New self-paced training for engineers

Young man using laptop and learning online

With the launch of EEA’s flexible online training courses, there are new opportunities for ongoing professional development for engineers

The below article was first published by Create Digital on 8 July 2021.

Engineering Education Australia (EEA) has launched a new suite of online, self-paced training courses to support engineers throughout their careers, offering even more flexible and interactive professional development.

Called EEA Online, it’s designed to offer the best learning experience possible, says EEA General Manager Alexandra Sparvell.

“We’re not just providing tools for engineers to use at their desk right now, we’re also preparing engineers for future thinking,” says Sparvell. 

EEA Online will initially include 10 courses on topics ranging from geotechnical engineering to contract management, and will expand over time to include more courses according to changing needs.

“We have courses on solar batteries and solar systems, for example, because many in the industry want to broaden their knowledge in future growth areas such as renewables.”

Bespoke learning

EEA has designed the courses to be taken at the learner’s own pace, at a time and in a place that suits them. There are no live chats or webinars that require them to log in at certain times and no physical classes they must attend.

“The bespoke e-learning courses are designed for engineers and are very high-quality,” says Jason Fletcher, Education Manager at EEA. 

“A range of different interactive techniques has been used, including video, podcasts by subject matter experts, and case studies. There are also deeper dives into particular topics and pieces of content to immerse the student in a subject area.”

Fletcher offers one example of how this works. When learning about a piece of technology, rather than simply presenting static images with no interactivity, images of the technology will often have ‘hotspots’ that you can click on to find out more about specific aspects. These allow you to discover what underpins the technology, the materials and the systems.

For seven years Mike Hurd, Director of Engineering. Systems. Management. (E.S.M.) in Adelaide, has been one of EEA’s subject matter experts in Engineering Management as well as Safety in Design. 

He has regularly run face-to-face courses and live online programs, including courses and webinars for EEA. However, the development of a self-paced course was a new experience.

“We spent six months developing a single, eight-hour course,” says Hurd. “You have to get the content spot on because you’re not there in the room to answer people’s questions. It really is a big step forward in clarity.

“We ran webinars on the topics and took feedback from them. We consulted with other experts. Finally, we developed the content and sent it to the online education partner, for them to turn it into a premium, adult-learning experience. And it really is an experience. What we saw once it came back to us was astounding.”

What’s on offer online?

Current online courses, for which EA members receive a 15 per cent discount, include:

Rather than having a formal examination at the end of the course, each section finishes with a quiz. Areas that need revision are directly linked from the results page, making it quick and easy to go back and fill any knowledge gaps. 

The flexible nature of EEA Online courses, says Sparvell, is a key feature.

“You can register for a Safety in Design course, for instance, which is very much created around a regulatory framework that every design engineer needs to be aware of. It’s something you can work through very quickly – in one day if you need to – or you can complete it over a longer period of time,” says Sparvell.

“It really does fit with an engineer’s schedule, which is typically very busy. Engineers also move around, they are required in many locations, so the online courses service all regions, increasing our accessibility, flexibility and reach. We’ll continue to add high-quality courses designed by engineers for engineers, with world-class educational quality oversight.”

To find out more about the courses available and how it works, go to the EEA Online page. All EA members receive a 15 per cent discount.