From education to employment

Digital learning is vital if we are to engage young people

Historically education was a very different experience when comparing it to the highly sophisticated, digital learning of today. Bulky text books and reams and reams of photocopied handouts would be presented by your lecturer only to end up in a dark corner of your filing cabinet never to be seen again.

Today, as trainers and lecturers, the digital age is one which we need to embrace. Technology in education opens up a huge world of possibilities as to how we convey, share and engage with students presenting different ideas, facts and theories. With today’s generation of learners never having known anything other than digital mediums, it is now up to us to ensure that lessons incorporate current technology to enhance the learning experience and capture the minds of the learners.

Education and training are sectors which have the potential to maximise on current technology in order to better engage learners of all ages. This comes in all forms, whether it be the sharing of course materials via computer and tablet devices, or the setting up of online forums where individuals and teachers can share their ideas on a particular subject or topic. However, what we must remember as trainers and lecturers is that many other industries (those that many of our students will be working in) immersed themselves in the digital age long before its benefits were implemented in the classroom.
With this in mind, the interaction with digital mediums in education and training should be seen as a way of preparing learners for the workplace, where everyday tasks are performed regularly using digital platforms and IT skills. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 80% of the 1,232 respondents now source technical information relating to their job online – this demonstrates the extent to which people rely on digital platforms to perform their job. In the learning environment digital media enables lecturers and trainers to share information with learners more effectively.

In response to this need and to reflect the increased use of online tools in the workplace, the IET has recently launched its own online platform for the Wiring Regulations and electrical industry guidance. IET Wiring Regulations Digital: Online has enabled the organisation to share its expert knowledge with thousands of trainers and lecturers and their learners through a browser based platform of e-books.

One of the biggest advantages of Wiring Regulations Digital: Online is to allow trainers, lecturers and learners unlimited access to vital learning materials at any time, wherever they are. What’s more the IET is able to update the information immediately should any revisions be needed to vital regulatory documents like BS 7671, The IET Wiring Regulations. In the paper driven education of yester-year, this would never have been possible, as learners would be waiting months for new editions of their learning materials to be printed. Using digital formats, trainers and lecturers can have the peace of mind that what they are teaching is up-to-date, using the very latest information.

Additionally, digital learning materials like the IET’s Wiring Regulations Digital: Online, bring with them cost effectiveness and a means to maximise precious educational resources with the ability to share updated or new information with all students at the click of a button – instead of replacing printed books or typing up and distributing new course materials.

One of the biggest benefits of training via digital resources is that trainers and lecturers can now engage with their learners like never before. Learning, in essence, has been opened up from the constraints of hard copy pages. One example of this can be seen in the webinars which the IET has trialled for trainers, lecturers, students and electrical industry experts on its revised guidance and regulation documents. These webinars have meant that learners can follow an IET expert giving an on screen lecture whilst at the same time viewing all of the relevant pages of the publication. In addition, learners can also interact with the expert by asking questions remotely via a live forum tab on the screen. This form of digital learning experience ensures that educational materials are distributed effectively and that learners are given the opportunity to engage not only with the presenter but with fellow delegates remotely without the need to travel to a central location.

As the authority on electrical regulations, the IET recognises the importance of digital platforms in the learning environment; sharing resources and materials with as many learners as possible in a cost effective manner. It is the IET’s belief that digital learning opens up the scope and possibilities for education and training and enhances the learning experience of all students. In the future, all educational and training institutions will engage with their learners via this ever expanding digital medium. This will bring about real changes in how they interact with their learners. The IET is committed to remaining at the leading edge of the use of digital technology in education and training.

Tony Hicks is learning and development manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology


For more about Wiring Regulations Digital: Online or to request your free trial, visit


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