Online Continuing Education is a Growing Resource for the Global Mining Industry

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Online continuing education and training is a growing resource for the global mining industry. Its utility can be measured in terms of its ability to satisfy a broad range of developmental objectives, including CPD obligations, career enhancement objectives, corporate training requirements, curriculum enhancement and knowledge resource requests. Much of the online continuing education and training that occurs today is the result of collaboration between industry and universities.

CPD Obligations: online courses are a convenient and cost-effective way for busy professionals to meet their ongoing CPD (continuing professional development) obligations. An online course is recognized as CPD credit by professional associations provided it includes an appropriate method of confirming that the learning objectives have been achieved. A potential benefit for companies is the growing recognition that offering professional development improves recruitment and retention of employees.

Career Enhancement: online courses are also taken for career enhancement objectives … to fill in gaps in a CV, or gain an edge in a job application, or to qualify for a promotion. The fact that many online courses can be taken in a self-learning, self-paced mode from home, office or while travelling, without impacting on the job, is a distinct advantage. Students in this category are more likely to complete a structured learning program comprising a number of related courses with clearly defined objectives; the Certificate in Mining Studies is an example.

Corporate Training: the use of online courses to supplement face-to-face and hands-on corporate training of groups is also growing. This is a cost-effective way of introducing specialist training content into a mine site training program. It is also a way of ensuring that the members of a training group have achieved a necessary level of background knowledge prior to attending more costly face-to-face classroom training. The minimal demand for time spent away from the workplace is a big advantage.

Curriculum Enhancement: There is a recognized global shortage of qualified faculty for mining schools to draw on to meet curriculum requirements. Online courses on select topics by industry specialists are a convenient way to enhance or supplement a mining school curriculum without incurring significant cost or commitment.

Knowledge Resource: Online courses are readily accessible and, provided the course format is not primarily audio or video, readily searchable. Any sizable collection of searchable online courses therefore represents a valuable resource of “how to” mining knowledge that can be accessed on demand from remote mining locations to help solve mine site problems.

Simon Houlding is Vice-President of Professional Development for InfoMine Inc., responsible for EduMine, the professional development division which provides learning and training programs to the global mining industry. He is a practicing professional engineer and author.

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