Self paced training and expectations

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by s squirrel » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:07 am

mooki wrote:yep, happy to discuss with you another day squirrel
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by AussieBritLu » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:03 am

That's true too!
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Bailey's Mum » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:09 am

I don't know what happened to my post from yesterday afternoon, perhaps it didn't post properly, but I'm with Penguin. As someone with multiple university degrees, I found training very overwhelming at first. Because all my study had been at academic level, I was doing too much, and overwhelming myself.

I took over 8 years to train, from my first enrolment. There were plenty of circumstances that caused this, but ultimately, it was about my approach to training. Not that I was lazy, but that I was working too hard on it, and crippling myself, unable to do assessments because I was over-doing the preparation. Once I had someone sit me down and tell me the difference between vocational and academic study, I finally got my head around it more, and was able to move faster.

I have trained under 3 different systems, and each had its pros and cons. When I changed from system #2 to system #3, I actually lost 4 units of competency, which also increased my training time. Also, I found the online emphasis overwhelming and terrifying. I work in a job which has unpredictable hours. I have 3 kids (all of whom were diagnosed with ASD during or after my training, so many of the biggest challenges I faced as a mum were during the time I was training). I had a CTB (found out I was pregnant the same day my third and final training package arrived!). I moved four times, twice interstate, and started three new jobs during the time I was a trainee. I went through several assessors, some of whom took leave, one who became seriously ill, and one who just burnt out (hence the 4 lost units of competency - I had the assessments which had been marked and returned to me, but they hadn't been officially recorded at Head Office, so the decision was ultimately made that I should re-do the assessments under the new system). I trained in two states, four different ABA groups, and I have to tell you, as an introvert, it takes me time to settle into new groups and make sure I'm not stepping on anyone's toes before I am comfortable to start pushing my own assessment needs.

Like Penguin, if it wasn't for the flexibility and understanding, I never would have started, let alone completed my training. It was the big thing. I have always paid my own expenses after the first enrolment, and there have been times I paid more than the $50 fee, out of a sense of obligation, that I was taking so long to do my training, and costing the organisation a lot of money. However, I also found myself in the position where I had to pay for learning guides that I already owned, and for units I was already assessed as competent in, because of the way the course was re-structured, so that went both ways.

I am now doing a competency based diploma in my professional life, and it's VERY different. While there's flexibility for extensions, each assessment task has a due date (and extensions must be sought in writing, in advance). The course has a 2 year life span, and that's completely INflexible - in fact, we were told at the beginning of the course that we would have 6 months after the course concluded to complete all of our assessment tasks. We have since learned that information was incorrect, and the course concludes exactly 2 years from the start date. Which is a little incovenient, considering there are several assessment tasks due AFTER that date - the course has been mismanaged from the outset, because the coordinators job-share, and have a bit of a communication problem. I have complained loud and long, having had the experience of flexibility in my ABA training, and this has given me a new sense of gratitude to ABA for the way in which it has managed to make this course flexible and adaptable to student needs, especially considering that there is a vocational training authority to whom they must answer (and which is responsible for the inflexibility in my current course).

So all up, I am very glad that my ABA training was so flexible, because if it was limited to two years, there's no way I would have gotten it finished, and that would have been a huge waste of ABA money and my time, and could possibly have soured me to the organisation. As a volunteer, I have never, ever been treated as well as ABA treats me. My professional life makes great use of volunteers, and after my ABA experience, I am appalled at the way we treat our volunteers.

And the length of time it took me to complete my ABA training has made me a committed and devoted volunteer - I feel terrible when I have to change or cancel a Helpline shift. I even did my practicum while moving interstate! I haven't become involved with my newest group, primarily because I work full time (and am on 24 hour call, so I can't volunteer for weekend stuff either). I didn't go to conference, because I have no involvement with my group and I feel bad using group funds when I don't contribute in any way apart from Helpline, and I certainly can't afford to fund my travel myself (I live 16 hours drive away from where Conference is held). But again, ABA's flexible and understanding approach to volunteers saves the day frequently. And Helpline is a jolly big commitment for me - I do overnight, because I work full time during the day. I can't counsel with my kids around, because they are so high-needs. So overnight is my only option. And, as the mum of three high needs kids, sleep is one of my highest priorities, so to do an overnight shift is a jolly big sacrifice for me.

