The Corrodere Academy saw the potential in the rise in functionality in online platforms, and embarked upon looking into what courses and assessments could be delivered and managed using the technology By David Eyre, Project Manager, Corrodere Academy
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For many years we have all noticed how the world is shrinking. Smart phones with FaceTime and WhatsApp allow people everywhere to see and communicate live, and it’s now possible to fly anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. Little did we know what was coming, and how this would change the way we communicate. The coronavirus pandemic has the world in its grip, but life goes on and new innovative methods of working need to be explored.
Communication platforms such as Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been used to bring groups and individuals together when face to face meetings were, for whatever reason, not possible. During the pandemic these platforms have become the new norm for communicating during social distancing, keeping families, loved ones and friends in touch. They do, however, offer so much more functionality, which training providers have explored. The Corrodere Academy immediately saw the potential of Zoom, and embarked upon looking in to what courses and assessments could be delivered and managed using the technology.
Distance learning is not new to many industries, but the Corrodere Academy has pioneered distance learning in the coatings industry. We are the first to have Industrial and Marine Inspector training online, where ICorr and SSPC courses offer the students the opportunity to study at their own pace and at a time to suit their work schedules. The only time that the student needed to have contact with a trainer was when attending a practical workshop or for examinations. The online training is, of course, very different to delivering an interactive training, but the material adapted well. The ability for the trainer to share screens, use videos, animations and a white board to illustrate ideas and concepts has added to the training experience for the students. The first online ICorr level 1 workshops were delivered in April 2020, due to the demand from students who had completed their online training. The workshops consist of an interactive theoretical session with one of the Corrodere Academy ICorr level 3 trainers, covering subjects such as corrosion basics, coatings, calculations, pre surface preparation and visual standards. The afternoon session conducted by the trainer is a practical session. The trainer demonstrates how to calibrate and set up a wide range of inspection equipment, including Bresle tests, Dust tests, Profile testing and DFT calibration and assessment. All the equipment that the student will be expected to demonstrate in their practical examination is covered. The trainer also discusses the standards associated with the testing procedures with the group. Students who attended the on line interactive workshops were, of course, initially nervous. However, the response and feedback has been extremely positive. One student even commented; “I initially thought about cancelling, but now I have attended an interactive session I’m not sure I would bother attending a classroom session if the online option was available. At no point did I feel like the training was less effective as my trainer made me feel completely at ease and we could interact perfectly. This is not only testament to the job the trainer was doing, but also how technology lends itself to this method of delivery.”
The examination process for all inspection courses has always previously been at an assessment centre. However, it has been vitally important to look at new ways of conducting safe, proctored and fair examinations. For certification purposes all examinations must meet various standards, including ISO17024, so The Corrodere Academy is now working with Questionmark to deliver an on line examination process that is acceptable to all of our certification bodies. Students will be able to take examinations, wherever and whenever suits them, with all exams being proctored and reviewed. Questionmark provides an automated system that observes and records the exam session on video for potential review later. The remote proctoring system flags potential anomalies, such as a second person, on screen switching and any abnormal behaviour patterns. When the anomaly is flagged, the examination will be reviewed and a decision on the integrity of the session will be made. Proctoring Record & Review gives the flexibility to deliver assessments anywhere, anytime, while maintaining exam integrity. Remotely proctored exams are widely used in universities, colleges and the workplace.
Trainthepainter has traditionally been delivered by either company trainers, or independent affiliate training providers. In 2019, this changed when the Industrial Coating Applicator module became available as an online option. This allowed students to undertake the training on their own devices, remotely from their companies, and allowed individuals to access training to improve their own skillset without the need for a trainer to be present. The training was accessed via the Trainthepainter training platform and is available in the following languages, making it a truly global platform.
- American English
More languages are coming on line soon to meet the demand.
New platform developed
In 2020, the new training platform was developed and adopted. This has allowed the Corrodere Academy to make all three Trainthepainter core modules available online.
- Industrial Coating Applicator
- Abrasive Blast Cleaner
- Paint Sprayer
Students are able to study all three courses online, and undertake the theoretical and practical assessments at one of the affiliate training centres. The affiliate training centres are situated globally, and many assessors are happy to undertake the assessment process at the student’s place of work by prior agreement.
In addition to the three core modules, some specialist modules can also be studied online.
- Marine Coating
- PFP Applicator
- Thin Film Intumescent
- Thermal Metal Spray
- Water Jetting
Trainthepainter are also training company and affiliate trainers online. The shared screen facility and the ability for the host trainer to allow the students to share their screens make this course ideally suited to the Zoom platform. Some of the trainers who have attended the online delivery of this course felt that it actually added to the experience, and in future I am certain that for many locations it will become the default method of delivering the Train the Trainer course.
Distance learning apprenticeships
To meet the requirements of the new Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeships, the Corrodere Academy has been working with Skills Training UK Ltd TTP, to offer a distance learning apprenticeship which meets the requirements of the Industrial Coatings Applicator Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme. Many companies can apply for funding for Apprentices. The duration of the apprenticeship is typically 18 months, and upon completion the apprentice will complete an end point assessment. The apprentice studies all of the technical training online, hence does not have to attend a college on day release, which has made the apprenticeships available to all.
A log book App has been developed for new recruits and apprentices to record their work and task activities over the period of training and practical work experience. The user updates the App by inputting the hours per activity and has them approved by a supervisor. The App will accumulate the task activities, so the employer/supervisor can monitor and assess the training requirements.
The End Point Assessment (EPA) is designed to enable Apprentices to demonstrate occupational competence as an Industrial Coatings Applicator, and to ensure that they meet the skills, knowledge and behaviour outcomes as defined in the Apprenticeship Standard. At the end of the apprenticeship, the candidates that complete the Standard and EPA will be awarded a Certificate of Apprenticeship for Industrial Coatings Application.
Embracing the technology
I have been so pleased to see how people are embracing technology. Our industry has at times been slow to do so, however I feel we have reached a new understanding of what is possible. Will we ever go back to the ways we have delivered training before? Of course, but only to a certain degree, as for some the classroom is where they feel most comfortable. I do however believe the new training and assessment methods will become for most the new normal. The benefits outweigh the negatives and we will all look at travel in a very different way. By undertaking not to make non essential travel, we can all easily cut our carbon footprint dramatically. I have travelled the world delivering training, but this pandemic has demonstrated new possibilities as proof of what I said at the start of this piece – the world is shrinking! The opportunities have also become far greater for those prepared to use the new tools.
For further information on distance learning opportunities visit www.corrodere.com
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