Late Night Thoughts From The Hippocampus

Martin Instructor Burnaby, British Columbia Posted   Latest  
Rumbles And Grumbles In Trades

You'll likely need to grab a java and sit for this late night rambling.....

In recent years much has been said and discussed in depth, in regards to the need to reform the educational model to better serve the modern learner. It appears to true that learning of more complex topics related to advanced technologies clearly forms more challenges for both learners and instructors today than ever before. However, I wonder if the educational system is quite as "broken" as some may believe and boldly "shout from the hill tops". Is the "sky really falling"?

Those of us who have worked in the automotive field and subsequently completed formal training in the educational arena, were most certainly exposed to a barrage of several age-old names, concepts and theories about how individuals learn.

Much discussion has led to examination of the likes of Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy and more, questioning the completeness, accuracy and validity of application of such works in modern society. Certainly, such concepts, theories and taxonomies have formed the basic foundation for learning for so long that they have been the accepted practices to follow. I wonder how the mindset of these "wizards" of the mind, might change to align with current times.

I question whether blindly following such concepts is valid anymore. While the type of learners can certainly be "pigeon-holed" to fit into the categories as identified by these past Masters of learning, I am not alone in my understanding that revamping most every aspect of learning is perhaps not a real and complete solution to the problem. In an effort to fit some unusual learning "styles", of the modern learner, is a required or completely re-working education truly a necessary objective?

After all, many have mastered the craft of automotive service, diagnosis and repair, plus developed classroom management and adeptly facilitate program delivery. Proof is in program graduates who demonstrate tangible skills as a result of active participation in training and enjoy successful careers working in the field. I venture to say that those of us who do "push the envelope" within the boundaries defined by the learning institutions and accreditation agencies, have already been exploring avenues that promote success through enhancement, or augmentation of the "status quo" mandated methods.

While adapting to various learning styles has proven useful, it has also been observed that learners will adapt to the mode of delivery in short order, regardless of whether it is a method outside of the learner's normal "comfort zone".

In these "media rich" times, there is so much learning material almost freely and widely available, that it is likely mind-boggling to be "tethered" to text books as learning resources, especially given that accuracy, publication refresh rate and costs all put utilization of such works at a disadvantage in this modern day.

With more variations of delivery media available than ever before, I truly wonder how the Benjamin Blooms of the world would view learning in the modern world beyond the industrial revolution of yore that spawned the need for reading, w'riting and a'rithmetic (the three "r"s, so to speak).

Some of the issues that we face, is over or poor use of media that can actually be very useful. Microsoft PowerPoint® for example, has earned the reputation for "PowerPoint Paralysis" or "Death by PowerPoint", while it is not the medium that is at fault as much as the extent and type of use. It appears to me that what most often occurs, is that it appears that those creating slide shows, whether it be PowerPoint of some other similar delivery format, take various works such as texts and articles and move them into the slide show format. Now, sitting at a desk trying to remain alert while a teacher or instructor recites verbiage from a text book or a text book copied into slide show format, is an extreme struggle for most if not all of us, beyond a few minutes of ability to focus.

There is little worse than being required to follow along through a presentation that comprises the exact same information and images as contained within the covers of the required program texts. So, why do this at all? Is it because many students simply do not read, read well or suffer from poor comprehension skills?

Is it to ensure that the information that is covered on a test that has been embedded into the slide show, which is often present as bolded or italicized text in the chapters of the paper text? While learning is fundamentally viewed as an ability to recall what has been presented and observed, recall without the ability to associate and align information to application through activities, frequently falls short.

While given a text, most students should be able to score an eighty percent score on a related test, that is not the purpose for learning. The whole concept of learning in the automotive realm and trades in general, is to master a craft through understanding how physics apply to a variety of applications, whether they be system-related or procedural.

So, to ensure relevancy it is necessary for the student to be exposed to various concepts and theories and challenge them through completion of a series of carefully planned and executed competency-based learning activities.

