Learning from anywhere, anytime - IESL Launches Live / Online / Interactive CPD

Learning from anywhere, anytime using your internet connected device in a live virtual class,  interacting with the lecturer / participants has come to thousands of IESL Members  who are working all over Sri Lanka and even globally

Figure 1: IESL DLA First Live Interactive CPD programme was delivered on the 2nd of March 2019. The course was about "Good Practices for Writing Experience Report". It was conducted by Eng. (Dr.) Palitha Bandara (shown in the second window from the left and the other windows show rest of the participants, main window shows slides/video). There were 151 registrants. There were some from countries other than Sri Lanka and many were from outside Colombo. At the end of the session, via system's (Mobitel's m-Learning ) text messages, we received very positive comments.

 Eng. Arjuna Manamperi



With the advent of Learning Management Systems

(LMS - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system )

powered by robust technology platforms such as Massive Open Online Course

(MOOC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course ),

busy and mobile professionals should see an advantage in shifting their essential continuing professional development (CPD) to e-learning.

Benefits of IESL Digital Learning Academy (DLA)

The mainreason to start the IESL Digital Learning Academy (DLA) e-learning programme is to introduce modern educational trends to provide maximum support towards the development of our engineers about current know-how in their respective fields. IESl DLA CPD Courses are delivered to your connected devices. It saves you time, money and you will not be left behind with inadequate CPD just because you are not in Colombo. Key reasons to start IESl DLA are, to reach:

  • engineers working in rural areas
  • engineers working in the suburbs of Colombo
  • engineers working on tight schedules
  • engineers as CPD resource persons (especially diaspora members with advance engineering know-how and local experts who are unable to physically appear in class rooms)

Of course, going digital allows CPD Committee (CPDC) to deliver courses at an attractive price (~ 60% of an in class course) due to reduced overhead costs (IESL Head Office room rent, printed material costs, meal costs, etc). IESL DLA Live CPD Courses allows us to deliver popular courses without being limited to room availability / seating capacity at IESL Head Office or at a Provincial location.

IESl DLA Live Interactive platform is a great way to simultaneously address all IESL members or a group of members who are pre registered to event.  The President of IESL or another Senior Council Member such as a Chairman of a Standing Committee can take questions from thousands of members Interactively in a very organized manner!

IESL DLA Project History and Vision

IESl Education Department guided by the CPD Committee, started piloting it's DLA project in 2017/2018 session. The project team (CPDC, IESL Secretariat, services providers: i-Context Pvt Ltd, Mobitel, SLTC, etc) lead by the Chair of CPDC and the IESL Director Education continues to strengthen IESL DLA. We have a vision of delivering much needed engineering and none engineering knowledge to more than 50% of those who register for IESL CPD courses, digitally, in 2018/2019 session and 75% of CPD courses, digitally, in few years.  CPD courses with class room hands on activities and field visits are not ideal for IESL DLA delivery. We also want to give time to member community to embrace digital learning.

IESL is using multiple MOOC based LMSs from Sri Lanka's premier telecom service providers and private sector dedicated e-learning providers. To develop educational content to be delivered via IESL DLA, CPDC uses its traditional method of utilizing / funding member resources and purchasing already developed digital courses from service providers approved by CPDC. IESL DLA offers free and fee based courses. Methods of offerings:

Method 1: Stored CPD Courses are offered over a set time period (generally few weeks) to pre registered members. Registrants can access the course online at individually convenient times 24 hrs of a day, during course duration. They can start, stop, restart where left or go back, take quizzes online, track progress, etc. all online. If there is a local resource person behind the self learning material, registrants can ask questions online. If it's a fee based course, full payment must be made at the online / in person registration ( MOOC based course fees are significantly lower ) and with access codes given, registrants could learn at their own pace, time and location as long as they have an Internet connected device such a smart phone, a tab, a Laptop or a Desktop computer. All interactions by registrants are tracked by the IESl Education Department through service providers' MOOC based Learning Management Systems (LMS) where the digital course content is stored. IESl first tested this method with MOOC based educational content provider i-Context during 2017/2018 session. Some courses were offered (free and for a feee) on a pilot basis in the fourth quarter of session 2017/2018. Figure 2: IESl signed a formal service contract with  i-Context Content Convergence (Pvt) Ltd. on 22nd of March 2019

Method 2: Live Interactive CPD Courses are offered in a virtual class. Pre session educational content is uploaded for the registrants to view / download and the overall registration is same as in Method 1 (Stored CPD Courses) or regular CPD courses. During a virtual class session, the lecturer has the ability to speak to all or an individual participant and also the ability to control participants mics. Participants can text the lecturer at all times and such questions/ messages are always visible to the lecturer and all participants. Any responses from the lecturer can be made visible to all participants or a specific participant. In many instances, session activities are recorded for registrants' use during the course open period (for review or to understand a missed live session- However, don't sacrifice the value of live interaction in a virtual class ) Tests are administered online and participants can communicate with lecturer via messages, after class hours, as they need. These tools make IESL DLA Interactive Learning even superior to in class learning.

