The Cert IV TAE: How “unlearning” can help you learn more

Lightbulb moment that unlearning can help you learn more

“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.

It’s all about moving forward and realising what is no longer relevant.

The new Cert IV TAE has emerged during a changing time for the VET sector. While the qualification itself is not drastically different from the old TAE40110, the landscape of the VET sector has changed quite a bit.

“It is not a Qualification for the faint-hearted and don’t let the AQF level 4 mislead you. This is a difficult qualification and requires lots of work. It is not just about the actual training and assessment in practical terms but also the knowledge that goes along with training in this newly emerging and much more stringent VET world.”

– Emma Siebuhr, Fortress Learning Cert IV TAE Trainer. You can read more about what the Cert IV TAE is and isn’t here.

So what needs to be “unlearned”? 

Within the VET world, there are some perceptions that are no longer relevant.


The prices of courses have increased recently, and have been increasing over the past 20 years. I like to compare this with buying a cup of coffee.

Once upon a time, you used to be able to buy a cup of coffee for $1. Now the average cup of coffee will set you back $5.

Why did the price of coffee increase? Well, when it was $1, you were paying for the filtered, watered down coffee with a dollop of milk in a cup.

Now, you are paying for a specific type of coffee bean, a coffee machine that costs the same as a small car, a trained barista, beautiful coffee art on top of your flat white with milk that was frothed with a steamer, not to mention the choice of regular, skim, soy, almond, or coconut milk available to you. On top of that, you are also paying to drink that coffee in a gorgeous cafe with cute chairs, art work on the wall and a newspaper available for you to read. More than the coffee, you are paying for the experience.

If you expect to pay $1 for a cup of coffee in the current cafe landscape, you won’t find anyone who sells it for that price, as that price is no longer relevant.

The same can be said about the new Cert IV TAE. Prices have gone up due to the increased quality of resources, the increased study load, as well as the supported learning experience we offer.


The myth that the Cert IV TAE can be completed in 3 days needs to be unlearned.

“The volume of learning alone for the Cert IV is 600 – 2400 hours. That means that even if you have experience in training and assessment, this course still requires you to complete about 10-12 hours of study a week for a 12 month duration. This type of learning (and then we add assessment on top of that) cannot be crammed into 3 days or even 5 or 10.

Industry has, for too long, looked at the CERT IV TAE as just a piece of paper but I really believe that in the current climate, industry are going to need to accept that employees just can’t get this done in a couple of days anymore. They will need to support their staff to be able to study while on the job.”

– Emma Siebuhr, Fortress Learning Cert IV TAE Trainer. You can read more about what the Cert IV TAE is and isn’t here.

RPL vs Coursework

The myth that RPL is the quicker and easier option needs to be unlearned.

It is a common misconception that Recognition of Prior Learning will be a quick and easy alternative to “starting from scratch” with coursework. RPL is still an assessment process in which the student must provide current evidence that clearly meets all requirements of the qualification.  It can be a toilsome process, as what you do in your workplace (and from where your evidence comes) may not be the same as what the qualification is needing you to do. In some cases, we have heard students say, “I wish I had just done the Coursework!”

In the current stringent and rigorous VET landscape, a “quick” and “easy” way of completing the Cert IV TAE no longer exists.

“Online learning is a hard and lonely way to study”

Perhaps this was once the case, but here at Fortress, we pride ourselves on offering timely and effective support and feedback. We are available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Give us a call or send us an email – we are here to support you!

“The Fortress teachers and staff are extremely helpful and available. They made my learning journey more enjoyable than I originally expected.” – Jen via Trustpilot.

In conclusion…

When something is no longer relevant or effective, it can be difficult to unlearn what we have come to know. Most people struggle with change… but, as we all know, change is inevitable and accepting this truth is the first step.

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