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Manage your learning

Advice on how to manage your learning

Motivation to learn -  Why are you looking at this training programme? 

  • Because your boss or university professor told you too?
  • Because you are just browsing around?
  • Because you want to increase your knowledge?
  • Because you want to get some CPD credits?
  • Because you want to be able to use iRAP tools?
  • Because you want to be a supplier to an iRAP project?
  • Because you just want to check-out whether iRAP is any good?

If you want to use this training programme as a learning tool the first thing is to be clear why you want to learn

Personal development planning - Having a personal development plan (PDP) is a good way to sort out what you want to learn and why you want to learn it.  Doing a PDP helps you to

  • assess your abilities and skills,
  • look at whether you need to develop new skills,
  • consider different ways to acquire those skills.
  • identify your priorities for the future,
  • develop independence, self direction and self confidence

A PDP will focus what you take from this course]

 Learning while working - This course is designed to be taken by people in the workplace.  They are learning while doing a job and accessing online materials to help them learn.  This is different from learning in a university or college where much more guidance and structure is available.  

 Learning techniques - How to maximise your learning ability

  • Read about something
  • Read about something and think about it a bit
  • Read about something, think about it and have a go at applying it
  • Read about something, think about it, have a go at applying it and then think about how the application worked

At each stage your level of understanding increases – if your objective is to have a professional understanding you must go through all the steps, from applying it and how the application worked.

Everyone has a different learning style – some like practical experience, some like delving into theory, and so on – so play to your learning strengths. Set aside time for your learning and plan what you are going to do  - it’s a job so treat like you would treat any other job. Keep a record of what you do and keep notes of your thoughts and observations – going back over notes is a very good way to reinforce learning. Do something practical with what you are learning – do course exercises, apply something from the course in your day job, develop your own theories and ideas and write an essay to yourself explaining them. Have fun along the way!

 


The structure of the courses

 The iRAP training courses are built from individual topics of materials covering every aspect of iRAP methodology and process, plus the underlying theory. Courses provide learning pathways which pick out relevant topics for those in specific roles or interested in specific subjects. You can also skip through the packets in revision mode.

 In the course introduction you will find suggestions for further reading to help you go into areas of interest in more depth and there is a ‘learning outcome’ button that gives a summary of what you will learn in the course.

 Individual pages within topics can also be accessed through a ‘help function’ which guides you to the topic and finds the page which best answers your question. The help menu can be scanned in a logic menu or you can type key words into the search function to find topics relevant to your query.

 Quizzes and assessments

 Most topics have occasional short quizzes to help reinforce your learning.  They are optional.  You also have the option of either taking each course as part of an assessed pathway towards becoming an accredited user of iRAP software or an accredited provider of iRAP services to third parties.  If you elect this pathway then you must take the assessment exercises associated with the course. 

 The reason is that if you don’t know how to use iRAP processes properly you may get rubbish results and that undermines confidence in the whole process.  Before granting access to iRAP systems it is therefore necessary to ensure that users know how to preform quality checks on data and upload it correctly.  Assessments involve some trial exercises online and are followed by further quality checks by iRAP staff to ensure all is well.  And iRAP does charge a fee for this.]

 Continuing professional development

 The assessments also provide evidence that you can use for logging CPD with professional bodies and provides evidence of validated learning which can count as part of postgraduate academic awards.

 All professional bodies require you to spend time keeping yourself up to date with developments.  This can be just attending a conference but it is much stronger to be able to say that you attended a course and passed an exam at the end.

Time spent doing an iRAP course can qualify as CPD if it is logged with evidence of learning. Assessments to provide evidence for CPD are like case studies and iRAP charges a fee for the assessment. 

 iRAP training is recognised as part of a university validated Professional Doctorate which is based on work based learning.  To make use of this you need to be registered as a student with a University that operates this award and after completing the iRAP training you need to write a dissertation based on fieldwork using the iRAP methodology.

 Ongoing experience - Any work you do as an engineer or leader on an iRAP project should be logged with iRAP.  You need to log:

  •  The name of the project
  • The start and finish dates
  • Your role in the project
  • A sample of your output, eg a report or analysis

This logging of experience is also very important for maintaining your accreditation and can also count towards CPD.

iRAP protocols are under continual development as knowledge and experience grows.  Case studies are being added continuously as projects are completed in new countries and new road conditions encountered.  In order to stay abreast with developments iRAP offers an annual refresher package is offered.  An administration fee is charged for this service.  Those who have registered as iRAP learners of have become accredited will receive automatic invitations.