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The nuts and bolts

Accredited training leads to a nationally recognised qualification such as a Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Graduate Certificate. These qualifications are in line with industry standards, competencies and assessment guidelines that are outlined in national training packages. Accredited training is delivered by registered training organisations (RTOs).

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for vocational education and training (VET). They are responsible for protecting the quality and reputation of the Australian VET sector [1]. ASQA ensures that courses are compliant against legislation and that nationally approved standards are met. This includes the qualifications and industry knowledge of trainers, the amount of learning (e.g. course duration and volume of learning), the quality of learning resources and facilities, and the training design and assessment strategies.

Designing accredited training

If you’ve been an Instructional Designer for some time, you’ll understand that the accredited training space is a different kettle of fish.

When designing accredited training, there are further elements to consider on top of instructional design principles and adult learning principles.

Work with an SME

Like many projects, it’s important to engage a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with technical understanding of the content and context. This ensures that what you are designing and developing is relevant, accurate and realistic. An SME will help you to:

  • Determine what content to include/exclude
  • Reference industry terminology
  • Clarify conflicting source information
  • Provide updated content where required
  • Identify the resources and facilities required to complete activities and assessments
  • Accurately estimate timeframes to complete technical tasks

Cover all performance criteria, skills evidence and knowledge evidence

In order for a course to be compliant, participants must be assessed against each performance criteria, skills evidence and knowledge evidence. Use these as key inputs for the learning outcomes. The program you design must address these to provide participants with the required knowledge and skills that will set them up for both assessment and on-the-job success.

Application-based activities are key!

All units of competency specify tasks that participants must perform in order to be deemed competent. Application-based activities provide opportunities for participants to develop and refine these skills, and ensure that they can demonstrate competency against each performance criteria.

Scaffolding these activities helps with the retention of knowledge and skills and effective transfer of learning to the workplace.

Select appropriate assessment methods

There are a number of assessment methods that can be used to evaluate participant competencies against the unit requirements.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Written questions
  • Verbal questions (the participant’s responses must be recorded)
  • Practical observations
  • Projects
  • Third party reports

The assessment methods must be appropriate for the criteria that they are assessing. For example, if a participant was required to demonstrate the safe operation of a forklift, a practical assessment would be appropriate as they would need to physically operate a forklift – a written question would not suffice.

Assessment should also be contextualised and relevant to the audience workplace policies, procedures and job role. Each organisation’s policies and procedures will vary – especially between states – so it’s important that assessment meets the unit criteria, as well as workplace and legislative requirements.

The assessment conditions in each unit of competency outline requirements or considerations for assessment. These include resources, location, duration, physical conditions, the use of simulators and other factors [2].

Read ASQA’s Guide to developing assessment tools to learn more.

Map to the unit of competencies

Develop a mapping document that specifies where each of the performance criteria, performance evidence, knowledge evidence and other requirements are addressed in the assessment tools.

Get your course validated!

Engage a Quality Consultant to validate the assessment decisions prior to implementation. They will review the assessment tools, marking guides and mapping documents to verify the quality of assessment. This will ensure that the assessment meets the unit requirements, the principles of assessment and rules of evidence.

Finding an Instructional Designer for accredited training

With accreditation comes greater challenges that aren’t present in other learning programs and solutions. The main challenge is ensuring compliance against standards, whilst balancing the organisational and operational requirements. If you are looking to engage an Instructional Designer in this space, we strongly recommend finding someone who specialises in accredited training (with recent experience).

At Instructional Designs Australia (IDA), we have Consultants experienced in developing learning materials and providing instructional design services for a range of accredited training packages, including:

  • BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership and Management
  • TLI33118 Certificate III in Rail Customer Service
  • MEM30205 Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade
  • TLI33213 Certificate III in Terminal Train Driving
  • MEM40105 Certificate IV in Engineering (Electrical)
  • 22326VIC Graduate Certificate in Railway Signalling Systems
  • 22327VIC Graduate Diploma in Railway Signalling Systems
  • TLI42215 Certificate IV in Rail Network Operations
  • FNS10115 – Certificate I in Financial Services

Need experienced Instructional Designers to build your accredited training course? Contact us for a free quote.

Ph:+61 03 5988 8319

Michael Peart
Ph: 0434 075 231

Bianca Schimizzi
Ph: 0416 013 623

Online enquiry


[1] Australia Skills Quality Authority [ASQA] (October 2019). Users’ guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. Retrieved from

[2] Australia Skills Quality Authority [ASQA] (2015). Guide to developing assessment tools. Retrieved from

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