In January, Fortress Learning published an article called The Ten Painful Truths About The Cert IV TAE.
Recently, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) announced that it will cancel 432 Security and First Aid Qualifications and Statements of Attainment issued to 276 individuals.
This rings true to Painful Truth #8. Just because you get it, doesn’t always mean you get to keep it.
Online learning can be flexible, rewarding, affordable, efficient – it can be pretty great!
But, it also can be a lonely path filled with anxiety and uncertainty.
Here at Fortress, we like to make that path as warm and welcoming as possible.
Our TAE Trainers, Bryan and Emma, are very lovely and very willing to answer your questions. Get to know these wonderful humans – your Trainers – by reading our interview below.
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series: Get to know your Trainer.
What is learner discomfort?
“When a learner becomes conscious of their own performance – or lack of – that then can lead to them becoming anxious, which is an uncomfortable place to be.
So by “learner discomfort”, I guess I am talking about feelings of anxiety, worry or concern. A lack of confidence in the learner’s ability to participate in any meaningful way; to progress in any meaningful way.” – Dr Bryan West, Fortress Learning Diploma Trainer.
Now that we know what it is, how do we overcome it?
The four episodes below are from Fortress Learning’s series on teaching microskills called The Small Stuff.
In each episode, Bryan offers some strategies that you can implement in the classroom to make learning a much more comfortable, and therefore more productive, experience.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison.
Sometimes at Fortress Learning, our students get an assessment submission marked as Not Yet Satisfactory. This can cause disappointment, anxiety, sadness, and even anger!
The reality is, being marked as Not Yet Satisfactory is not the end of the world. It just means you get to have another shot at fulfilling the requirements of the task.
I sat down with Diploma Trainer and Managing Director of Fortress Learning, Dr Bryan West, to pick his brain about what it means to be marked as Not Yet Satisfactory.
Every now and then, a student writes a Review that we believe deserves to be featured and discussed. Instead of them ending up hidden among the others, we will share them with you, and let you know our thoughts about them.
This is what Carol said:
I researched who was offering on-line courses, and Fortress Learning kept coming up, the comments from previous students were consistent.
I made contact, and they were not pushy, or imposing, which I sometimes the case when trying to gain customers.
Contact has been streamlined and straight-forward, and very prompt.
Here at Fortress, we believe that by focusing on performance, compliance should follow.
It’s easy to get so caught up in ticking boxes and complying that we forget why we are doing it in the first place.
Ask yourself: are you simply complying, or are you performing?
With the VET sector’s changing landscape, compliance is paramount to an RTO’s success and longevity.
This is why Fortress Learning is pleased to share our free Your Monthly Compliance Strategy with you.
Your Monthly Compliance Strategy provides a structured approach to evaluating your organisation’s compliance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (2015).
Here is what Fortress Learning Managing Director, Dr Bryan West, had to say about the importance of staying compliant as an RTO.
“Compliance now is top of mind for people. Performance really should take precedence over compliance because if you’re performing properly and adequately then you will be complying.
However, the change in the landscape over the last couple of years, especially with a shift in the regulatory landscape, means that compliance is something now that people are really focusing on.
Part of the reason for that is because the goalposts appear to have been moved, but no one’s really sure where they’ve been put. And that’s why it’s important that during those times of uncertainty that we do fall back upon the basics that we know work, and one of those basics is having a clearly defined structure that does address all of the requirements of a fundamental document such as the Standards for RTOs 2015.
The framework we are providing to people is the same one that we use, it’s the same structure, the same questions that we are being asked and the same questions that we answer. It’s the same one that has been through our own audit process (this is for re-registration) and has been found to be compliant.
At a time when people are lacking confidence generally, it’s a way that people can know where the boundaries are in terms of compliance, and by having the big picture in front of them and broken down into smaller monthly chunks, they personally can be confident that they are doing what it is they need to be doing.”
Your Monthly Compliance Strategy mirrors the five phases of the student journey which form the basis of ASQA’s new audit model which can be seen in the image below:
Clicking HERE will allow you to download the complete Strategy, with 12 months of actionable items to ensure you are performing in line with the Standards.