Personally, while not a big fan of slide shows based on texts and associated images, there is a requirement to utilize this type of media in the classroom. Perhaps it is a classroom "CYA" for the learning institution to identify that concepts "x, y and z" were formally presented in the classroom, covered in the program text and thus, the potential for learning was established.

My own personal use of slide show material is to either capture images or create a drawing or two that are relevant to the learning and not reproduced from works from which texts and accompanying slide shows are produced.

One challenge facing educators is standards, of which there are many. Changing how learning is accomplished if so desired, would in my opinion require re-working current standards and evaluation methods, to allow freedom for development and implementation of new instructional methodologies. The focus on instruction should be to equip the learner with knowledge and skills that are useful in the workplace and conducive to success.

Successful achievement in tests and examinations should be a byproduct of a successful learning experience, rather than achieving a passing score on the test, simply because the learner was exposed to content specific to the test.

Those of us who have daily encounters with the modern student have come to learn that sitting in class enduring a lecture (I talk, you listen), is not a means of education by any measure. The days of old when I sat in a school classroom in full school uniform, alert with pencil and paper to capture notes has long since passed, although I do still actively capture useful notes in similar fashion very effectively. Students must be engaged learners, actively participating in class discussions, challenging concepts and theories that are presented.

The modern learner seems to separate and value into what must be recalled and what can be quickly located by what I call "GoogleTubing®". It is fair to say that while my own brain has amassed a huge amount of information relative to working in the automotive field for the past fifty years, that the need to recall specific pieces of information as we once used to, has greatly diminished. In short, there is no longer reason to recall a lot of information, can be rapidly located using modern technology search methods. So, in part a shift in what is necessary to recall and what can be located through efficient search techniques, changes at least one aspect of information gathering and recall requirements.

After all, who honestly cares that the generation one Chevrolet small block engine firing order is …, when that information is now readily available at the touch of a keypad or mouse? In retrospect, it certainly appears that there are more useful ways to use our brain for more important information than recalling specifications. This is especially so in these times where information can be updated almost instantly and recalling errant or obsolete information could result in liability.

So, in modern times, we as teachers and instructors need to be more in tune with assisting our students in developing proficiency in information gathering skills. While most every class is very much occupied by those who, the moment that breaks start, "GoogleTube®" what is often what we consider the silliest videos for amusement, I frequently observe that information gathering skills related to work place searches are far more lacking without formal training. There is in my opinion, a "mythbelief" that our students are "IT" savvy, when in fact they have rather poor computing skills outside of their ability to "GoogleTube®" what amounts to rubbish ranging from porn to Darwin type videos.

I have observed this over many years and the results are consistent. Without guidance through formal instruction to learn effective search methods, student proficiency in utilizing application-based information search techniques, absolutely cannot be assumed. While students arrive in the program that I instruct, feeling confident in their abilities, when they graduate, they freely express how much they have learned relative to being able to gather, locate and apply information far more effectively from the resources that they use in their daily roles as automotive technicians.

In my opinion, to summarize what is wrong with the delivery media openly abhorred by some, is that it is not necessarily any given medium that does the learners a disservice, but rather how well or poorly it is utilized. There are times when certain learning activities may seem tiresome or lack purpose to the learner, yet have associated objectives that are beyond the vision of the learner. One such example is in some of the student work guides that we use in class, there are some good informational pages interspersed with exercises.

Some exercises are simply research-based where the student must log in to the service information and locate specific documents and transcribe various responses to questions or fill in blanks using the relevant information. Other times, the same approach is necessary in order to establish expected results from testing systems and components in the workshop.

While on the surface the process can seem tedious when students are often more visual learners in somewhat of a rush to get their hands on to the tools and test equipment, research for the purpose of gathering useful information associated with the learning activity has become very necessary in these times of complex technology beyond the days of recalling the firing order of commonly used engines.

Evaluation. This topic alone is huge and is often limited to the type of program and prescribed evaluation model employed. As instructors delivering programs that must meet national standards, there is a requirement to follow the "rules of engagement", so to speak. That dictates evaluation methods and assigned percentages to align with the formality of the education model.

Despite restrictions imposed by learning content, delivery and evaluation methods, the creative instructor can find freedom to enhance learning and evaluation for a better student experience and possibility of improved achievement.

