Featured interview: Einstein Network
With our focus on blended approaches to learning this month, we're showcasing Einstein Network, who are new to the TrainingZONE Partner Pages, as providers of electronic solutions for professional CPD. Here, MD Michael Brooks explains the philosophy and approach behind the Einstein programmes.
TrainingZONE: What's the philosophy behind Einstein Network?
Michael Brooks: We have been producing training programmes for professionals for over eleven years, and support over 30,000 users. Although the obligations of CPD (continuing professional development) varies between professions we take pride in the creation of relevant, topical and interesting programmes that ensure our clients meet their CPD requirements but also do their jobs better. We are the only UK based company to serve the width of professions in our chosen format and are always looking to develop our services further.
TrainingZONE: How did Einstein Network come into being?
Michael Brooks: The company started trading back in 1991 with the introduction of the Law Channel, closely followed by the Accountancy Channel. 1994 the Surveyors’ Channel was launched and 2 years later the Civil Engineers’ Channel was added to the selection. The Planning Channel came into being in 2000 and the final channels; the Business Channel and the Architects’ Channel were introduced in 2001. During this period it has traded under the names of Television Education Network (TEN) and The Einstein Group, but was acquired by the FSDC group in October 2001.
TrainingZONE: What is eCPD?
Michael Brooks: It is the development of moving to an interactive service. The company has always supplied programmes in video format and still does so. However from January this year we have added eCPD to the existing services. eCPD combines the existing programme format with additional facilities. eCPD can be provided on CD Rom or loaded on a company’s intranet. Users, if they wish can either watch all, or just a part of a programme, plus gain the benefit of an interactive quiz at the end of the session. The programme’s full study notes are also available to download together with additional recommended web links providing further research material on the topic area covered. Users are also encouraged to email comments, questions or improvements to the relevant producer.
TrainingZONE: How does it differ from other CPD programmes?
Michael Brooks: It differs from the other Einstein CPD services as it enhances the actual programmes with additional tools. Flexibility is one of the many benefits of eCPD.
TrainingZONE: How does it work?
Michael Brooks: Normally CPD programmes would be watched on video in classroom environment. You can still use eCPD to do this, but since the material is on CD-ROM, a user can access it either on their work PC, or take it home. Many of our clients have users who are working away from their normal office. This is particularly valid for engineers and tax auditors. They can then still upgrade their CPD points or knowledge even when they are away from the office.
TrainingZONE: What can employees expect to get out of it?
Michael Brooks: More flexibility, easier access, and an opportunity to repeat a topic in private. It allows the user to “personalise” their CPD needs.
TrainingZONE: Can you get a certificate or qualification from the Einstein Network programmes?
Michael Brooks: Einstein Network have accreditation from all of the relevant Institutions including ICAEW, The Law Society, The Bar Council, CIMA, ICE, RICS and RIBA to name but a few. Each of these bodies endorses the fact that an individual eCPD programme equates to 1 hour of CPD.
TrainingZONE: Can it work on a corporate level, across organisations?
Michael Brooks: Yes indeed. In many cases the large corporations have made eCPD available on CD-ROM as well as loading it on their intranets. This means that users can then access it on their own office LANs, as well as at home. Amongst our hundreds of corporate clients, we have one of the main UK banks, a major government department and a global telecommunications company, who have all adopted this system.
TrainingZONE: What sort of organisations are currently using eCPD?
Michael Brooks: The beauty of it is that it is suitable for all sizes of customer. We have sole practitioners right up to the largest civil engineering companies. Equally we have users from all the professions taking advantage of this. And this includes clients who have been with us for many years plus new ones joining in 2003.
TrainingZONE: eCPD could be described as a blended approach - using a combination of delivery methods. What's your general view on the use of blended approaches to learning?
Michael Brooks: Anything that makes learning more relevant, easier to use and access, recognises the pressures on time and can benefit all users, has to be good. That is what eCPD has achieved. All businesses have to continually adapt in today’s highly competitive market place. eCPD recognises this and meets the users at their point of need!