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Athabasca University

Dr. Robert Sochowski

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Biography

Robert started his career in the trades as a youth working alongside his father in a small town in British Columbia. He later shifted into a career in mechanical engineering, focusing on building system designs, project management, managing facilities maintenance, and engineering.

Robert’s passion for education and instructional design started in the workplace, developing informal training and teaching workplace courses. Robert has frontline, firsthand experiences with the constraints in rural locations for education. Subsequently, he saw the opportunities for distance education in the trades. He then worked formally as a sessional instructor for the plumbing trades and developed a curriculum and national certification program for drinking water risk assessments. Robert’s enthusiasm for education and instructional design increased as his work roles changed and he saw further opportunities in education.

Robert is a product of lifelong learning, using innovative educational technology to advance his career. His formal training began at SAIT. While working full time, he received his bachelor’s degree in adult education and also completed his master’s in leadership in public health through online distance learning. This experience inspired him to conduct doctoral research on expanding training programs beyond traditional delivery methods, focusing on apprenticeship trades training activities taught in an online learning environment. His full doctoral thesis Applying Activity Theory: Instructor Design and Development Experiences with Online Distance Learning in the Electrical Apprenticeship Trades Program.

As a learner, researcher, educator, and industry stakeholder, Robert sees many opportunities to improve the education system, especially in the trades and technology programs, using educational technologies.

In his spare time, Robert is a member of several different industry boards including Canadian Standards Association and National Research Council Canada. Robert enjoys fitness, cycling, traveling, and paddling. He also trains on a competitive dragon boat and coaches a breast cancer survivors’ dragon boat team. Robert has raced as part of Team Canada in several world championship outrigger and dragon boat races; most recently he raced in Italy on several Canadian dragon boat teams.

Updated May 29 2017 by CDE

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