No matter what learning and evaluation is utilized, unless the instructor is of positive mindset and able to empower learning, the chances are that the results, whether we call them "outcomes" or "learning objectives", will fall short of the desired goals.

Whatever means of education is chosen, unless all parties are enthusiastic, motivated and engaged, failure or mediocrity can be expected. So, it is important from the outset of any course or program that the learner understands that the responsibility to learn is theirs alone and both passing and failing are realistic possibilities. The following quote is very much a realistic view that I hold and express to my students, regarding their right and the power contained within a failure to achieve a desired objective. Regrouping with a new view and mindset can be a very powerful learning experience and failure is not a disgrace, but an opportunity to review and improve.

A Forbes quote of the day, "Failure should be celebrated for its lessons as much as success is celebrated for the prestige" Loria Oliver, Entrepreneur.

When I first entered the instructional realm beyond workplace mentoring and supervision to complete the BC provincial instructor diploma circa 1998, one of the prescribed program texts was Concepts and Choices For Teaching - Meeting the Challenges in Higher Education. At 150 pages in length, it served as an introduction and guide for our classroom learning activities and referred to many of the world-famous educational prophets of all time.

Timpson, W. M., & Bendel-Simso, P. (1996). Concepts and Choices for Teaching: Meeting the Challenges in Higher Education. Madison, WI: Magna Publications, Inc.

Today, searching for the title results in the same title with the same primary author William Timpson and a different co-author, Sue Doe. I wonder how twenty two years on since my edition of this age old publication was published, it has changed, with the text now expanded to 368 pages. atwoodpublishing​.​com/books/192​.​htm So, it seems that while traditional teaching methods have not changed a lot over time, save for the introduction of more digital media, that it would be prudent to keep abreast of developments in learning and teaching. Simply "ambling" along doing the same old thing, while our learners are exposed to and influenced by rather different demographic factors, it will require some change or adaptation to see changes towards improved skills development and overall learning. Does the educational system really warrant a complete overhaul or some judicious tweaking? That is the question! In other words, what is no longer purposeful or necessary and needs to be replaced for an improved learning experience and what needs some revision to adapt to better utilize and capitalize on modern learning media and technology? Food for thought.

Martin …

Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah

Hi Martin, In my opinion, the most important component to learning automotive repair is apprenticeship. Having a master there to mentor one on one is crucial to learning. An automotive instructor simply does not have the time to give each student the individual attention needed for clear learning. The Master needs to be in line with industry standards. The Student / Apprentice needs to be willing to do things the right way and not take shortcuts. Industry placement roots the student in the industry and gives them something to look forward to.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia

Hi Michael. Great observations. I agree that mentoring is very much a necessary learning component that is unfortunately often avoided, ignored or overlooked as a part of the mastery process in North America. In my realm of training GM apprentices, whether mentoring is possible, is often dependent upon the size of the dealership, shop hierarchy and work distribution.

This relates to management, the number of employees, volume of work and whether a suitable and willing technician with the right demeanour and skill set is available to provide assistance. I had as many as six apprentices in training at any given time, with three in rotation at the shop and three away at school.

In mentoring, I provided both a direct mentorship and a supervisory role, where I would assign the apprentice to specific tasks working alongside willing journeymen technicians who could impart valuable insight to the apprentice. That is an important aspect, ensuring that mentors will demonstrate skills in keeping with industry standard practices.

Unfortunately, there is no "mentor school" training, so as instructors we are charged with the responsibility of why we do or do not approach procedures in various ways that may be utilized in the shop environment.

As an instructor with a fair amount of freedom to create learning activities that are beneficial to understanding diagnostic processes, to enhance the experience and add value to support reasoning for specific actions, I incorporate case studies into the process. This is an added value component, because there is a clear purpose and end result, that is based on due process. We summarize the overall experience for such activities and discuss what we could have done differently or better for more efficient use of time, tools and equipment.

