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'Blended Learning' - Woodexperts' new approach to wood science teaching

Responding to the need for change as our industry gets back to business following the constrictions of lockdown, TFT Woodexperts Ltd have produced their solution to the question of education and training that would normally be heldin the classroom.

“Taking our cue from the major universities, as featured in the Press recently,” said Woodexperts director Jim Coulson, “we have introduced a new, ‘Blended Learning’ format for our most popular Course, the Level 4 Certificate in WoodScience and Timber Technology. Blended Learning is a new style of education in which students learn via online mediaas well as via traditional face-to-face leaning that we always use” he said. “This offers flexibility for both tutors andstudents in how the wood science study material is presented; and also gives variety to the learning experience.”

Woodexperts’ tutor Simon Brock commented “We made a start during Lockdown with one of our existing tutorial groups, because their scheduled tutorial had not happened due to the Covid outbreak. They found the online format easy to follow, and were supplied with a variety of slides and visual material, which they said had been very useful."

Luke Wilczynski of Hanson Plywood said, “The tutorial, split into smaller sections, was perfect for learning.

Personally I really enjoyed it via Zoom and I feel that with this particular section, I have taken it in the best, since the start of the course.”

Another Woodexperts client, Russwood Ltd of Newtonmore, in the Scottish Highlands, also took advantage of the new format to take part in an interim online chat, as the tutor was unable to travel to Scotland due to the restrictions.

“We were very pleased with the format and content of the first two days of the [face to face] course” said Russwood’s Managing Director John Russell “..and the attendees all remarked to me how much they enjoyed Jim Coulson’s engaging tutorial style”.

The interim online session helped the students to discuss aspects of the learning outcomes, tocompensate for the delay in holding their next scheduled tutorial.
Jim commented: “All new students for this qualification will be offered our blended learning format in future: which will consist of both the traditional classroom style, combined with a series of “bite-size” online tutorials, enabling a high level of flexibility with lower overall costs, with less need to travel or to be away from the workplace.”

The flexible layout can be configured to suit the needs of each client’s business, but it will be based on the following;

  • DAY 1 : Characteristics of Wood as a Material - classroom format at Woodexperts’ or Client’s premises.
  •  DAY 2 : Grades and Qualities - online tutorials (scheduled to suit staffing needs)
  • DAY 3 : Panel Products – classroom format, including practical work and samples
  • DAY 4 : Processing and Manufacturing – online tutorials
  • DAY 5 : Revision day – usually classroom format but could be partially online, depending on travelling and Social Distancing requirements
  • EXAMINATION: To be a ‘blended’ format, with secure access to question papers ensuring confidentiality

“Woodexperts will be offering this new format, as we return to normal working following the relaxation of Lockdown.” Jim Coulson concluded.

“We look forward to offering this exiting and innovative approach; so that as many timber industry professionals as possible can take advantage of these changes, to help them enhance and grow their knowledge of wood as a material.”

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