The Advantages of Live Online Training: an Instructor Brings More Than You Think

As the world struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic and organizations were forced to change the way they operated, students all over the world shifted online to continue their studies. Online teaching and learning are not new, but the changes wrought by the pandemic in 2020 might be here to stay.

For years, tertiary institutions have embraced technology to facilitate learning, with online learning platforms delivering courses via recorded lectures, video, wikis, chat rooms, and other online resources. Previously, the only choice prospective students made was whether the content of a course aligned with their study and future career goals. Now, students must also decide whether to take on-campus, recorded (asynchronous), or live online (synchronous) classes.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of students were choosing to study online instead of attending on-campus classes. Online classes are an attractive option, particularly if you live a long way from campus or if you work.

Instructors are often the difference between a good or an average on-campus class, but students often do not consider how much an instructor brings to online classes. Some students choose recorded classes and regret it. Understanding what an instructor brings to your online courses is important, particularly for students who are choosing technology courses.

Questions Questions Questions

There is an old saying in learning that the only stupid question is “the one that isn’t asked.” But if you choose to take a recorded class, how can you ask a question? You can, of course, email the course coordinator, but then you have to wait for a reply and sometimes it never comes.

When taking a live online class, you can ask questions and get a response immediately. It is no different from an on-campus class. In addition, other students attending the class might ask questions that you hadn’t thought to ask.

When taking introductory technology courses, students often find that some of the concepts are difficult to grasp. Technology courses can be overwhelming for new students without a strong IT background, particularly the foundation courses such as network+ certification. These courses teach important skills, and they also provide a base for students who wish to take future courses. If you choose a recorded class, you might find such courses difficult. You might not have the first clue about how to configure a wireless network, for example. Taking a live online class means you can stop the instructor if you don’t grasp a concept and ask them to give a deeper explanation. You can ask questions.

Students taking introductory IT courses are often inexperienced and might need additional time and assistance in order to grasp foundational concepts. Live online classes make that possible.

Hands-On

There are some technology courses that benefit from a practical approach to learning. For example, the Security+ certification teaches troubleshooting in a “hands-on” environment. Students learn problem-solving best practices by doing, not just by listening.

They often do the work “live” and, as with any learning task, sometimes they need help. For practical courses like CompTIA Security+, you need an instructor who can direct your learning and give immediate feedback to ensure you understand the concepts and processes that help you complete each task.

Feedback

There is a strong body of research that shows feedback and reinforcement are pivotal to learning success. Importantly, learning is best facilitated if the feedback or reinforcement is immediate. The longer it takes for the feedback to be delivered, the less likely that students will retain the information.

Students who take recorded classes might get a few written notes on work they submit, or they might simply get a grade. That is not really learning.

During live online classes, instructors “prompt” students toward the correct answer in class, and this has a dramatic impact on student learning. It is not possible for an instructor giving a recorded class to prompt students.

All students want to know their progress, and a live online class gives students the opportunity to check their understanding with instructors immediately. The feedback students receive is no different from the feedback they receive in an on-campus class.

Discussion

Beginning with Socrates, students have learned through question and answer – in other words, through discussion. In a live online class, students have the same relationship they have with an instructor in an on-campus class. The instructor asks questions, and the students offer answers.

More than that, the flow is two-way. Not only can students listen and learn from the instructor, the instructor can listen to – and even learn from – the students. Instructors gain feedback from students during live classes that they would not receive from a recorded class. Sometimes instructors explain a concept that is difficult for students to understand. The instructor only knows this if the students give feedback. Instructors can then modify the content to ensure that students learn the required skills.

A good instructor will facilitate this “back and forth” to ensure students achieve the best possible learning outcomes from each course.

Peer Learning

Students usually learn from three sources: the instructor, the textbook/course materials, and other students. Sometimes people in a similar situation (students taking an introductory course who want to work in IT security) can teach each other. For example, one student may have found a better method for solving a problem than the one described in the textbook.

In most online classes, students can interact with each other, not just with the instructor. If you take a recorded class, you have very little or no interaction with other students. A recorded class removes one of the three sources of student learning.

