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Level 3 Award in Education and Training textbook

What I Learned from the Level 3 Award in Education & Training

Since I completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training, several fellow freelancers and trainers have asked me if it’s worth it.

I’ve put together my thoughts on why the course (and resulting qualification) was useful to me and what I’ve learned from the process.

What is the Level 3 Award in Education and Training?

The AET is designed for people teaching and training in further and higher education – aka 16+. It’s sometimes still referred to as the PTLLS – Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector – but was revamped a few years ago to its current name and format.

It’s a level 3 vocational teaching qualification for trainers/teachers and covers topics such as teaching methods, learning styles, responsibilities, assessment methods and facilitating learning for both individuals and groups.

The Level 3 Award in Education and Training is beginner level and suitable for those new to or entering teaching/training, as well as people like me who haven’t done formal qualifications in training before. You can progress to a Level 4 Certificate or Level 5 Diploma.

Course Format & Assessment

The course comes in all shapes and sizes. Mine was an in-person, one-day-a-fortnight course over 6 sessions, with coursework to complete at home throughout, and 2 assessment days. An online version would probably have been easier (just for the logistics of fitting around work), but I enjoyed the group dynamics and definitely learned a lot from my peers.

Assessment comes in two parts:
1) Coursework which assesses theoretical knowledge, and can vary in format depending on your course provider.
2) 15-30 minute delivery of a training session – or a “micro-teach” – on a topic of your choice. This is the practical part. You’ll also need to take part in assessing/observing your peers during their micro teaches.

What I Learnt from the AET

The 3 most valuable things I learned from taking this qualification were:
> Lesson planning/structure, and setting learning objectives
> Learning styles and developing training content to engage all learners
> Giving and receiving feedback, as well as seeing the group members’ different training delivery styles

As with any course, there will be some elements that just don’t apply to your day-to-day work. For me, the least useful element of the Award in Education and Training was learning about formal assessment since this isn’t currently part of the majority of my work – however, it may come in handy for future projects.

… And How I’ve Used It Since

I’ve been doing a LOT of training since taking the course (and was previously) and have definitely noticed myself putting some of my AET learnings into action!

  • Developing workshop content and refining the structure of the sessions to focus on learning objectives – always making sure we’re working towards those initial goals!
  • There’s a strong feedback culture in several teams I’ve worked in both before and after the course. Learning how to give constructive feedback to both learners and peers was invaluable
  • Learning styles was something I knew a little about, but now focus on when developing workshop content, to ensure all learners are engaged.
  • Behaviour management and creating an effective, safe and productive learning environment proved to be very useful skills to have

Would I recommend the AET?

Yes! If you want an entry-level qualification in teaching/training, or have been training for a while without a formal qualification, this is a great course. It covers both developing training content and effective delivery, so it’s useful whether you’re delivering other peoples’ workshops or writing your own – or, like me, a bit of both 🙂

It’s also a good qualification to have if you want to get into training in organisations like colleges, apprenticeship schemes and often councils. The reason I finally took it – after considering it for a few years – was due to a client of mine working with a local council who required all trainers on their courses to have this qualification. So it can definitely open doors if you want to work on more formally-assessed training or teaching programmes.

Bonus: Tips for passing the Award in Education & Training

  • Get yourself a textbook; whichever one is recommended by your course provider, and also one or both of Ann Gravells’ books. They’ll be essential for coursework.
  • Take notes and join in! I’ve actually referred to my notes since finishing the qualification – you’re not at school now and what you’re learning will actually apply to real life 😉
  • Do the coursework as you go, or at least take structured notes. My trainer signposted the coursework sections that were relevant to each lesson, so we could work through them as we went. This allows you to spend more time focused on the lesson plan and preparing for delivery at the end.
  • Pay attention to the learning objectives for each section of coursework, as these tell you what the assessor is looking for in your answer.
  • During the assessment sessions: give constructive feedback to others, take feedback on board, and learn from other peoples’ teaching styles. 
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