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    Jul 11, 2014

    Adult educators to get free Web courses

    SHE used to stay in the office late, as that's the only way she could get her dose of professional learning. But now, adult educator Linda Ng can access courses from home with her tablet, instead of her office laptop.

    "It gives me more time and freedom to cope with worklife and professional learning," said the 36-year-old. "The modules are in bite-sized pieces and I take only about 10 minutes to learn two key points... I can fit (the learning) into my schedule more easily."

    More adult educators like her could benefit from the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) unveiled by Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin at the fifth Adult Learning Symposium yesterday.

    Developed by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), 40 of these online courses have been created for adult educators in the Continuing Education and Training (CET) sector and piloted since last month.

    "For busy working adults, sometimes it can be difficult to attend a training programme when manpower is tight, particularly if they have family commitments... They may not be able to do it in the evenings," said Mr Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

    "Through CET, through e-modules, they can access it at their own pace, in their own time."

    The courses have bite-sized learning segments and offer opportunities for learners to co-create content through online discussions within the portal. The lessons cover areas such as instructional methods and workplace literacy.

    In his speech yesterday, Mr Tan cited figures on the progress of the CET landscape. Its institutional training capacity, for example, has grown six-fold from 22,000 to 120,000 workers. More than a million workers have also been trained under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications System over the last five years.

    "E-learning is a good solution, but we also need to ensure that our adult educators are technologically attuned and ready to embrace e-learning," said Mr Tan.

    "To help build such capabilities, IAL has embarked on the development of... MOOC to help prepare our training comunity to be e-learning ready."

    The CET MOOC lessons are free of charge and targeted to be rolled out next year. More participants from sectors such as retail and tourism will be roped in.

    The IAL is also setting up a portal called LearningSpace.SG for learners to access Singapore-based CET MOOCs and for training providers to offer online courses.