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Bailey's Mum » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:18 am

Oh, and online training groups not only terrify me, but I don't have the internet bandwidth for skype sessions (which annoys my mother no end - she doesn't get to see the kids), and also, my free time is never predictable, so I can't sign up to participate in study discussion groups, either, because I never know if I'll be free on Wednesday night at 8pm. So while I joined several study groups, I don't think I ever participated in one discussion.
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by AussieBritLu » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:22 am

BM I think you are doing an amazing job under your circumstances! Especially with working full time and having three kids needing extra attention and support and still managing to do Helpline.....that's a lot in itself!

Yea I don't contribute much to online study groups either, I try to get there when I can......but our chat session is on a night dh works and at a time he isn't home yet...I like that flexibility for now that if I get there, I get there, even late....it's ok and it's still ok if I don't make it at all.
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Feebes » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:45 am

Great insight, BM!

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by JennyD » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:22 pm

Yes, ABA training is flexible in so many ways and it is great. Many of us wouldn't be counsellors today if it wasn't flexible. I took longer than I was meant to and my course had less in it than yours does, I was just trained to counsel and lead group meetings, I wasn't trained to run a group, organise a function or any of that. So imagine my shock when it was dropped in my lap 3 months after I finished training and my GL moved to Canberra :)

Reading this thread, I think a few trainees are being ripped off. If you are Group Administrator, Group Treasurer, Group Bulletin Editor or all of the above, you shouldn't have to do those assessment tasks, you should simply be able to prove that you are doing the job already. We have a process of RPL (recognition of prior learning) and RCC (recognition of current competence), we need to use this. I think at the moment we only use it to upgrade qualifications from the older type to the newer, we also need to use it for those who are already doing the job they are training for. It took me a month to RPL and RCC my Cert IV, because I needed to find all the evidence that I could Manage a Group, could Manage Conflict etc. I didn't need to find evidence that I could counsel as I had that qualification already but the rest I needed to prove, and it wasn't all that hard, because it was all there on my computer. And yes some trainees do take years and that is fine, because they finish eventually :) But many of the trainees who plan to take years don't finish or when they do they leave almost immediately because they have moved on. I think we do need to be very flexible, but we also need to be aware that the course is designed to be done in 12 months if that was all you were doing. This way those who don't have other things going on (and none of us have nothing else going on :) ) should finish within one year, those who have a fairly simple life, usually can do it within 2 years. If you have heaps going on in your life, and so many of us do, you know you won't get it done in 1 year, so maybe plan for 2 and hope for 3. but if you are already running the group, by the end of the year you should have enough evidence to RCC about half the units anyway, so you should only have to do the counselling specific ones.

So I suspect we are being flexible in the wrong way, we are allowing people to take years to do things, but most of those who take years to train have spent all of those years contributing to the group in so many ways. they should be getting credit for all that hard work. If you are actually doing something you should be able to use that even if it doesn't exactly fit the assessment task at first or even second glance, and really if you've been doing it for a couple of years you probably shouldn't need to answer the short answer questions either. I'm beginning to confuse myself and I've been training and assessing for more than 10 years, so I'm not surprised if others are confused too.

