One of the first questions asked when NexTech Academy is implemented in a business is, “how should this program be managed?”
Taking the step into organized long term training can be intimidating, and many training leaders are unsure of the “best” way to do it. Here at NexTech Academy, we want to share insights into what has worked for the pioneers using NexTech Academy.
Accountability is KEY!
History of the program has shown that when a training leader plays an active role in holding their students accountable, the student’s complete lessons building their knowledge of a given trade. Accountability only works if there is a clear metric by which to gauge the student’s performance.
Training Leaders that set crystal clear expectations to serve as the metric or gauge by which to measure the student’s progress are often the most successful. Some members even go to the extent of having the students sign a written agreement outlining those expectations and consequences for poor performance. Usually, agreements outline a time or progress benchmark per week that can be verified by the training leader online. If extra encouragement is required, the training leader can reach out directly to the student to help motivate them to get into the program to complete their weekly assignment.
Yes, it is an oxymoron, but more importantly, it sets the tone for management of the program. Most companies will set the benchmark for completing one module per week as a requirement. Some may say two. The most successful of companies will modulate the demand based on outside influences. For example, students in the HVAC program may be on pace to complete two modules per week, but then cooling season hits, and everyone is working 65+ hours per week. In these circumstances, dialing it back to one module per week might be more advantageous.
Unpacking The Lesson
The lessons in NexTech Academy consist of reading or text-based lessons, videos, interactive exercises, reflection exercises, and skill assessments. The skills assessments are tasks done off-line, in person, in a lab, or in the field. When setting benchmarks, it’s essential to look at the online portion and the off-line requirements. If a lesson has text, videos, and reflection questions, those can quickly be done in a week. However, if numerous skills assessments are also required, then completing those in a week’s time might be unrealistic. Here is where that flexibility mentioned before comes into play.
What does this accountability look like?
Successful companies in NexTech Academy have regular check-ins with their students. These meetings provide an opportunity for the student to ask questions based on the content that he or she has covered since the last check-in. These meetings also show the student that this program is important to the company.
If multiple students are enrolled, it might make more sense from a time management standpoint to meet in groups. In a group setting, the students can bounce ideas off of fellow students and many times get their questions answered. Group meetings also help with team building as the students are all working towards a common goal.
Training Leaders often schedule group meetings before or after standing company meetings so that the student’s aren’t making an extra trip to the office. Virtual meetings are also an option with the technology available today so students could meet together regardless of their physical location.
Personal Time or Company Time
While a one-on-one or group meeting might be on company time, there is a mix of companies that block off time for the students to work online during their workday. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, and ultimately, it’s up to the training leader and the leadership of the company to make that determination.
NexTech Academy, by design, can be implemented in various ways in member companies allowing the Training Leader flexibility to work with the resources available. If you have new hires or are interested in our online vocational training, get started learning more about NexTech Academy or call us at (651) 426-2000. Together, we can fit NexTech Academy into your business for the growth you need tomorrow.