For skills-universe members, who are private Skills Development Providers (SDP)s, or private providers of Education & Training.
How can I trust training material?
22nd Oct 2016 at 6:37 am #25726
Hi Fellow Skills Universe Users
I am assisting an NPO with 6 no-fee paying high schools in township areas to become accredited to do End User Computing NQF Level 3, so that they can extend their impact beyond just secondary schooling.
If I go the route of purchasing training material, how do I know that this training material is of sufficient quality and will be accepted by the SETA? I dont want to buy something and then only afterwords realise that it is not sufficient?
Any help or advice would be appreciated.
22nd Oct 2016 at 10:16 am #25745
Shopping Tips for Training Material (taken from one of my earlier blogs)
How do you decide to make a major purchase, such as a car,house or even clothing? You will most likely do the following:
Ensure you have the time to shop around
Narrow your choices down
Go to a reputable store
Understand what type of brand you are looking for. Will it be BMW or 1966 Volkswagen Beatle?
Know your budget. Are you going to go cheap and regret it later or spend a bit more now and have your product last?
Chat to some experts, ask their opinion
See whose pair of running shoes lasted longest
As a training material developer it always puzzles me how the CEO’s of companies or those responsible for purchasing Training Material ignore all of the above. I have found that many simply go in for cheap.
Purchasing Training Material needs to be treated with the same respectful process that you would go through when purchasing a major item for your home. It has taken hours for experts to write well crafted material, the hours put in will show in the pricing too. Quite a few clients that land at my doorstep have purchased on the fly because they were in a hurry, and now need it fixed because the SETA’s have thrown it out. Be careful, be aware of where you buy your material.
If you have made the error of not attending to any of the above and are in a fix, connect with me. Or how about adding me to your mix of shopping around for high quality Material.
22nd Oct 2016 at 1:27 pm #25744
22nd Oct 2016 at 1:47 pm #25743
22nd Oct 2016 at 1:50 pm #25742
Hi Johan. A colleague at a TVET college recently bought in this qualification and the learning materials were totally unusable – even though they did due diligence. The College had to bin it. If you send me your email address, I can put you in touch with her. I’m sure you will benefit from hearing about her experience.
22nd Oct 2016 at 2:13 pm #25741
Thanks Tash. I think one of the reasons why your metaphor about shopping for a major purchase doesn’t quite compare well to this, is that for most of the purchases you outline you can see and inspect the product. You can view a house, drive a car or try on clothing, but their is no way a prospective seller will let you sample the training material would they? And even if they do you have no sense of the entirety if the product before purchase?
Is there a practice of training providers guaranteeing that their training material is SETA compliant? Surely that might allow some sense of security in a post purchase refund if the training material is not found to be compliant?
22nd Oct 2016 at 2:14 pm #25740
22nd Oct 2016 at 3:07 pm #25739
You could get the seller of the materials to sign a service level agreement (SLA) in which they commit to remediate the materials should they not be approved by the SETA (in your case MICTSETA). You could also look at a phased payment where, for example, you pay 70% of the materials cost upfront and 30% once they have been approved by the SETA. Fly by night providers of materials will shy away from such a setup whereas any legitimate materials developer, confident of their product, will most likely accept it – separating the chaff from the wheat so to say… Finally, the old saying “goedkoop is deurkoop” should be kept in mind…
22nd Oct 2016 at 3:30 pm #25738
My wife and I are in the process of obtaining our accreditation with our SETA. During the process of submitting the documents, I learnt that you can actually get your courseware approved by the relevant SETA.
Firstly, find out from the relevant SETA if they go issue approval for courseware. Then seek those that have it, and then enter into an SLA with them to fine tune the courseware to meet your needs. Having it custom made would be the best way to go for your cause.
22nd Oct 2016 at 4:00 pm #25737
Johan, good developers will always state when they quote that IF there is any remediation to be done, it will be conducted without further costs.
One important aspect that is lacking in materials that do not meet criteria, is the absence of a clear link that indicates where in the learner’s guide and the formative as well as summative assessment activities the assessment criteria (AC) are covered. It is good practice to mark activities with the relevant SO/AC numbers, so you can use that as one guideline. Chapters should indicate which SO/Ac’s are covered.
Another guideline is to ask the seller for the unit standard alignment matrix, which should create the link for you (and the SETA evaluator). Check that all AC are covered in the assessments. Most SETAs require that all ACs should be covered in the summative assessments. Only a few – such as the W&RSETA – allow that formative activities may also be used as part of the summative assessment, under certain conditions.
Check that there is a proper bibliography at the end of the learner’s guide. Use a plagiarism checker to see if the sample of the learner’s guide that is provided is not a case of copy-and-paste from the Internet and that examples are contextualised for the South African market.
