What is the Volume of Learning?

What is the Volume of Learning?

‘Volume of Learning’ and ‘Amount of Training’ are vital terms in Vocational Education, but they can sometimes be complex and confusing. Many RTOs are struggling to define these terms as well as the rules to go with them. Here’s your guide to what ‘Volume of Learning’ and ‘Amount of Training’ mean and how they can be applied to deliver sufficient training.

Volume of Learning and Amount of Training

These two terms are relatively ambiguous and have caused confusion over the years.

AQL defines the Volume of Learning (VoL) as the amount of time a student must undertake to achieve the required learning outcomes. Volume of Learning includes all teaching, learning and assessment activities provided by an RTO.

Source: AQF Volume of Learning Table.

As a RTO, you may use this guide from the AQF (The Australian Qualifications Framework) as a starting point to ensure the quality of your learning programs. The actual volume of learning for training and assessment must be consistent with AQL’s recommended time frame.

Meanwhile, the ‘Amount of Training’ includes classes and structured activities. As defined by ASQA, it is part of the overall Volume of Learning but relates primarily to formal training activities only.

Simply put, the Volume of Learning includes the Amount of Training, but not the other way around.

As your understanding of the Volume of Learning and Amount of Training becomes crystal clear,  here comes the next question!

What is the correct Volume of Learning for a training program?

Essentially, students who enrol in a course must participate in both supervised hours and unsupervised hours to successfully achieve the prescribed learning outcomes.

ASQA says the Volume of Learning can be calculated as follows:

nominal (supervised) hours + unsupervised hours = volume of learning

  • Nominal (supervised) hours represent the structured learning and assessment activities delivered by an RTO.
  • Unsupervised hours represent activities that an RTO does not deliver. These activities can include private study or preparation, self-initiated learning or research, and previous work experience.

To meet the ASQA’s requirements of the Volume of Learning, your RTO needs to determine the nominal (supervised) and unsupervised hours for the providing courses and include these into the course document.

However, the amount of time suggested by AQL is only a ‘starting point’ for RTOs to develop a suitable time frame and strategy to ensure units competency.

So, when might shorter courses be appropriate?

A course can be delivered in a shorter period than the AQL’s recommended timeframe if the students have prior knowledge or working experiences that match the required skills and knowledge.

The Volume of Learning also depends on different modes of delivery. An online-based course might require more time than a face-to-face learning course to achieve the same unit competency.

As a RTO, you are responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating, and presenting evidence-based information that ensures your students’ learning outcomes.

In sum

Volume of Learning and Amount of Training are both aimed to ensure that students achieve the required competency. The duration of Volume of Learning may be based on various factors and delivery modes. What is required for RTO is to create a reasonable, realistic learning path that is consistent with the AQF’s guidelines and suits the learner’s skills, knowledge, and work experience.