cbaa043The CMTO has recently developed new online RPL kits for some units. Once we have finished the initial trials of the kits we will be making them available to all trainer/assessors. In this article Nicola Joseph looks at how trainer/assessors can use the kits when delivering the Certificate II and III courses.

One of the challenges of delivering full certificate courses at community radio stations is getting students to submit all of their assessment work. Certainly the CMTO MOODLE is streamlining the process, but another important factor is allowing students to apply for RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for things they can already do (ie pre-existing competencies). It's not unusual to find yourself teaching a class where the majority of students are already presenting a weekly program, so in this article I want to take you through the process for dealing with RPLing these students for the units which relate to these tasks.

Before we begin, let's get an overview of the units concerned. They are CUFAIR201A, CUFAIR301A (for Cert III students) and CUSSOU202A. I am deliberately not including the units which are about preparing radio programs here to keep things simple. Without drilling into the detail of all three units, it is fair to say that to qualify for RPL students would need to have regularly done the following:

1. Panel and presented their program for at least a few months

2. Had guests in the studio for interviews and on the phone

3. Read scripts (maybe community announcements) and adlibbed links

4. Plan their program, using running sheets, playlists etc

(Note: It is not enough if the student has sat in a studio alone, introducing and back announcing music tracks because they have not used the range of equipment or presentation techniques required for the units.)

If you have students who have done all of the above four points, then they can apply for RPL for the  units at the time that they enrol. The process from there is fairly straightforward.

The CMTO will enrol the student into the relevant RPL kit on the CMTO MOODLE. There they will find all the information they need about RPL, how it works and the process they will be following. As a trainer/assessor it helps if you are familiar with the process to be able to guide the student when they need help, but generally we have tried to minimise the impact on trainer/assessors' time in the first stages. The steps are as follows:

1. Student completes RPL application and submit their CV and information about their radio experience including any relevant qualifications and work experience (eg how long they have done their program, other programs etc).

2. Student fills out a self evaluation of their skills as they relate to the units. This is a simple checklist which drills down into the details of the units.

3. Student submits all of their evidence including running sheets, marked up scripts, 3 recordings of their programs and a  workplace supervisor form (which verifies that they did actually panel and present their programs). while this can be uploaded on the MOODLE, considering the size of the audio files, a portfolio can be handed in to you directly.

4. Assessor examines the file to ensure all evidence is complete and either asks for more evidence or arranges a time for the RPL Conversation. The RPL Coversation is designed to ensure that the student has the knowledge required to present programs and to confirm any doubts about their skills. For example, in the case of these units, you willask the student to decribe how they warm up their voice and look after it as you can't observe this fromthe evidence they have submitted. The RPL Conversation Form includes all of the questions and the answers you are looking for each unit.

5. Using the RPL Conversation form the assessor records further evidence form the student during their meeting (it should take 30 minutes). If at the end of this meeting the assessor is satisfied with the evidence, the RPL documentation is completed and submitted to the CMTO to be checked.

In some cases, you might feel that it is important to observe the student presenting a program (perhaps if the evidence submitted does not completely convince you that they are competent) but generally the evidence submitted should be sufficient.

It is important that trainer/assessors in the community broadcasting sector make use of RPL given that so many of our students are already good at some things. It is also about us recognising that radio stations are great places for social and on-the-job learning and that many of our students come to us already competent in some aspects of radio broadcasting. Afterall some things are best learnt outside of classes and workshops.

For those interested in learning more about RPL, professional development sessions for assessors on how to use the kits will be held online in May and June so stay tuned (and read your fortnightly trainer update) to find out more!!