One question that we are frequently asked is:

“Can our RTO deliver a qualification in a shorter time frame than what is listed in the AQF Volume of Learning?”

ASQA has clearly answered this question in their latest FAQs update:

“Each learner must gain and be assessed against all the knowledge and skills described in the training package or accredited course. Depending on the circumstances and the characteristics of your learners, it may be possible to achieve this in a shorter period than that described in the AQF….. 

Your RTO may structure a course to be completed in a shorter time period than that described in the AQF. In this case, you will need to clearly describe, using a rationale based on the previous skills and knowledge and the needs of learners, how a specific learner cohort:
• has the characteristics to achieve the required rigour and depth of training, and
• can meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter time frame.

Your description must take into account the need to allow learners to reflect on and absorb the knowledge, to practice the skills in different contexts and to learn to apply the skills and knowledge in the varied environments that the ‘real world’ offers before being assessed”.

The AQF Volume of Learning Explanation states that:

“Provider decisions about the duration of the delivery of a qualification must take into account the students’ likelihood of successfully achieving the learning outcomes and ensure that the integrity of the qualification outcomes is maintained. If the duration of delivery is substantially different from the volume of learning specified by the qualification type specification, providers should be able to provide pedagogical rationale to support the variation.”

What does this mean for your RTO?

Well firstly, as an organisation if you have determined the need or demand to deliver your training programs over a duration that is shorter than the AQF Volume of Learning, be sure to undertake some industry consultation that demonstrates support for the proposed duration of the training program. You should also make sure that your training and assessment strategy clearly explains how and why you have determined the need to deliver the training program in this way. In addition you should also document how your learners have the capacity and capability to achieve the requirements of the training program; and exactly how the learners will meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter time frame.

You really need to outline this in a way that makes the regulator confident that the training package requirements and the level of quality outlined in the Standards for RTOs will not be compromised by the shortened duration of your training program.

The team at AuditExpress often come across brilliant training programs that are delivered in durations that are shorter than those outlined in the AQF Volume of Learning. The key to both success and compliance is making sure that you have undertaken quality industry consultation for all of your training programs and that you maintain detailed and accurate training and assessment strategies.

For more information on Volume of Learning, check out ASQA’s User Guide for the New Standards for RTOs and the AQF Volume of Learning Explained.