Recent Innovations in Online Training Courses
The world of engineering is constantly changing, and with the rapid pace of evolving technology and innovation, it takes a lot to stay current. Luckily, continuing education programs designed for professional engineers can help you keep pace with the changes.
You might wonder what it will take to find a program that’s right for you. The good news is that there have been just as many innovations in the field of education, and as a result, today’s engineer can choose from a variety of options to find a rewarding program that suits their needs, budget, and learning style.
Why Pursue Continuing Education?
Not only are these programs required for license renewal, but they also provide additional benefits. Many online continuing education programs for professional engineers (PEs) were created in response to state licensing boards requiring completion of professional development hours (PDH), also known as continuing professional competency (CPC), for engineering license renewal.
Currently, 42 US states require engineers to complete some type of continuing education activity. Each state has its own requirements, but they have many similarities. They generally require licensees to earn 15 hours of credit every year, and engineers verify completion of courses during each license renewal cycle.
These requirements don’t mean that your choices as a PE seeking continuing education are limited. In addition to programs run by colleges, engineers can choose from correspondence and video courses, along with televised and web-delivered programs to earn their professional development hours. Other options that qualify for PDH credit include attending professional seminars and workshops in-person, or making technical presentations at professional conferences.
If you live in a state that does maintain requirements for license renewal, take note that some states maintain a list of approved course providers. In these cases, it is better to check with them for complete information before selecting a continuing education activity. Other ways of acquiring PDH credit include publishing books, articles, or papers; teaching or obtaining patents; and participating in technical or professional or societies.
Benefits of Online Education
While it might seem tedious to keep up with credits and state requirements, the wide range of online continuing education programs available these days means that PEs can earn their PDH on a more meaningful note, and pursue training that allows them to grow in areas they are passionate about. In addition, online education programs have become much more accessible, interesting, and interactive because of the latest technology and innovations, and are also diverse enough to accommodate almost everything under the sun.
PEs who seek continuing education online will find programs that are tailor-made by subject matter experts (SME) and delivered to them on their own devices. These courses are available regardless of where the learner lives, and the most sophisticated online learning technologies make the learning experience so much easier and better overall. In addition, taking an online course can save you both time and money by not having to commute to an in-person workshop or seminar.
As a busy professional, it may be hard to find time to compare the many options and benefits of online learning. Fortunately, we’ve compiled the following guide to the technological innovations that are making online continuing education the most preferred choice for professional engineers.
Online Learning Innovations
· Learning Management Systems
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application that makes eLearning possible. It is a system where the online education programs are uploaded by the providers and the end-users access them remotely. It can be a place where millions of resources are stored, and depending on what you are studying, you can access relevant course material, tutorials, videos, case studies, and so on.
Even more helpful than access to material, however, is the fact that an LMS can track and assess your progress and learning outcomes, helping you get the most meaning out of your programs. From the deployment of the course material to tracking how it was used, an LMS performs what hundreds of educational institutes can only do with thousands of teaching and non-teaching staff. For a learner who uses an LMS, getting the most out of a program has never been easier.
It’s important to acknowledge that the objective of eLearning is not to replace school, college, and professional and technical institutions. Even within these educational institutions, eLearning has found ready acceptance. The true value is reflected in making technical and specialized education available to learners wherever they are. The curriculum and course material are as exhaustive, rich and interactive as they can be at a technical education center, plus the added convenience of accessing them at any time, in any place.
For professionals who are already working, eLearning offers a great opportunity to continue their education and keep pace with the ever-demanding work environment where new skills and competence are rewarded. For a busy PE who needs a rewarding, convenient way to earn professional development hours, eLearning can be the best option. And apart from all other benefits that online education brings, it’s also cost-effective.
· Live Webinars
Webinars are a great way to catch up with outstanding teachers and trainers. There are many online education service providers who run short-term programs fit for PDH, many of which are focused on exclusive, domain-specific topics. A webinar allows you to log in to a live training program from anywhere at a given time and interact live with highly knowledgeable teachers and trainers. As you know already, a webinar has all the look and feel of a big classroom albeit with some added advantages.
Among the benefits, you can record the webinar and watch it again if you find you did not understand something well during the course. You can interact with other participants, voice your doubts, and shoot your questions. The webinar component makes online continuing education as interactive as it is in a real classroom.
· Subject Matter Experts
As a professional engineer, your education needs are different from someone studying at a college. You know the subject matter well and you don’t need to be told the basics. What can really help you is an advanced level of educational input in your given field. That comes from domain experts or subject matter experts. Online continuing education programs or eLearning course materials are developed by subject matter experts. You can expect them to provide high-quality educational content that meets your educational needs and expectations. By no means are these courses substandard or basic.
· New Courses with Fresh Content
Online continuing education and eLearning are witnessing a massive growth in popularity, as they make the highest quality content accessible even to students in remote areas as well as in the classroom. The success of these mediums has brought vitality to the online education industry. As a result, there is a renewed focus on revising and improving the content, allowing more fresh and innovative content to replace old content with material that is both more attractive and interactive. The result is an online education scene that is more relevant and up-to-date. In short, this growth is infusing the continuing education field with dynamism and vigor—making online education the go-to option.
· Employer and Course Provider Collaboration
Another great aspect of online continuing education is that the education providers are working closely with the industry to understand the needs of its working professionals. Their focus is to create courseware that has direct relevance to the industry, and to bridge the gap between the industry’s expectations and the candidates’ skill sets. They also recognize that as a PE, your time is valuable, and you want to spend it on skills that will complement the knowledge you already have. You know what attributes, experience and knowledge are required for someone to excel at the workplace. If the growing scope of online education can prepare you for a bigger and more responsible role in the industry, what more can you ask for?
As a PE, you may have another year or two before you’re required to seek renewal of your professional license. With all the benefits that developments in online education can allow, there’s never been a better time to get a head start on earning some of your PDH credit, and simultaneously develop the skills you are most passionate about. And since continuing education has never been more affordable, convenient, or rewarding, why not use the opportunity to enroll in an online continuing education program that enhances your professional competence, earns you PDH, and updates your skills to the industry’s expectations? We don’t think you’ll regret it.