Answering the growing demand for education on your own time, at your own pace, and from wherever you are, the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) is launching its first series of educational programs via the Internet. Starting in February 2012, IoPP will introduce the convenience of web-based learning options beginning with the online version of its signature Fundamentals of Packaging Technology course

Developed in cooperation with and funded by Kraft, General Mills, Clorox and Ecolab, the “e-learning” platform for the Fundamentals course is the centerpiece of IoPP’s initiative to create and offer downloadable-on-demand training content through its Packaging Learning Center at Other online educational events will follow.

Packaging professionals will have instant access to an array of educational programs that will provide them convenient choices. The Fundamentals curriculum, for example, has been adapted to an online format that enables professionals to either take the entire course or select and pay for only the modules they want, and then complete the lessons as their schedule allows.

“Packaging teams are decentralized, often working globally, making a common understanding of general packaging technologies difficult to attain, yet critical to each team’s success,” says Patrick Farrey, IoPP Executive Director. “By introducing an online format, our Fundamentals of Packaging Technology course becomes a truly global program that helps develop a common understanding of packaging terms-including many technical issues-across global packaging teams.

“The convenience factor is a huge advantage of the online Fundamentals curriculum, but flexibility is a major benefit, too,” Farrey continues. “People can take a module or two, at a low investment of time and money, to determine whether Fundamentals is right for them. That could compel them and other team members to take more modules online, to attend a full semester or the entire course in-person, or even to schedule a full-fledged in-house training program on customized topics at their company-options that have their own benefits.”

The online Fundamentals curriculum is available 24/7. It entails 42 prerecorded modules and more than 25 hours of content closely resembling IoPP’s popular in-person Fundamentals course. Each narrated lesson begins with an overview and ends with both a review and a quiz, enabling students to test their information retention of key information presented in the lesson. Individuals can take the lessons on their own, at their own pace. As with the in-person Fundamentals course, the online lessons will be available to IoPP members at a discount.

Besides the convenience of “anywhere, anytime” education, Fundamentals online also offers the ability to customize the learners experience. The purchase menu presents choices for selecting only the training that is needed. A click-and-buy feature enables lessons to be selected a la carte. Professionals also have the option of choosing from bundled packaged lessons. In the future, IoPP plans to add options to provide participants who register for the entire online course  the option to access ongoing, regularly scheduled online Q&A sessions with IoPP’s Fundamentals of Packaging Technology instructors.   Though IoPP is launching a broader online educational effort with Fundamentals online, Jim George, IoPP Director of Education, stresses that the institute’s in-person classroom training programs, which include Fundamentals and Packaging Machinery: Basics, will continue to be offered for professionals who prefer the benefits of a face-to-face learning environment.