Contextualisation adds Meaning

If we want to make training meaningful, then we really need to make it fit within the learner’s world of experiences.

For example, let’s say that we were going to deliver the Unit, SITTGDE001A: Work as a guide. (it will open in a new window for you)

Performance Criterion 4.4 is:

Communicate according to social, cultural and business requirements

What is so significant about the bold type?

The bold type tells us that we can find out more information about “social, cultural and business requirements from the Range Statement section of the Unit. So, we scroll down and find:


What does this tell us? It tells us that we can choose which body language and cultural customs and mores that best suit the social, cultural and business requirements of the industry that our learner is going to be working in.

For example, a guide working at Uluru (Australia) may learn and demonstrate body language appropriate to the Pitjantjatjara (Aboriginal) people. There would be little point in that guide being required to learn and demonstrate body language appropriate for working among the Jewish community at the Sydney Holocaust Museum.

This means that we can create learning/assessment opportunities that are more relevant to our learner. When we do this, we link the Unit of Competency to the client’s needs using language that they understand.

This is called contextualisation.

The following table shows us another example, with examples of how part of the Unit, BSBCMN102A Complete Daily Work Activities, can be contextualised.

What Appears in the Competency StandardHow it can be Contextualised to suit the workplace
1. Seek assistance to plan work scheduleAsk for help when you plan what you will do each day
Performance Criteria
1.1 Assistance is sought from appropriate persons to identify work goals and plans1. Ask the Office Manager what you are expected to achieve each day, and how you should plan for it
Range Statement
Factors affecting work requirements may include:- competing work demands- technology/equipment breakdowns- environmental factors such as time and weather- resource issues- changes to proceduresFactors affecting work requirements would normally include:- number of telephone calls to be answered- number of orders generated by telephone calls- number of personal enquiries- number of orders generated by personal enquiries- covering for absent office staff as required- downtime of photocopier, printer and computer system due to servicing
Evidence Guide
Critical aspects of evidence:- uses available business technology appropriate to the task, under direct instruction
Resource implications:- Personnel, materials and equipment specific to job tasks must be available.
The participant must demonstrate effective use of the telephone system, photocopier, printer, computer system for ordering and administration, and email messaging system, while being supervised.
For training and assessment, the following must be available:- telephone,- photocopier,- printer,- computer system for ordering and administration,- the correct- stationery items,- and email
Key Competencies
Working with teams and others; completing scheduled tasksWorking with teams and others; the participant needs to talk to an work with customers, the two other administration staff in the office, the Office manager, the orders, processor, and others who may come into contact with the participant for work purposes, to get their job done as planned.

How to Contextualise

Contextualisation is achieved by including, modifying or substituting texts, materials, content etc. within units of competency and usually within the range statement or evidence guide. It is about providing training and assessment that is specific to an enterprise or individual learner.

Any modifications to a unit of competency must maintain the integrity of the industry skill and portability requirements, including all legislative, licensing and any other regulatory requirements.

The following are some suggestions for contextualising units of competency to make them more relevant for specific industries or workplaces:

  • Refer to the guidelines in the relevant training package. Usually, it will be possible to replace generic terms and general descriptions of equipment or processes and procedures with specific examples. The wording of range statements and the evidence guide can also be altered to make it more specific.
  • Analyse the generalised statements about the range of work and job tasks specified in the units of competency. These may need to be aligned to a particular job profile and translated to highlight particular tasks and levels of performance that are relevant to a particular workplace.
  • Identify the kinds of evidence that candidates may be able to provide in their job roles to satisfy the requirements of a particular unit of competency.
  • Prepare evidence plans for the candidates, showing how they might collect the identified kinds of evidence.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

If the Competency mentions Machinery, then we could use the exact name of the machine used.

If the Competency mentions Equipment, then we could use the names of each item of equipment

If the Competency mentions Location, then we could use the exact location, eg, Shed 1, kitchen bench, etc

If the Competency mentions Relevant Procedures, then we could use the exact title of the procedure manual

If the Competency mentions Relevant Personnel, then we could use the names of the people and their positions

Contextualise, but Follow the Rules

When it comes to contextualisation, we can be very creative. But, we need to make sure that we do not change the standards required of us. Remember: we must always follow Qualification Packaging Rules of the Training Package.

When contextualising units of competency, teachers and trainers:

  • must not remove the number and content of elements and performance criteria
  • may add specific industry terminology to performance criteria where this does not distort or narrow the competency outcomes
  • may make amendments and additions to the range statement, as long as such changes do not diminish the breadth of application of the competency and reduce its portability
  • may add detail to the evidence guide in areas such as the critical aspects of evidence or resources and infrastructure required, where these expand the breadth of the competency but do not limit its use.

If we are not preparing a unit to any set standard, we have even more flexibility. For example, let’s say we are working with Japanese students with no knowledge of specific speech sounds for English. In our needs analysis, we could add a whole new competency standard.

To make sure that we still follow the Training Package rules, we can read the Training Package itself, or we can get the advice of others, including:

  • The Industry Skills Council responsible
  • Our colleagues within the training industry or within the industry for whom we are delivering the training

Accessing the Support Resources available for each Training Package at TGA can also give us some great ideas of what is appropriate.

When we are contextualising, it is a good idea to speak with our client to make sure that we really are going to link the Unit of Competency to the participants’ actual work.

Check out the training and assessment templates [

1. Training And Assessment Plan for a full course of study

3. Contextualisation Table

5. Learning plan review

6. Leaner Review Assessment

10. Work-Based Learning Pathway Plan

Use the template: