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Written by Jason Morris on Monday January 24, 2022
Today is the UN International Day of Education,  which recognises and celebrates the value and importance of education across the globe.
ICA is proud to support this event and is prouder still to work in a sector that provides opportunities to thousands of people in many different countries to further their professional education and build a fulfilling career.
Since 2001, ICA has been committed to increasing the knowledge and skills of regulatory and financial crime compliance professionals around the world. Our mission is to inspire, educate and enable the international compliance community to think more, perform better and help the right business to be conducted in the right way. The success of this endeavour is reflected in the 160,000 individuals we’ve trained and an ICA membership that currently spans 157 countries.
Education has never been more important. The primary challenge that has faced the education sector, including ICA, over the last two years has been in overcoming obstacles to education, especially those caused by the global pandemic, and in reaching those still wishing to learn. Educational institutions all around the world looked towards online learning platforms to address this challenge and we’re now at the point where digital learning is a vital and necessary resource for many learners.
Because of the global audience we serve, ICA has been delivering online learning for several years to many of our overseas learners. This experience gave us a platform from which to build a more comprehensive online learning solution in the ‘new normal’, and has resulted in ICA changing, almost wholesale, the way in which we deliver training and learning.
Any tutor-led elements of a course previously delivered in a face-to-face classroom environment are now all conducted in an online classroom environment. This development allowed ICA to meet the accessibility and inclusivity needs of many of our learners; this is something very important to us, and remains high on the agenda of other educational institutions.
No less than twenty-eight ICA training courses, ranging from our introductory Certificate-level courses right up to our Professional Postgraduate Diplomas, can be studied virtually. Course content is delivered through an online learning platform and is supplemented by video, practical exercises and self-assessment quizzes.
Instant access to a tutor is provided to our learners for guidance and support, and learners can also join online forums to share experiences, ideas and study tips with others.
For those studying an Advanced Certificate or Diploma with ICA, the learning experience includes live virtual classrooms delivered via a cutting-edge online training facility. This facility allows up to 36 individuals to attend a live workshop or training session virtually, where they can interact with the facilitator as well as the other learners in attendance, just as they could if it were a face-to-face session.
These virtual classrooms are led by the same experienced tutors who deliver our face-to-face training, and the sessions are designed to be accessible, collaborative and interactive. Learners undergo a fully immersive experience and are encouraged to actively participate in meaningful discussions through the use of chat boxes, screen-sharing, whiteboards and breakout rooms. Anyone unable to attend a live virtual classroom for any reason is provided with access to a recording of the session that they can watch at a time convenient to them.
Through this innovative online learning facility, we are able to bring face-to-face learning directly to learners from around the world, in the comfort of their own home or office, saving time, reducing the environmental impact of travel and widening the scope of accessibility and inclusivity to those who, in the past, we’ve been unable to reach.
There are many practical advantages to virtual learning.
The challenges to virtual learning are fewer in number but, nonetheless, still important.
The progress made in virtual learning in the last few years has been phenomenal, but it’s not a perfect solution and there’s still much we can do to make it a more effective and enriching experience for everyone.
It’s so important to embrace the new technologies available to educational institutions; this is undoubtedly where further improvements can be made to the ongoing delivery of high-quality learning. But just as important – arguably most important of all – is finding ways to increase the access to these learning opportunities for those people who, in the past, have missed out.
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 United Nations, ‘International Day of Education’: https://www.un.org/en/observances/education-day – accessed January 2022
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