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

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

 

Overwhelmed, distracted, restless: Regain your employees’ attention! Insufficient participation, low commitment, lack of satisfaction: When it comes to in-house training, companies today can find it difficult to motivate their employees to obtain a qualification. Why is that? According to a U.S. Bersin by Deloitte study, the main reason for this is that companies themselves, their employees, and trainees are experiencing rapid changes. This primarily has to do with digital development. Employees worldwide are constantly available, continuously exposed to a flood of information, and often overwhelmed by separating the relevant from the irrelevant. Many personnel development departments have recognized this, but cannot keep up with the corresponding prepared offers. They usually lack a starting point, a clear definition of employee development. That is why we would like to give a jump start with an overview of different learning types and the appropriate learning strategies.

Overview of different learning types

The study aims to clarify who it is that companies are dealing with today. Who are today’s employees? And what do they need to stay up-to-date in their jobs? According to Bersin, five learning types can be identified.

1. Overwhelmed type

Between receiving and sending countless emails per day – not to mention meetings, telephone conferences, and the irrepressible burden of information overload – there is increasingly less time for “real” work. This leaves many people very little time for formal training and development – on average, only 1 percent of a typical week. Are you also the overwhelmed learning type?

2. Distracted learning type

Since everyone is connected virtually, employees are now interrupted every 5 minutes – ironically, often with collaboration tools such as emails and instant messages meant to facilitate cooperation with each other. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Many people check their smartphones up to nine times per hour. Such digital “snacking” of the distracted learning type can lead to superficial information rather than more valuable activities and insights. How often do you look at your smartphone in an hour?

3. Impatient types

Maintaining the attention of adults for more than a quarter of an hour has always been a challenge. Now, however, attention spans and patience are measured in minutes and seconds – especially on laptops, tablets and smartphones. More than 70 percent of trainees turn to search engines to find out immediately what they need to do for their work. How long can you concentrate? Are you the impatient learning type or when did you have your last flow?

4. Collaborative types

People also want to learn from their colleagues and share what they know. According to the Bersin by Deloitte study, 80 percent of all workplace learning takes place through business interactions with peers, teammates, and managers – often without involved HR developers. The distribution of knowledge is correspondingly uncoordinated and inconsistent. In the best case, this leads to an at least rudimentary applicable half-knowledge. In the worst case, there are blatant gaps that lead to disorientation and lack of productivity. Because if I do not know how to do it right, I would rather not do it at all to avoid making a mistake. Are you familiar with this collaborative learning type phenomenon? Are the training groups also gathered around your coffee machine in the break room rather than coordinated in a workshop?

5. Empowered types

Increasingly fewer people have the time, patience, or inclination to learn on a “just in case” basis. They want to know whether what they have to know is really being used in their daily lives. Only then the empowered learning type does have the necessary motivation to really absorb the knowledge. If this is not the case, many skills have a half-life of less than five years. Nothing is permanent, everyone has to keep on learning without knowing where to get “quickly” secured information. A greater number of people are looking for opportunities for themselves for further education. At least 50 percent of the approximately 10 million people enrolling in open online courses are adults who volunteer for further qualification.

Which learning types need which learning strategies?

Companies seeking effective training for tomorrow’s work environment should identify the composition of their workforce, learning strategies, and opportunities accordingly. Entertaining and appealing formats that compensate for reduced attention rates are important.

It is obvious that workplace learning is poisonous for learning types 1 and 2 and will hardly produce any results: both the overwhelmed and the distracted types are not masters in discipline and self-management. You need guidelines and fixed free-time that are reserved exclusively for learning and do not allow excuses, preferably in the form of face-to-face seminars outside the workplace and, if necessary, even a cell phone ban during class time. Attention and concentration can thus be more effectively focused and distractions avoided.
Sending the impatient and empowered learning types to a moderated external face-to-face seminar with a fixed daily schedule could prove to be a failure. Short, targeted and, above all, self-determined learning units are much better – e.g. in the form of web-based training, training on demand or dialogue simulations with timely user feedback – “which lead to much higher self-effective success with these target groups than analogue half-day formats.
For the collaborative learning types, interactive webinars and serious games (gamification) are ideal formats; aligning to fixed dates is no problem for them. Webinars usually have live chats, which allows them to make contact and benchmark themselves against others. The social factor is a big plus, especially in serious games: the participants can connect with others, compete against each other, or simply work together and exchange ideas.

Personnel development that wants to keep up with the times should at least know some modern, innovative working and learning methods. It is best if they also apply these to themselves and set a good example. At this level, they achieve more coherent, continuous learning experiences that better meet trainees’ needs and ultimately help their organizations perform better.

So, who actually works for you? And which learning type are you?

More information is available at: www.tuv.com/academy

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy