A common misconception in the role of the training leader is the necessity of trade experience required to facilitate the NexTech Academy program in a business. Traditionally, a trainer or someone in a training role would be knowledgeable in whatever area they were responsible for training; however, in NexTech Academy, that is not the case.
A better analogy for the training leader role is that of a coordinator for the students and more importantly, individuals knowledgeable in the trade that can be of service to the program. NexTech Academy is a virtual learning platform that teaches students “the skills,” but learning is much more than that. The next step to effectively learn any new skill is practice, and that can’t be done easily in a virtual setting, that’s where individuals knowledgeable in the trade come in.
Remember, learning a trade is only one level of being a productive member of your team. These training leaders could be anyone in the company knowledgeable in the trade but, more importantly, current with company policies and procedures. Each business has its specific protocols or ways of doing business, so the training leader can coach the student on the trade-related skills in addition to being a productive member of your team.
Another area of influence by the training leader is dispatch. Practicing a skill is vital for retention by the student, and often these new skills must be practiced repeatedly. There is no better place to refine new skills than in the field. Some skills may be better suited for a lab environment at least initially, but for mastery, those skills need to be taken into real-world situations. Influencing the calls to which the trainer and student are exposed will help to reinforce those skills and aid the learning process.
Finally, the most crucial task of the training leader is to guide the student’s progress in the program and hold them accountable if they are not meeting expectations. The Training Leader dashboard in the new platform makes this much easier, even across multiple trades.
Best Practices for Facilitation
Since NexTech Academy has been an online vocational training program for nearly two years now, members have found ways to make the process easier to build into their training. We want to share some of their best practice tips in:
- Weekly Check-Ins
- Progress Report
- Plan Ahead
- Utilize Your Resources
The weekly check-ins have been game-changers for many businesses using NexTech Academy. These businesses have started seeing the shift in students commitment to their online trade school programs. Weekly check-ins could be done in a 1:1 setting with their managers or in a group meeting with their managers. Although most training leaders would highly recommend a group setting, we have learned that it has allowed students to receive support and feedback from their peers in the program. This contributes to the learning process and could help uncover teachable moments about the program or your business protocols.
Many training leaders will log in to the platform at least twice a week. For example, if the team meeting is on a Monday or Tuesday, a great time to check a progress report might be Friday. The progress report is a true indication of your students’ traction in the program. It has been a helpful tool that training leaders use to plan and facilitate upcoming skill assessments in the field or in a lab setting.
As a Training Leader, your access to the learning plans is unrestricted and you have the ability to look at any lesson at any time. This access can help when collaborating with dispatch on the types of calls that the students will need experience in any upcoming courses.
Utilize Your Resources
Just like the tech’s in the field, using your available resources just makes sense. Your implementation coaches and the technical coaches here at NexTech Academy are here to help. We want to see you and your students succeed. The role of the training leader can seem overwhelming at the beginning, but as you peel back the layers of the different responsibilities, it presents itself for what it really is, small manageable steps to help build your team and service your customers. 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.