We put the questions to Neil Vincent, NICEIC & ELECSA Head of Training, as he tells us more about NICEIC/ELECSA’s new Virtual Classroom Suite.
Q. Why has NICEIC/ELECSA introduced ‘virtual’ training, and which courses is it currently applicable for?
We’re always on the look-out for ways to improve and diversify our products and services. Long before the terms ‘COVID-19’ and ‘social distancing’ darkened our doors, we’d begun developing a remote platform to serve our customers.
Designed to offer choice and convenience, our objective was clear: we had to create a compromise-free interactive experience that mirrored the learning and outcomes of our face-to-face alternatives.
With this in mind, the virtual classroom suite, which was launched back in May, currently focuses on four of our most popular courses: Electric Vehicle Charging; 18th Edition Update; Emergency Lighting Fundamentals; and Fire Detection/Alarm Fundamentals.
Q. What benefits will delegates gain from having the material delivered in this ‘virtual’ environment?
Quality is key. The sessions are delivered live by our expert tutors, who thanks to the fully interactive platform, can communicate directly with delegates answering questions throughout.
Utilising carefully selected graphics, the tutors bring the topic to life by applying technical theory to real-life scenarios.
With polls included throughout to check understanding, attendees will also benefit from detailed downloadable course materials and aids which can be saved and stored for future reference.
The platform offers seamless, intuitive operation across PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone devices, meaning delegates really can train anywhere.
Q. What has the feedback been from delegates so far?
To date, we’ve run 70 courses and welcomed over 500 delegates. The feedback, I’m delighted to say, has been fantastic. Of those surveyed, 97% rated courses as ‘excellent’ with verbatim comments praising the knowledgeable tutors, easy to use system and the useful course materials which are being stored and used as reference tools.
Q. The concept of Virtual Reality is something that may terrify those who have grown up with more ‘traditional’ training formats – what would you say to those who may feel that understanding such technology is beyond them?
It really isn’t. I understand your reservations, but I’d encourage you to put these to one side and give it a go. The team is on hand to walk you through getting set up, and the instructions are straight forward. I’m confident, should you try it, that you’ll have a good experience.
We’ve also found that working with contractors ‘virtually’ in other parts of the business has been very successful for both the contractor and ourselves.
This is a great question; without doubt, the pandemic has accelerated the world’s acceptance of digital platforms; a fact which isn’t limited to training.
Almost overnight, the population has switched to communicating via screens, of all shapes and sizes. Tools such as WhatsApp and Facetime are no longer reserved for the young and tech savvy, as we witness all generations relying upon them to connect with the outside world.
The face of business has also changed. Meetings that were once conducted around desks are now taking place on desktops as colleagues connect via online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Relating this back to training, the pandemic most definitely refocused our efforts in this area, pushing us to prioritise the introduction of the Virtual Classroom Suite, which thankfully was pretty much ready to go as the pandemic struck.
Looking to the future, our virtual platform will play an essential role in our growing training portfolio. While there will always be a need for face-to-face training, which will fully resume as soon as it’s safe to do so, we do anticipate the demand for virtual training will increase.
Q. Finally, do you have any other insights/advice to offer our readership on training as a whole.
Keep your eye on the future. It’s important to remember that when the COVID-19 crisis passes, we’ll continue to live in a world grappling with the challenge of reducing greenhouse gasses and introducing low carbon solutions.
This shift towards a greener future will present some truly exciting opportunities for those skilled in our industry. To successfully navigate the ever-changing landscape, however, you must be on the front foot in terms of your technical knowledge and competence.
Watch a supporting video for NICEIC’s VR training by clicking here