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by JennyD » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:44 pm

I just sat down to post some great insight I had just had, and it is gone .... But truly we are so glad when anyone puts their hand up to train and help the mums and bubs of Australia. we really don't care if it takes you 8 months or 8 years or anything in between, so long as you eventually finish and help mums and bubs :)

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Feebes » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:08 pm

JennyD wrote: Reading this thread, I think a few trainees are being ripped off. If you are Group Administrator, Group Treasurer, Group Bulletin Editor or all of the above, you shouldn't have to do those assessment tasks, you should simply be able to prove that you are doing the job already. We have a process of RPL (recognition of prior learning) and RCC (recognition of current competence), we need to use this. I think at the moment we only use it to upgrade qualifications from the older type to the newer, we also need to use it for those who are already doing the job they are training for. It took me a month to RPL and RCC my Cert IV, because I needed to find all the evidence that I could Manage a Group, could Manage Conflict etc. I didn't need to find evidence that I could counsel as I had that qualification already but the rest I needed to prove, and it wasn't all that hard, because it was all there on my computer.
So can you please mark me for off for doing managing conflict, I've been managing conflict with XDP for over 9 years. Surely there has to be a benefit to that?

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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Gwen's Mum » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:26 pm

I'm a counsellor who qualified after 18 months of training, so I guess I had a fairly bog standard experience time-wise. However, I also had a huge interstate move in that time, limited access to training opportunities and no regional trainer/assessor for the first half, and was 90% reliant on getting through workbooks and assessments on my own. I was and am fairly intrinsically motivated and also had in mind I wanted to be done soonish because: a) I was going to start a PhD and didn't want there to be significant overlap, and b) I wanted to qualify so I didn't have course changes, costs, and the inability to actually counsel mums, looming over me for ages. BUT, those are very personal and specific reasons, and they don't apply to all trainees. Yes, I probably would havestarted and finished the training if it was less flexible, but in part that's due to a pathological perfectionism that really shouldn't be the norm.

Now as GL I see the value in having trainees finish training, but I also see the value we have gained from trainees who chip away at their training over the course of years, often in a way acknowledged and planned from the outset, and who have a deep and abiding understanding of how ABA, breastfeeding, and mum-to-mum counselling and interaction works. They're also, as BM and others have said, seemingly the ones who actually are more likely to finish training because of the length of their association with the process and with ABA generally. Yes, we lose trainees at different stages, often in the first year and before they're really into the training; sometimes immediately after finishing or soon after completing their obligatory 2 year service. But overall we have derived value from each of those trainees/qualified volunteers, and I would hazard an educated guess that many of them would never have started - let alone finished - training if there wasn't a fair degree of flexibility in it. I think on the whole people are also relatively good at gauging their circumstances now and into the future - so some trainees will complete training quickly because they know they're unlikely to spend a lot of time post-baby-stage working in the organisation. Others, like me, know they're likely to stick around for a fair while, and might then opt to balance out current life complexity (e.g. New babies, illness, house moves, etc) against extended training timeframes, knowing they'll still be contributing long after training is complete.

At an organisational level, we are also somewhat "sameish" - white, middle class, educated to at least end of high school but on the average at a tertiary level. To tighten up on the flexibility aspect of training would, to myind, probably be even more exclusionary of trainees from diverse backgrounds who may need, for whatever reason, to take additional time.

Last point is also similar to ones raised previously - we need to get better, in my group and I'd assume in others, at identifying snd encouraging involvement from those people who want to volunteer their time and energy, but don't wish to do training. They are, IME, invaluable, and especially so to a group like ours that is big and undertakes a lot of activities.
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Penguin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:49 pm

JennyD wrote: If you are Group Administrator, Group Treasurer, Group Bulletin Editor or all of the above, you shouldn't have to do those assessment tasks, you should simply be able to prove that you are doing the job already. We have a process of RPL (recognition of prior learning) and RCC (recognition of current competence), we need to use this.
For me, there was nothing simple about RPLing it. I RPLed Lead a Vol Team and it was still a lot of work to gather the info etc.

Like I said earlier, I'm not complaining per se or saying that it should be different. Cert IV is a proper qual and therefore needs proper evidence, I get that. I don't have answers as to how it could be different, but to me there was nothing 'simple' about it.

