Sunday, September 9, 2018

Training Tech Professionals to Teach: Part 12

In Part 11 I chose three skills from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) for three micro-credentials for teaching: Delivery, Assessment, and Design. But that only provides a paragraph for each: where do I get more detail as to what the students need to learn?

I tried searching curricular and open access course materials for existing university teaching courses, but these tended to emphasize theory, rather than practice. For a computer professional who wants to learn how to teach it is not necessarily helpful to give them pages of theory and references to research. They need to quickly introduced to something which will help them teach.

More useful is the documentation associated with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) teaching qualifications. Most prominent of these is the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116). This is at level 4 in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), much lower than a Bachelor Degree (Level 7) or Graduate Certificate (Level 8). There is mention of learning principles and theories in the VET skills definitions, but the emphasis is on practical skills.

TAE40116 has nine core units, the first of which is Plan assessment activities and processes (TAEASS401). This has five elements:
  1. "Prepare session plans ...
  2. Prepare resources for delivery ...
  3. Deliver and facilitate training sessions ...
  4. Support and monitor learning ..."

    From Plan assessment activities and processes (TAEASS401),, 2016
One interesting aspect is that delivery is only part of one of the five elements. Those new to university teaching tend to worry about their ability to speak forcefully, in a lecture or tutorial. However, perhaps the useful thing we can do is reassure new teachers that they do not have to give a dramatic performance, like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Understanding what the students need, preparing and supporting them, will be more effective than Shakespearian rhetoric.

The element on Deliver and facilitate training sessions, has four Performance criteria:
  1. "Conduct each session according to the session plan, modified where appropriate to meet learner needs
  2. Use the diversity of the group as another resource to support learning
  3. Employ a range of delivery methods to optimise learner experiences
  4. Demonstrate effective facilitation skills to ensure effective participation and group management ..."
From Plan assessment activities and processes (TAEASS401),, 2016
These are criteria for assessing the teacher, but I suggest are also useful tips for the new teacher, particularly the first, to have a plan, but modify it for the learners. Also useful, is to have a range of delivery methods. Delivery is not just about talking, or videos of talking, in the case of e-learning. The learner experience can be improved by getting them to do something, in particular working in a group.

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