SKILLS training institutes and providers are ready for online learning to be their ‘new normal’.
On April 13, public and private technical and vocational education and training (TVET) providers were given the green light to conduct their training and theory courses online due to the movement control order (MCO).
TVET action committee chairman Nordin Abdul Malek said the guideline is important as it provides direction on implementing programmes that are mainly practical in nature, via e-learning.
“Our hands-on programmes make up 70% of the syllabus.
“Without a guideline, it will be difficult for us to adhere to the systems and standards of the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS).
“We hope this guideline, although only applicable during the MCO, will be used as a benchmark for relevant agencies within the sector to recognise the rigorous training process our students’ go through.”
E-learning, he said, allows skills training institutes and providers to adapt to the assessment of students by external examiners.
“It should be part of our training system even after the pandemic blows over.
“The Human Resources Ministry department of skills development (JPK) should formally implement this system as internationally, institutes are starting to recognise e-learning for skills training, ” he said, adding that many local providers have the facilities to conduct online learning with platforms like Whatsapp, Zoom and Skype.
Nordin believes e-training should be the ‘new normal’ in Malaysia’s skills training system.
We must act now and see how we can best utilise e-learning in TVET, he said.
Describing virtual education as a teaching methodology for tomorrow, he said e-learning management, teaching and assessment, must however, be improved.
“Related agencies too should consider e-learning as part of the entire training process, ” he said, noting that at least 90% of courses like IT, programming, management systems and administrative management, can be done online.
After the guideline was issued, Nordin said a survey was conducted among private skills training institutes on how they ran their courses online.
“We found that most of them do not have issues conducting online learning and training, and that their students are comfortable with this method as they are accustomed to using gadgets and social media.
“For them, it’s new and fun, ” he said, adding that these institutes recorded an improved e-learning participation rate, with at least 75% of their students joining the sessions.
The guideline is a good initiative, Federation of JPK Accredited Centres (FeMac) president P. Sailanathan said, as it ensures that there will be no serious disruption to learning.
This, he said, is a good time for skills training institutes to embark on technological changes.
“Students are more tech savvy these days. Online learning provides room for freedom on how students want to learn.
“Skills training institutes must ensure that online classes are attractive enough to capture their students’ attention. Going digital is the way forward”
Change, he said, is inevitable with the fourth industrial revolution and we must adapt or risk losing out.
ALL theory and practical components of TVET can be conducted online if they meet the Performance Criteria and Assessment Criteria, Human Resources Ministry department of skills development (JPK) director-general Zaihan Shukri said.
These criteria which are listed in a guideline, he said, involve safety, attitude and application of equipment aspects as set out in the National Occupational Skills Standards.
Home-based skills teaching and training must:
> ensure that the teaching and learning processes are carried out as planned in a safe environment.
> be effectively implemented during the MCO period by the institutes’ management.
> be a collaborative effort between parents or guardians and the institutes to ensure the continuity of students’ training and learning despite them not attending classes.
> be conducted on the training institutes’ premises after the MCO, if it is not carried out via e-learning.
> involve appropriate learning methods based on the capabilities and readiness of the trainees; using easily accessible communication and application platforms.