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TEN ways to learn

Top quality interviews, site reports and dynamic visual presentation are central to a video service which is providing a convenient in house training medium for civil engineers.

The Civil Engineers' Channel video training service is run by Television Education Network (TEN). TEN provides educational videos for the employees of subscribing consultants and contractors. Interviews with leading industry representatives and site footage from landmark projects give viewers an opportunity to explore case studies in detail from their own offices, says TEN Product Manager Wanda Roberts.

'These videos are a cost effective training medium for civil engineers because they can be viewed by individuals or groups of any size whenever convenient and they can be stored for future reference,' claims Roberts.

Subscribers to the Civil Engineers' Channel video service can choose from three options depending on the particular need. Each year companies can receive 25, 38 or 48 programmes on six bimonthly videos.

The programmes range from reports on major construction projects to debates on topics such as health & safety, construction law and highway engineering. 'Each programme lasts about 20 minutes, which we feel is the optimum concentration time,' says Roberts.

The company's coverage of ground breaking construction projects often focusses on innovative techniques used in locations which cannot normally be viewed at first hand. Film footage taken on site is included in programmes where possible, giving civil engineers an insight into projects they might not otherwise have learnt about.

The training videos, which are officially recognised by the ICE, can be used as preparation towards an individual's Chartered Professional Review. Each video's content is supported by background notes and a magazine. Reading, viewing and group discussion can give an individual one hour of CPD.

Producer of the Civil Engineers' Channel Julie Wilkinson said: 'Last year we made a programme on site at the Millennium Dome which looked at the foundation masts and cable nets. We talked about the structure with engineers from Buro Happold and produced a progress report.' Projects such as the dome which last over many months or years allow the channel to give regular updates in future programmes as part of a news round-up, included on each video.

Opportunities for filmed discussions and debates to be supported by studio demonstrations and graphical analysis are often realised. This is especially true since TEN began filming in a high tech studio at Channel 4 Television in 1997.

Roberts says the format of TEN's programmes ensures informative and lively teaching. 'We use a lot of graphics and projected images to support discussions, forming a computerised background to the studio debates. If a structural technique needs to be analysed, 3D graphics can be shown.'

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