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Understanding HIA Vocational education and training

26 Oct 2015   Shanti Gowans

The very essence of who you are as vocational learners, as well as how and why you are learning, is fundamentally different from the conventional understanding of education. So different, in fact, which is why HIA dramatically changes how we design instruction.  We do not continue to design courses that resemble classes you attended in school.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) isn't school, and the goal of training isn't to graduate with honors or even to just slide by with a passing grade. The goal of training is to equip learners with new knowledge and skills that enable you to improve your performance at work, or in the VET jargon: to be Competent.

Here are some ways that HIA training is different to school, as well as what this means to you as a student

Experience Counts
More often than not, children are seen as blank slates to be filled in school. In contrast, adults, like you, come to training with a wealth of relevant experience and related knowledge and skills. Here's what this means to you.

Firstly, you need to "bake" in an explanation of how the new information fits in with what you and your co-learners already know. For example, when you learn anatomy, the teacher can explain it with relevance to yoga stretching on the mat. This explanation can be a short cut in your learning.

Another example of "baking" is the graphics created in our powerpoints and other teaching aids, which compare old processes with new processes or old roles with new roles. 

Additionally, we develop analogies to illustrate how something new is similar to something familiar.

Secondly, whenever possible, we design activities that allow learners (you) to learn from each other, not just the trainer. By teaching someone else, learners strengthen their own knowledge and skills. 

In addition, hearing multiple perspectives and explanations can help learners more quickly grasp difficult concepts or complicated processes.

Knowledge/Information Is Not Enough
The measure of success in school is the ability to pass the final exam. But in the workplace, you get paid and are held accountable for what you do, not just for what you know.

Here's what this means to you.

Firstly, you must be crystal clear about what you are supposed to be able to do, in specific, observable, measurable terms, at the completion of your training.

Secondly, you must understand that the course is designed to drive you to this goal. Specifically, this means the course:

- Is organised around the specific steps to do whatever the goal is rather than organised thematically around the content.

- Includes information that is essential or important to achieving the goal. Nice-to-know information, such as background or theory, is of secondary importance, and has been placed in the background, in preference to competencies.

- Includes plenty of relevant skill building practice activities.

Immediate Application Rules
In school, the only application expected is for students to complete and turn in homework on time. In the workplace, the stakes are much higher. Learners are expected to demonstrate improved job performance as a result of attending training.

Here's what this means to you.

Firstly, you need to make sure you are actioning the content. This means that you have understood it by breaking it down explicitly enough, and provided yourself with sufficient tools and practices that you have the ability to apply what you've learned when you get back to work.

Secondly, you've worked with the Institute to ensure the training is offered just in time so that you have the opportunity to immediately apply what you've learned back on the job.

Relevancy Is Essential
In school, relevancy meant it would be on the test. In the workplace, it means the information is relevant to enabling learners (you) to achieve the goal of the training.

Here's what this means to you.

Firstly, a gap analysis determines what you already know. The course will then revise information you already know, to bring you up to scratch and also more current. Guard against mentally checking out, because unfortunately, you may not be able to check back in when the course starts to cover new information. The result, of course, is that you don't learn what you are supposed to learn.

Secondly, you must understand your need for "nice-to-know” information, and if it’s distracting you from the main goal of your course, get rid of it. For the intensity of your study, see each piece of content as a stepping-stone in a path towards the goal of the course. In an ideal VET world, this path should be as straight and short as possible. However, each stepping stone is absolutely essential.

We have your best interests at heart. Welcome aboard. Happy studying with us.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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