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Glossary of Training Terms in Australia



Accelerated Learning

The way the brain functions and the use of methods to as to improve learning and retention.

Accreditation (VET) *

The process by which specific courses are approved by State and Territory Training Authorities to ensure they meet specified quality requirements.  Under proposed new national recognition arrangements formal accreditation will no longer be necessary where Training Packages exist.

Affirmative Action

Action taken to overcome under-representation of women and minority groups in employment.

Articulation *

The formal linkage between different levels of qualifications.  Articulation arrangements allow for horizontal or vertical movement between courses and training programs.

Assessment (VET) *

Assessment is the process of collection evidence and making judgements on whether competency has been achieved.

Assessment guidelines (VET) *

Endorsed components of Training Packages.  Sets out industry mechanisms and processes for ensuring valid and reliable assessment of achievement against an industry's competency standards, both in training organisations and the workplace.

Assessment materials (VET) *

Optional component of Training Packages that complement endorsed industry assessment guidelines and could take the form of assessment exemplars or specific assessment tasks and instructions.


Encompasses the business assistance programs of all Federal and State government agencies.

Australian Recognition Framework (ARF) (VET) *

The quality assurance and recognition arrangements underpinning the National Training Framework.  The key elements include nationally recongised competency standards, nationally recognised qualifications and nationally recognised training organisations.  Commencing 1 January 1998, these recognition arrangements replace the National Framework for the Recognition of Training and support the implementation of Training packages and quality assurance.

Australian Standard Framework (ASF)

A division into eight levels of the continuum of competencies covering the whole economy and which serve as reference points for the recognition of competency standards.  Being replaced by Australian Qualifications Framework.

Australian Traineeship System (ATS)

A vocational training system which provides both on-and-off-the-job training in non-trades occupations for young people commencing in the workforce.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) (VET)*

A national framework for all qualifications in post compulsory education and training.  The proposed linkage between endorsed national competency standards and AQF levels will strengthen the competency base of the AQF and will necessitate supplementary guidance for AFQ levels in the vocational education and training sector.


A method for continuous systematic comparison of the products, services and processes of an organisation with the best practices, both locally and globally.


See multi-skilling

Common Competencies

Those competencies that are used in a number of industries with essentially the same outcomes, and sometimes form of expression.  Often they would be the competencies used in cross-industry standards.

Competency Based Training (CBT)

Training concerned with the attainment and demonstration of specified skills, knowledge and their application to meet industry standards rather than with an individual's achievement relative to that of others in a group.

Core Competencies

Group of units of competency with a competency standard that an industry has agreed are achieved if a person is to be accepted as competent at a particular level.  All units may be core, but in many cases competency at a level will involve core units plus optional or specialisation units of competency.  Core competencies are normally those central to work in that industry.

Course (VET) *

A structured sequence of vocational education and training, generally resulting in assessment against a range of specific learning outcomes and usually associated with institutional delivery.  It is proposed that in future there would be less focus on course delivery and more on providing a range of flexible training pathways, leading to achievement and assessment against endorsed national competency standards.

Credit Transfer (VET) *

Credit towards qualifications granted to participants in training on the basis of assessing competency or course outcomes.  These assessments are based on prior agreement between organisations of the credit value of specific courses and programs.  Under a Training Packages approach, credit transfer relates primarily to evidence of achievement of relevant competencies.


A plan incorporating a structured series of intended learning outcomes and associated learning experiences (i.e the objectives, structure, content, assessment and sequencing of what has been learned, generally organised as a related combination or series of units/modules/elements).

Customisation (VET) *

Customisation is the tailoring of units of competence and associated training by Registered Training Organisations to provide a flexible response to industry and enterprise requirements.  For Training Packages, customisation is the tailoring of units of competence by the inclusion, modification or substitution of competency units within their alignment with Australian Qualifications Framework.

Distance Education

Education provided by such means as correspondence, radio and television as distinct from direct face-to-face teaching.


