
  • Operational partnerships – work-sharing arrangements in which the components of a given task are delegated to specific parties.
  • Collaborative partnerships – set up to share resources, risks and decision-making.

7. leadership in worldwide research and partnership on IVLS education policy and learning methods, determining what works in IVLS education, and how to demonstrate the effectiveness of different approaches, services and materials.

8. advise on and support the innovation and development of new products and services

9. lead strategies for IVLS education particularly including rural and remote areas

10. link internationally with other Integrated Vocational Learning Schemes or equivalent

4. Vocational Capability Framework*

Capabilities refer to people’s capacity to act. People also form the ability to choose to use their capabilities to achieve a particular goal in an integrated way within loosely defined vocational streams rather than workplace tasks and roles associated with particular jobs. Capability extends the concept of competence to include the ability to apply the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to a range of complex and changing settings. The Capability Framework combines the notions of the effective practitioner with that of the reflective practitioner.

A set of vocational capabilities (Capability Pack) provides people with the basis for making choices in their lives and at work.

A particular set of capabilities can produce any number of outcomes.

Each Capability is made up of five components:

• A performance component which identifies ‘what people need to possess’ and ‘what they need to achieve’ in the workplace

• An ethical component that is concerned with integrating a knowledge of culture, values and social awareness into professional practice

• A component that emphasises reflective practice in action

• The capability to effectively implement evidence based interventions in the service configurations of a modern system

• A commitment to working with new models of professional practice and responsibility for lifelong learning


An IVLS Trainer Capability

Capable of developing effective working relationships with learners, employers and regulators including people who are disengaged from services through:

· Understanding the fundamental importance of relationships to social and psychological wellbeing;

· Facilitating engagement and co-operation through the use of flexible and responsive engagement strategies with learners;

· Establishing safe and consistent mechanisms for continuing communication with learners when they disengage from the service;

· Maintaining a respectful, non-judgemental and empathic approach to learners at all times.

5. *Capability Packs development

Capability Packs (my terminology), within loosely defined vocational streams rather than workplace tasks and roles associated with particular jobs, are developed by advisory panels convened for specific purpose with membership consisting of, and selected from, as appropriate, IVLS practitioners, IVLS researchers, and learners in the field of integrated vocational learning as well as institutions, organisations, and companies to meet the needs of trainees, IVLS educationists, providers and businesses and companies.

Capability Packs do not suggest how a learner should be trained, rather, they specify the preparation for learners for a broad occupation within loosely defined vocational streams rather than workplace tasks and roles associated with particular jobs

6. Delivery of Capability Packs and Capability Packs products

Registered training organisations (RTOs) or organisations working in partnership with an RTO are authorised to deliver Capability Packs qualifications and Capabilities, if the RTO

1. has the Capability Packs on their scope of registration

2. has IVLS educationist staff with formal qualifications that include capabilities at least including:

  • IVLS performance requirements
  • curriculum development
  • advanced skills and knowledge to enable trainers to confidently adjust to the speed of evolution within the IVLS sector
  • advanced andragogical skills for trainers focusing attention on the importance of reflective practice and strategic enquiry for IVLS trainers
  • how to engage and manage different IVLS learning cohorts, such as those from different cultural backgrounds, generational differences and those with specialised learning challenges
  • ways of giving recognition for learner’s ongoing personal and professional development
  • learning and assessment that is supported with digital and interactive resources.
    approaches to delivery and instruction that are flexible, responsive and adaptive to new ideas
  • how to customise and personalise training including:
    – how to analyse an individual’s learning styles and preferences
    – how to understand – as a teacher/trainer – one’s own approach to learning styles
    – how to support different learner groups such as learners in the online learning environment
    – how to provide learning in many different ways in workplaces, especially when the training only occurs on-the-job and often in an informal manner
    – how to develop partnerships between external teachers and enterprise based managers and trainers, to address the needs of both the employer and the employee.

7. Quality Assurance and Standards in IVLS

A simple version of standards based on preparation for a broadly conceive occupation that has a number of different occupational destinations within a broad vocational stream will be provided. Standards will be based on the judgement of recognised experts as representing the best understanding at present for the needs of practice now and in the future in that broad occupational field

Without understanding how quality is defined, and how different IVLS beneficiaries understand quality, it is impossible to know what quality assurance mechanisms should accomplish.

To generate consensus about quality, and about the mechanisms of ascertaining quality in IVLS, consistency and agreement about quality in IVLS will be determined by beneficiaries of the IVLS including: IVLS educationists, IVLS Trainees, For-Profit; Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTO Managers, Regulator/s, industry and community institutions, organisations, and companies.

Quality indicators specifically in IVLS might include:

inputs (expenditures per student, pupil/teacher ratios, full-time rather than part-time faculty, teacher training and staff development),
intermediate outcomes (persistence, graduation, the completion of qualifications),
labour market outcomes (placement in related occupations, earnings in the short-term and long-term),
procedures (planning mechanisms, contacts with employers, labour market forecasting, leadership patterns).
Measures designed for accountability may not be appropriate for improvement, since they may not be detailed enough, or timely enough, or encouraging enough to lead to improvement.

8. Different approaches to quality assurance

These include accreditation, by a recognised accrediting agency; assessments, including a variety of both quantitative and qualitative measures of quality; and audits, including fiscal audits and outside inspections. Any of these may include self-reviews; peer reviews when peers from similar institutions examine an institution or program; and external reviews.

9. *Trust in Qualifications

Policy attention is needed to build communities of trust to underpin qualifications by helping to deepen the knowledge base of practice and to build a consensus on this knowledge, and to support IVLS pedagogy/andragogy and assessment.

An IVLS qualifications framework will be accreditation of programs against national standards by a group of experts. This will allow the development of locally responsive programs and it would support innovation.

National consistency and confidence in VET qualifications would be further supported by a national assessment framework. National assessment, validation or moderation will be focused on a core component of standards, while locally responsive assessment could be developed to suit specific industry requirements in this will help build trust in the outcomes of qualifications and ensure national consistency around core components.

Providers and teachers are more likely to invest in a program when they have developed the curriculum and assessment and this is more likely to be responsive to local needs. This means there will be a focus on inputs as well as outcomes. Negotiation over the development of the curriculum, the knowledge base, skills, and the nature of work placements will be required.

The interrelated components of standards national assessment frameworks and accreditation outlined above will contribute to increasing trust in vocational qualifications, while at the same time ensuring greater relevance through more extensive collaboration between industry experts and teachers through the process required to accredit programs.


*Source and Reference: Leesa Wheelahan and Gavin Moodie, “Rethinking Skills in Vocational Education and Training: From Competencies to Capabilities”


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