Q & A – John Binns on New Online NEBOSH Environmental Certificate Course

Our resident Environmental specialist and trainer John Binns, is on hand to answer questions about our new online NEBOSH Environmental Certificate course.

John Binns, behind the scene filming environmental content
John Binns, behind the scene filming content

Question & Answers with John Binns

  1. How do you find the experience of presenting content for online courses & have you done this before?

I think this is the third time I have presented the content for an RRC environmental management course. So, I am becoming a bit of an old hand! When I started my career in environmental management I certainly didn’t expect to ever be filmed at any time doing my job. The first time I completed the filming I was a little nervous, but I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. It’s not quite the same as presenting a course to a live group but there are some similarities. I’m also a great believer that it is positive to be taken out of your comfort zone in life and try something different.

A Myriad of Camera Equipment used for Environmental content filming
Myriad of Camera Equipment used for filming

2. Do you have any tips we can pass on to new presenters?

There are a few differences when presenting live and to a camera. When it’s the camera you do need to add more emphasis and excitement when talking (but not too much) as otherwise your voice can come across as flat and boring (even though it is not in real life). Body language is important, adopting a confident posture can help engage the watcher. It is also important to speak clearly and slower than when talking to a group face to face. Overall, just be confident in your ability and I’m sure it will go well.

3. Why should our students enrol onto this new online version of the course?

Prospective students should be aware that this is not like ‘distance learning’ of old. Where you basically got a textbook, learnt the contents and completed an exam. The course has been designed specifically to help engage E-learners. The key learning points of the course are summarised both as text and videos; there are numerous learning activities and students can complete a mock exam which is marked by a tutor with helpful feedback. There is even a certain amount of gamification where students can access nonessential materials by completing tasks.

4. What is your view of the NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management?

The course provides a good introduction to environmental management. The content of the course is broad, covering several important issues such as sustainability, impact assessment, pollution and environmental management systems. Having some knowledge of these issues is essential for those who want to develop a career in environmental management. The course also provides a solid footing for students who want to progress to a higher-level environmental management course such as the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management or IEMA Certificate in Environmental Management.

5. How do you go about developing materials for new / updated courses?

I developed a series of key learning points for the course based on current materials. These are short snippets outlining the important issues that students must understand in order to be successful on the course. I then developed some interactive activities such as drag and drop exercises and multiple-choice questions. The next task was to complete the filming of the KLPs (Key Learning Points). Next I developed a series of discussion questions and answers that replicate questions that the student may find on an examination, but allow for cross fertilisation of ideas with others.

6. The Environment & sustainability has been in the media a lot recently. In your opinion, what can we do as individuals to help improve the environment?

As individuals there are many tasks we can do to improve our sustainability. We all have different lifestyles. Initially people should consider what they currently do and where they are having greatest impact. This is what we would refer to as understanding the baseline in business. Next, attempt to minimise the key areas identified. This might, (if feasible), involve walking, taking public transport or cycling to work instead of driving, making smarter food choices (items with less packaging or a lower carbon footprint), purchasing items that have less impact (e.g. a more efficient car or fridge), cutting down on waste food and other wastes, reducing energy (insulating the house or just switching off lights and electrical equipment when unnecessary) etc. There is so much that an individual can do that has lesser environmental impact, is good from a social perspective (such as health and well being) and saves money! The three key elements of sustainability.

Behind the scenes, John Binns filming
Behind the scenes, John Binns filming

7. How does it feel when you watch the completed video? 

You imagine yourself to talk a certain way and then you hear yourself on video and it is much different to what you imagined! It is certainly a little strange at first.

8. Did you enjoy being in front of the camera, and what have you gained from this experience?  

Yes, I enjoy it very much so. I was initially a little nervous, similar to when I delivered my first face to face course about 20 years back. However, once I started talking in front of the camera the nerves soon disappeared and I began to relax. It is just about becoming used to a new way of carrying out my job. I’ve gained a great deal from the experience. It is a very cathartic one. Firstly, I think I developed skills to talk in front of a camera, such as tone of voice and body language. It also gave me the confidence to talk in front of a camera.

Updated Version

The new online NEBOSH Environmental Certificate course has been designed to be user friendly. The updated version of the course launched on 31st January 2019.

I hope that the films and other materials I have developed will assist learners in achieving their goals. I am a great believer in the value of a good education and recognised qualifications. Not only do they help gain employment. But they also help to improve confidence, as knowing you have achieved a worthwhile qualification is something to be very proud of.

John Binns BSc (Hons), MSc, MSc, MIEMA

With over 19 years’ experience working in environment management, John Binns BSc (Hons) MSc MIEMA is an experienced environmental tutor and consultant with knowledge of health and safety management.