People at all levels in an organisation being responsible for their own improvement, efficiency and productivity.

Experiential Learning

What has to be learned is experienced as closely as possible.

Flexible Delivery (VET) *

An approach to training that enables a variety of ways I which people can learn and demonstrate competence.  People can choose what, where and how they learn and are provided with training that suits their individual learning needs and styles.

General Competencies

Those that apply to work generally rather than being specific to work in particular occupations or industries.  Also may be called generic competencies.

Group Dynamics

The interaction of the behavours of the members of a group and of the group as a whole.

Group Training (VET) *

A method of training apprentices and trainees by rotating them with a range of host employers many of which do not have the capacity to employ and train apprentices or trainees.

Industry Organisations (VET) *

Organisations which represent industry, including peak business and union organisations, as well as specific Induistry Training Advisory Bodies (ITABs).

Karpin Report - "Enterprising Nation".

The findings of an Industry Task Forces under the chairmanship of David Karpin set up to recommend improvements in leadership and management skills.  The report was issued in April 1995.


Two aspects: 1) Cognitive skills involved in process such as judgement, thinking and understanding; and 2) information, which is the base of factual and theoretical material that is accessed, manipulated and used cognitively.

Learning Organisation

The continual expansion of the capacity of an organisaiton to improve its position in the market place by creating, transferring and reflecting new knowledge, experience and insights.

Learning Strategy (VET) *

The Learning Strategy is the component of a Training Package which provides information on how training programs may be organised in workplaces and training institutions. The Learning Strategy complements the endorsed components of a Training Package by providing additional support for Registered Training Organisations seeking to put together specific training programs to assist trainees attain the required competencies.

Monitoring or verification

The process of quality assurance involving internal, local and external validation of the integrity of the training system.  It should not be confused with assessment.


The development of competencies through training or other means that have been associated with a number of formerly discrete occupations or classification levels.  This equips a worker to perform a variety of tasks or functions across traditional boundaries.  It includes concepts such as broad-skilling (the expansion of competency into new areas at the same level), upskilling (the expansion of competency into new areas at a higher level) and contributory skilling (the expansion of competency into new areas at the same or different levels drawn from other industries).

Mutual Recognition (VET) *

All national qualifications (within the Australian Qualifications Framework) and Statements of Attainment issued by a Registered Training Organisation must be accepted and recognised by any other Registered Training Organisation.

National Competency Standards (VET) *

National standards define the competencies required for effective performance in the workplace.  A competency comprises the specification of knowledge and skill and the application of that knowledge and skill at an industry level, to the standard of performance required in employment.   Competency standards can be either industry or enterprise based.

National Training Framework (VET) *

The National Training Framework identifies the key components of the vocational education and training system at the national level, the relationships between those components as well as the quality assurance and recognition arrangements that enable individuals to gain national recognition.

National Training Information System (VET) *

An inter-related database including detailed information on endorsed competency standards, qualifications, learning resources and registered training organisations.  Replaces the National Register.

Neuro-linguistic programming

A model for understanding human behaviour and the way people learn, think and communicate.

New Apprenticeships (VET) *

apprenticeships or traineeships which offer flexibility, service arrangements and opportunities for structured training.  They can cover full or part time work and part time will be available to school students.  New Apprenticeships involve paid work and structured training and are underpinned by a training agreement which is registered with the relevant State/Territory Training Authority, and leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

Open Education

The learner is more responsible for his or her learning and the teacher is a facilitator.


Interrelated training which provides for a training outcome and which may be a qualification, an entry into a subsequent pathway or an employment goal.

Professional Development Materials (VET) *

An optional component of Training Packages which provides information for trainers on the various components of Training Packages and how these might be used to develop training programs.

Programmed Instruction

Information is presented in planned steps to guide the learner to successfully complete a task.

Quality Assurance

Is all the planned activities that provide adequate confidence that a process, product or service will fulfil the requirement for quality.

