TAERES501 – Apply research to training and assessment practice

Adam 8.3.21 - TAERES501 Review

NRT logoHolding this unit is resulting in a higher salary for Trainers in a growing number of RTOs.  Doing TAERES501 will show Studies in Applied Research that are linked to the Boyer framework of scholarship.  It’s also a chance to do some pretty interesting stuff.

About the Program

This is an exciting unit.

Why is it exciting?

Because at its heart is the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and dig deep; to discover the reasons for things that have been driving us nuts or keeping us awake at night and, with those discoveries, to make recommendations for a better way of doing things.

You see, research is about indulging our own curiosity.  This unit cements that within our work at the coalface of training and assessment and while it can be complex and challenging and sometimes mind-bending, it is a terribly exciting thing to be able to do.

For many seasoned Trainers/Assessors, the act of research can be professionally invigorating, and renew a sense of commitment to and enthusiasm for their chosen profession.  Research allows us to illuminate things that otherwise lay in darkness, and that is both personally rewarding, professionally satisfying and, if we consider the bigger picture, organizationally essential.  If the VET sector is really going to be equipped to address the challenges it faces, then it will be those training professionals who conduct research at the coalface that will be doing the equipping.

We are being increasingly contacted by professional Trainers/Assessors who are saying that they need to have this unit in order to reach the next pay level.  Of course, this does not affect everyone so it would be worth talking to your own HR people to find out what is needed in your own situation.

There are some private RTOs who seem to be pushing for it.  Most notably is in Victoria, where Schedule 4 of the Victorian TAFE Staff Teaching Agreement 2018 states that for either an AQF Level 5 or Level 6 teaching qualification to be approved for the purposes of determining salary, it must include (among other things):

Studies in Applied Research (linked to the Boyer framework of scholarship).

While many Trainers/Assessors already possess the Dip VET and/or Dip TDD, few will have included TAERES501 – Apply research to training & assessment  as an elective unit.

  • Because most people who have completed either of the TAE Diplomas will not have included this unit.
  • Many people wanting to do TAERES501 will also be wanting to complete their Dip VET as soon as possible to meet their employment requirements.  These people often prefer to do the unit by itself after graduating with the Dip VET.

In simplest terms, TAERES501 requires you to do three things:

  • find something in your RTO about training/assessment you think could be better understood
  • plan and then conduct some research to help to improve that understanding
  • report on and review everything you did

Of course, there are more hoops to jump through and the process involves developing three reports:

  1. A Statement of Context, that explores what it is that you think could be researched, and possible ways of doing that research
  2. A Research Brief, that outlines how the research will be conducted
  3. A Report of Findings, that communicates what you did, what you discovered, and what you recommend happens next

We provide a very structured process with helpful templates to scaffold the entire process.

A note about ethics approval:

Research projects that include other people may require ethics approval.   Fortress Learning does not have a Higher Research Ethics Committee or equivalent.  Although we in 10 years not encountered an institution who insisted on HREC approval, we recommend people who are considering this unit to satisfy themselves that the organisation in which they intend to conduct their research project will enable them to conduct research given the above, and where necessary, satisfy themselves that they will be able to make alternate arrangements to obtain the necessary approvals.

Full details about the TAERES501 Unit can be found at training.gov.au

For more information, phone us on 1300 141 994 or click here to complete our Contact Form.

We won’t leave you in the dark.  We know that once you are underway, making you wait for weeks or months for an email or a phone call for your marking to be reviewed is not just going to lower your motivation and disrupt your learning, it is probably going to make you very frustrated and delay your progress.

Our students are very busy people with narrow windows of opportunity to study.  If you are like them, then when one of those windows opens, you’ll want to make the most of it and you’ll rely on us to help with that.  That’s why you can expect:

  • emails: response within 8 business hours
  • missed calls:  response within 4 business hours
  • marking your submissions:  feedback provided within 4 business days

Actually, these are what we call ‘external measures’.  Our ‘internal measures’ are even stricter (eg, 80% of marking is done within 2 business days…) and when we have trouble meeting our internal measures, we know it is time to slow new enrolments to make sure we maintain our promise to current students.  That’s because we are not driven by the pursuit of more students at the expense of lower standards.

There’s a few others, but these seem to be the main ones that keep our students motivated rather than waiting and wondering.

