Today, I am delighted to announce that the ICA experience is going to be taken to another dimension…the future. We have made a conscious decision to embrace the technological revolution in Singapore and believe this will provide an enhanced experience, not only for our students, but also for us as an organisation.
What are we doing?
All new delegates in Singapore who sign up for one of our many diplomas starting in March will be provided with a free iPad mini. We intend to couple this with iTunes University, which we plan to use to disseminate notes and communications for all delegates.
Why are we doing this?
The world is changing and as a result, education, and the way in which it should and can be delivered, is evolving at a much faster rate than previously. This can be significantly attributed to the development and evolution of the internet.
In today’s world, we are not required to remember the year in which William conquered England, as it can be easily searched on the web. We do not need to call a telephone number to order a cab, we can open an app on our smartphone, press a couple of buttons and our taxi details will be provided. We do not need to calculate the net present value of our child’s university fund, we can just download a spreadsheet, plug in the numbers and the values will appear.
However, despite all these remarkable and groundbreaking technical breakthroughs and achievements, there is one element that technology cannot replace – the human touch. Over the years we have witnessed a number of e-learning solutions emerge whose educational programs and assessments are 100% dependent on technology.
With some, you open a browser, pay for your course, watch videos and then answer questions of varying difficulty. If you fail, you can always retake until you have navigated your way past the false answers to pass the course (sometimes paying further fees to do so). You have to ask yourself what you achieve with this methodology. Often, you may have improved your ability to store information in your short-term memory, but may have gained little practical knowledge about your chosen subject.
This holds even more weight in Compliance, AML, Financial Crime Prevention and the other areas in which the ICA provide courses, especially since there are often many possible “correct” answers to a given scenario. We pride ourselves in providing great experiences and learning in our respective fields and a huge contributor to these experiences is our people. The people who teach on our course have a range of 5-30 years of real world experience. They will be able to relate current issues to real life stories of events that have happened during their career, will be able to answer any questions you may have and, perhaps most importantly, they will be able to provide their insights and guidance to you. Studying in a workshop environment allows you explore, in discussion, varying methodologies and nuances to identify what works best for you and/or your organisation – the best solution for one may not be the best for another. This cannot be replicated by a computer.
As a result, here at the ICA, we believe technology should act as a supplement to your education, and not be your education.
How is your experience enhanced?
This is an initiative we have been discussing for a while. With the release of the iPad mini, we believe this is a product that is an adequate size and weight for you as a delegate. Some of our courses require substantial reading, so the fact that the iPad mini is less than half the weight of the regular iPad and a fraction of the weight of a paper based manual means that reading our notes will definitely not be a workout!
iTunes University allows us to directly communicate with you, our students, whether it be uploading a document shortly before class is due to begin because it is “breaking news”, or sending out a message to all students that there has been a room change, or registering a student and making their course notes available to them within minutes.
Apple is currently the market leader in the tablet space. They have53.8% share globally and provide an integrated solution with iTunes U. Although this may change in the future, for now, no other vendor provides this.
We decided to pilot this initiative in Singapore for a couple of reasons. The penetration of Apple iOS devices here is very high; 1 in 3 Singaporeans has an Apple iOS device and so are very familiar with using iPads, iPhones, and iPods. Furthermore, 1 in 4 Singaporeans have an iPhone. Singapore also comes with a track record of innovation uptake. It was in Singapore that we first successfully launched our iPhone/iPad app, started offering digital notes and handouts, and started our highly successful monthly networking sessions.
Significantly, we have received agreement to be the first to allow the use of the iPad during our open book exams – not to surf the internet or communicate with others outside the exam, but to make reference to the materials. The search facilities on the iPad make it much quicker and easier to find relevant sections but do not take away the need to use judgment and analysis to decide which sections are relevant.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback on this tremendously exciting new development. We also look forward to welcoming you to our next briefing session on 29 January 2013, and then onto another record intake for the Singapore FICS Accredited Diplomas in Compliance and Anti Money Laundering.