There are no specific requirements for delivering the training, other than to cover the syllabus, which is available from the RCF website. Each syllabus has been written to specify what will be examined. It is therefore a good guide for trainers in knowing what knowledge/understanding a candidate should have fostered in them through their training.
There is no need for candidates to attend a formal training course; they can self-study by reading the RSGB textbooks and/or other amateur radio training material. However, attendance on a course is highly recommended.
The Radio Amateurs Invalid and Blind Club (RAIBC) and the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) have jointly produced the RSGB training textbooks on different media:
Foundation Licence Now! – available on audio tapes or data CDs (contains MP3 files)
Intermediate Licence – Building on the Foundation — available on data CD
Advanced Licence – the Full Licence Book - available on data CD.
To order copies of these publications please contact the RAIBC.
Formal training courses — timings
As a rough guide, the training courses generally typically last:
12-16 hours for Foundation (equivalent to two days at weekends)
20-24 hours for Intermediate
32-36 hours for Advanced
There is no set way of delivering the training time. Some Training Providers run weekly classes of about 2 hours each; others run intense weekend courses. Each has their advantages and disadvantages; the choice is yours, based on the resources you have available and the prior learning of the candidates.
Timing is not crucial for Foundation and Intermediate training, as you can arrange to hold examinations to tie in with your training schedule — these examinations are available anytime subject to a minimum of 10 working days notice.
The Advanced examination is offered on fixed dates seven times each year. The dates are published on the RSGB Tutors’ webpage a year in advance, to allow the longer Advanced training courses to be planned with an examination date in mind. Actual examination bookings do not need to be made at the start of an Advanced course, as the notice period for examination papers is considerably shorter than most training courses.
Formal training courses – presentation
Trainers must make themselves familiar with the relevant syllabus requirements to ensure that they cover sufficient detail, but do not go into more detail than is required for the level being examined. Having said that, it can sometimes aid the understanding of a required element if the candidates are given a bit more detail than is actually required.
The material should be broken down into manageable topics spread over the time available, bearing in mind the abilities of the candidates and number of trainers. That will vary for each Amateur Radio Examination level; but also often between different courses at the same level.
Trainers should prepare and agree a simple lesson plan in advance, so that all trainers can cover their material in the time available. Sticking to that plan is important; long waffling off-topic will probably bore your candidates and you will run out of time!
The Instructor presenting a topic, including any practical exercises and demonstrations, should prepare it in advance. The first time you present a topic, it is advisable to first present it privately to yourself so you can gauge the running time and make any necessary adjustments.
Practical exercises and demonstrations are extremely important for learning, and should be incorporated wherever possible into topic presentations.
Computer-based slide shows are very popular and can be a great resource if used properly. They can also be deadly boring, so beware!
Trainers need to keep presentations interesting and involve their candidates in a two-way exchange of information by asking regular questions and requesting feedback during the presentation. Just reading out the textbook chapters is insufficient; the material needs to be “brought to life”.
Although presentation length is a matter of individual style, you will probably find that for best results no topic should last more than about 45 minutes; and try to ensure that you give regular breaks.
There needs to be close and careful liaison and co-operation between every Trainer, the Registered RSGB Assessors, and the Examination Secretary involved in each course. However, there is no requirement for any single person to be designated as having overall control of the training; the old term ‘Lead Assessor’ has therefore been discontinued.
Students need to know the material but they also need to know how the exams are carried out. Trainers therefore need to include some time for briefing on exam technique, including how to complete the Optical Marking Sheets.
A number of sample exam papers and blank Optical Marking Sheets are available from the RSGB website. These should be used to run mock exams to allow students to get a feel for the process before the real thing. They also provide a useful guide for targeting revision on topics that are not answered well.
updated 2013-11-11 G5FM