An introduction to FIA remote learning
The FIA has been providing remote online learning since the 23rd March 2020, with the capability to conduct online exams being provided from the 01st June 2020 onwards.
Remote learning and examinations have allowed students from around the world to begin, continue and complete their professional development throughout the varying lockdown measures demanded by the pandemic.
The requirements post-Hackitt report and all the subsequent Competency Steering Groups all indicate Level 3 qualifications as a minimum to work in fire safety – so they will be well prepared with the knowledge and qualifications needed for future projects.
As always, the training is delivered by our professional instructors using the Zoom webinar platform. The course material will be presented, explained and expanded upon by the trainer throughout the course, with students having the ability to ask questions using the Q&A function, as well as directly to the trainer throughout the course. Trainers can also make use of the annotation facility within zoom, to help guide students through the slides as they are discussed.
Students will also have access to the course manual via the Mimeo Digital platform. In the week leading up to the course which was booked, an e-mail will be sent from the FIA that asks students to register for the course via Zoom. The e-mail will also include a link, & an access key for the Mimeo platform where students are required to create a free mimeo account. Once an account has been created, the access key can be entered to gain access to the course manual electronically. Whilst notes can be made within the manual electronically, the option to download or print the manual will not be available. However, once the course has been completed, students will receive the option to request that a hard copy of the manual be issued to their chosen address. For ease of use, we would encourage students to take notes manually, rather than making notes within Mimeo.
It can sometimes be beneficial to operate with two screens or two separate devices. This will allow the course manual to viewed on one screen, whilst watching the presentation on the alternate screen. This same technique can also be used during the exam to have Zoom and/or the British Standards (only for open book exams) on one screen, whilst using the alternate screen to access the actual exam using Google Chrome.
Students will not be required to have their webcam active during the course, but we would encourage people to check that their webcam and microphone is configured and operating correctly before starting the course. How the individual trainers use their webcams will vary. Some may use their webcam to make an introduction before starting the course and then switch it off, others will leave it active for the duration of the course, whilst others will do something in between.
When it’s time to take the Qualification exam, webcams will need to be switched on in order to allow for exam invigilation. (Please note this is just for the regulated Qualification exams, most of the other courses only require you to take an online exam via a link that will be provided) Whilst the microphones will not normally be used during an exam, an operational microphone will be required to allow two-way communication to verify identity, check passwords and for general questions and assistance. For more information relating to the actual examination process, please refer to the article, ‘FIA On-line exams – What’s involved’.
The polling facility within the Zoom platform will also be used throughout the course(s) to help re-cap, revise and highlight areas for further study. The questions within the polling facility are not reflective of exam style questions, but they are laid out to help revise the recent topics discussed during the course. This also helps to increase student interaction with the course, by allowing delegates to engage with the course content.
The costs of the courses are the same (the provider overhead is the same as the room hire being balanced by the provision of the interactive presentation package). The learner will benefit from zero cost of travel and accommodation and zero traveling time.
Moving forward, once pandemic restrictions are hopefully eased, we are looking forward to making a move back into the class-based environment. We do however anticipate that remote on-line learning will form part of the range of training services that we offer in the future. We feel that this is a progressive step in order to expand our reach and meet individual & company requirements.
How to book?
The way you book yourself or others on a course has not changed. Now you are equipped with the knowledge of what courses are now running online, you are able to go and book on to an online course straight away.
Online Exam Testimonies
Here is what fire professionals from across the industry and the United Kingdom have had to say:
"After waiting to rebook my exam with the FIA, I was lucky to have the chance to help them trial there new online examination for the BS 5839-1 Fundamentals qualification. I would recommend using the FIA's new exciting online course and examination if you cannot attend the class. Another benefit is that it lets you do the course at your own pace and take the exam without having to travel. I found that it is essential to read and revise the BS-5839-1 before the exam."
Ben Grimble, Fire Alarm and Extinguisher Engineer, M&G Fire Protection (Essex) Ltd
'The exam was very easy to follow and presented in a clear concise way, the material was engaging and the manner adopted by the trainer put you at ease. The exam was well managed and felt like it was taken seriously, as it should.
It felt like you were in the classroom with little difference, perhaps a sign of new times. It also gave me the chance to complete the sessions and help me gain my AO Level 3 qualification and if I had to wait for the classroom exam would have added a lengthy delay.'
Mike Stonehouse, Senior Sales Engineer, Johnson Controls
"As Director of M&G Fire Protection (Essex) Ltd we have used the FIA training services for several years, the training has always been to a very high standard, we have now had staff pass the Level 3 Fundamentals conversion course, the Level 3 Fundamentals course and are pleased to have our engineer Ben Grimble to be the first engineer in the UK to pass the online examination.
In this changing world, it is vital that every company and organisation changes its practices to suit the working practices put upon by this pandemic, by enabling engineers to remote learn and also pass an accredited exam through modern technology is great news and enables us as a Company to continue to progress with our training program.
With the support of the FIA and the technology used Ben has said that he found the online exam to be a great benefit as it eliminates the stress and tiredness caused by travelling and is far less stressful taking the exam in the comfort of his own home rather than a classroom-type scenario, both Ben and the company are delighted that he has achieved the same Level 3 accredited exam as his work colleagues who completed the classroom-based exam.
All of us at M&G Fire Protection would like to congratulate Ben and the FIA for this positive step forward and would highly recommend the course and exam to other engineers whether working or on Furlough at present."
Steven Middleton, Director, M&G Fire Protection (Essex) Ltd
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