Towards a sustainable environment with e-learning from Siemens Training
To solve the shortage of technical personnel, Siemens has created an innovative e-learning course. It focuses on teaching the workings of electrical processes by using everyday examples. The elearning improves the market-wide knowledge of electrical engineering in a comprehensible and fun way. By doing so, Siemens brings us one step closer to a sustainable All Electric Energy World.
A sustainable environment with e-learning
Making electrical engineering accessible and understandable
Siemens is widely known for making our everyday lives easier by providing us with all kinds of household appliances. Dish-washing machines, vacuum cleaners and washing machines are right up their alley. Fun fact though: Siemens does way more than just that! You can also find their Ingenuity for life mentality in health services, wind farms and energy management. Curious about their latest challenge? We’ll give you a hint: it’s about supporting society’s energy transition. They’re pursuing a sustainable environment through the art of (faster) innovation: Ready for an All Electric Energy World?
The ageing of technical personnel and the shortage of youth who receive a technological education leave society in a bit of a jam. We need a next generation of thinkers and doers who understand the art of electrical engineering.
‘’Younger generations learn how to count, but they no longer understand electrical engineering. While their older colleagues have this knowledge, it is hard for the younger generation to acquire it.”
Coordinator and developer of electrical energy technology courses at Siemens Training
E-Learning: electricity from a different perspective
To properly educate this new generation in the electrical field, Siemens Training developed an eCourse, Electrical Engineering, with a twist.
Whereas existing education mainly focuses on mathematical issues, this new eCourse emphasizes the broader understanding and impact of technological processes and attempts to make them intelligible by using examples from our everyday lives. The eCourse consists of 3 clusters, which are divided into 37 lessons in total. It’s full of simulations and every lesson ends with a number of questions to test the trainees’ obtained knowledge. By doing so, the eCourse allows the trainees to build and assess their knowledge in an innovative way.
Every trainee can take as much time as he or she likes to follow the course. Constructive as it is, all trainees must successfully finish a lesson before they are allowed to move on to the next one. This means that they have to know the correct answer to at least three of the four questions provided at the end of a lesson.
By approaching technological education from such n unique perspective and allowing any and every company that has something to do with electrical engineering to enter the eCourse, Siemens Training improves the market-wide knowledge of electrical engineering. This continuously improves product quality and keeps the staff eager to take the next step on their learning journey.
The module tests the trainees’ prior knowledge, sets learning objectives and repeats knowledge that might have faded over time. Its adaptive character is clear and important: every trainee is allowed his or her own pace whilst walking through the eCourse. Videos, metaphors and interactive exercises ensure it’s fun and on-the-ground character. Every lesson ends with a couple of questions to make sure the trainees’ knowledge is sufficient. After successfully completing the entire course, every trainee receives a certificate.
How to design blended learning?
Today, many more learning interventions and approaches exist, and creating ‘the right mix’ of interventions leads to blended learning. Read more about blended learning and how to design such a programme.
An innovative and adaptive eCourse in Electrical Engineering
The eCourse at the Bachelor’s level is a valuable asset to the present-day education on electrical engineering. It provides a good base for knowledge building, starting at the entry level and describing the basic principles of energy technology in an intuitive way. The experts are excited about the content as well; professors at TU Delft even describe the eCourse as the ideal way to prepare students without an electrical engineering education for an MSc in Electrical Engineering.
Simulations and the exemplary role of everyday technological processes make the content of the course easily accessible and allow the trainees to quickly understand it. In one years’ time, provided that the trainee spends about three hours a week on the course, the required knowledge is gradually obtained. The progress is carefully monitored by start-up questions at the beginning of a lesson and a small test at the end. Eventually, every trainee will be able to successfully finish the course.
A step towards blended learning
The rather comprehensive course seems a bit feisty and because it’s open to anyone in the electrical engineering field, it’s hard to mandate people to complete it. In order to tackle this, Siemens Training has started using the Blended Learning approach. The combination with classroom teaching helps to get the trainees more involved in the learning process and increases their motivation to finish the course. All responses to this adjusted approach are very promising.
The industry and the Electrical Engineering eCourse
Renewable courses in electrical engineering are very popular amongst trainees, especially idealists. Unfortunately, due to a lack of prior knowledge, a lot of these courses will not go deep into the processes. This eCourse provides a base for further knowledge-building, and it’s suitable for a wide range of trainees.
Alex Wanders works as a manager in one of the two control rooms at TenneT. He likes how comprehensible the complex content becomes thanks to the eCourse. “The analogies to a non-abstract world are real eye catchers. It’s a very innovative teaching method”.
“To know something or to be able to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you understand why it works that way”, explains Alex Middag, grid expert at Alliander. “We and other major organisations in the energy sector see how our staff know how to react during a malfunction, but they don’t know what to do when they can’t directly identify the problem. This needs to change because the increasingly decentralised generation of power forces us to face more and more deviant situations every day”.
- Social learning
- Reference material
The focus of the Electrical Engineering eCourse: applicability and imaging
During the last aNewSpring Awards, Sander Smit had given an presentation on how they get their personnel excited about technological innovations. Curious to see how we can work towards an All Electric Energy World together or how Siemens Energy Management contributes to the development of sustainable power generation in our environment?
The Electrical Engineering eCourse allows trainees to increase their knowledge of electrical processes. To effectively do so, they:
- Use metaphors of everyday situations that everybody understands.
- Implement simulations that show how certain processes work.
- Keep their trainees focussed by using interactive assignments.
- End every lesson with a test to make sure every trainee has obtained the required knowledge.
- Focus on the imaging instead of the mathematical issues to simplify the complex content and to make the learning process more fun.