Check that the activities – especially the summative activities – assess what they should assess. This comes from the Portfolio guide. For example, if the assessment criterion requires a candidate/learner to develop a plan, the activity should require that and not merely an explanation of how to prepare a plan.
The above are just a few general guidelines. it is further a good idea to have the materials moderated by an independent moderator of learning materials.
22nd Oct 2016 at 4:31 pm #25736
When clients wish to see varied samples from our material we are always able to provide this. And as a few people have mentioned in this thread, ensure that the SLA has remediation built in for free post SETA evaluation. And everything that Marie has said is very good advice. And sometimes the developers are happy to give you references for those who have bought their material, is also a good idea.
22nd Oct 2016 at 4:34 pm #25735
Simphiwe, we recently also heard about this. We have been in the development business for over 10 years now and no SETA has ever done this. We even pursued this line of thought seriously with MICT SETA and they stated quite clearly that this is not the case. SETA’s do not do this. If anyone can come forward and say that this can be done I would love to hear!!
22nd Oct 2016 at 6:28 pm #25734
I have a couple of months ago registered the same qualification with material purchased from a specific supplier and it worked out well with the MICt Seta not needing or asking for any changes. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you in touch with this supplier. Their pricing was really good as well. If need be I could let you have a look at a portion of my material to give you a feel of quality etc.
23rd Oct 2016 at 8:52 am #25733
You should not trust anyone’s training material. Rather you should understand what you want to achieve
1. Accreditation: That is easy. Simply Google for the material. There are many providers out there who pass the compliance hurdle.
2. Material that meets the requirements of good adult learning: Most of the learning material that you buy is similar to textbooks (May I say bad text books) They are fine for a lecturer rattling down content but do not create the skills envisioned in the qualification. How do you spot good material? It has plenty of practical & fun exercises. Of course basic things such as good writing, a nice flow of ideas that is easy to comprehend, is a must. How can you check that? You go to their offices, & allow for several hours to browse through the material. Unfortunately, you will most likely leave disappointed.
3. The material must be economically feasible & user friendly: Most material that you buy has been written one unit standard at the time, that allows the writer to sell the material in chunks or as a whole. The material is therefore not integrated i.e. It’s full of repetition because there is an overlap in the unit standards. That means it is not only boring but means that the learner has to collect too much evidence & wastes too much time in class. This increases the costs of training & means that the learners have to be away from the workplace for too long
4. Impact: Good learning material produces measurable improvements in results. The Saqa approach is heavy on compliance. Learning material is therefore developed by people whose core competenciy is material development. In other words they are not subject matter experts in the field to be studied. The material therefore lacks depth.
In summary it is very difficult to find good material. Even though we are a training provider ourselves, we team up with other providers who we know are experts in the field to make sure that our clients get the best. Feel free to contact me if you like further advice. Stefan@i-fundi.com
23rd Oct 2016 at 12:56 pm #25732
Good points Stefan. My view is slightly different though when it comes to point number 4. Subject matter experts are not necessarily good writers of books or learning materials. Often unit standards or qualifications are the bare minimum that one needs to understand, comprehend, demonstrate or appreciate in order to be deemed competent. This doesn’t necessarily require depth. That is not a bad thing necessarily as depth you will gain as you become proficient in the field.
I am a trained developer of training materials in the private sector where the credits were not an issue. I am able to develop on any subject as I would work with subject matter experts who will say what needs to be included and what needs to be left out. I am no expert on SAQA or SETA requirements and I find them to be ludicrous. I’ve seen a 500 pages material that you could write a 20 page manual in industry! Skills universe postings however do help.
23rd Oct 2016 at 10:18 pm #25731
Victoria Siphiwe Mamvura-GavaParticipant
I agree with you Xolani, that is why unit standard writers or general materials developers should work with subject matter experts or Technical Work Groups who are experts in the subject,since Unit Standard writers/experts do not necessarily have to be subject matter experts but expert writers. Good if one is both, but that’s not usual ly the case.
24th Oct 2016 at 8:47 am #25730
Before making acquisition decisions, it is important for any provider to have clarity in their minds on:
1. What vision are you chasing? What legacy do you want to leave?
2. What objectives do you want to achieve – with what levels of skills do you want to send learners out into the field? That will build your long-term legacy or reputation.
3. What products are most suitable to your vision and objectives? Quality orange juice; mediocre 50%-juice blend; or Oros?
4. What are the cost implications for the above? All kinds of processes determine the price of the product you acquire from the “manufacturer” – including inputs (sweat equity); skills levels of “workers”; design and development processes; and quality assurance measures built into processes.
25th Oct 2016 at 11:13 am #25729
26th Oct 2016 at 8:59 am #25728
26th Oct 2016 at 11:09 am #25727
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