Companies and their trainees in professions with technical competence also suffer from Corona. TÜV Rheinland Academy, as a leading provider of technical competence development, has therefore expanded its worldwide TVET services. Welders and electrical engineers are now also attending Virtual Classrooms in their vocational training to learn their trades. The solution: simulations shorten practical exercises on industrial equipment used in small groups and at a distance since the pandemic.

For trainees and students of an oil company on the Arabian Peninsula, the lockdown was initially shocking. Their training was threatened to be suspended indefinitely. But they were lucky. Within a few days, their training center set up Virtual Classrooms for the vocational training. The training center operator, TÜV Rheinland Academy, implements technical training for industrial groups worldwide as part of its TVET programs. TVET stands for Technical and Vocational Education and Training and is based on the dual training model that is very successful in Germany. Its clients are companies, educational institutions, and governments from all over the world that invest in their workforce’s technical competence development. TÜV Rheinland Academy advises its customers, develops educational concepts and training plans, and operates worldwide.

150 trainers and 1,000 apprentices with new training plans in the Virtual Classroom

The effort was not without its price, with Corona, the TVET team had to rethink everything once again. In Saudi Arabia, the approximately 150 trainers converted the current training plans for oil and gas technicians, which were currently running for prospective welders, electricians, process control, and operations specialists. Instead of regularly alternating between the training workshop and the classroom, they shifted a large part of the curriculum to digital platforms. They brought forward the academic units and implemented Virtual Classrooms in vocational training.

Virtual Classrooms in vocational training and in general take place on an Internet platform where trainers and students meet at the same time and design the lessons together. The advantage is that physical presence is no longer required. At the same time, however, trainers and students experience each other directly via their mobile devices and can interact. To achieve this, the trainers had to adapt their didactics and methods to the Virtual Classroom platforms. The practical parts of the training were initially prepared intensively with instructional films and simulations. Of course, a welder has to practice handling the different welding devices until he or she can make a good weld. With simulation tools, some practical skills can already be developed, even if the trainees cannot work on a real device in the training workshop. Welding simulators already impart a technical feel for the operation of the equipment and material properties. Once the loosening up had begun, the participants were thus well prepared for their first use of the machine – naturally with the necessary distance and in small groups. In the meantime, the practical modules are being made up for. Our experience with Corona also shows that many things can be done that previously seemed impossible. The trainers on site have worked with significant commitment. No participant fell by the wayside – on the contrary. Some of the trainers even reported that they sometimes also managed to improve their performance control. Because every day, they assign tasks that the students have to implement and submit. As a result, performance deficits and comprehension problems were noticed earlier by some of them, who could otherwise duck away more easily in real classroom situations.

Conclusion: Virtual Classrooms make sense in technical competence development

Even if the practical training of the TVET programs remains a central component, it is conceivable that the Virtual Classrooms in vocational training could become a permanent part. Travel and accommodation will only be necessary for practical modules, which will bring great cost benefits to a giant empire like China. Investments in mobile devices will then be less decisive, especially if “physical distancing” is still necessary. TÜV Rheinland Academy will also be able to organize the assessment of performance levels and even examinations online in the future using tried and tested tools. And the experience we all made during the pandemic shows that many things can be implemented sensibly in the development of technical skills in the Virtual Classroom.

Here you can find the current offers in Virtual Classrooms of TÜV Rheinland Academy.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

Personnel certifications by TÜV Rheinland are now also accessible as secure online certification  – via online proctoring worldwide. This is TÜV Rheinland Academy and PersCert TÜV’s response to how the Corona-related lockdown has changed the way of life of students and those who pursue adult education and certification in almost all countries.

Learning and preparing for exams is an arduous task for anyone, but if the exam is then delayed, this can be an extremely frustrating experience. So PersCert TÜV was faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenge as a result of the Corona pandemic of certifying thousands of students and adult learners each month in a way that was secure and remote so that participants working from home could take their exams from home as well. PersCert TÜV implemented the Certification Hub in a matter of weeks to be able to provide online certification exams since mid-April.

750 different online certification in 38 languages remotely possible

Certification is an essential instrument for companies and authorities wanting to understand better the competence and knowledge of their staff for the tasks at hand. Whether working in health care, food safety, industrial plants, or management systems, these individuals need to prove that they have kept their knowledge and skills up to date. PersCert TÜV has been developing and conducting internationally recognized and comparable assessments for the determination of competence for many years, and PersCert TÜV certifies thousands of individuals around the world in around 750 ISO 17024 compliant certification programs. Now on completing their training in a variety of virtual classroom formats provided by TÜV Rheinland Academy and training partners, they can certify in a secure and safe environment and be able to validate their competence rapidly.

24/7 availability of Online Proctoring Service

The online certification with the Certification Hub allows two variations, both of which are fully GDPR compliant. Either the participant can use the online proctoring 24/7 service (which is currently English-speaking only). The educational institution registers and authorizes the candidate for the online examination, validating that he or she fulfills the admission requirements. The candidate receives a link to the Certification Hub and can then schedule an online proctored exam appointment via their PC or laptop in the comfort of their own home. The test candidate then downloads a secure browser and logs in with his or her access data fifteen minutes before the start time. The secure browser ensures that the candidate can take the exam on their device but cannot access other applications, the Internet, a printer, etc. during the course of the exam. The candidate must activate his web camera and is welcomed by an online exam supervisor who observes the candidate during the exam. The proctor starts by authenticating the photo ID of the candidate and checking that the candidate is alone in the room. Once the proctor is satisfied that secure exam conditions are met, the exam can then be started.