It is, or should be widely understood that instruction is designed to introduce concepts, theories and procedures with some opportunities to practice and challenge what has been discussed. Of course quite rightly, you alluded to the fact that there are limited opportunities in any given course or program to ensure mastery of every skill or technique.

We do build upon these term by term to incorporate prior learning into each level of apprenticeship, but there is no better way to ensure skill mastery than strong support in the workplace where a skilled technician can provide support and guidance.

We do utilize an In Dealership Work Assignment binder which the students take back to the dealership at the end of each term, with specific service, diagnostic or repair procedures to be completed under supervision. In the perfect environment, the apprentice will complete the assigned tasks independently with the mentor overseeing and rating the activity.

If this is achieved an "A" is assigned, while "B" is assigned when more interaction is required from the person supervising and a "C" is assigned at times when the apprentice assists a journey person through a procedure.

Of course, while a "C" is the least desired rating, it does offer an inexperienced apprentice an opportunity to participate in a process with a skilled technician and learn from their participation. How well or poorly the IDWA experience is completed is very much dependent upon the dealership structure and influencing factors listed above.

In a larger shop, the workload distribution may be destined to technicians with specific specialized skill sets, while in smaller shops it is quite typical that technicians serve "bumper to bumper" roles. How well the apprentice completes the IDWA process is very much dependent upon management and fair compensation to offset any costs of participation for mentors. However, unless the apprentice is motivated, willing and active in the process, the desired results will not be achieved.

Encouraging, selecting and fair remuneration for mentors can be a challenge in a production shop environment based on flat rate pay scales. However, with a group of people with the right mindset, any foreseen obstacles can be overcome with a little creativity. Mentoring has always been big in Europe and those of us who were fortunate to be understudies to skilled craftsmen, often greatly benefited from the experience and seem to be more willing participants in mentoring.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah

Hi Martin, Until last week I worked as a trainer for a large tool company. As part of my responsibilities I trained technicians how to repair tires according to TIA and RMA standards. Every time I taught this in a school the instructors were beside themselves as they realized that they taught repair like "Bubba" taught them. Rough the surface, apply cement, stitch on the patch. Then you dunk the mounted tire in water and make sure there are no bubbles. This is not the correct way to repair a modern tire. Students are taught the wrong way all the time. This is why industry standards are so important.

How many students are taught to torque a drain plug? How about the lug nuts? In many repair shops the lugs are tightened only with an impact gun. Some use torque sticks or extensions. Even this does not meet TIA or RMA guidelines. In many cases, instructors are taken from industry along with the bad habits they developed over the years. I am confident that they would gladly teach it correctly if they knew the correct way.

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia

Excellent thoughts and observations Michael. We do use some of the TIA and RMA standards and resources in training. We do also utilize GM online training course resources including Lubrication, Inspection and Maintenance 1, 2 & 3 and Tire Service & Maintenance 1 & 2 as prerequisite/review learning.

You are quite correct in that it takes correction of pre-learned bad habits and poor methods to get students on track.

Essentially, as the apprentices' supervisor during training, I spend significant time ensuring that safety is the primary concern, for themselves and their classmates. There is simply nothing more important than keeping workers safe. Everything else is secondary.

The Young and New Worker Act worksafebc​.​com/en/health-safe… and www2​.​gov​.​bc​.​ca/gov/content/ca… requires proper orientation and training for young or new workers, prior to commencing work.

When describing the young and new worker requirements, I always enquire how many of the new apprentices have received any formal training once hired and as can be expected, the numbers are usually low. There is often a misguided mindset of employers that their new hire arrives fully trained and ready to work!

However, I do have one service manager in particular, who takes off his sports jacket, dons a pair of coveralls and demonstrates how he expects lube oil service and inspection to be completed, right down to torqueing that drain plug.

You brought up the concern of technicians turned instructors bringing bad habits into the field of instruction. That is always a challenge, but can usually be identified quite quickly by the poor condition of training aid component assemblies used by multiple programs. However, it does require some remediation that can be challenging.

I view it that if I have provided the training to industry standard best practices and discussed how alternate methods can and often lead to associated liabilities, that I have done my best. However, it is not about "CYA", but due diligence in all that we do.

