Long-Distance Learning

A number of new gemological computer programs are available to jewelers. The American Gem Trade Association has released “Selling Colored Gemstones,” a training program that uses “streaming media modules.” Executive director Doug Hucker is the instructor.

The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) has released its tutorial CD on laboratory identification tests performed for diamonds, pearls, emeralds, and rubies—a quick yet thorough review.

At the Gemological Institute of America, all distance educationgemology courses are available as online Web-enhanced education. Traditional textbooks are supplemented by video, and students can work online to complete coursework.

Two of GIA’s three Accredited Jewelry Professional courses, “Jewelry Essentials” and “Colored Stones Essentials,” are completely Web-based through GIA’s virtual campus. The Web-based sales training curriculum allows a student to read course text materials and take exams at the computer. The third AJP course, “Diamond Essentials,” will be added soon.

Brook Ellis, GIA’s vice president of education, and Bill Herberts, manager of distance and extension education, note the differences between online training, Web-based training, and Web-enhanced education. “Training online is typically a short course to accomplish something very specific,” says Ellis. “Ninety percent of online education, however, requires a textbook, but with the ability to do coursework online.”

Ellis says GIA’s membership in the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which accredits GIA and other DE schools, has put the Institute at the forefront of the recent move toward online education. Ellis recently was elected vice president of DETC.

GIA’s Graduate Diamonds Diploma, Graduate Colored Stones Diploma, Pearls Certificate, and Pearl and Bead Stringing Certificate are all Web-enhanced education programs. “This means you can study your textbooks at home and complete the assignments online,” says Herberts. “You get immediate test results and feedback.”

Call GIA at (800) 421-7250 or log onto www.gia.edu. Call AGTA at (214) 742-4367 or log onto www.AGTA.org. Contact SSEF by e-mail at gemlab@ssef.ch.