Online Certification Courses

Many technology certification courses teach students skills they will use in the workplace, but they also give students the knowledge they need to pass certification exams. If you are taking a course such as the CySA+ certification course, you need to gain specific skills – how to configure and use threat-detection tools, for example – in order to pass the exam and gain certification.

Learning such skills is almost impossible if you simply try to follow a guide, whether that is a textbook reading or the instructions from a recorded lecture. You need to ask questions, attempt the work, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes. This is often not possible, or very time-consuming if you do not have someone to guide you.

Online instructors can give you immediate feedback, help you learn from your mistakes, and check your work to ensure it meets the standard required to pass the certification exam. In a live online classroom, you get a second chance if you make a mistake. You do not get a second chance in a certification exam.

Having an instructor in the “room” during a live online class is an invaluable resource. They guide you, provide personal, immediate feedback, and they can answer questions that may not be covered by the course materials. If you choose to take an online course with recorded

lectures, none of this is possible. Taking live online classes is the smart option if you want to get the most out of your online learning.

Taking the Next Step in Your Financial Career Journey

Whether you are a beginner interested in the financial industry, a professional in their early years, or a seasoned professional wanting to become an expert, Ashton College has the continuing education class for you to take the next step in your financial career journey.

Beginner in the Industry

There are many reasons to take a Canadian Securities Course, from starting a career in the financial industry to learning investment strategies to take control of your own investments. This introductory course will teach you about different financial instruments such as equities, mutual funds, portfolio analysis, and trading stocks. Individuals who complete a CSC® will gain the confidence to speak about investment tools, financial reports, and market events that impact investments. After completing the CSC®, you may look into taking the CSC examination through the Canadian Securities Institute, which will allow you to apply for a mutual fund licence. Other paths to take include; attaining a licence for trading stocks and bonds or continuing your education towards a Canadian Investment Manager or Financial Management Adviser designation. Read more about why you should take a Canadian Securities Course on our blog.

Early Years

Advisors with a few years under their belt may be prepared to take the next step in their financial planning career, which for many means getting their Certified Financial Planner Certification (CFP®). Some advisors have always had the plan to become a certified financial planner, while others may realize after years in the industry that it might be beneficial for the continued growth of their career. Going for your CFP® designation is a rigorous path, but completion comes with many benefits.

  •  CFPs have a competitive advantage in the market
  • CFPs get paid more than non-certified planners
  • CFPs are trusted fiduciaries
  • Internationally recognized

The Certified Financial Planner courses at Ashton College are offered in partnership with Advocis and are part of the FP Canada-accredited Core Curriculum.

Becoming an Expert

Every major bank and firm needs an expert in risk management; there has never been a more crucial time to stand out in this competitive industry. The Financial Risk Manager® is one of the field’s leading certifications and is a key indicator of a skilled and experienced candidate. To become a certified Financial Risk Manager, you need to successfully pass 2 FRM exams and have a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience. There are many benefits to obtaining FRM certification.

  • Higher Salary
  • Globally recognized through GARP
  • Gain access to a network of some of the most prominent financial and risk professionals
  • Creates career opportunities

Ashton College offers exam prep courses for Part 1 and Part 2 of the FRM certification exam. Part one covers the Foundations of Risk Management, the tools used to assess financial risk, quantitative analysis, financial markets and products, and valuation and risk models. Part two covers Market Risk Measurement and Management, Credit Risk Measurement and Management, Operational Risk and Resiliency & Liquidity, Treasury Risk Measurement and Management, Risk Management and Investment Management, and current issues in the financial market. Check out our blog post The Benefits of Becoming a Certified Financial Risk Manager to learn more.

Ashton College provides a variety of continuing education courses to help you take the next step in your career journey.

