Blended Learning from ITDI and the University of Geneva
IATA has offered distance learning courses to industry stakeholders all around the world for more than 40 years. First called “home-study” in the mid-70s, they became “computer-based training” in the early-90s, and evolved progressively into the interactive “e-learning” courses that we know today. Between 1972 and 1983, 17,453 students graduated from IATA home-study programs. Today, we have close to 25,000 graduates in one year alone! Technology helps us reach more students in more locations than we ever imagined possible. ITDI is pushing the envelope by exploring the potential of what educational innovators call “blended learning” (essentially, a mix of classroom and online courses).
Following recent developments in digital educational technologies, ITDI is taking blended learning to the next level by expanding our successful academic partnership with the University of Geneva. This project, which started earlier this year and will be carried out over the next two years, aims to bring a selection of courses from our highly successful Diploma of Advanced Studies in Aviation Management to the virtual environment. We are happy to announce that ITDI and the University of Geneva intend to launch the first true blended-learning program tailored for aviation industry professionals, in September 2017.
The advantages of online training
The vast majority of senior university officials consider online education to be critical to the long-term strategy of their institution, according to a recent study endorsed by Pearson, the world leader in education publishing. In 2014 alone, more than 7.1 million students enrolled in at least one online course, according to the same study. The advantages of online training are many:
- Student performance and learning outcomes are on par with a face-to-face approach
- Costs are significantly lower than onsite classroom courses
- Increased accessibility (no need to travel)
- Flexibility (limited time out of the office)
The best of both worlds
In the past, limitations of online training have included a lack of student engagement and retention. That is why, together with renowned professors and educational specialists from the University of Geneva, ITDI will customize our blended learning to ensure that the experience is engaging, efficient and effective. An array of versatile online learning and research tools will be available:
- Synchronous (i.e., virtual classrooms, chat rooms)
- Asynchronous (i.e., wikis, discussion boards, online collaborative work pads)
In any learning environment, interaction and collaboration between students and with the instructor is crucial for effective information processing and knowledge acquisition (outlined in a case study published by Wired). ITDI recognizes the importance of virtual classrooms to promote student engagement. That is why our blended-learning program will alternate between virtual classroom sessions and other online interactive activities (i.e., quizzes, business games and other apps). At times, we will step out of the virtual world for onsite classroom courses held at both our offices and at the University of Geneva campus. Blended learning might seem a bit complex to some, but by using familiar, reliable and innovative technology we are confident our students will appreciate getting the best of both worlds!