Article from: International Bike Fitter Magazine – January 2022 (Issue 4)
As you’ve no doubt gathered from the previous pages, the new IBFI education syllabus is a big step up from anything currently available in the bike fitting industry. It covers a broad range of topics and progresses through to subjects rarely taught but that are incredibly important for inclusivity, like ParaCycling. Everyone should be able to experience the joy of riding a bike, and that module, in particular, is a huge step in that direction. But it’s a big and complex change, so we’re sure you’ll have lots of questions. Here’s a quick guide to some of the more common questions we’ve been asked so far.
Why are the courses so much bigger?
The European Qualification Framework (EQF) helps us define the difficulty of a course and the level of complexity, but it doesn’t mention length. You can do a short course at a higher level, or a long course at a lower level. So we decided to follow the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which splits courses into three categories: Award, Certificate and Diploma. Awards are any courses from 10-120 hours of learning, Certificates cover courses between 120 and 370 hours, while Diplomas cover courses over 370 hours.
You may have noticed through the syllabus pages that each module has a number of learning hours associated with it. Guided learning is actual contact time, while total learning includes selfguided learning, like additional reading around the subject, going over your notes and time spent thinking about and processing the new concepts.
The IBFI will work towards becoming an issuing body under the QCF, meaning that students who complete all four levels will be able to receive a Diploma in bike fitting. If we manage to get to that stage, colleges and universities across Europe (and hopefully several other parts of the world) will recognise the qualification and may offer university credits in acknowledgement of recognised prior learning (RPL).
How are the courses split?
Each level is split into two modules, each with equivalent to 3 days guided learning. One module will be more knowledge-based, and delivered online, while the other module will be more skillbased and delivered in-person.
The online content will be delivered by education providers on a learning platform hosted by the IBFI, which be launched at the beginning of 2022. Students will be able to view courses by their preferred provider by visiting their landing page, or view all courses by visiting the homepage for that course level. Regardless of which provider you choose, every student at the same level will attend the same assessment, and only after passing that assessment will you be allowed to progress to the next level.
Will you assess the in-person courses as well?
Yes. You may have noticed there’s a teaching, assessing and mentoring lesson at level 4. All courses delivered in-person must have at least one instructor who has attended this lesson, and all in-person assessments can only be carried out by instructors that have attended that lesson.
The IBFI will then manage an external moderation programme, where roughly 1 in 10 course attendees will be selected at random to have their assessment material from the in-person courses re-marked by an external and independent assessor. This ensures that all course providers are assessing to the same standards.
What will the assessments look like?
Online assessments will follow a simple format. Level 1 will be multiple choice questions marked automatically by the learning platform. Level 2 will be open-ended questions, where you have to type in your own response, and will be marked by an IBFI assessor. Levels 3 and 4 will be assessed by a combination of openended questions and case studies, with IBFI and/or external assessors marking the assessment material.
In-person courses will be assessed by your instructors, with the external moderation mentioned above. Instructors will be trained in what to assess and how, and the student will be asked to produce a folder of supporting evidence. This may include questions and answers, photos of practical assessments, and explanations of decision-making processes.
Level 4 certification may include in-person peer-review. This could become part of an assessment day tagged on the back of a conference or event, or be done virtually. We’re working hard to ensure that level 4 certification is the highest possible standard and something fitters will be proud to achieve.
Will this replace the old certification system?
Long-term, yes, but there’ll be a grace period of at least two years where experienced fitters can still apply for certification based on the old credits system.
How will the new system effect existing and experienced fitter?
Existing IBFI members will retain their current certification level and be given time to work their way through the online content at each level up to their current level of certification. This must be completed before they can access the courses at the next level, but they can attend in-person courses at their current level or below.
If a fitter fails an assessment at any level, they’ll be given the opportunity to re-sit the assessment and support to help them bring their training level back in line with their certification level. Persistent failings may result in the IBFI lowering a fitter’s certification level, but only as a last resort. Fitters will be given every opportunity to pass, and on-going support will be provided.
There are further details being discussed currently that may impact level 4 fitters, but any decision on that will be made in consultation with IBFI members. It has been proposed that all level 4 fitters be dropped back a step to level 3, meaning they’ll have to complete all the content at level 4 (both online and in-person) to get back up to level 4. This was proposed given the huge step up in training material to ensure that all level 4 fitters have completed the highest-level courses.