By Ramiro Solórzano, Assoc. AIA
Manager, CES Provider Audits
I have had the pleasure of working with Ariane Hansen in getting her insight for her distance education courses. She is the Primary Point of Contact for the AIA Continuing Education System for her company AEC Daily. One of the fun things I do at the AIA CES is Provider Recognition on Provider best practices so that AIA CES and our Providers can embody those best practices. I followed up with Ariane Hansen to ask her about her best practices in distance education program.
Ariane Hansen implements best practices in her organization by working “in conjunction with education partners or experts (manufacturers, trade associations, consultants) to create, host and provide high quality online continuing education. Among [their] many best practices they have a number to ensure that what they host is current, well written and pertinent courses. AEC Daily’s most valuable tool is their feedback form which tracks a number of metrics concerned with quality of the courses. Within this form they also receive both feedback about courses and suggestions for new courses. Recently, they automated the tracking of this information so that they can instantly identify popular courses from a number of viewpoints, and a complete list of desired course topics for any time frame. Responding to feedback is easier as lists of comments can be quickly generated and reviewed.”
Hansen is not without challenges and some of the solutions they have implemented to overcome those challenges may be helpful to other Providers who do distance education. “AEC Daily does not provide face-to-face courses, many of their education partners do. When they create an online course for them, they will often ask for it to be made into a face-to-face, so they can present it in lunch and learns and at other venues. As separate Providers, they have to gather attendees’ names and AIA numbers and report them to the AIA within a certain timeframe after each session.” Hansen was getting innumerable questions from their education partners about how to accomplish this, and calls from both the AIA and attendees if points weren’t reported correctly.
“To solve this issue and meet their goal of ensuring ease of use and accurate results, AEC Daily created tablet registration software which they give to any of our education partners who are also AIA Providers. For each Provider all FTF courses are listed in the database, the Provider can click on any one of his/her courses to create an electronic sign in sheet, which can be used at the presentation to accurately capture attendee information. Designed to be used on a tablet, the attendees simply enter their own AIA number, name and email and once complete, this list is available to the Provider in a format that easily bulk uploads to the AIA.”
“This one small change all but eliminates mistakes made during registration and cuts down on the time consuming inputting of data into the AIA forms. In addition, once the course is over an email is sent to the attendee with their course certificate. In the My AEC Daily area of our website we maintain a transcript for each AEC Daily user or FTF attendee. These transcripts bring together both online and FTF courses which would normally be separate. Course certificates are always be available for download from the transcripts page. This innovation has increased the accuracy and quality of the education experience, and made continuing education easier for both our education partners and the architects who take their courses.”
“In the coming year AEC Daily is working on new goals to further integrate all educational platforms, both making a consistent educational experience for the learner and making it easier to find all types of education. They will also continue refining their existing practices with the intention of providing valuable education to our readers and simplifying the administrative tasks.” Hansen’s goal is to allow providers to focus on teaching and learners on learning.
In conclusion, I was glad to work with Ariane Hansen in learning about the challenges of their distance education program and meeting the challenges head-on and making it a successful program. Their innovative implementation of technology has streamlined their distance education courses to maintain the quality of education. I would like to thank Ariane Hansen for her contribution to this article and for sharing with AIA CES her challenges and successes of the program.