HVACR Business

Education 2017

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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2017 EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT 7 hvacrbusiness .com than the average student, if the content is delivered right. Most are naturally curious about mechanical things — how they're built and how they operate. Most started as kids, taking things apart and putting them back together. ey probably blew some fuses, busted some gears and burned out some motors, but they learned. rough trial and error, they developed valuable skills and amassed knowledge, mostly on their own. Drag them into a classroom and give them heavy doses of lectures and manual reviews, however, and you'll waste their time and your money. A good trainer will play to their strengths — allowing your technicians to "get their hands dirty" while incorporating class participation and discussion into their lecture to reveal why things work. A good trainer's goals must be content comprehension and retention, and both must be achieved to ensure the students are ready for field work and taking the next test. If instructors give the technician a tool and a device, rather than a slide on the screen, comprehension and retention are much more reliably achieved. Set Training Goals Before you figure out how you are going to get somewhere, you need to get the address of your destination. It's no different in education. Make sure you sit down with your trainer ahead of time and agree on clear goals and presentation methods. What do you want them to accomplish? Be sure the instructor knows how to finish this sentence: At the end of this session, the class will have learned how to … Sure, it can be difficult to teach a class where everyone may possess a different skill set, or be at a different level. Sometimes it's important to discuss the goals with the class up front. A good educator will begin the class by getting the students to introduce themselves, their skill sets and experience, and ask them what they want to achieve by the end of the class. Setting expectations at the outset keeps everyone engaged in the session, especially if they know they're going to learn something they want to know. Learning Styles Technicians who learn effectively from lectures alone are rare and most student groups bring a wide range of capabilities and learning styles to the classroom — some will be visual and others auditory learners. Most of them will be kinesthetic/ tactile learners. You should also look for a trainer who is experienced in teaching a heterogeneous group and can use all kinds of delivery techniques to hold their attention and help explain the concepts. Pictures, diagrams and slides work well for visual learners who prefer seeing ideas. Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening ; lectures and discussions are a good fit for them. Most technicians are kinesthetic or tactile and prefer to learn through experience with physical models, 3D simulations, and laboratory exercises. A good trainer can adapt her presentations to all these learning styles and incorporate all these tools in her arsenal. Sometimes peer-to-peer learning works best, especially when some of your technicians are more experienced than others. Your trainer should allow your more experienced technicians to give examples from their work to add a dollop of reality from the field. An excellent way to deliver content is to foster discussion between students – experienced students can explain a particular topic element in their own words, with guidance from your trainer, while peers ask questions and provide observations. ere is a big difference between how something works and why it works. Many HVACR instructors have very little time to fully cover their topics in the first place. Usually, teaching students how something works is considered the top priority. en, due to time restraints, the "why things work" part isn't discussed. When credentialing tests are the outcome, instructors need to make the "why" an equally important piece of their delivery — the physics, chemistry and math will give students an appreciation that will help them answer test questions they might have missed from rote learning alone. Tools of the Trade Another way to evaluate a trainer is on their selection of passive and active tools of the trade. With lectures, PowerPoint slides, animations, videos and photos, and on-line system performance displays and simulations are passive — your technicians simply listen or watch. Active tools that allow your technicians to actually participate in the class include lab manipulatives, demo devices, discussions, Q&As, work sheets and quizzes. If your instructor is simply piling on slide aer slide, your technicians start seeing the presentation as entertainment, not illustrated learning. Believe me, your technicians may be listening to and enjoying this type of course, but they probably won't retain much. Instead, look for an instructor who isn't afraid to shut down the projector, move away from the podium and takes the time to actually write on the blackboard. You want Getting the students engaged with the topic requires their active involvement. When their hands do something, their brains are more fully engaged. Continued on 8

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