Cert IV TAE – Online vs Face to Face Training

Are you ready for the cold, hard truth?

The Cert IV TAE is a qualification that has become more and more of a requirement for the workplace in the recent 5 years.  It is a qualification that is a must-have for anyone that wants to train and assess in the VET sector.  Due to market demand, and the way people love to study these days, as a trainer working for an RTO I get the following comments from people on the phone constantly:

‘Can’t I just do it via distance?  It’s cheaper if I just do it via distance.’

‘I just don’t have the time to come into a face to face class.’

‘I just need to get the piece of paper!’

In this blog article I’d like to express a personal opinion about this topic and it may offend some, and it may be contrarian to the market view – however people need to understand something about this qualification that many seem to be regularly put aside in a desire for price concerns and easier outcomes.

Lets start out by asking a critical question – and probably a question that you need to consider when you evaluate if distance is right for you.  What is the difference between ‘Training’ and ‘Education’.  Fundamentally, if we think about it, the ultimate distinction is that in ‘Training’ a student/learner demonstrates performance and receives FEEDBACK, and as a result their performance improves over time.  ‘Education’, on the other hand, is more of a passive activity and leans towards being EXPOSED to information.  So I’d encourage you to ask yourself if you want to truly be trained in how to be a trainer and assessor, and make sure that the modality that you choose allows for significant feedback on your performance, so that you, over time, can develop the skills, confidence and mastery in relation to delivering your training content effectively.

I think it is often ironic that the qualification itself is training you how to be a trainer and assessor.  Yet, there is a perception that those skills could, in an adequate way, be developed through self study and minimal experience inside the classroom.  Now I am not saying it is impossible, however when compared to face to face training through which you receive direct and on the spot feedback on how to improve your presentation skills and assessor skills, I don’t think the distance modality would ever come close.  Let me give you an illustration to explain why:

Let’s say that you wanted to learn to drive a car, and I as a caring trainer/parent I gave you a book and I said please read this book, do some activities with your friends in the car, and then go take your driving test.  But you will only have access to a driving ‘trainer’ over the phone.  What do you think your chances of success might be in passing that driving test?  Here is another case study: if I want to teach you to swim there are two methods, there is the ‘wet method’ and the ‘dry method’.  ‘Dry method’ is I will give you a book on how to swim, get you to memorise it and then throw you into the pool.  You may or may not drown straight away depending on your level of determination…. However I’d personally prefer the ‘wet method’.  The ‘wet method’ implies the following, we gradually get into the water together, I get you used to various levels of depth, teach you a few strokes, get you to try them, we build up your stroke rhythm, and we eventually get you doing laps of that pool.

I am sure by now you can start to see some correlation with training and assessing.  Now I will never say online training is never suitable – in fact, at RAM Training we offer it as an option for those who truly do not have the time for a face to face course.  There are many qualifications that online is highly suitable for, and particularly for those qualifications that are obviously more theory dependent, and less performance based, it can be ideal.

However, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions when you are evaluating whether you should undertake a course via distance or online study:

  1. Do I have the time available to allocate within my schedule to get the work done e.g 3 hours per week, 3 weekends a month, possibly more.
  2. Will this RTO have a learning management platform that gives me up to date feedback on my assessment and ‘Training’ skills?  Some do, some do not.
  3. Will taking a cheaper option possibly cost me more as the learning journey could be longer and tougher?

At the end of the day ,which modality you choose is a personal choice and will probably be based on your learning capabilities, your needs, time availability, and of course financial situation.  However please make your choice wisely, and remember the TAE isn’t just a ‘piece of paper’ – it is the gateway to skills and knowledge to make you a powerful trainer in the training room, and a professional assessor.

Hope you got value out of this blog and if you have any questions, comments or feedback about the above topic please comment below or send a email to us at info@ramtrainingservices.com.au.

Written by Marc Miles


You can connect with Marc Miles via Google+ and Facebook.

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