Getting Hands-On with Elearning: Instructor Perspectives
Therese M. Schustrich, Account Executive, Workforce Education, Tooling U-SME on
October 01, 2018
For years, instructors in manufacturing have been teaching students with
the traditional method of classroom instruction followed by hands-on
training in the lab. It’s no secret that they prefer the hands-on portion
of that training but know that the theory is mandatory.
More and more instructors are turning to elearning to give them more time
in the lab while still providing a comprehensive curriculum for their
students. To get a sense of what instructors are doing to keep students
integrated and engaged with elearning, Tooling U-SME interviewed several
manufacturing educators on why and how elearning has benefited their
students, their program and their communities:
What compelled you to integrate elearning into the classroom?
Less administrative time
– Curricula, exams and grading papers are part of the online program,
making it easier for instructors to design their program syllabi and have
more time in the lab
– Elearning classes support project-based instruction, requiring
compentency standards prior to passing a course. It’s no longer just a
grade; students become more engaged and are better prepared for the outside
– 100 percent of the Tooling U-SME curriculum is industry-driven, resulting
in 98 to 100 percent student job placement upon completion
Real Time – “
There is a brand new ‘textbook’ with updates every time you open it.”
Bret Holmes, machinist instructor, Ogden-Weber Technical College, Salt
Lake City, Utah
– “We keep textbooks for reference which the students use, but online
technology better serves the modern student. It’s what they understand.” Wes Chambers – Bridgerland Applied Technology College, Logan UT
Accommodates various learning styles
– Elearning provides students with the flexibility to work at their own
pace in their own location, and review materials with visual aids 24/7.
Alignment with National Certifications
– many elearning programs, such as Tooling U-SME, map to industry standards
aligning with national certifications such as NIMS, MSSC, Siemens, SME,
When students see all of the classes available, they sometimes want one that’s not part of the curriculum, like robotics. I tell them if they complete their online tasks and still have time, I’ll give them another one just for fun. They love it! Makes them eager to learn,”
How do you keep students engaged in the online program?
“We do project-based learning so the curriculum is connected with each
project.” Troy Spear, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Kent, Ohio
“The elearning curriculum can be divided into customized sections and we
require students to finish the online portion before they get to the ‘fun
part’ – hands-on in the lab.”
Wes Chambers, Bridgerland Applied Technology College in Logan, Utah
“Students today want a roadmap that tells them exactly what to do. With
elearning, the syllabus is easily developed and we have found that students
follow directions 99 percent of the time.” Bret Holmes, Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College – Salt Lake City, Utah
What is the balance between classroom and hands-on instruction with
Every one of our instructors said that the balance shifted significantly
with the integration of elearning:
Any advice for other instructors considering elearning?
“Set expectations up front with a class. Explain to students that the
online portion is part of the learning process and tell them why. Make it
the norm instead of them thinking that it’s just extra work to fill a
space.” Kevin Finan, Atlantic Technical College, Coconut Creek, Fla.
“Get rid of your fears. Jump in – the water’s fine! Today’s students
already understand online technology.” Wes Chambers, Bridgerland Applied Technology College, Logan, Utah
“We are all still learning and have to continue to keep up with the
technology. Elearning puts confusion to rest.” Ted Post, Confederation College, Ontario, Canada
Please feel free to connect with some of our instructors by viewing the Tooling U-SME webinar, Optimizing your Manufacturing Hands-On Training with Elearning:
To learn more about Tooling U-SME’s online program please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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