BOX 2-1

Knowledge-Based Education and Skills-Based Training

Training, or skills-based education, is focused on imparting a defined set of skills and responses to be applied in a generally known set of conditions. Training generally does not provide a fundamental understanding of the field but teaches how to recognize a condition or situation to select the best solution. Skills-based training is distinct from knowledge-based education in that it does not ultimately give an individual the depth of understanding required to apply a body of knowledge to a situation that has not been previously encountered. During the course of this study, the committee weighed the value of both skills-based training and knowledge-based education.

them the challenges would not be overcome. Moreover, those experts who are also educators are the ones responsible for teaching our future corrosion experts.

Two types of education typically go into the formation of this workforce. One is training or skills-based education and the other is knowledge-based education (see Box 2-1). The industry and government panels invited for discussion during the course of this study believe that there is an important role for both training and knowledge-based corrosion education, depending on the job function and desired outcomes. Many corrosion-related functions can be performed by trained corrosion technologists. The corrosion workforce pyramid shown in Figure 2-1 captures the concept that a relatively large number of technologists are needed to support the U.S. infrastructure, including all the sophisticated equipment associated with the country’s large industrialized economy. For instance, there are thousands of bridges and thousands of miles of buried pipelines in the United States that require cathodic protection and coatings. In contrast, only one or two engineers specialized in corrosion (identified as “experts” and “specialists” in the pyramid) may be needed for every 100 or more other kinds of engineers in a large company or organization. In the United States, corrosion technologists are often trained by supervising their performance of repeated and predictable corrosion tasks (on-the-job training) or in conjunction with short courses or associate degrees offered by a limited number of community colleges. This education focuses on a defined set of skills and responses to a generally known set of conditions that are often repeated over and over again. A corrosion technologist often implements standardized practices because his or her education generally did not impart the fundamental understanding required to apply a body of knowledge to a situation that has not been encountered before. Such a situation calls for a knowledge-based education.

Knowledge and understanding enable an individual to analyze a new problem and to devise new solutions that go beyond the catalog of known responses to

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