As a member of the School of Transportation Safety Committee, we are currently we are currently re-writing and re-working policies to ensure that instructional staff is qualified and trained provide instruction to expected standards, rather than putting an experienced body in front of a class.

Since the training environment replicates workplace scenarios, this is an important part of training and is ongoing, whether it be utilization of "tool box meetings" or the discussion of risk assessment at the beginning of every learning module and when in process. Safety should not be a stand alone learning module, covered once and left behind.

"Tuning In to Safety", amazon​.​com/Tuning-Safety… a recent publication by Tony Martin, provides an in-depth look at many aspects of safety in the work place and utilizes case studies to demonstrate how quickly avoidable accidents and fatalities can occur

I lead up to the importance of proper inspection and service techniques and associated liabilities from poor workmanship, by citing and linking to incidents where serious injuries or fatalities have occurred as a result of negligent repair procedures. Students and often technicians simply don't know what they don't know, so it is important to discuss how poor techniques can result in serious consequences.

Regarding wheel end and tire services, it is important to discuss and clarify why why we do not heat or weld rims and components, why a good tire cage, body posture during lifting, position during tire inflation and more. I treat this learning module as seriously as every other aspect of automotive service, while others may rush to get through and onto more technically appealing content.

One thing that really "irks" me is that tire and wheel service is generally considered a "low end" service role that is assigned to that newbie. With little if any regard to the consideration that this is an extremely important aspect of the vehicle, steering, suspension, braking and stability system package, it is easy to see how it can all go very badly without proper training.

Since I originally hailed from the motorcycle realm where there are usually only two small contact patches with the road, I well know the importance of the rubber that meets the road and any necessary service and repairs. Again, oil drain plugs and filter installations are critical on not only two-wheeled vehicles but all, but there is no allowance for any lubricant seepage under a motorcycle, considering the very likely end results!

I like to get students into the program as soon as possible following hiring into a dealership, simply because they have had fewer opportunities to be exposed to poor methods and practices. I go to great lengths to demonstrate and discuss why many age-old practices of pounding assemblies apart with a hammer and pickle fork approach should not be followed when components are to be re-used, while novices may see such activities in their workplace.

Torque sticks have no place in our work. GM has clearly state for years that they should not be used anymore. We go to great lengths inspecting wheel and hub mounting surfaces condition and preparation, lug nut types, angles and installation and what those paint dabs represent on hubs etc.

Since I was a vibration diagnostic specialist, I caution my students about the possibility of incurring a tire and wheel vibration, simply be removing and installing an assembly during an inspection and how orienting components the same as originally fitted is less likely to result in a high/low/run out stacked out of tolerance vibration.

One of the challenges when apprentices return to their work place is encountering ridicule from other technicians for following proper procedures, when an experienced technician has a "better" way. We discuss this in class and encourage students to follow the best industry practices and avoid battles trying to adjust the mindset of those who "know it all", because there will be resentment and alienation due to the apprentice being perceived as having "God" syndrome. There may be times when the student apprentice can learn from their co-worker, so being cautious about how they use such information is important.

If we can instill best practices, eventually those employees who are not willing to change or adopt the best methods, will fade away through retirement or be fired due to excessive comeback rates associated with their methods. It is one reason why pairing apprentices with mentors can be a challenging experience, since bad habits are hard to break. A concern is that there are more hacks than masters, although if someone is an interested and willing mentor, it is more likely that they might demonstrate best practices.

Thanks again for airing your thoughts. They are very important to me personally.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah

Thanks Martin, It sounds like you in the "Great White North" are ahead of the curve in training techs. What I don't understand is that even with certification being a requirement in Canada, the pay rates are very similar and in many cases lower than that of the USA. I would expect that one who has to "prove" their ability should be compensated better. What would be the reasons for this. Many in the States including myself would be for mandatory certification if it meant more respect and better wages.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia

Hi Michael. I don't know so much about being ahead. While my counterparts who lead the same programs in USA do so with some differences in standards, I know just how hard some of those individuals work to achieve the best possible outcomes for their students, even if ASE is the only nationally recognized testing standard beyond the dealership required GM certifications.

