No doubt about it, COVID-19 quickly changed the way we work, and play. Travel and in person visits came to a screeching halt. Professional offices, suppliers, even many working shops closed their doors to visitors. Training in the not to distant past was done, for the most part, in person. Conveniently, most trainers adapted quickly to offer online training options. Many of the companies in our industry were already familiar with platforms like Go To meeting. This made the switch to virtual training fairly easy for those trainers.
Some trainers I met through the ESCO group devised hybrid virtual training events. With a few cameras, one that would follow you around a room they kept the hands on training available also.
An instructor in front of a piece of equipment would be led through the troubleshooting in real time, clever and almost like being there.
The question remains, what happens going forward in the training world. In some cases offices that made the change to virtual workspaces plan on staying that way. In some larger cities’ that has created office space vacancies and those building owners are scrambling to repurpose those spaces to get the rent rolling back in.
In cities like San Francisco it was a tough slog to see more than two engineering firms in a day due to traffic and parking logistics. With online, virtual sessions you can present to their entire staff as well as any locations they have scattered around the world.
I’ve started limited travel myself for training events. I doubt cramming 30 or more folks into a hotel meeting room will ever be attractive anymore. In some cases moving the training into the shop area, parking lot or a large cafeteria area is a good option to allow attendees to spread out more.
I doubt anyone knows for sure how this will shake out or what “bug” will hit us next that makes people want to avoid crowded rooms and spaces, but plan on having options. Come up with new ways to engage the attendees. Not being able to see faces, expressions and not getting that in person feedback changes the game for a trainer. Add polls to your training to get some interaction and a feel for the groups. Consider multiple speakers or trainers to get some back and forth conversation in your online trainings.
The need for having a trained workforce is critical. Equipment is becoming more sophisticated and specific, so factory training will march forward. We would love to hear from all the players in the industry, thoughts suggestions, what we can do to keep you’ all coming back.
Let’s rid the ‘VID and get back to the normal face to face that we all crave.