Because many people ask for it in bite-sized chunks, we can also send to you each month a separate email with just that month’s compliance activities, along with a video to explain what to do in that month. To receive Your Monthly Compliance Strategy on the first Monday of each month, simply click the image below.
This Compliance Strategy is the same approach that we use at Fortress Learning, and we are happy to share it with you.
We hope it assists.
Here is what Tracey said:
After initial confusion of which dashboard I should be working through for my Dual Dips and getting my head around the process required, I found access to be easy.
Staff supportive and feedback useful. Assistance with extension was seamless.
The couple of not so positive points were that not realizing the extent of support and input needed from my colleagues was much more than expected (thinking it would be along similar lines as previous TAFE courses completed).
My other point would be that although this is an online course, I would have preferred the option to be able to print the course notebooks as well as view them on screens.
Why did this particular testimonial catch our attention?
Tracey made 4 points in her testimonial that we would like to expand on:
Learner engagement: sounds easy enough, but in reality, sometimes engaging a class can prove to be an uphill battle.
Whether you have just started your lesson, just resumed class after a break, or if things are starting to get out of control, you need to have some strategies in place to get things back on track.
One way to do this could be to play a fun game.
While I call them games, Bryan doesn’t like them to be called games as they are “serious”. He prefers to use the term higher level engagement strategies.
Believe it or not, hearing is not learning. Neither is reading.
In order to learn, you need to create connections in your brain between the old stuff you know and the new stuff you’re learning. Read more…
We’ve all been there. We have all sat at a desk re-reading the same section of text over and over again, becoming more and more frustrated by the second. Frustration leads to stress which leads to anxiety which leads to feelings of flight or fight. We want to quit, or we want to argue.
If you are studying a Cert IV TAE, Dual Diploma of VET/TDD, or a Triple Diploma of Business, Business Administration and Leadership and Management and felt this way, you are not alone. When we get stressed, often we get caught in the same loop of thinking. The trick is to have coping strategies for when the stressful moment arises.
Here are 4 actions to take when study is stressing you out:
To be brutally frank, the Cert IV TAE may well be Australia’s most resented qualification. For many people, it is something that they would rather have done than something that they want to do. For many people, it is something that they have to do to satisfy someone else’s requirements rather than something that they want to do to satisfy their own requirements.
Regardless of the reasons for doing it, there are some realities about the Cert IV TAE that we believe prospective students should be aware of. Why? Because it is not in the interests of our students or ourselves to enrol in something that ends up being something that they did not expect. And, thinking bigger picture, it is not in the interests of our nation for people to walk around thinking that they are competent after completing a program that was not sufficiently robust to ensure that they were competent.
So, here it is….
The painful truths. All 10 of them.
What does it mean to be accountable?
Here is the definition for “accountability” in the Business dictionary: “The obligation of an individual or organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”
Here at Fortress, we pride ourselves on being accountable. However, the thing about accountability is it takes two (Rod Stewart and Tina Turner say it best).
“Unlearning is not about forgetting. It’s about the ability to choose an alternative mental model or paradigm. When we learn, we add new skills or knowledge to what we already know. When we unlearn, we step outside the mental model in order to choose a different one.” – Harvard Business Review.
Unlearning what we already know can be tricky. It’s like going to a new country and learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road. Your cognitive memory has to unlearn the old in order to make way for the new.
Fortress Learning’s very own Amy Weeks kindly sat down with me to discuss what it was like studying her Cert IV TAE.
From start to finish, how long did your Cert IV take?
6 months. It was probably 4 months of not much at all except resentment, and then the last two months it was crackin’. And, with far less resentment.
Every now and then, a Cert IV TAE student writes a Review that we believe deserves to be featured and discussed. Instead of them ending up hidden among the others, we will share them with you, and let you know our thoughts about them.
