Education and qualifications are a minefield as well as controversial. For some families, the National Curriculum is the holy grail for educating children, while others firmly believe in a different approach.
The learning landscape has changed hugely due to technology, the internet and online learning.
The days of relying solely on the teacher to provide knowledge and content are fast disappearing. I believe in another fifteen to twenty years, schools as we know it won’t exist, due to the exponential rate of technology
We now have access to an overload of information via the web and a lot of it for free as well as paid for knowledge. We have the likes of:-
- YouTube & Vimeo
- Course platforms such as Udemy and Lynda.com
- Online curriculum
- Facebook groups
- Audible learning such as Audible UK
- Online course providers
- Membership sites
- Physical Books and Ebooks
Children and adults alike can obtain skills and qualifications without the need to be in a classroom environment and in a lot of cases eradicating the stress of sitting formal exams.
Just imagine how many talented children and adults have slipped through the net and not afforded the chance to achieve careers simply because they were not suited to pressurised exam situations.
Exams are not real-life scenarios of business and the workplace, whereas project-based learning, accountability, problem-solving, and collaboration are.
Online courses offer so much choice and variation for obtaining qualifications and upskilling in areas of interests, hobbies, and professions.
Information overload due to the volume of online courses and qualifications that are now available can be very confusing, and in some cases can result in the learner purchasing a course that does not deliver the intended level of qualification.
In England, we are used to the National Curriculum as the main route to obtaining qualifications and exams are regulated by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
In 2015 Ofqual launched Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) as the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is no longer operational.
The RQF is there to help people understand the qualifications Ofqual regulate, such as GCSEs and A-Levels. There are eight levels to the RQF as shown below
The National Curriculum is limited to the number of subjects it delivers and it is argued a lot of the subjects are not relevant in this fast-changing world, however, Ofqual regulates lots of none-curriculum subjects and qualifications.
Using the above table, if you were to undertake for example a Level 3 RQF qualification in IT, it would be equivalent to A-Level, A2, AS.
Choosing an Ofqual Regulated Qualification
As well as GCSEs, A levels, AS levels etc. Ofqual regulates vocational and technical qualifications from level one to eight one the RQF (table above). This means you can achieve fully regulated qualifications that can carry credits towards further education and employment.
A number of course providers have the following or similar text on their websites to describe the level of a course “The course measurable learning outcomes have been benchmarked at Level 2 (using Ofqual’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level descriptors) to allow you to consider the depth of study, difficulty, and level of achievement involved”.
The above statement does not confirm the course is actually an Ofqual regulated course, only that it has the difficulty a level 2 qualification. Below are a few steps to take in order to make sure you are signing up for the correct qualification.
- When typing into the search engine, type in the level of the course required and also RQF, for example, type in:- Level 3 RQF First Aid.
- View the “course content” to be sure it is in line with your expectations.
- How the course is assessed, this way you will find out if it is all coursework/assignments, type of evidence needed and also if exams are required.
- Look at the qualification information, this will enable you to see if the qualification is Ofqual regulated and if it is an accredited qualification.
- See who the awarding body is, this should let you see who provides the final certificate and if it is a regulated qualification or not.
- Check the minimum age of the course, a lot of courses which you assume are for 16 years plus, actually allow learners of a younger age.
- Looking at the course outcome should tell you exactly what the learner should get from the course.
- There a vast number of course providers, once you have the course you like, shop around for comparisons with other course providers, and don’t forget to ask for a Home Education discount.
- Check reviews, there are some amazing courses out there, equally a sizeable amount of not so great ones.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for evidence of how a course is delivered. Children learn if different ways and some courses can be very text-based, others mainly video orientated. You need to be sure the learner will stay engaged throughout.
Feel free to visit our resources page for information regarding course providers, please click here
For further information regarding Ofqual please click here