The Path to Becoming a Sustainability Professional

Sustainability is no longer a fringe issue. Organizations and people who care about protecting our environment now outnumber the skeptics. Government and company policies are starting to reflect sustainable social expectations. The days of businesses chasing profit without considering environmental issues could be over soon. Many modern companies include corporate and social responsibility as a key component of their plans. Enhancing society and the environment rather than harming it is no longer a debate at many companies. At the very least, businesses do not want accusations around unsustainability to tarnish their brand image. What does this mean for you? There are many new opportunities for those interested in becoming sustainability professionals. Moreover, industries that were once unconcerned about their environmental impact are now seeking job applicants with sustainability qualifications. Employees in real estate, manufacturing, marketing and public relations, building, food science, the law, engineering, and teaching are adding sustainability credentials to their resumes. If you are passionate about creating a sustainable society, there are several things you can do to set you on the path.

Introductory Courses

One of the first things you can do to improve your sustainability credentials is to complete a course that imparts knowledge and skills in the discipline. Introductory environmental courses cover the fundamental concepts of sustainability and provide a strong base for future studies. Students build their understanding of the nuanced connections between society and the environment. There is also a focus on developing strategies to limit environmental impact. These are important skills for people working in diverse industries such as construction and marine biology or even social media and risk management.

In their mission statement, the United Nations Environment Programme identifies six key areas to focus on. The areas are leadership, disaster management, eco-system management, governance, harmful substances and resource efficiency. These broad areas underscore how sustainability now intersects almost all professional careers. For one thing, business leaders must consider sustainability in their business plans. Engineers and product managers must consider the environmental impact of their product designs. Lawyers and company managers must be aware of environmental laws to ensure compliance. People who work in marketing, human resources or public relations must understand sustainability to support corporate and social responsibility. The list goes on.

Sustainability influences how we go about our business. Having a fundamental understanding of sustainability practices is now an important responsibility for teams. Try taking an environmental course to get you started.

Advanced Courses

People who are eager about sustainability can take environmental science courses. These more advanced courses cover specialized concepts such as social, environmental or economic sustainability. Whether you are an architect, tradesperson, social researcher or financial accountant, the knowledge can help your career. Sustainability skills can improve your job performance and future prospects.

Policies to limit the impact of climate change continue to shape business philosophies. Integrating sustainability into the structure of organizations is more and more important. Understanding renewable energy, biodiversity, waste management and green building is becoming vital for many engineers, designers and builders.

One effect of social media is the immediate, negative impact when corporate brands slip up. Companies get slammed when their business practices are incompatible with sustainability philosophies. PWC Canada reports that their 2019 Consumer Insights survey, “clearly demonstrates that manufacturers and retailers need to pay attention to what consumers are saying about environmental sustainability if they’re going to keep current customers and attract new ones”. Does that mean sustainability affects customer loyalty? It is not enough to have a conversation about sustainability and make sure that employees do not make too many photocopies or leave the lights on. Employees need sustainability skills to do their jobs in a conscious and critical way. Businesses will hire qualified people to ensure they meet the expectations of their customers.

LEED Green Associate Certification

Aspiring sustainability professionals should also consider getting certified as a LEED Green Associate. What does that mean exactly? LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Canada Green Building Council says that the “credential shows a clear commitment to your professional growth.” Furthermore, certification “[underscores] your value to LEED project teams and sustainability-focused organizations”. Certification is particularly necessary for people considering a career in the building industry. It also benefits people working in real estate, landscaping, marketing, sales, engineering or design.

To get certified, applicants must pass the LEED Green Associate Exam. The exam focuses on building practices and support services for LEED project teams. You can take the exam regardless of your occupation or past experience. However, some of the questions are quite technical and challenging. Taking a LEED green associate exam prep course is a great idea, especially if you are new to sustainability. Prep courses cover the LEED rating system, green building strategies, and energy and water efficiency. Students will also learn about environmental quality, sustainability thinking, and the certification process. Sustainability professionals who want higher LEED certifications must first pass the LEED Green Associate Exam.

