Tips for Success

by Ben Adams

Traditionally, skilled trades are passed along on-the-job. So how does it work to teach practical skills online via prerecorded videos?

Our videos are presented as though the student were out on a jobsite with the instructor. As a former technician and ops manager, I used to teach new folks by first showing them the new skill. If I had time, I might explain some background and the "why." Usually there wasn't time. That's one great thing about our videos. We have the time to be thorough.

The next thing I would do is have the person try to do what I just showed them. I would step back and watch. I might offer advice or I might let them stumble through it and figure it out on their own.

Once the student demonstrated initial skill, I would assign them some tasks and pop in every once in a while to check on their work. Regular feedback was crucial for catching small mistakes or misunderstandings.

With our videos, we've taken care of the first part - the showing and explaining. I don't mean to brag, but I think we do a pretty good job of it, too. The next part is for the student to practice. They don't need us for that. If you've watched our videos, you're ready to go try some of the things we've taught you.

To make sure you're doing it right, it's helpful to get someone more experienced to check your work. That might be a more senior technician or it could be your supervisor.

If you are the supervisor, I recommend following your apprentice's progress on the Team Admin page. Pay attention to which courses they have completed and ask them to show you what they learned. You'll gain an understanding of their capabilities and they'll gain a better understanding of the trade.

Lastly, don't be afraid to go through the course material more than once - especially if you're brand new to the industry. You can watch the videos at 1.5x speed if it starts getting boring. Try to get 100% on the quizzes and final exams. Maybe browse through the Resources section.

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