Contextualisation 101: RTO’s Guide to Producing Better Training

RTO's Guide to Contextualisation
In this article

Contextualisation of training resources and assessment tools is essential if you want your RTO to produce top-notch training for students. RTOs need to modify their learning materials to fit the needs of their students.

In the same vein, RTOs also must develop their learning resources and assessment methods with their learner’s needs in mind.

Why is it important to contextualisyour RTO training resources and assessment tools?

Before we start, you need to understand why contextualising is so vital to your training delivery. A unit can be appropriate for the job role you’re training for; however, the context of the role and work environment could be completely different from what’s in the training materials itself.

It’s up to RTOs to adapt the resources and make sure their training provides the necessary skills and knowledge relevant to the context and work role of their students. Failing to contextualise your training resources could result in learner and client dissatisfaction, and you could be found non-compliant during your ASQA audit.

How to contextualise your training materials and assessment tools

To help you with this complicated process, we’ve provided a handy RTO materials contextualisation guide below.

Step 1: Identify your students’ needs

Since the goal of contextualising your RTO learning resources and assessment tools is to deliver quality training, you must figure out what your students need.

Find out what your learner group already knows about the subject matter you want to teach. If they already have the basics down, for example, then it’s best to move on to more advanced topics.

Also, see if they have any gaps in their skills or knowledge. Identifying these early on will make it easier for you to tailor your training delivery to their needs.

Step 2: Know the industry and work role

To properly modify your learning resource, you need to know the industry and responsibilities of the job. See what the workplace environment is and check out the equipment, facilities, policies, and the like.

You need to have a better understanding of the workplace environment, responsibilities, codes of practice, and health and safety considerations to provide training that’s relevant to your students.

In addition, you must identify the types of evidence that can be collected in the work role in relation to meeting the unit of competency evidence requirements.

Step 3: Understand the learning environment

Different learning environments require different modes of delivery. Every delivery method has its own pros and cons, so it’s up to your RTO to see which one best suits your learners’ needs. Some of the training delivery modes include:

  • Online
  • Distance learning
  • One-on-one
  • Class-based learning
  • Workplace delivery

Step 4: Pinpoint the unit requirements

Now, it’s time to focus on the course itself. Look at the RTO training resources and figure out what specific aspects need to be contextualised. Think about how the unit in the training package will be used.

Learn about the evidence requirements for the unit, as well, so your assessment can be as easy as possible for your trainers or assessors.

Step 5: Review your learning resources

Check to see if the learning resources are appropriate to the skill, knowledge, and experience level of the learners. If they’re not, adjust them accordingly so that your students can get the best possible educational content.

Make sure the learning resources are aligned to the industry, work role, and the work environment, as well. For the best results, get a subject matter expert to review your training materials so they can check for relevance and ensure your content is up to date.

Step 6: Check your assessment tools

When reviewing your assessment tools and methods, see if they align with what you’ve outlined in your Terms of Assessment. Examine if the assessment tasks are suitable for the industry and work role, as well.

Clarify the assessment contexts with industry experts or subject matter experts, so you know what is relevant to the learners.

Step 7: Modify your training materials

After you’ve done your research and consulted the experts, it’s time to finally modify your training materials

Remember, contextualising materials differs depending on the delivery model you’re going to use. Below are the best practices when it comes to their mode of delivery:

Tips for contextualising for classroom delivery

  • Have guest speakers talk to your learners so they can have a first-hand account of what it’s like working in the industry.
  • Design an authentic simulated work environment so your learners can practice their skills.
  • Change the learning and assessment activities depending on the workplace and work situation.
  • Provide current case studies so your learners are updated with the latest industry information.
  • Create or help learners get practical vocational experience through a local council, business, community organisation, or institution as the workplace.
  • Give realistic workplace scenarios and roleplays so your learners can properly demonstrate their skills and competency.

    Tips for contextualising for online delivery

    • Create online simulated work environments that closely resemble real workplaces so learners can gain skills.
    • Develop quizzes and games specific to the workplace and industry to easily facilitate learning.
    • Use workplace jargon in the learning materials, such as activities and conferences.
    • Have webinars that allow interaction between students and the instructor.
    • Design workplace simulations so learners can demonstrate skills.

    Tips for contextualising for workplace delivery

    • Apply the organisation’s policies and procedure manuals in the learning materials.
    • Use real-life workplace examples in the learning materials.
    • Make sure the learning activities revolve around workplace tasks and products so learners and employers can see the immediate benefits to the business.
    • Match the learning activities with the organisation’s culture, end goal, and employee development plans.
    • Have a buddy system where learners are partnered with workplace mentors.

    Step 8: Modify your assessment tools

    Your assessment tools also need to be contextualised to meet ASQA requirements. It’s important to note that contextualisation must not impact unit outcomes. When you modify your assessment tools to fit your RTO’s needs, remember the following:

    • Don’t diminish the breadth of application of competency
    • Don’t narrow down the competency outcomes
    • Don’t remove the content of any element and performance criteria related to the unit

    To ensure you’re conducting a fair assessment, you must follow the Principles of Assessment (fairness, flexibility, validity, and reliability) and the Rules of Evidence (validity, sufficiency, authenticity, and currency).


    Contextualisation for RTO learning materials and assessment materials isn’t as easy as it seems, but it’s well worth the effort you’ll put into it. When you contextualise your learning resources, you’ll be able to deliver quality training and build relationships with industry leaders, business heads, and more.

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