ISO 9001 2015 Certification

Are you someone who cares a lot about quality? Consider ISO. The International Organisation for Standardisation is the largest quality management system in the world. The system regulates business practices to ensure rigorous processes, production and quality control. Impressively, over one million companies are certified by ISO. That said, the ISO 9001 certification training courses can be taken by individuals. Prospective sustainability professionals who get certified will make their resumes stand out. This highlights your credibility and training in quality management systems that ensure products and services meet regulatory and customer standards.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Sustainability policies will continue to impact the decisions made by governments and industry. Organizations are starting to work towards harmonizing the needs of society with the need to protect the environment.  For people hoping to advance their careers, Sustainability skills will become more and more important. Employees with a sustainability background are more attractive to businesses hoping to implement best practice strategies to maintain their legal commitments and to protect their brand image. Becoming a sustainability professional is no longer a niche in the job market. Around the world, people recognize that sustainability is a key to the future. Be proactive by adding sustainability credentials to your current resume. Many people are stepping up, not only to live in a sustainable world but to have a sustainable career.

Stand Out from the Crowd with Future-Proof Technology Skills

Even before the internet revolutionized our workplaces, everyone was told to learn computer skills to enhance their future employability. Information technology is everywhere and it continues to drive the future in many industries. But which IT skills will be in demand in the future? The breadth and diversity of courses plus the dynamics of the industry can make the choice overwhelming. New technologies are always in development. Many of these technologies are already part of the future of visionary businesses. Savvy professionals can secure their futures by upgrading their skills today.

Cloud Computing

Most people know the cloud as some ethereal data space in the internet sky. However, few people are aware of how it works and why it is such an important component of doing business. The impact of cloud computing on how we do business and how we work and play will continue to grow. It helps to know about data storage, computer system resources and computing power, which are all future areas of growth. Job applicants with skills in these areas will continue to be in high demand. But, if you want to be a cloud software engineer, developer, architect, or someone who works in cloud operations, you will need certification to get the best and most lucrative jobs. When selecting courses, prospective students with less background knowledge should take an introductory cloud computing course. One of the most highly regarded certifications in cloud computing is the AWS certification. Taking an AWS certification is a great way to get future-proof skills and prepare for AWS certification tests. Students can also take advanced AWS courses to further improve their employability and gain new skills as the sector continues to advance.

Many businesses also prefer that cloud computing staff are Microsoft Azure certified. Azure certification can even put your career on an upward trajectory. Students who complete the introductory course often take advanced azure training for a deeper understanding of administrative and security functions. Then, students will often immediately take the Security Engineer Associate or Administrator Associate certification exam for Azure managed by Microsoft.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is often defined as getting a computer to do something without it being explicitly instructed. The process is used in many industries as new research continues to push the boundaries of possibility. As such, machine learning is already a highly regarded qualification for professionals interested in artificial intelligence and robotics. Machine learning courses are helpful for people interested in cybersecurity, logistics management and predictive management. These are all areas of IT with a high demand for qualified workers. A machine learning course gives students an understanding of how machine learning helps provide cutting-edge business solutions in the modern world. An important part of most machine learning courses is understanding how AI automatically learns and adapts. With a broad understanding of machine learning, students can add to their skillset. They can even extend themselves with future studies in data science, software engineering and development, and computational linguists. Professionals in these areas all need a deep understanding of machine learning.

Robotics

According to the World Economic Forum, there were 113 industrial robots per 10,000 employees in 2020. That marks an increase of more than 50% since 2016. There were fears that robots would replace human employees for years, countered with arguments that robotics would increase employment. The only certainty is that the use of robotics in manufacturing will continue to grow along with the demand for robotics experts. Robotics is now much more sophisticated than the technology that first welded together car parts on an assembly line. Robots make and deliver food, perform surgery and even care for the elderly. Science fiction can make us think of robots as replacements for humans, but the reality is pretty different. For people who want to future-proof their skills, an understanding of robotics could help your career take off. An introductory robotics course builds knowledge of robot structures, workspaces, operation systems and sensor feedback control. Such a course allows students to develop practical skills with electronics, sensors and actuators. You can also learn about microcontroller programming languages. Some courses also engage with the ethics surrounding the use of robotics in society. Advanced robotics training usually gives students an opportunity to develop projects and gain a thorough understanding of programming, electronics and prototyping. These courses suit anyone with a passion for making robotics their career.

