Frequently, I encounter VET practitioners whose actions and comments indicate an assumption that building capability and enhancing performance are the same thing.
Learning alone will not yield performance results. There is no business or performance measure that improves because of what people know; these measures improve because of what people do with what they know, and VET practitioners have not only no control of what our students do with what they learn, but very little is done to measure performance results.
What Is the Difference Between Capability and Performance?
Enhancing capability or skill is a learning outcome. It means that people have the capability to perform in some manner. It does not mean that they will.
A performance outcome occurs when people take what they know and turn it into what they do on the job. And, of course, making the conversion from learning to doing requires a work environment that supports the capability that was developed.
Engaging industry stakeholders in the planning of our Training and Assessment Strategies will help individuals and organisations to use the capabilities we develop in the VET sector, to improve performance.
I good process to go through with industry stakeholder is to review the "skill. . .will. . .hill. " process; and work together in better training evaluations.
People develop skills but then need both the will (motivation) to apply that skill, and ability to overcome any hill (obstacle) in the work environment that could impede application. Only then can performance result from capability that has been developed. For this to happen, we need more and better collaboration between RTOs, SSOs and Industry.
We know that performance is what people do on the job. We also know that, too frequently, people acquire capability that they never use on the job. Yet VET training is expected will yield results. Training Package Developers play an important role here.
As VET professional, we need to make performance—and not just learning—our business. And we can do that in two ways:
- We keep clear in our minds the difference between skill and performance. Training Packages are Occupational Standards and should focus on outcomes and performance.
- We view the building of capability as a means to the end, not the end. Our end goal is to enhance on-the-job performance that benefits the organisation. Industry engagement will provide information about how the work environment will support skills we plan to develop. We need to partner with industry who can work with us to ensure skills will transfer to the workplace.