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As an accredited trainer within a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that specialises in the training of nationally recognised laser courses, I like to keep current with all my qualifications. I actually revisit my own laser safety certificate every three years and with the introduction of the new laser safety standards in 2018, there was no better time than a wintery Friday afternoon.

I needed something quick and accessible. There are no other laser trainers in my home state of South Australia and I didn’t want to travel interstate yet again, so on line training was the answer.

I chose a respected industry training body (although not an RTO, it advertises that it is industry recognised in all states where licencing is required and by professional bodies). It was easy to follow with a lecture and associated slides in each section followed by a quiz. A final assessment is taken on completion of all these units.

It was within the first quiz that I started to have an issue. The questions were in a True/False format and when I answered a couple of questions, the check answer indicated that I was wrong. I think I know my stuff, but it still led me to question my own knowledge. I Googled, I even spoke to another industry trainer in another state and I referred back to my own training material. I should stop second guessing myself.

At the end of the sections, I started my first attempt of my final assessment (you get three). The instructions advised me to download the lecture notes to which I could refer. I couldn’t find the transcripts to the spoken lectures anywhere. I contacted the organisation asking for links but to date I haven’t received them.

Learners are all different and as an RTO we are expected to address this. Not all learners learn well by listening. I know myself that I am a visual learner and I like to read my learning material. In the VET (Vocational Educational Training) this is known as reasonable adjustment.

Now in the scheme of things it might not make a huge difference. As non-accredited training company they can set their own standards of pass rate. In this case it was 75%. I submitted the assessment with my answers that I believe to be correct, I passed, but it probably affected my final percentage.

But has it misled students who undertook the course before I did?

As an accredited training organisation, we would not accept a pass rate of 75%. It doesn’t mean our student would fail, but we would need to show that our participants have been able to synthesise knowledge in the course to a higher level than industry training might require. We would follow any incorrect answer by contacting the student and provide an opportunity to correct their score via verbal questioning. This would mean that the errors in the quiz that I just undertook would have been identified and amended internally on the first occasion that a student was identified as not answering the question correctly.

I contacted the trainer to ask for clarification in case I was wrong in my understanding of the questions and am confident that if the assessment requires adjustment that it will be completed expediently. Basically, I am providing them with an audit that I have paid for. But had I been studying through an RTO, I would have the opportunity to address any concerns through the governing body ASQA.

I pose the questions –

Who would I go to with any concerns in the case of an organisation that is not nationally accredited?

Who audits self-governed training companies to ensure that their training is valid, sufficient and fair?

Do regulatory bodies such as professional organisations and government departments audit courses before providing accreditation?