If there's a way I can RPL Admin I'd love to know about it because TBH that unit is stressing me out already. I would expect I have the skills to RPL Manage Conflict too, but again I'm not sure if RPLing it would be less work than just doing it. If it would be less effort then that's great.
I think we do need to be very flexible, but we also need to be aware that the course is designed to be done in 12 months if that was all you were doing. This way those who don't have other things going on (and none of us have nothing else going on :) ) should finish within one year, those who have a fairly simple life, usually can do it within 2 years. If you have heaps going on in your life, and so many of us do, you know you won't get it done in 1 year, so maybe plan for 2 and hope for 3.
But does anyone have nothing else going on? Surely people with heaps going on are the majority of trainees?
but if you are already running the group, by the end of the year you should have enough evidence to RCC about half the units anyway, so you should only have to do the counselling specific ones.
But how? If this is possible I'd love to know but I seriously can't see how it could be done.
So I suspect we are being flexible in the wrong way, we are allowing people to take years to do things, but most of those who take years to train have spent all of those years contributing to the group in so many ways. they should be getting credit for all that hard work.
but how?
If you are actually doing something you should be able to use that even if it doesn't exactly fit the assessment task at first or even second glance, and really if you've been doing it for a couple of years you probably shouldn't need to answer the short answer questions either.
So how do I get out of answering the SA questions and get credit for the things that don't quite fit the tasks? (Serious question) If it is currently possible, how do I do it, and if it's not, then how could that ever happen whilst still maintaining the integrity of the qualification?
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Penguin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:54 pm

Are trainees who take years to complete actually a problem? (Serious question)
By that I mean if a trainee is taking 3+ years to complete training, then isn't s/he presumably involved and contributing to ABA during that time, otherwise s/he would just drop out. If one was unmotivated and slacking off, why keep re-enrolling?
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by Parla. » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:04 am

My thoughts, in graph format.

1. This is maybe what the fear is, or what some are understanding from this discussion - longer training time means lower engagement with or commitment to ABA:
graph1.jpg
graph1.jpg (12.24 KiB) Viewed 1635 times
2. Yet we've heard many counter-examples, trainees progressing slowly through their training while actually being heavily involved with ABA activities:
graph2.jpg
graph2.jpg (12.16 KiB) Viewed 1635 times
These can't both be accurate because they show the opposite of each other.

3. My hypothesis of what actually happens, which I believe some people have already said in various ways, is that slower progress through training is related to greater vulnerability of dropping out - either because of low engagement, competing demands, the prospect of naturally reaching the end of this chapter of life before finishing, or just the fact that more things can go wrong in 5 years compared to 1.
graph3.jpg
graph3.jpg (11.68 KiB) Viewed 1635 times
If this is the case, then maybe slow progress is a red flag (ie not a problem in itself) that someone should be checking in with that trainee to find out if they're not really interested or in fact drowning in multiple essential group roles. (Unfortunately "someone" is often thin on the ground.)

Graphs are never perfect, so there might be people who take ages but were always definitely going to finish.

But does that ring more true to anyone? Rather than the idea that we need trainees to hurry along for the sake of speed alone?
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by MamaMagoO? » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:05 am

I really want to add more to this conversation but I haven't had the chance. Too tired to say anything very intelligent right now. Just wanted to through in a quick note that when I said earlier trainees that are doing nothing I meant literally nothing. Not trainees who are involved in or running their group. Like you Penguin I can't imagine there would be many of these around. If you are not involved at all why would you keep reenrolling??? But even if someone was doing this is it really a burden on the association??

I also think RPLing needs to be simplified. There were units I apparently could have RPLed but decided it was easier just to do them... maybe there was one RPL that someone helped me with a lot... can't remember the details though so i might be speaking out of my bum.
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Re: Self paced training and expectations

Post by MamaMagoO? » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:07 am

I think that's spot on Parla.

Love your graphs :smt007
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