Going global —WoodSolutions could become an internationally accredited provider of design and build education
Plans are afoot to expand the WoodSolutions offering and transform the program into an international provider of timber education.
The move is an attempt to leverage the strong domestic and international reputation the program has built over the past ten years.
The idea is to provide Australian and international students with access to the enviable repository of high-quality information freely available at the WoodSolutions website, as well as recordings of the series of webinars that have proven so popular. The team is actively exploring the possibilities around utilising and integrating this content into a micro-certification program.
“Most WoodSolutions material will satisfy the requirements of continuous professional development (CPD) for Australian building and design associations, but there is a growing need for academic recognition,” said Eileen Newbury, WoodSolutions National Program Manager and FWPA’s National Marketing and Communications Manager.
“While it remains in its early stages, we have identified a trend towards mini qualifications — also known as micro-certifications — that can be accumulated for recognition via a tertiary qualification.”
Micro-certifications are usually short, low-cost, online courses that provide learners with a digital certification or ‘digital badge’ when completed. The key difference between micro-credentialing and other tertiary qualifications is the delivery of education in bite-sized chunks. These programs are often developed with a particular industry in mind, to ensure qualifications meet industry-specific needs, and are recognised by employers.
WoodSolutions micro-certifications could potentially be offered as standalone educational opportunities or, alternatively, be linked with various degrees at both Australian and international universities.
“These micro-certifications would be small, discrete subjects, targeting members of the design and build industry, as well as the forest and wood products supply chain,” Newbury explained.
“The intention would be to meet the market need for shorter, more specific educational offerings for design and build specifiers, forest growers and wood processors looking for learning opportunities appropriate to their specific work environments.”
To obtain a WoodSolutions micro-certification, participants would be expected to complete specially designed assessment tasks, to confirm the achievement of defined learning outcomes.
“Increasingly, universities are moving away from the traditional one-hour lecture format, and towards the curation of a range of information sources. With the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, we can probably expect this trend to continue, or even accelerate,” Newbury said.
“We are excited to explore what new opportunities this shift could bring for extending the reach, purpose and positive outcomes of a program like WoodSolutions.”
FWPA is exploring the establishment of an international reference panel, which would comprise high profile and well-regarded industry experts, to add an extra layer of authority to the program. Amongst other things, the panel would be responsible for reviewing all WoodSolutions content and certifying it as best-practice, up-to-date, and suitable for use as part of a micro-certification program.
“Tertiary education resources and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points have always formed a key element of the WoodSolutions program. However, the global shift towards webinars and online learning, necessitated in part by COVID-19, offers new opportunities to leverage our online success and improve direct interaction between professionals, students and the WoodSolutions brand,” Newbury said.