According to a 2014 report from the International Council for Open & Distance Education, in 2007 there were 150 million students worldwide engaged in distance learning. That figure is predicted to reach 400 million students by 2030.
This prediction is certainly supported by engineering and training firm Jee, which recognises that traditional tutor-led classroom methods of training can be costly, often difficult to deliver consistently to large, global teams and not always suited to demanding engineering schedules. As a result it has invested in developing cost-effective, flexible and accessible technical subsea modules for online delivery.
Jee has been training the global oil and gas industry for more than 20 years, remaining at the forefront of training methodologies and with a clear understanding of the necessity for a flexible approach to learning for both a new generation of engineers and seasoned professionals.
One such engineer is François Baptiste, a country co-ordinator in Trinidad and Tobago for Genesis Oil & Gas and Technip USA. Having completed four Jee online distance learning (ODL) courses, François said: “My location makes it is a lot harder to access the traditional classroom courses held in oil capitals such as Aberdeen, London and Houston.”
ODL courses offer convenience to delegates as they have the ability to learn around work schedules and other commitments. As long as the internet is available, the courses can be accessed from anywhere in the world, including offshore.
Negating the need to fly around the world, find accommodation and take time out from projects to travel, the cost-saving aspect of ODL is a significant benefit for many.
From an individual learning perspective ODL allows delegates to learn at their own pace, stopping and starting when they need to and spend time on parts of the tutorial most relevant to them to ensure they fully grasp the content. Online courses provide the optimum environment and pace for each individual, allowing time to absorb the material.
An often appealing aspect of classroom learning is the social side, with group engagement to discuss course material and training. ODL shouldn’t be seen as a lonely learning platform, as interactive forums and webinars provide a medium for discussions and engagement with other delegates and tutors. Communicating via an online platform, those less comfortable voicing opinions in person have the opportunity to discuss and share thoughts to expand their learning.
Jee’s technical courses for online delivery include an introduction to the oil and gas industry, subsea pipelines, advanced design and subsea systems. All include support and guidance from tutors, all practising engineers with a wealth of experience, via forums and online chats to give delegates the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification on topics covered.
Currently working on his fifth Jee ODL course, François said: “The standard of teaching and learning process employed by the Jee training team made my experience extremely enjoyable, informative and beneficial, not only for my current work, but also my future career.”
As with delegates attending a tutor-led course, those completing an ODL course can gain continuous professional development (CPD) points as well as professional development hours (PDH), both being widely recognised within the industry.
• Jenny Matthew is head of courses at Jee, which has a portfolio of 22 public and online subsea engineering courses