Quality Endorsement (VET) *

Registered truing organisations may receive delegations from State or Territory Recognition Authorities to self manage certain recognition functions.  Registered Training Organisations (within their scope of registration) are able to expand into new Training Package areas and/or self accredit courses where Training Packages are not developed.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

A method of integrating customer wants and needs into the design of a product or service.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (VET) *

The recognition of skills and knowledge against course outcomes ie learning outcomes.  Recognition of Prior Learning also involves the recognition of competencies held against relevant competency standards.

Registered Training Organisation (RTO) (VET) *

A training organisation registered by State/Territory Training Authorities as nationally recognised, for the provision of training products and services.  Through the registration process, training organisations will be registered to deliver a range of training products and services.

Reverse Engineering

The practice of examining the products of others so as to learn about that product.  Taken further, the term implies using the knowledge gained to copy the product or to improve one's own product.

Self-directed Learning

The learner takes the initiative in learning goals, identifying resources, determining strategies and evaluating outcomes for learning.

Self-paced Learning

The learner determines, or indicates the speed of progress.


May be intellectual, manual, motor, perceptual, social.  The nature of tasks usually requires a combination of these and usually involves the application of cognitive and psychomotor functions, together with an appropriate knowledge.

Skills Audit

A systematic process which identifies, then compares the present stock of skills held by an individual or a workforce (at the enterprise, occupation or industry level), whether or not they are being actively used with the skills needed.

Skills Passport (VET) *

The proceed Skills Passport provides a permanent, readily accessible record of the competencies attained by individuals through participation in workplace assessment, accredited training programs and other forms of skills recognition.

Statement of Attainment (VET) *

Under the Australian Qualifications Framework, a Statement of Attainment may be issued to a person who satisfies part of the requirements of a full qualification.

Structured Workplace Learning

Is undertaken through skills centres, traineeships or apprenticeships, group training and on-the-job training.


The whole is greater that the sum of its parts.

Task (or combination of tasks)

A discrete, identifiable and meaningful component of work that is carried out by the job-holder for a specific purpose leading to a specific outcome.  The performance of a task requires the application of skill and knowledge.

T group training

Highly participative learning methods to improve the inter-personal skills of the learner.

Three Sixty Degree Feedback

Structural feedback from a range of sources such as team embers, the boss, peers and perhaps customers.

Training Agreement (VET) *

The formal commitment of the parties (that is the employer and the person in training) to achieve the training outcomes defined in the package by means of the training program, and provides the basis for accessing wage arrangements under a relevant award or industrial agreement.

Training Package (VET) *

A set of national training resources consisting of national competency standards, assessment guidelines and national qualifications.  These components will be endorsed by the National Training Framework Committee.  The package can also include non-endorse components namely: assessment materials, learning strategies and professional development materials.  Training Packages will progressively replace the mix of competency standards and accredited courses as well as the related VET qualifications.

Training Program (VET) *

A structured approach to the development and attainment of competencies for a particular AQF qualification to meet the requirements of the endorsed components of Training Packages.  It includes the choice of units or options within the package and the method, training and location for achieving the competencies.  In respect of apprenticeships and traineeships, training programs are negotiated between providers on the one hand and employers and individuals on the other, reflecting choices made by the employers and individuals.

Upskilling *

See under multiskilling.

Upward Feedback

An appraisal of a supervisor or manager by subordinates.

User Choice (VET) *

Enables users (employers, trainees and students) to choose a training provider from a number of Registered Training Organisations and to develop a program with that provider which meets the needs of the employer and the trainee.  Registered Training Organisations may be in competition, one with the other, to meet the needs of the users.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) *

Post-compulsory education or training which is directed to the development of competencies, or is preparatory to, or is directed to the enhancement of opportunities for such education and training up to and including para-professional education and training



VET - Terms mainly relate to the Vocational Education and Training System
* - Information supplied by the Australian National Training Authority


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