Conversations: Meagan talks about her Diploma with Fortress Learning (video).

I had the pleasure of speaking with Meagan Probert from Key Assets, an Australia-wide foster care organisation.
Meagan is currently enrolled in a Diploma of Leadership & Management with Fortress Learning. The mother of two has a Bachelor of Social Work and has worked in the field for over 20 years. Her current role at Key Assets is Manager of Learning Development and Practice.
I had a lovely chat with Meagan, where among other things, we discussed:
Read more…

My Role as Your Trainer (Infographic)

Trainers don’t just train.  They listen, they learn, they plan, they adapt, they help, they soothe, they challenge and they tolerate.

Students expect all this, and often more besides.  But, for a Trainer to be effective at training, they must be very clear about what is most important. Read more…

Dear Future Student

Dear future student

Soon, you will be starting a journey of sorts.  It could be an amazingly wonderful experience filled with great moments of illumination, or it could be aching drudgery.  It will probably be a bit of both.  Either way, we will be in it together.

In many ways, it is like going for a walk in the woods.

When we begin, we will Read more…

Just because nobody ever told you, doesn’t mean you’re not.

The former Google employee who worked out the value of honest feedback has something that all managers can learn from.  In simple terms, her model of Radical Candour offers hope to those people who feel trapped in a world where being anything but nice is considered the same as harassment, bullying and betrayal.

But, if someone in the Manager’s chair is to do their job, then they will have to Read more…

To cut the rope? Lessons for leaders from Touching the Void.

So much is written about leadership & management.  And how it is about people, and relationships.

While that may be true, someone who occupies such a position is ultimately there to make decisions.  These are often made within difficult circumstances and these decisions will invariably affect those people and those relationships, in different ways and to different degrees.

After all, the leader is by virtue of their position tethered to not just one, but to the many.

For the leader, the decision to act this way or that is not always about making thebest decision.

Instead, it is often about making the least-worst decision.

At its most basic, it is about making decisions when we really would rather not. Read more…

How does Fortress Learning respond to the challenges of online learning?

Child listeningIt starts by listening.

One thing our staff like to do is listen.  It’s a skill we look for when recruiting our people.  We like to listen because that tells us if our students are succeeding, and we want to know that for the simple reason that if they don’t succeed, then neither do we.

Since we started delivering the TAA Cert IV online in 2009, we have listened to thousands of students.

So, what have we heard?

We have heard that online learning offers many advantages, and our recent survey of 300 people confirmed what we already believed (you can read about that here):  It can be flexible, it can be rewarding, it can be affordable, it can be efficient.  But, it also can be a lonely path filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

But, as with all things, can does not equal is.  It is only when conscious choices are made that the benefits of online learning can be achieved.

For us, online learning is first and foremost about people. Read more…

It just depends: Online versus Face-to-Face?




This article will seek to summarise the recurring themes that emerged from a survey of 300 people, drawn mostly from a number of Linkedin and Facebook groups related to VET and higher education.  Where used here, the responses of participants will be in italics – other than correcting a few typos, the comments are unedited.

Perhaps not surprisingly is the almost universal agreement that one is not intrinsically better than the other.  Or, in the words of one respondent:

…it just depends.

While that may be true, it is not by itself helpful for people trying to decide which way is best for them.

Read more…

Pieces of Paper Say More about Attitude than Skills


Bernard Salt was giving advice in his Weekend Australian column.  He reckons that being over 50, he is entitled to do so (with the European cruise to come later, in his 60s).

Anyway, his advice was to kids, and it was simply two things that he believes are required  to ensure career and/or business success.  

1. the first thing you need is training.  I wouldn’t want to be … approaching the 2020s without an accredited set of skills.

2. the second thing is less tangible.  It is a set of qualities; the all important soft-skills, including the killer soft skill that … comes deep within the core personality.  Are you resilient?

I tend to agree, and wonder if these two are very closely linked.

Read more…

Three Steps to Effective Learning Objectives

Vect-11-12 [Converted]

All learning must be focused towards a goal. Without a goal, one has no way of knowing whether they’ve arrived or not. In VET, we call these goals our “Learning Objectives.” They define what we expect our learners to be able to do once the training is over and they are assessed.
Read more…

Changes in Business Document Design


Business documentation has changed through the years. Whereas documentation used to refer to printed paper forms which had to be filled out and filed, today’s business uses mostly electronic forms. While some of these are still printed and filled out manually, the majority of them are only created electronically and are maintained only as computer records.
Read more…

Has Your Company Gone Green Yet?


It seems like there’s a lot of focus in today’s marketplace over the idea of “going green.” The general public has taken at least a passing interest in ecology and is rewarding companies which show the same interest with brand loyalty. This, of course, gives companies a reason to profess an interest in the environment as well, implementing sustainability strategies to garner public approval.
Read more…

Getting Your Team Together


Leading a project team is even more challenging than managing a department; even more so if one has to lead an inter-disciplinary team. A manager has the pull of controlling their employees’ performance reviews and therefore their raises, while a team leader doesn’t. So, it takes considerably more leadership skill to be a team leader than it does to be a manager.
Read more…

The Learner Who Just Doesn’t Get It


One of the saddest things to face in a training cycle is when a learner doesn’t pass their qualifications assessment. This can be particularly hard on some learners, depending upon their individual personality. Some will want to quit, others will blame the trainer, and still others will just get depressed.
Read more…

The All-Important Training Session Plan


“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin was the first one to say those immortal words, although others have followed suit, including Winston Churchill. Those words have become a byword for anyone who teaches time management. They should likewise become a byword for every trainer.
Read more…

Getting Your Network On


“Networking” is one of the business buzzwords of today. This word originated with the idea of connecting computers together in a “local area network” so that they could communicate with one another. Today, the whole world is networked together through the Internet.
Read more…

Continually Improving


It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to develop the world’s best chocolate chip cookie or create the best training session; improvement often comes out of a number of small, incremental steps. This key thought, is a central part of what continuous quality improvement is all about. Instead of seeking out that one change which will make everything perfect, continuous improvement is about working to constantly improve, so that over time, the product you are delivering becomes better.
Read more…

Seeking Funding for Small Business Growth


Probably the greatest obstacle to small business growth is funding. Most small business owners start their businesses because they are true experts in their field. They decide to take the risk and open their business, rather than continue working for others.

The risk of starting a business is incredibly high. Less than half of the businesses which are started make it past the three year mark. Generally, the business ends up failing, not only taking the owner’s profits, but taking their savings as well.
Read more…

Have You Reviewed Your Website? 

Fortress_Learning-Have You Reviewed Your Website

Having a web presence has gotten to be one of the requirements in today’s business environment. Even brick and mortar stores and businesses need that Internet presence, if for no other reason than to help people find them. We’ve become a society that no longer uses the telephone directory to find businesses, we now “Google it” to find what we want.
Read more…