How to Motivate Your Employees to Complete Self-Paced Vocational Trades Skills Training Programs

Among the most popular aspects of NexTech Academy is the ability for students to learn at their own pace. This self-paced learning concept makes it easier for students to learn a skilled trade without interfering with current responsibilities. However, with greater flexibility comes an accountability challenge.

Because there are no fixed deadlines for coursework, it can be easy for students to put their NexTech Academy lessons off until a later date. Delaying lessons or study sessions isn’t effective for student learning, nor is it helpful toward alleviating your need to get technicians into the field.

What can you do to address student motivation? Many things. Read on to explore the steps you or your training leader can take to add accountability to the self-paced flexibility of NexTech Academy.

Help students make progress with attainable milestones.

NexTech Academy wasn’t built with deadlines, but you or your training leader can impose employee learning milestones.

Rather than instructing a new student to begin training and get back to the training leader when they are complete, try to establish status dates and hold check-in meetings. Doing this provides a sense that students are expected to complete work within a defined timeframe.

When you establish a timeframe, you can hold students accountable for their pace. Using milestones, students are free to learn at their own pace or on their own schedule. They can still study in the morning, study at night, study in between other jobs or find whatever works for them. Students just need to meet the milestones you establish. When creating milestones, work with students to make sure they are practical to achieve. The last thing you or your training leader wants to do is set up a schedule that’s doomed to failure or makes it overwhelming for a student to accomplish.

A fixed-time slot repairs a lot of procrastination issues.

People are creatures of habit. Encourage students to take advantage of their natural need for consistency and create a set-time each day to log in for coursework. Rather than suggesting they fit learning into their day, instruct them to pick a specific time. Maybe it’s when they first wake up. Maybe it’s during lunch. Perhaps it’s right after a spouse gets home. Whatever works, have them pick a time, put it on the calendar and commit to logging in and learning.

Providing rewards for progress works wonders.

Always stay positive and encouraging when talking to students about their training and progress. When applicable, find a way to reward students for their efforts. Perhaps you or the training leader buys them lunch during the milestone meeting. Perhaps each time they complete a course, you or the training leaders send them a congratulations email. Or, maybe it’s a phone call saying you or the training leader is keeping track of their progress and are pleased with their pace.

Little or big, acknowledging what a student is doing and rewarding their work will go a long way in how they proceed through the coursework.

Learning modules make our curriculum more effective.

You might be wondering what makes NexTech Academy so versatile? In part, it’s due to the online technical training platform that allows students to learn when and where they can. But it’s not just the platform at work. A big part of the success is the way NexTech Academy designed and structured the courses.

NexTech Academy was built using learning modules. Modules segment content into more easily consumed components that also increase retention.

Reading Assignments

Reading is the gold standard of educational tools. It’s a format every student is familiar with and that is proven to be highly effective at delivering information. Additionally, reading requires no pause or rewind button. Students can easily read and reread sentences or paragraphs to deepen understanding as needed.


Some things only make sense when you see them in action. Take baseball for example. Try reading a description of how to play a game and you’ll be completely lost. However, watching a game and suddenly, it makes sense. That’s why NexTech Academy uses video whenever a lesson is best shown rather than described to increase comprehension and retention.

Interactive Exercises

It’s one thing to take in information, it’s another thing to use that information. Interactive exercises provide an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned. In doing so, they gain confidence in their growing knowledge and abilities.


The proof is in the quiz. NexTech Academy uses quizzes to confirm knowledge has been conveyed, understood and can be applied when needed by the student at an acceptable level of performance.

Hands-On Skills Assessments

NexTech Acadmey knows a theoretical understanding isn’t good enough for electrical, HVAC and plumbing technicians. They must be able to do the work in the field using the tools and materials. The only way to confirm this is through hands-on skills assessment that prove NexTech Students are up to the challenges of the field.

Soft Skills Training

Technical knowledge is a must for any service technician. But it’s not everything. They will also need to know how to work with customers. That’s why NexTech Academy emphasizes the soft skills they will need to be successful. Soft skills include reading body language, understanding mindsets, being empathetic and learning how to present information in a positive, helpful manner.

When it comes to skilled trade students, providing motivation is your first job.

NexTech Academy has succeeded in becoming the preferred online vocational training program for electrical, HVAC and plumbing technicians. Still, keeping students motivated during their training isn’t a sure thing. That makes it one of the most important duties that you as the owner of an electrical, HVAC or plumbing business, or your training leader can handle.

By using milestones, set learning times and rewards, you can greatly impact not just how well they learn the material, but how fast they complete the course and become an asset to your company. It’s a win for them and a win for you. Yes, it takes a little more effort, but the rewards should impact your bottom line for the better.

If you’re interested in helping new hires begin their HVAC technician training, electrical training, or plumber training, we recommend connecting with NexTech Academy. It’s among the best benefits of being a Nexstar Network member. You can have your new hires or interested candidates get started at the student experience page or call us at (651) 426-2000.

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