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Interactive adult education in engineering through EWE/EWI.

1. INTRODUCTION

The "technical" dimension of the adult education, the continuous professional training, involves mechanisms and structures which resort to important material resources and to human resources especially qualified for this domain, following different forms of adult professional training (professional qualification/requalification, professional/vocational training, reorientation, professional reconversion, etc). The continuing education achieves the link between the school activities of initial preparation with the activities of professional training, the training implying the integration of actions for initial and continuous professional preparation, through action models specific to long life learning.

2. IIW EDUCATION, TRAINING & QUALIFICATION SYSTEM IN ENGINEERING

The International System for Education and Qualification of Welding Personnel is based on the harmonised European system for education and qualification of welding personnel, existing for almost 15 years. This International Education and Qualification System for Welding Personnel is recognised worldwide and supported by industry and by international training and accreditation entities, opening the road towards one Global Education and Qualification System for Welding Personnel.

IIW--International Institute of Welding and EWF--European Welding Federation, have decided to collaborate in combining the EWF and IIW Systems for Education, Qualification and Authorisation into one System. In 1997, EWF and IIW signed the first agreement of cooperation towards the development of a single international system for education and qualification of welding personnel, the IIW Training and Qualification System for Welding Personnel. By use of a single Guideline for each level of training, the same qualification may be awarded in any country. Until the end of 2006, 36 200 IIW diplomas have been awarded worldwide.

3. EWE (EUROPEAN WELDING ENGINEER) / IWE (EUROPEAN WELDING INSPECTOR) IN ROMANIA

The EWE/EWI system has now been adopted by 31 countries and is an example of such widespread unification of qualification in any profession. The following countries joined the system: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and United States.

In Romania, ISIM (The National Institute of Research And Development in Welding And Material Testing) is a training centre approved at International/European level by ASR CertPers as a Training /Forming Centre to carry on courses and it was also approved, at national level, by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection as a professional Forming supplier. The Forming Centre has developed and develops courses in Timisoara, Bucharest, Belgrade, Chisinau etc.

Beside other courses, the offer of the Training body consists in International/European Welding Engineer course (addressed to the welding coordinator personnel); International/European Welding Inspector (addressed to the TQC personnel). The obtained qualifications/certifications are based on the prescriptions of guidelines issued by the International Institute of Welding (IIW), the European Welding Federation (EWF).

The course consists of 441 hours, out of which 381 hours of theoretical preparation and 60 hours of practical activity. The subjects approached in the course are: Welding and Cutting Procedures and Equipments, Materials and their Behaviour in Welding, Construction and Design, Production and Applied Engineering.

The main objective is that the personnel qualified at a certain level should attain the same degree of minimum knowledge regardless of the country where he was qualified. This course has as objective the conveyance of knowledge necessary to obtain the diploma of International Welding Engineer, for the personnel in the factories which have activities in the welding field, for example: the accomplishment of metallic structures, bridges, containers under pressure, pipes and networks of pipes, stocking containers, marine platforms, naval constructions, hydro-electric equipment, etc.

The welding coordinator must obtain this diploma especially for the firms which achieve or intend to achieve export activities in order to fulfil the demand requested by the European norms. Beside the diploma obtained by the welding coordinator, his possibility to inform on the latest news and the directions in his domain of activity are also considered very important.

4. INTERACTIVITY IN ADULT ENGINEERING EDUCATION

What determines the success of an activity of continuous education in engineering is the didactic strategy and especially, the way in which the trainer selects and adapts the strategies at the respective educational context. In the continuing education for engineers, it is recommended to use some interactive didactic strategies, which place the adult trainee in the core of the activity, it favours the inter-relational exchanges between participants, stimulating the activism of the subject in his/her interaction with others and with the used contents (Crasovan, 2007). But, first of all, we shall present the characteristics of the adult learner.

4.1. Adult as a learner

According to the following parameters, Knowles stated the characteristics of the adult learner: (Knowles et al., 2005):

* The need to know Adults need to know why they need to learn something.

* The learner's self-concept Adults develop a deep psychological need to be seen by others and treated others as being capable of self--direction.

* The role of experience Adults come into an educational activity with both a greater volume and a different quality of experience

* Readiness to learn Adults need to know how to use knowledge.

* Orientation to learning adults are life-centered in their orientation.

* Motivation The most potent motivators are internal pressures.

4.2. Interactivity and interaction. Dimensions and types.

Interactivity and interaction are two terms that have been used very often in the literature of science, education science, computer science, educational technology, distance education, curriculum and instruction, and psychology (Kahveci, 2007). Most of the times, the terms are used in a synonymous relation. However, in the study developed by Kahveci (on a sample of 262 didactic staff from different universities), the result of the factor analysis on the six variables of Functional Definitions of Interactivity showed two discrete components: Interaction (Component 1) and Interactivity (Component 2).

