For long time blog readers, you know that NexTech Academy surveys students and training leaders as they progress from one level to the next. Why? We want to see if their feelings change as they grow in the online technical training program and gather ideas on what we can do to improve the curriculum.
One of the biggest trends we’ve seen is that students have changed how often they are meeting with their training leader as they progress in the program.
Six months ago (95% percent of respondents had completed Level One Only):
- 10% meet daily
- 68.48% meet weekly
- 16.97% meet bi-monthly
- 11.21% meet monthly
Today (averaging responses of HVAC technical training and Plumbing technical training users that have moved beyond Level 2):
- 12% meet daily
- 40% meet weekly
- 24% meet bi-monthly
- 24% meet monthly
From the data, we’re drawing the conclusion that as students progress, they are meeting less regularly with their training leader. We’re curious. Why? What we hope is that students are becoming more confident in their abilities as they progress, and may need less daily one-on-one attention.
However, the data shows that about 3.8% of students report that they are struggling to complete the hands-on skill assessment part of the curriculum. These are the assignments that show that they can demonstrate that they’ve learned technical tasks. Their training leaders then sign off on their achievements. We also know that 60% of users are working on NexTech on their own time, outside of the business. So, if they studying outside the business and have limited access to their training leader and other technicians, they may feel isolated and not supported. This isn’t an environment that breeds apprentice success.
The NexTech Academy team advises that trainers still commit to weekly check-ins as students move forward in the curriculum. This is crucial if they are studying at home. If you’re having trouble with this, please connect with your implementation coach. They can help you create a plan that will help with communication and accountability.
Other Insightful Feedback:
Answering the question, “ Based on what you’ve been taught, do you feel more confident as a technician?,” NexTech students gave a ranking of 4.3/5. This is a wonderful response as it’s our most important goal to increase the confidence and competence of people in our plumbing and HVAC program.
We also asked respondents to share ideas on how NexTech Academy can be improved. Here are some comments that stood out:
“Better grouping the information. For example oil heat and hydronic have been broken up into small chunks and sprinkled throughout the multiple levels and some of the skill assessments are repetitive because of it. It would be better to group all of the topics for each subject together to allow us as students to really focus on the topics one at a time and not move on from it until we have a true understanding of each topic. It might be a better system than jumping back and forth so much.”
Students will be pleased to know that in the 2.0 version we’ve made some content structure changes. They will still see common themes throughout levels 1-4, but the content will build in a more linear way, without so much repetition. If you’d like to see what we’re talking about, make sure to check out the 2.0 demo.
“More in-depth videos work better than reading about information.”
The NexTech team has been busy filming more videos and transitioning our pdf reading assignments to interactive reading assignments. Interactive reading is built in a content-authoring tool and allows learners to choose their learning path, take quizzes and learn through gamification vs. traditional reading methods.
We’ll continue to share survey response data and feature improvements in this blog. We’re excited to see how our data changes with the launch of NexTech 2.0 this spring!