After passing the exam, the candidates immediately receive their online certification results in the case of automatically scored multiple-choice exams. If there are open questions in the exam, e.g., create an audit report, the responses of the candidate are separately scored remotely by assessors with a scoring tool inside the Certification Hub. In the future, candidates will also be able to download a digital certificate from the Certification Hub.

The second variation, which has been developed to accommodate candidates who would rather interact with an online proctor in their local language, follows a similar process, but the candidate is assigned an exam appointment in an exam session event by PersCert TÜV.

Further developments of the Certification Hub

The Certification Hub is currently configured to deliver written multiple-choice and open question (manually scored) examinations. However in later phases this year the usage of the online Certification Hub will be extended to enable practical assessments via Tablet.

You can find further information about PersCert TÜV at www.tuv.com/academy-perscert

CTA_PersCert_EN

Virtual classrooms have been around for a long time, but since Corona, they have become even more popular. Providers of further education like TÜV Rheinland Academy digitalized their regular seminar offer within a short time and modified the training methods and didactics. The aim is to use digital technology effectively for all learning types with Virtual Classrooms (VC).

Training in seminar rooms is only possible with a hygiene concept until a vaccine is discovered. The “physical distancing” is valid indefinitely. However, further occupational training must not be allowed to fall by the wayside. For companies and their employees, there are excellent opportunities, especially now. As long as many companies are still in short-time work, the time can be used to extend the Corona-related learning curves. In times of low workload, investments in the qualification of employees are worthwhile.

Because by building up competence, employers and employees strengthen their competitiveness for the future of work. Furthermore, anyone taking part in further training in a Virtual Classroom from their home office or via mobile device today enjoys a lively learning world with interaction and fun, including simultaneous monitoring of learning success.

From e-Learning to Virtual Classrooms

Concepts and technical solutions for lively, interactive formats of corporate knowledge transfer have been around since the 90s. Synchronous learning media have been part of professional training from the very beginning. Those who spoke of e-learning usually had web-based training in mind. Limiting factors were often the technical infrastructure or the lack of bandwidth. Interaction between participants and trainers took place via chats or telephone conferences.

To support the participants even better in designing their learning environment and learning progress, educational institutions and universities developed Virtual Classrooms, which take place synchronously and live in class. All trainers, moderators, and participants are connected live via webcam and headsets. This opens up educational and methodological possibilities that are almost equal to those of real seminars.

In addition to the traditional whiteboard lecture by a trainer, participants can exchange views in open discussions followed by an online participant survey. This happens in a video conference, which also gets a new liveliness through chats.

Participants can also make their contributions, give speeches, and record presentations or videos from their computers. In addition to this, working groups can be formed; asynchronous newsgroups complement the exchange within the framework of digital learning, which has the great advantage of being able to combine an entire toolset for synchronous and asynchronous learning processes (Blended Learning).

Virtual Classrooms: Immediate feedback for trainers and participants

Because people’s learning behavior is different, some have a short attention span and are easily distracted, which was a particular challenge in the home office during the Corona pandemic and still is in some instances. Some need fixed structures; others prefer to divide up the learning material themselves. In all situations, some form of social interaction is desirable to revive the joy of learning and learning progress. The recurring challenge for education providers and competence partners is to meet all these needs within the framework of digital learning – especially in times of Corona.

Good trainers use the knowledge of the learning types in their courses to adapt their educational modules to these optimally. Impulse presentations of thirty or more minutes, which were common in the past, are divided up into several smaller ones. These can be varied with videos, group work, and flash surveys to involve the participants in the further course of the seminar unit. All in all, the lessons are more interactive, multimedia-based, and sometimes also with playful elements.
Trainers use short one-on-one conversations to check individual learning statuses. In this way, they receive immediate feedback, for example, to close gaps in knowledge early on by repeating the lessons. And even performance assessments can now be carried out in a legally compliant manner using appropriate tools with clear identification.

Digital and conventional training will complement each other even more closely in the future

Even if the practical skills still have to be trained in the future, as in the case of welder training, the necessary theoretical knowledge can certainly be taught in a Virtual Classroom  – possibly supplemented by innovative digital approaches, such as a virtual reality scenario. This allows smaller groups to use available practical training places alternately. In any case, the trainers from TÜV Rheinland Academy have shown during the Corona shutdown that they can also convey previously conventional offerings successfully from their seminar portfolio in Virtual Classrooms.

Above all, feedback from participants also shows that they experienced a lively learning world with interaction and fun. One participant put it in a nutshell: “For two days, I took part in an online seminar at TÜV Rheinland. The tutor was professional, serious, and responsible. Instead of seemingly boring terms and lessons, I experienced enthusiastic explanations that stay in my mind. To every question, the trainer responded in time and with a smile and gave professional answers. And she also asked questions so that we could interact well. The three-day Virtual Classroom has awakened my enthusiasm to continue learning online. ”

Here you can find the current online offer of TÜV Rheinland Academy from Virtual Classrooms to e-learnings by simply choosing your country.

 

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy