Virtual College

How eLearning Weathers the Storm at eLN CONNECT

Ilkley (UK), November 2017 - Virtual College, in collaboration with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECWMF), will be exhibiting and presenting at this year’s eLearning Network Annual Conference. The ELN CONNECT 2017 event, 07 November, marked the 30th birthday of the eLearning Network, an organisation for learning professionals.

The ECWMF is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 States. It functions as a research institute and a 24/7 operational service that produces and disseminates numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This allows its partners to get the most from ECMWF's computing services and data toward developing an advanced understanding of forecasting.

At the event, Carsten Maass from ECMWF explained that they have been working in collaboration with eLearning provider Virtual College to create eLearning modules to be used in training activities, either as stand-alone modules or as part of other courses.

The extensive learning programme includes thirteen modules of online course content, webinars, and a blended course, in addition to their face-to-face courses. These modules will help ECMWF provide customisable and flexible training initiatives and cut down face-to-face training costs for ECMWF's Member States.

Virtual College's Learning Technology Manager, Sophie Thornton, explained that the potential audience for these training courses was made up of various groups: academics, scientists, forecasters, technical staff, and software developers.

This has created some interesting challenges. Each group has different needs: academics and scientists may be interested in the working of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models or the theory underpinning NWP concepts; forecasters in the interpretation and use of meteorological products; whilst technical staff may be interested in software installation and maintenance. Sophie added, "Users of these courses come from different European countries, so eLearning will mean that they can easily fit the learning in at a time to suit them, without taking days to travel to traditional training sessions."