This is what Denise said:
“I found this RTO extremely user-friendly, my trainer Emma was fantastic and was always extremely kind and helpful throughout the course. She encouraged me and motivated me to pursue my studies in a very difficult time and made me feel on top of the world once I achieved the tasks at hand. Hands down the best RTO I have dealt with. Thank you Fortress Learning I look forward to my future studies with your organisation.”
The Cert IV TAE has changed over the years. While the qualification has been transforming and evolving over a period of decades, public perception of what the course involves has remained largely the same.
In an effort to clear up any myths and misconceptions associated with the Cert IV TAE, I interviewed Fortress Learning’s very own Cert IV TAE Trainer, Emma Siebuhr.
Here is what Emma had to say:
I believe that the CERT IV TAE is a great Qualification to support people already really knowledgeable about their own industries.
It lets you develop a lot more understanding of exactly what it means to design and create your own training and assessment materials – not just work off of someone else’s designs.
It gives you back the ownership for what you can do as a trainer and assessor and provides you with skills to be able to actually write your own sessions and design the perfect assessment tool for assessing the units that you deliver. Read more…
Every now and then, a graduating student writes a Review that we believe really captures what we try to do. Instead of them ending up hidden among the others, we will share them with you, and try to explain why we think they are so appropriate.
Here is what Trudy said:
“Firstly be aware this course is very demanding particularly in the volume of assessments/workload. To undertake it online you need to be highly motivated & extremely organised. If you can do this I highly recommend Fortress Learning… Emma is everything you can hope for & more. She’s not on call 24/7 but that is not an impediment to success… I’ve done post graduate university study & found the TAE more difficult but however to use a cliche with Fortress you can do it.”
We often hear that some people find courses within the VET sector more difficult than a university degree.
Fortress Learning Diploma of Business Administration, Diploma of Leadership and Management, and Diploma of Training, Design and Development Graduate, Christopher Ward, recently shared his experience comparing VET and University education with us:
‘It’s just a vocational certificate, how hard can it be? It’s not like it is university.’ Quite often students seem to think that VET courses are all easy and take very little effort. That would at least be partly true due to the… well… you know, some of the less than compliant RTOs that seem to give out qualifications like they are a bag of chocolate all sorts.
My own experience (where I learnt my lesson) – Diploma of Business was going to be easy, right? I mean, I had a couple of years of management experience by then. And better yet, the girlfriend of my study friend was starting 2nd year university for Bachelor of Business, surely she could help. My study friend asked for her help and as it turns out, what we were learning to do during a 6 month Diploma was ahead of the practical learning at university… we ended up helping her instead! (So much for vocational learning being strictly sub-par to university).
The role of a Trainer and Assessor requires efficiency, an eye for detail and, most importantly, the ability to lead students to success.
Here are 10 leadership attributes of a Trainer and Assessor, with quotes from those who know the profession well:
Self-efficacy can be defined as a person’s belief in their ability to succeed. Having a full belief in oneself and one’s occupation allows both the Trainer and Assessor and student to feel confident that they, together, can succeed.
“Teach with passion… A passion that comes from an innate place to harness knowledge and nurture skill.”
– Vijia Chain, Ready Health Nursing College CEO and Director of Clinical Governance.
“I believe it is difficult for most people to have a full belief in one’s self. A lot of people have trouble with that for whatever reason. I don’t believe it is necessary to have a full belief in one’s self in order to have a full belief in what you’re doing.
From a point of view of leadership it’s so much easier to lead others; to encourage others; to be a role model for others, if you believe, and if you together believe, in what it is you are trying to achieve.”
– Dr Bryan West, Fortress Learning Managing Director.
In the name of research (and because we were curious) Fortress Learning reached out to our recent graduates to ask them a series of three questions:
What questions do you wish you had asked before starting your course?
What do you wish you had known during your course?
What advice would you give someone who is about to start their course?
It was truly humbling the amount of detailed, in-depth responses we received. We felt it was only fair to share this constructive and well-thought-out feedback with those who could use it the most: our students.
To any new or existing Fortress Learning students, here are some helpful tips, thoughts and opinions from those who have gone before you: