Foundation Online Course Update – August 2015

An update on the new online amateur radio Foundation courses offered by Essex Ham, from course leader Pete M0PSX:

It’s been a month since our last update on our new courses, and it’s fair to say it’s been pretty busy. One course has finished and another two have started. We’ve also heard from another two clubs looking to make use of our online amateur radio courses to supplement their own face-to-face training. For those interested, here’s the latest:

Course Status

Foundation Online - Kelly PhotoThe first course completed at the end of June. This was our beta test course, with 7 students.

Course 02: This has finally closed out. The course launched on the 29th of June with 18 students on board. Most of the students completed the course in the planned 4 weeks, but we ended up running the course for a further 3 weeks to allow those with busy lives to catch up.We’ve had some excellent feedback – more on this later.

Course 03: The started on the 19th of July and was intended as a fast-track course, as four students had upcoming exams and had just missed the start of Course 2. Planned for just 3 week, this had 12 students and most completed the course on track. We’re now at the end of the fourth week, and plan to allow another week for the final students to close out the last modules and take the mock exam

Course 4: This started last Friday (14th August), and now has 31 students. We have a good mix of people on board, including former Royal Signals Corp personnel, a marine VHF user, plenty of former CB users and SWLs, and two amateurs looking to use the course as a refresher. Candidates are from around the UK, including Sheffield, Merseyside, Stafford, Southampton, Devon, Scotland and Wales.

Course 05: Planned for mid/late September, and we have several people on the waiting list already.

Details and FAQ here: Foundation Online – Amateur Radio Training Course

Foundation Online: Course 02 Progress
Foundation Online: Course 02 Progress

Course Statistics

With one course now completed, we’ve been able to review the flow of the course, and see where students may need some extra guidance. As a result of the review, some minor tweaks have been made to a couple of the more technical modules. The changes have been fed into Courses 3 and 4, so we’ll be watching to see is this has helped.

The average pass mark in the mock exam was 22 out of 26 (85%), with Colin hitting full marks, with Matt, Charlie and Nicholas getting 25 out of 26.

Average time spend in the online classroom was 5.2 hours per student, which excludes watching our videos and offline revision.

Activity for Foundation Online Course 02 (Modules 1 to 7)
Activity for Foundation Online Course 02 (Modules 1 to 7)


It’s great to hear that the course is actually working, and people are passing with our help. Here are some more recent updates:

  • “Just to let you know, I have just passed my foundation exam with the Colchester radio club. So many thanks for the online course, it gave me bite size pieces to study whilst doing a full time job plus all the other things I have to fit into my days! And gave me the confidence to know that I was on the right track when selecting just a day intensive course! The guys at the Colchester club delivered a really great day of learning and practicals too.” (Heather M6HBP)
  • “Just a quick line to let you know that I took my Foundation exam today at TARG on Canvey Island, and I passed (only 1 question wrong). Thanks for letting me do your course, it was a great help. I can’t wait to get my licence now… Thanks again!” (Andy V)
  • “I’m really happy to say I passed my foundation tonight with Sheffield Amateur Radio Club. I want to thank you for your course which I found very informative.” (Marc Y)
  • “Last night, at Lomond Radio Club (Renton, West Dunbartonshire), I passed my Foundation Licence exam. It’s been a real pleasure to take part in the course. Despite the distance, I felt part of a class, and I hope that all the other students enjoyed it as much as I did. Another success for Essex Ham’s online Foundation course.  Well done!” (Colin H)

Training & Clubs:

In recent days, we’ve seen one leading amateur radio retailer publicly stating training stays “at club level, where it should be”. We’d like to remind our readers that people learn in different ways. Distance-learning is an excellent way for people not able to attend training meetings to study course material. Many will note that several amateurs in Essex have passed their Full exam with the help of Steve Hartley’s excellent online course, and whilst we’re aware that online study ifs not for everyone, it very much has its place.

Distance-learning is not a replacement for club training courses – it’s another resource available to those looking to study for their exam. As was highlighted that the recent RSGB Train The Trainers course, it’s important to use modern training tools where appropriate, and to offer training in multiple formats, so learners can choose what’s best. For us, it’s all about getting people into the hobby, which is why out courses are designed to work stand-alone, or in conjunction with a club’s existing training courses. Let’s work together as amateurs, to get more people into the hobby, even if it does mean us thinking a little differently.

That’s all for the moment – as we’re seeing a lot of interest in the course, I thought those curious about the new course might appreciate an update!

Any questions or comments? Please add a note below, or contact us.

Pete M0PSX


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