December 2013

Distance Learning Initiatives to Increase

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In addition to classroom courses, WMO Members offered a large number of distance learning (DL) courses in the last year in order to meet growing training needs, and numerous others are in planning. A recent, informal survey of WMO members shows that from 2 000 to 4 000 meteorologist will require initial or upgrade training to meet new performance requirements over the next 10 years. When hydrologists and climate services personnel are included, the number grows even higher. With limited capacity and resources to host sufficient numbers of classroom events, and the need to offer learning opportunities that are less disruptive to operational duties, distance learning is likely to grow rapidly.

The COMET Programme continues to reach Members with nearly 10 000 hours of training each year through its MetEd website, but this is not the only one way that Members can obtain quality distance learning. For example, last year, the WMO Regional Training Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, operated by the Institute for Meteorological Training and Research, offered a distance learning Basic Hydrologic Sciences Course to over 50 students in the region. This course required participants to complete 12 self-paced modules, a writing assignment about their local hydrologic forecasting situation, and to participate in weekly discussions on the course content. Forty-five participants completed all the course requirements. Eight similar courses have been offered in various regions, including three offered by the National Water Academy in Pune, India.

There are many other major initiatives. One is EUMETSAT’s Precipitation Week, which was attended by more than 500 participants. Another, the China Meteorological Administration Training Centre’s Weather Forecasting Techniques and Methods course, reached over 5 000 students. A third is the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology’s semester-long Continuing Professional Development Course for Aeronautical Forecasters. A Distance Learning Introduction to Meteorology course by University of Buenos Aires and a course in Aeronautical Meteorology for Observers to be offered by the University of Costa Rica are two more courses currently in the works.

ETR will increase its efforts to help Member training institutions gain capabilities to offer distance learning to meet national and regional training needs. Next year, ETR will offer its first entirely online version of the Seminars for National Instructors and Regional Training Centres in Africa. ETR also supports the CALMet and CALMet Online conferences, which serve to advance learning approaches in meteorology and related disciplines.

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