Python Programming

Python is a diverse programming language that is powerful and easy to learn. The language is used for web development, data extraction, robotics, blockchain and even machine learning. Python is versatile, fast, efficient, and has an extensive online library. It also shows up in AI, cloud computing, data science and automation. The benefit of Python is that most students learn it quickly and efficiently. Because it is modular, students continue to use it on more complex work as they develop their skills. Many business names that are synonymous with the technology sector use Python. Python for beginners is great for those new to programming. Students learn the core concepts and flexibility of the language. You also learn about its adaptability, which is the main reason Python has remained an important programming language since its introduction in 1991. IT professionals often complete Python certification to improve their proficiency and take their Python learning to the next level. Advanced students learn Python 3, used by many businesses for object-oriented programming, databases, and graphical user interface programming.

Summary

The world does not stand still, and this is no more evident than in the technology sector. The above courses are a great way to future-proof your career and help you stand out from the crowd. Beyond these qualifications, it is important that you can clearly and effectively communicate your ideas to colleagues and business associates. A business communication course is an excellent way to ensure that your brilliant ideas come across to others.

What Employers Expect from HR Professionals

The field of Human Resources (HR) is constantly evolving and adapting to keep up with industry standards. Last year, we saw a massive shift in what was expected of HR professionals. As expectations shift, so do the skills that employers expect their HR employees to possess. Staying on top of industry demands is one of the best ways to get ahead in any industry, and that rings especially true for HR. We are going to take a look at what some of the most in-demand HR skills are, and how Ashton College can help you learn them through HR continuing education courses.

Diversity Training

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important in recent years. Diverse workplaces have been found to be more productive than homogenous ones, but they need a trained HR professional to ensure operations run smoothly. HR professionals with diversity and inclusion training can effectively build and support a healthy, diverse corporate culture where members of the workforce feel safe and included.

Ashton College’s Diversity and Inclusion Training course can teach you how to foster a diverse work culture, and how to anticipate and prevent diversity-related workplace conflicts from arising.

Change Management Certification

The demand for change management has increased dramatically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Change management is an area of HR that is focused on helping organizations enact changes at all levels of an organization. Change management professionals focus on helping people adapt to those changes. As organizations continue to enact sweeping changes to their operations at a rapid rate, the need for HR professionals to guide employees through these changes is at an all-time high.

Ashton College’s Change Management Certification course is accredited by the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) and the course fulfills the 21-hour training requirement for the ACMP’s Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP) certification. Ashton College is listed on the ACMP’s Qualified Education Provider (QEP) registry as well. The CCMP is an HR certification Canada and most other countries in the world recognize and respect. Earning your CCMP will open you up to many new opportunities in your career.

Conflict Resolution Training

Conflict resolution is a valuable skill for any HR professional to have. Being able to maintain productivity and morale in the workplace is a key responsibility of the HR department and being skilled at conflict resolution will help you fulfill your duties.

Along with conflict resolution, HR professionals benefit from having negotiation training and mediation training. Being skilled in these three areas provides you with a comprehensive set of interpersonal skills that will greatly benefit you both professionally and personally.

Ashton College offers courses for each of these three skills. You can register for all three to get a comprehensive education in HR communication skills or you can register for the areas you are most interested in improving.

Employment Law and Standards

The HR department is responsible for ensuring an organization and its employees are working in accordance with a variety of policies and laws, which includes provincial employment laws and standards. By building up your knowledge of this area of HR, you can reach some of the more senior positions within an organization.

Ashton College currently offers a course on BC employment standards and employment law, as well as a course on Alberta employment law and employment standards.

Solid Communication Skills

One of the most important aspects of your career in human resources is being able to effectively communicate directives, questions and open discussions. Elevate your skills through additional communication skills training so that you can effectively share your ideas.

Learn the Skills You Need

Now is the absolute best time to start working on your HR skills. Whether you are looking to specialize in a new area of HR, earn a promotion in your department, or do more in your current role, Ashton College can help you get there. Register now for one of the best HR courses Canada has to offer and take your career to the next level.