Innovative technology assisting apprentices

A post-secondary institution in Newfoundland and Labrador has incorporated innovative technology to help apprentices receive training.
CNA instructor Greg Ryan teaches students in Stephenville and in western Labrador using a smart board and other digital technology. (CBC)

A college in Newfoundland and Labrador is incorporating innovative technology to help apprentices receive their training.

The Iron Ore Company of Canada in western Labrador has encouraged its apprentices to pursue further education, but that would mean lower staffing levels for the company, as workers would have to leave for training.

So, the IOC approached College of the North Atlantic instructor Greg Ryan in Stephenville to develop training using distance technology.

As part of his curriculum, Ryan uses a smart board, a monitor and a moveable camera. Students at both the Stephenville campus in Newfoundland and in Labrador West can view the same material at the same time.

"I have five students in my classroom with me, in person, and I have six more students through real time distance learning sitting in a campus in Lab West," said Ryan.

Interactive approach needed

Ryan said for him, it means modifying his teaching approach.

"You need to make it interactive," said Ryan.

"The type of learner that most tradespeople are, including myself, I can't sit here and listen to somebody talk. You'll lose me in five minutes and most trades people are like that."

The end result, said Ryan, has worked for both the apprentices and their employer.

"Relieving IOC of the stress of having to send apprentices here, they had a major issue that sometimes they would send so many apprentices out, encouraging their education and advancement of their career," said Ryan. "They would leave themselves depleted of almost an entire shift."