Because virtual is much less of an investment, I’m more apt to try something and then look over their shoulders occasionally to make sure it aligns with our greater mission and direction.
NCI does a great job. Their virtual classroom technology works, the quizzes work, and so on. It’s always disheartening when it sounds like a great idea, and nothing works.
This can frequently happen, especially when organizations first adopt the technology, and it doesn’t work. It makes me wonder whether they practiced or tried to work out the kinks BEFORE training started.
Those things concern me, but again, I’m much more apt to rip the Band-Aid off because the investment of time and money is usually quite a bit less.
Pre-Recorded As-You-Go Online Training
I also find value in using pre-recorded self-paced training and live webinars. The NCI airflow pre-recorded module is one we use most often lately, but I find value in having self-paced courses in general. Frankly, these courses are how I keep myself up to speed.
The first time I studied how to measure static pressure and airflow testing, pre-recorded training was a great first step. It was comfortable. I could do it at my own pace over a few nights when I came home from work. Instead of watching TV, I would hang out with my laptop going through the modules.
When I followed up the self-paced online class with the live webinar, I found myself more prepared and better able to interact with the trainer and other participants in the class. That provides reinforcement of the concepts and brings even more value.
Always Be Training
Someone once told me that successful contractors should always be training and I agree. In that light, I like to use training to fill in a day when things are slow. It’s hard to predict slow days, so pre-recorded training is a resource I can go to instantaneously. I can have the techs sit at various computers so they can catch up on training they are behind in or can start new training.
When you plan to send someone to classes in person or attend a live webinar, they must go at that specific time. In fact, it seems to never fail, when I schedule a technician to be out for training that is EXACTLY the time we will have plenty of work to do!
We not only use virtual training on the technical side of the business, but also for non-technical staff. There are many online options for customer service, sales, and business training.
Our manufacturer supplier is Tempstar ICP, and they offer some customer service and dispatch classes online.
And Then There is Virtual Reality (VR)
I believe virtual reality or VR training is in the early stages of becoming critical. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes more prevalent. I have NOT used it here at Baggett, but I know VR is part of the evolution of training. Like anything else, the adoption of VR will follow this industry’s historical curve of change.
Though, in my opinion, nothing will ever replace getting in a truck and riding around with a senior technician, watching them do what they do, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of all forms of training.
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