A good HVAC trainer will deliver sessons that are not just informative but engage trainees to make sure the lessons and the experience are remembered. We spoke to one heating trainer to find out what makes a successful training session and what qualities make a good trainer.
Creating the right atmosphere
It is important to recognise that most practical people who attend training sessions in the HVAC industry are not at all accustomed to sitting down for long periods in a classroom environment. Some find it difficult to understand technical instructions in theory, however when they are able to use their hands to experiment and learn new skills they find the course content far less demanding, energising them and setting the tone for a positive conclusion. All training - and particularly when it is directed towards engineers - should have a bias towards getting stuck in with the products and learning from seeing and doing, not just listening and looking at images on a computer.
Keeping it practical
The trainer we spoke to said he spends no more than one hour in the class room using illustrations without it being interspersed with some form of practical exercise. This is about the point at which memory and attention significantly drop which makes pursuing a relentless theoretical syllabus counterproductive. Provided that there is a practical element or a natural break every hour, the information absorbed is reinforced and creates confidence by allowing every participant to utilise the knowledge they have gained with a ‘hands on’ approach.
It is also important to provide some form of measure against which every training session can be assessed. Question papers can be used to ascertain the level of understanding of the course. This provides details on how the training could be improved, if necessary, and addresses any individual concerns over personal understanding. Many people will be afraid to ask a question for fear of ridicule. To address this a good trainer will encourage participants to ask relevant questions as they think of them and not after the session has finished as this can have a negative influence on their understanding and enjoyment.
Sticking to the facts
A good HVAC trainer will be careful to only train people in what they know as fact. If somebody asks a relevant question that they haven’t readily got the answer to, the trainer should make a note of it and get the correct answer before the end of the training week. Only a bad trainer will guess an answer to a question, as the recipient will hold onto that answer as fact which will undoubtedly cause them future problems.
Make it fun
Most importantly, training should be fun. Many are surprised to discover how much they have enjoyed a session, as they expected it to be boring. It is good to provide opportunities for laughter and banter, providing the course is structured. People will learn more, for the simple reason that they are not aware that they are absorbing information. Many of the comical stories people tell each other about their experiences at work will assist others by sharing the wealth of experience.