Mobitel is our first service provider for this method during the pilot stage which began in earnest at the start of 2018/2019 session utilizing there robust MOOC based m-Learning LMS. They not only provided IESL with great technical know-how but acted like a true champion for digital/mobile learning. IESL CPDC want to make a special mention of Eng. Hindujan of Mobitel for his contributions.

Two CPD courses were piloted live (one free - Figure 1) and another fee based shown above in Figure 3 - 2nd M-learning CPD programme on "Energy Cost Saving - ISO 50001-2011 Energy Management System ". It's an eight consecutive Saturdays course started on 09th of March 2019. This course is conducted by Eng. Janaka Rathnakumara.

Given the success of the pilot project and great partnership shown during it, IESL CPDC endorsed IESL Secretariat and F&P Committee to sign a contract with Mobitel soon to continue the use of m-Mobile platform to serve our members

Figure 4 - On 17th of January 2019 the Project Team arranged a training programme for potential resource personnel on how to use m-Mobile platform on how to effectively conduct classes and how to effectively engage with students to make classes more efficient and interesting. CPD Chairman Eng Arjuna Manamperi, Director Education Ms Dilini Jayasinghe, Eng A J M Korale, Eng.  Janaka Rathnakumara, Eng R W D T Dayabandara, Eng Dileepa Lathsara, and Eng Gamini Hathiragama participated for this training programme. It helped those pioneering resource persons to realize how to instruct engineers effectively using m-Mobile LMS and overcome doubts in conducting E-Learning. Eventually, resource persons were satisfied and gave new ideas to enhance IESL DLA E-learning CPD Programme.

Our third partner is none other than a leader in telecommunications - SLT. IESL Project Team is in the process of setting up pilot courses with its MOOC based Aakasa LMS. Once pilots are successfully completed, IESL will come up with a win-win contract to serve members!

IESL Education Division and CPDC Reaching Out to Public Enterprises

CPDC Chairman (2017/2018 & 2018/2019) - Eng Arjuna Manamperi and Director Education - Ms. Dilini Jayasinghe have ample determination to promote IESL DLA  CPD programme as well as face to face CPD programme. They have begun to meet heads of training divisions in major public organizations, where hundreds of engineers serve. The focus is to deliver custom CPD courses to their specific needs.

The first meeting was with the Water Board promoting strategic educational relationship. It was initiated by Eng. Manju Malkelum who is a member of the 2018/2019 CPDC (shown below with IESL Director Education to his right with Water Board Officers who came to the second meeting with feedback from the first meeting agreeing to involve their staff in IESL DLA programme.

Discussions were also held with RDA, CMC & Mobitel to promote IESL Custom CPD and DLA programs. We received a positive reaction from all organizations and they appreciated IESL DLA initiative. Further, those organizations said it is invaluable for those who are working in rural areas or Colombo city suburbs and even the staff working in the Colombo area who may have tight work schedules or traveling challenges due to traffic congestion.

NOTE: Please see the special report at the end of this article on CPDC activities for the last five completed sessions. IESL CPD programme has developed to be the second highest revenue generation activity for IESL ( first being awarding membership) and a "cash surplus" with great future potential. However, its operations arm, the Education Department needs to be strengthened with additional resourceful staff with strong digital education content development skills and above average analytical / marketing / PR skills.  The four full time staff members including the Director of the department handles another major service area of IESL ; evaluation of educational requirements with the same staff.

Final Message from Chairman CPDC and Director Education

IESL CPDC and IESL Education Department is aggressively looking for opportunities to serve our members and member organizations. We also encourage IESL PC Chair Persons to work with us to utilize these modern learning tools to serve your workplace staff / members. As mentioned before, IESL President/ Council Committee Chairs could use these digital services to reach our members in any location, interactively , to connect regularly ( much lower cost, no need to travel or keep action Colombo HO centric). Further we are looking for great resource personnel among diaspora members and local experts as lecturers and digital content creators. This is your chance to serve Sri Lanka and thousands of her engineers serving in remote/ rural locations. Please contact Director Education Ms. Dilini Jayasinghe via email (Dir.edu@iesl.lk) and copy CPDC Chair Eng. Arjuna Manamperi (Manamperi.a@gmail.com)

CPD performance & progress over the recent 5 year period

Eng. Arjuna Manamperi

"B.Sc. (Eng), MS (Eng), MBA, C.Eng., FIE ( Sri Lanka) is a serving two term Vice President of IESL Council and the Chairman of CPD Committee. He is a member of the newly enacted Engineering Council of Sri Lanka and a three term Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee."


 The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 120/15 Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 00700