Let’s face it: COVID-19 isn’t the first virus to impact the world. Not by a long shot. Humanity suffered even worse in the past, and yet here we are. What’s different this time around? In a word ‘ the Internet.

Without this one tool, the world would have suffered even more because the Internet provided humankind the means to continue learning creatively, training, researching, communicating, and more.

Back in March, when quarantines began, everything was thrown off balance. No one knew what was going on or how long it would last, or what it would mean. Companies quickly switched to a remote work approach to keep employees safe and help the business continue, though in quite a different way.

Most HVAC Industry members ‘ manufacturers, distributors, contractors, trade associations, and more ‘ didn’t have the infrastructure designed and in place for this work-from-home environment. Everyone scrambled to find solutions. They found that webinars by themselves wouldn’t cut it. And so, a new gold rush began to become more adept at something called virtual learning solutions.

As the global COVID-19 Pandemic continues to limit in-person interaction, remote learning solutions allow companies to continue growing.

Virtual learning isn’t new technology. It was already making inroads as useful training tools, but it really took off as a result of stay-at-home orders as the Pandemic raged (and continues to do so even today).

Taking Two Steps Backward

From a Performance-Based Contracting’ perspective, the business impact was huge because this HVAC delivery method requires continuous training and certification to keep current. But, in March, almost all training activity in our
Industry lurched to a stop.

Mike Greany

Mike Greany, service manager at All Pro Heating and Plumbing in Ontario, CA says, ‘We saw what happens when we stop doing performance training and practicing as a team. It hurt our productivity.

‘We took two steps backward in our mission to improve airflow and temperature measurement and testing. The Pandemic reduced the amount of time we typically spend teaching each other and communicating, and that cost us personnel who got nervous and jumped ship.’

He says the shutdowns made several things abundantly clear: his training programs needed to change, and he didn’t react to that fast enough. Plus, he needed to learn to delegate better.

Dawn Mroczek

At GV’s Heating and Cooling in Glenview, IL, pandemic pressures were also very high. For Dawn Mroczek, it directly impacted sales, which up until March were very strong.

‘Now everything is flat. Plus, we were impacted by equipment shortages from the distributors and manufacturers. It’s like we’ve taken one step forward and two steps backward, which affected my family, our co-workers, and our customers.’

Still, she says they kept up with performance-based contracting thanks to having access to online learning. Because her installers stayed sharp, they saw an exponential increase in duct renovation work.

COVID-Age Remote Learning Platforms

Everyone has been reading about online learning platforms that are changing how our children attend school. Of course, that affects everyone in the HVAC Industry as well.

Existing online learning platforms provide for student-teacher interaction and more. But business needs to go beyond this model.
That is where Distance Learning comes in. Distance Learning is closely linked to formal educational institutions. Typically, an employer pays for traditional higher education that specific employees, like managers, would undertake.

Like eLearning and online learning, distance education relies heavily on the Internet, online classrooms, and training professionals. For example, the National Comfort Institute (NCI) Distance Learning Program includes self-directed and live online classes. These classes range from their HVAC System Performance class, Airflow Testing and Diagnostics, and Performance-Based Selling, to recertification classes for several NCI certifications.

Learn more about these High-Performance HVAC classes here: ncilink.com/DistanceLearn.

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