Making predictions about the future is always something of a hostage to fortune. However, several global and local trends look set to continue, and intensify, in 2024. Here are some of the most influential trends to expect this year:
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like ChatGPT to answer questions and draft content will increase.
The emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI), while creating new possibilities for learning and teaching, has intensified existing assessment integrity challenges within the VET sector. The most immediate concern is that students may use generative AI in assessment tasks, calling into question their personal learning attainment.
TEQSA published the “Assessment reform for the age of artificial intelligence” where it provides the following guiding principles. Assessment should emphasise:
- Appropriate, authentic engagement with AI
- A systemic approach to program assessment aligned with Unit/cluster
- The process of learning
- Opportunities for students to work appropriately with each other and AI
- Security at meaningful points across a program to inform decisions about progression and completion
Hybrid and Remote Work
Over the last year, we’ve seen a wide range of approaches to remote work. At one extreme, some organisations have gone fully remote; at the other extreme, some have demanded that staff be in the office at their desk five days a week. Neither extreme will work for everyone, and those RTOs that insist on a full return are likely to put themselves at a disadvantage.
RTOs will need to find ways to accommodate remote, hybrid and nonremote workers in their teams. A particular challenge will be maintaining a company culture and ethos and a feeling of connectedness across this more fragmented workforce.
The regulatory development
The new wave of regulatory changes is underway. The new Job and Skills Councils are here, changes in the Standards for RTOs and the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) are expected in 2024. ASQA’s regulatory approach continues to change in response to government needs, market perception, and will continue to change once new regulations are approved.
RTOs will need to develop internal compliance systems that can adapt and evolve with current and future regulatory developments. Compliance capabilities of staff and strong leadership will be critical for success.
The increasing pace of change. This is not a new element in 2024, but many managers aren’t equipped to lead change, deal with disruptions, and change fatigue is setting in across the sector. This affects job performance, intention to stay in the job, and many other factors. A key focus for RTOs in 2024 will be educating managers and staff about the effects of change, how to adapt to and use change effectively.
Attention to diversity, equity and inclusion will ramp up in 2024, with a greater emphasis on the importance of inclusion in employee retention, rather than only being concerned with the recruitment of a diverse workforce. More attention will be paid to all aspects of diversity, such as sexual orientation, disability, and neurodivergence as well as race and gender. Organisations will become more sophisticated in considering how these different facets of the individual interact with one another. There will be a continued focus on promoting well-being and mental health and a growth in the resources available, especially for remote workers. RTOs contribution to effective training and development on diversity, equity and inclusion will continue, with a focus on developing an inclusive culture across the broader Australian society.