To understand the multifaceted variable of interactivity, Moore (1998) identified three types of interaction: learner-content, learner-teacher and learner-learner. The learner-content interaction is defined by Moore as the "interaction between the learner and the content that is the subject of study." This is the process of the student interacting with the content intellectually, with the outcome being a change in the student's understanding or perspective. Self-study materials are one example of learner-content interaction. In the learner-teacher interaction, there is interaction between an expert of the technical material and the student. An illustration of this interaction is what we refer to as traditional classroom instruction. It is noted by Moore that in this interaction the learner--educator feedback is missing and the resulting teaching procedures are not individualized. Therefore, motivation, successful application of content and misconception analysis is a product of student autonomy. By using learner-learner interaction, inter-student interaction is accomplished through group tasks. Moore states that this interaction promotes teamwork proficiency while developing and testing the student's expertise.

Talking about the interactivity types, Kahveci (2005) focus on the meaning of interactivity in the education literature as it is placed in the context of (1) computer-based instruction (CBI), (2) cognitive science, and (3) science education. About computer-based instruction, Jonassen (apud Kahveci, p.17) suggests that the most fundamental level of interactivity should provide (1) level of intelligence of design, (2) type of interactive program, (3) level of processing, (4) task analysis, and (5) modality of response. Generally the quality of interaction in microcomputer courseware is a function of the learner's response and the computer's feedback. From the point of view of the cognitive science, Fulford's opinion is presented (Cognitive Speed Theory), according to which the need for interaction embedded in instruction is vital in order to maintain a high level of learning (Kahveci, p.21 ). Last but not least, from the point of view of the science education, interaction is defined as all manner of behavior in which individuals and groups act upon each other. The essential characteristic is reciprocity in actions and responses in an infinite variety of relationships: verbal and nonverbal, conscious and nonconscious, enduring and casual. Interaction is seen as a continually emerging process, as communication in its most inclusive sense (Kahveci, 2005).

Kotys-Schwartz (2007) proposes to use the concept of interaction to differentiate active learning. She considers that collaborative learning, cooperative learning and problem-based learning each include learner-teacher, learner-content and learner-learner interaction, then she can characterize these methods as high-level interactivity. However, these activities typically promote learner-teacher interaction and learner-content interaction and should be characterized as mid-level interactivity. Eventually, the traditional engineering lecture, where a faculty member serves as the content expert bestowing knowledge to students through the chalk board or PowerPoint presentations can be characterized as low-level interactivity.

5. CONCLUSION

A higher level of interactivity promotes significant gains in the involvement of our engineers in the continuing education's activities. Adult learner engagement, motivation, excitement and inspiration are improved with interactivity. Mid--and high-levels of interactivity also encourage a higher percentage of attendance in EWE/EWI training.

6. REFERENCES

Crasovan, M. (2007). "Designing training activities", in Palos, R., Sava, S., Ungureanu, D. (cds.), Adult education. Theoretical basis and practical guidelines, Polirom Publishing House, Iasi

Kahveci, M. (2007). An Instrument Development: Interactivity Survey (IS). Journal of Educational Technology & Society

Kahveci, M. (2005). The perceptions of professors at colleges of education about instructional interactivity, A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Middle and Secondary Education, www.proquest.com/cookiecutter

Knowels, M.S., Holton, E., Swanson, R. (2005). The Adult Learner. The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, sixth edition, Butterworth Heinemann

Kotys-Schwartz, D. A. (2007). Evaluation of the impact of interactivity on student Performance and attitudes in engineering, ProQuest Information and Learning Company, www.proquest.com/cookiecutter

Long, H.B. (2004). Understanding Adult Learners, in Galbraith, M.W. (ed.), Adult Learning Methods: A guide for Effective Instruction, third edition, Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida

Moore, M. (1998)."The types of interaction", American Journal of Distance education, Vol 3 (2): 1-6

Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S. (1991), Learning in adulthood. A comprehensive guide, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco

Palos, R. (2007). Learning in adulthood, Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing House, Bucharest

Reamon, D. (1995). Educational Interactive Multimedia Software: The Impact of Interactivity on Learning. Stanford, CA: Stanford University

***http://www.1educat.ro/mediul/dictionar.html, Accessed on: 2009-08-15

***http://www.isim.ro/doc_pdf/oferta&talon-iwe.pdf, Accessed on: 2009-07-13

***http://www.iiw-iis.org/, Accessed on: 2009-08-15
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Title Annotation:European Welding Engineer/International Welding Inspector
Author:Nitulescu, Lavinia; Visan, Alina; Bichescu, Andrade Ionut; Bizau, Viorel; Ionescu, Valentina
Publication:Annals of DAAAM & Proceedings
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUAU
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:1702
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