After almost 30 years of providing face-to-face competency-based training, SHRDC was looking to shift towards a more sustainable business model—by complementing their existing programs with online Smart Factory training. SHRDC began looking for a platform that could enable them to choose the best approach for going online, price their programs competitively, and differentiate their offerings from what was already available in the market. Their foresight and digitisation strategy proved timely as it allowed them to be more prepared for an unexpected global disruption. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, SHRDC was able to quickly pivot their operations to focus solely on remote training—putting their remote training model to the test.
SHRDC understood the challenges for going digital. The team expected to face initial resistance from participants, employers and even trainers who would have to migrate, adapt and deliver highly technical programs online. It was also difficult to train participants without being able to physically see, touch and understand the machines they were handling. The challenge then for SHRDC was to craft a blended unique training model that delivered the same training outcomes as face-to-face, and in doing so, shift industry mindsets.
SHRDC developed the Enhanced Technology Training Experience—a unique facilitated remote approach for their online programs—conducted simultaneously on both the OpenLearning platform and a remote lab facility setup at their premises.
Through this style of training, participants accessed learning materials and connected with trainers or facilitators via the OpenLearning platform. Theoretical fundamentals, plus demonstrations of Operational Technologies (OT) and Information Systems and Technology (IT) related to smart factory competencies and processes, were delivered via OpenLearning. Participants could also actively engage with their peers, and receive prompts and guidance from facilitators—all whilst completing the online modules and activities within a training course on OpenLearning.
Participants would then go on to apply their knowledge and interact with the physical world via SHRDC’s Remote Online Training Lab. Through this remote lab setup, participants could complete hands-on exercises, monitor machine movements through lab cameras, and get their competencies assessed by demonstrating their handling of the equipment.
SHRDC tested this hybrid model through a pilot training program with graduate and student members of the IEEE Malaysia Section. A total of 20 participants were given 1 month to complete all 4 modules within the Data Automation and Visualisation for Smart Factory Program, using SHRDC’s hybrid approach. These students were awarded Accredible certification upon completion of their training.
The general feedback from this pilot was positive, with some students progressing online faster than others although receiving only minimal facilitation from a trainer. It is this technology-enhanced remote learning experience, blended between online modules on the OpenLearning platform, and hands-on activities via SHRDC’s Remote Online Training lab, that made this training program distinctively unique and well received. Participants who completed their training online will also have the opportunity to visit the physical labs and equipment when COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
Based on the success of the IEEE pilot, and other more recent remote training programs, SHRDC is looking seriously at a framework for micro-credentials. SHRDC is currently building micro-credentials courses based on their Smart Factory programs. This Data Generation Program is one of SHRDC’s signature programs—which will add value for beginners in many industries.
OpenLearning will continue to feature as part of SHRDC’s business strategy moving forward—especially for reaching out to student groups and higher learning institutions. The emphasis now is to design and match micro-credential pathways for students who want to include accredited training courses as part of their diploma or undergraduate degrees. SHRDC will focus on helping students complete credit hours online, apply for credit transfer and gain professional certifications.
SHRDC is also hoping to create more modules on OpenLearning, and to refurbish their Remote Online Training Lab to feature as a permanent landmark facility for anyone to visit and access. SHRDC is looking to work in partnership with universities and technical institutes to offer their competency-based technical programs as micro-credentials to add value to their academic programs.
After a lengthy search, SHRDC found OpenLearning to be flexible enough to run multiple styles of training for different audiences, enabling the training provider to carve out a niche and highlight their unique selling points. SHRDC was also able to quickly move contents online onto their OpenLearning portal, thus reducing the risks of business disruptions and uncertainties, especially in the face of ever changing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Additionally, having a MQA-aligned OpenCreds for Malaysia Micro-credential Framework that is ready to implement, gave the SHRDC team added confidence for using OpenLearning to expand their offerings, including different qualifications and micro-credentials in the long term.
SHRDC is an industry driven training and development centre offering Smart Factory competency training through hands-on and online learning approaches. SHRDC’s Smart Factory (MSF) 4.0 training programs aim to develop Malaysian skill sets and talent towards becoming an Industry 4.0 ready workforce. Their programs are recognised by Swiss Smart Factory, Malaysian Ministry of Human Resource and HRD Corp.
Smart Factory Training, Professional Development