Evening Courses - Time to Reflect
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Over the years, I've delivered C&G 2365 Level 2 and Level 3 courses both as evening classes, and as a full-day class over a number of weekends. Although the amount of contact time for each type of course is about the same, the learning experience can be quite different.
Weekend courses have always been very popular with our learners, and rightly so: the duration is shorter, and there may be less tension between your 'day job' and your learning. For many, it might be the only feasible option.
But some of the advantages of taking an evening course are often overlooked, and it might be that an evening course is the right choice for you.
The main advantage of an evening class is that it gives you time to reflect. We cover the topics at the same rate in the classroom, but people often forget that classroom time is only a small part of the learning process.
For example, we might explore a major topic over 3 hours in class - say, 'cable selection based on current-carrying-capacity' - and another topic in another 3 hours ('earthing and bonding arrangements'). Those on a weekend class will have a week to reflect on the first topic, and then another week to reflect on the second topic, before we move on. The same learner on a weekend course has just one week to get their head around both topics.
This has several implications. The first is on time commitments outside of class. To reinforce and complement the classroom learning - independent research, worksheets, practice questions, exploring YouTube videos - the weekend learner needs to commit to roughly twice as much time, per week, as the evening learner. Another way of thinking of it is: the evening learner often has deeper electrotechnical understanding and knowledge, because they have had longer to absorb the information.
The second advantage of the evening class is flexibility. If you need to miss a week, then the consequences are far less serious, in terms of missing valuable insights in class, and extra commitment required to catch up.
Finally, as a tutor, I'm very aware that my learners will have been working all day - and it is not just the learners, I'm often in the same boat! For this reason we tend to pace the evening classes with a sympathetic eye on everyone's ability to remain attentive. You'll be welcomed by a full boiled kettle, and plenty of biscuits to keep you going!
I'm a very relaxed sort of bloke - I love getting to the bottom of questions, things I don't understand. It's brilliant when I see one of my learners 'get it' - that spark when it all clicks together. If I'm honest, I prefer delivering evening classes, for all these reasons. It might well be the right choice for you, too.
Dr Steve Sharples MIET
Lecturer / Electrical Assessor
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