With global energy production likely to peak around 2035, many organizations are making plans to transition to more sustainable energy supplies. Minas Energy partnered with D2L to create an online education program that shares Minas’ expertise in renewable energy projects and helps companies and communities deliver those projects successfully.
Minas Energy specializes in sustainable energy solutions, education and public outreach. Over the past decade, it has developed a consulting practice that helps design, deliver and manage hydro, wind, solar and tidal energy projects for municipalities and companies.
“We’ve learned many important lessons about wind, solar and waste energy projects,” says Chris Peters, energy project manager at Minas Energy. “We were looking for a way to package up that knowledge and share it with others — as well as create a new revenue stream that would supplement our existing income.”
Although other providers were already offering courses on the technical aspects of installing and operating wind turbines or solar panels, Minas spotted a gap in the market. The company decided to build an education and certification program that people from academic, government and industrial backgrounds could study online. To attract as many learners as possible, the content needed to be highly interactive and engaging, so the Minas team decided to partner with D2L.
Minas Energy saw the involvement of the D2L Learning & Creative Services team as a key aspect of the project. The plan was for Minas’ subject-matter experts to focus on creating the content for the course and then hand it over to the D2L team to turn it into an engaging, interactive experience.
Thirteen course modules were created to take learners through the entire renewable energy project development process and keep them engaged. The course opens with an animated video that introduces the subject and leads into a survey, which helps Minas Energy understand who its learners are and why they are motivated to take the course. This will help the organization review and refine the course content to align with learners’ needs.
Next, the team built a set of interactive infographics to help visualize different physical assets, such as meteorological towers, solar installations and bio energy plants.
Community engagement was another extremely important aspect of renewable project development, so D2L worked closely with Minas Energy’s experts to design a stakeholder mapping activity that helps learners identify the key stakeholders and influencers within a company or community, and then understand their motivations.
Minas Energy has already betatested the course with master’s level and engineering students at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia for feedback, and used the initial comments to further refine the content. Initial feedback from students has been positive — they enjoy the interactivity of the content, as a contrast from traditional textbook-based teaching methods.
TRAINING TOMORROW’S LEADERS
Minas Energy is eager to work with higher education institutions, associations and municipalities to educate and certify learners in renewable energy. The ultimate goal is to share the company’s knowledge about how to build and support sustainable energy projects.
“We’re hearing credible predictions from pundits that global energy production is likely to peak around 2035,” says John Woods vice president of energy development, Minas Energy. “Transitioning to renewable energy is going to be an absolute necessity. The course we’ve built will give our learners the knowledge they need to become leaders, transforming their industries and communities and building a more sustainable future.”