Training is a critical component of any HVAC business. Business owners and managers need to ensure that their techs are ready to handle anything that comes their way in the field as HVAC systems evolve and become more advanced.
Given the high number of new HVAC techs joining the industry, high-quality training is even more critical than ever. Some companies have been moving some or all of their training online.
Online HVAC training promises to deliver as good as even better results than traditional training models, but are there any downsides to this type of training? Let's look at the pros and cons of online HVAC training.
Pro: Any Time, Any Place
Since online HVAC training is on-demand, techs can access classes anytime and anywhere. This means that HVAC techs can learn at their own pace and at a time that works best for them.
It also means that there is no need to shut down the entire business to gather everyone for continuing HVAC troubleshooting education over time. Online HVAC training can be accessed 24/7, on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Con: Lack of Accountability
If people can study at any time and in any place, it can be challenging to know if technicians are actually covering the material. It requires quite a bit of trust to ensure that everyone on the team is completing the courses and taking them seriously. Fortunately, some of the latest online HVAC training includes software that can track progress and even assess skills at every level.
Pro: Material Tailored to the Needs of Individual Techs
Traditional training methods tend to be a "one size fits all" model. You gather everyone together and offer them the same training. However, that doesn't always fit the needs of your techs. Growing HVAC installation and repair companies always have some new HVAC techs that need to master particular processes or specific types of HVAC systems.
Separately, veteran HVAC techs often get complacent while working decades in the trenches of HVAC troubleshooting field and may need some continuing education on the latest equipment. Veteran HVAC techs typically have families at home and want to get home to be with children, so online HVAC training allows them to dive-in online whenever they have time.
With online HVAC training, different techs can take different courses. New recruits can take classes on electrical basics while an experienced employee can learn advanced troubleshooting techniques on modern equipment.
Con: Insufficient or Outdated Material
Unfortunately, not all HVAC online training is created the same. With some programs, there are serious limitations to content. This is especially true when it comes to advanced topics that may be helpful to veteran technicians. For ultimate flexibility, you will need to find training that is continuously updated with new courses that cover the latest advances in the industry.
Pro: No Need to Create Your Own Training
With HVAC online training, your HVAC company no longer needs to worry about creating and leading classes or paying someone else to teach them. The course work is available online 24 hours a day. You can design your own program around the available courses and set up learning pathways for each technician.
Con: No Hands-On Experience
Merely watching videos will not give a technician everything they need to be ready for the field. At some point, techs need to integrate what they have learned into hands-on skills they can use in the field.
This can be handled by pairing new techs with veterans to let them learn on actual jobs. However, it would be better if this type of experience could be integrated with the flexibility of online, on-demand HVAC training.
Fortunately, the newest online HVAC training offers the latest in 3D and virtual reality (VR) to provide technicians with the chance to become immersed in field-like experiences where they can use diagnostic tools to troubleshoot and correct common problems. Because it is online, techs can perform tasks over and over until they have mastered them.
While there are pros and cons to online HVAC training, advances in technology are helping to eliminate those cons and make this type of training even more attractive to growing HVAC businesses.
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