We believe this unit is suitable for people who:

  • have at least a few years experience at the coalface of an RTO environment
  • have completed or be enrolled in the Dip VET
  • are committed to their own professional development
  • have an inquiring mind; people who often find themselves asking  Why? or What if?

While we understand that the initial motivation for some people will be a higher rate of pay, we recommend that people entering this program do so with a commitment to immerse themselves fully in its activities.  If getting it done is more important than doing it, it will likely be a rather unfulfilling experience, and perhaps the Fortress Learning approach to the unit will not be the most suitable for you.

The following are just some examples of possible research projects. You can replicate any of these, although we provide them with the expectation that they will trigger your own ideas.

Remember:  you do not need to have your topic chosen before you begin.  We expect to work it out together, and narrow it down so that your end results will be both credible and useful.

Do Corrective Actions lead to improved Learner Engagement?

Method:  Quantitative

This project contrasts the number and timing of items of corrective action that have been undertaken over a period of 3 years with changes in Learner Engagement data.  The results will demonstrate if the corrective actions have led to discernible improvements in Learner Engagement, and make recommendations for further research to better quantify this connection.

What do validation findings reveal about Assessor knowledge and skill?

Method: Qualitative

This project examines the nature of recommendations arising from validation activities in the 12 months to December 2018.  The recommendations are then collated to identify any particular gaps in the knowledge or skill of assessors, and recommendations made to determine further professional development to address those gaps.

A comparison of critical components of Training & Assessment Strategies in 3 RTOs

Method:  Qualitative

The process for developing a new Training & Assessment Strategy in three separate RTOs is captured.  Participants in the process are interviewed during open-ended interviews to identify their assumptions about what constitute the critical elements of the TAS development process.  These data are then compared with the researcher’s own RTO and recommendations made for how the development of TAS’s can be enhanced.

Does mode of delivery affect outcomes?

Method:  Quantitative/Qualitative

XYZ RTO delivers the same qualification in face to face and online modes.  Data related to assessment outcomes for students studying in each mode are analysed to determine if there is a significant difference.  Analysis of student feedback during the program are then analysed to identify potential causes for any differences that are identified.

When it comes to the TAERES501 Unit, a number of items of evidence will be needed to demonstrate your competence.  In simple terms, this includes showing all of the things in the above tab.

If you have conducted some research previously that is specifically related to Training/Assessment, then that may lead to less tasks for you to do.  Just having done some research will likely not be enough – there are some very particular parts of this unit that will also need to be demonstrated, which may mean that a hybrid approach could be suitable, where we use a combination of what you have done before, and add to it to address any gaps.

We will provide some templates that you can use to collate this information.

A Third Party Report from a suitable person will also be required, and we will provide a template for that.

All students who enrol are provided both RPL and Coursework Assessment options so that you can make an informed decision about which path to follow.

The fee for TAERES501 Apply research to training and assessment practice unit is $600.

Over 45? You might be eligible for 50% funding.

If you are over 45, you might have half of your course fees paid by the government’s Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers (SCOW) program. More information on this page.


We allow 6 months.  Why?  Our students are generally juggling many of life’s commitments and this period gives them the chance to succeed.  It is based on the following allocation of time:

  • Month 1 – work out the research question and develop knowledge related to educational research
  • Month 2 – develop the Research Brief
  • Months 3-5 – conduct the research
  • Month 6 – develop the Report of Findings

Bear in mind that our quick response times also helps to reduce the total time that it might otherwise take; after all, getting your marking done in less than 4 days is going to make the whole thing a lot quicker than if we took weeks or months.  Similarly, you won’t be left wondering for days or weeks when your question about this research method or that analysis technique is best.

The actual duration of each research project will vary, and it may well be possible to complete the research in less than the 3 months allocated above.  Our estimate is that the entire unit will require about 170 hours, based on 100 hours for undertaking the research and analyses component.

It’s one thing to think about taking the next step to secure your future. It is another to actually go and do it.

When you are ready to take control of the direction your life takes, then we invite you to join us.

Our enrolment process involves four steps, as shown below.

You can get your online enrolment started here.

Enrollment Process Infographic

Past students:

If you are a past graduate of Fortress Learning, simply call 1300 141 994 or email student.support@fortresslearning.com.au and we’ll help you get started.

New students:

You can enrol online by following the steps from here.

For more information, phone us on 1300 141 994 or click here to complete our Contact Form.

 You can call us on 1300 141 994 or fill out the Contact Form.
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