Within Canada in apprenticeship there is at least some formal requirement for those indentured into apprenticeships, that requires specific topic coverage. FWIW, some provinces do still have mandatory Red Seal qualifications requirements, but not all.

BC dropped from "mandatory" to "recognized" status years ago, when there was fear of an exodus from the trade through retirements. That in my opinion, instantly devalued technicians and allowed unscrupulous businesses to "rape and pillage" on the backs of hard working employees.

Dealerships and better independent shops do still use the Inter-Provincial Red Seal status as the hiring standards, but one thing that was lost when moving from "mandatory" to "recognized" status, was fair remuneration, at least or more so for apprentices who seem to be treated less than fairly by some companies, just when they need the help most.

Under the old mandate of mandatory certification, apprentices typically started out at 50% of the journeyperson rate at the first level and received incremental 5% raises every six months to end at 75% of the going rate. Save for some union shops that have collective agreements with wages included, any shop dealership or independent can pretty much pay what they wish.

I can well understand that basing an apprentice's pay on the journeyperson's income can be challenging, depending whether any base guarantees are paid, or the number of hours. With daily, weekly or even monthly guarantees often a thing of the past, it is difficult to challenge what is or isn't paid to apprentices.

From my perspective, from 12 years in the independent sector and almost 23 in one GM dealership by the time I exited in 2003, the worst day in the dealership easily surpassed any possible income in an independent shop at the time. However, I do know of some reputable independent shops who do pay fair wages these days to keep their employees. I also know that some shops still pay close to what I was earning back in 2003.

I am not sure how incomes in Canada and USA really compare in purchasing power, unless we use the loaves of bread analogy. We pay more taxes, in turn for some services that can be more expensive in USA.

Last week I bought a 6 pack of 355ml bottles of imported from UK Newcastle Brown Ale in Leavenworth USA for $7.89 USD. Two weeks prior I had picked up the same imported brand that I noticed when sitting on the fridge next to the US purchased bottle just happen to be only 330 ml bottles of the same brew from a beer and wine store that cost an exorbitant ~$17 CAD!

Last week purchasing $300 USD also cost me ~$406 CAD! Long gone are the days of the mid- '70s when we'd get $1.25 USD for $1.00 CAD. Still, it is all worth the price of visiting with my friends in USA who have become family over the years.

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Andrew Technician
Commack, New York

Hey Martin,

I’m new to teaching work - in May I co-presented two four hour classes we spent two months developing. The stipulation was to deliver a presentation and write a book for the students, everything else was up to us. We weren’t bound by any rules from any institution of any kind so it was completely up to our discretion how to operate, and there were a wide variety of formats, teaching styles, and content among the classes.

I considered things like how to appeal to students of all different “learning styles”. I also considered how much theory information and how much practical information would be a good balance. Personally I love the theory behind everything, the science and engineering. On the other hand I know that the needs of a technician are biased towards fixing the car and sending it down the road expeditiously, and that understanding how it works is ranked by many of secondary importance. A large portion of technicians are looking for that quick fix silver bullet, although if they show up for a few days of four hour classes, it’s likely they’re motivated to learn beyond the repair.

To me theory is important. I usually over-learn it, but I try to pass on only the useful fruit of that labor, not the journey. You’ve pointed out that knowledge in terms of specific facts and figures is being replaced by the requirement for the ability to quickly and effectively research and find the needed information. I agree. It’s not within the scope of a four hour class however.

The workbook and the presentation were originally one and the same, but as we began to rehearse it became clear that that wasn’t going to work. Presenting from a book was too rigid and specific and it wasn’t pragmatic to deliver a lot of written explanation on screen. We provided the workbook but told the students to keep it closed until after class and to focus on the presentation. I changed to a format that was more like a progression of concepts pausing a central topics and drawing on a lot of analogies and comparisons, with more system diagrams and less written explanation. Where it was important, I still used as much text as I desired. Not bound to anyone’s rules.

This was an 8-10 hour topic slotted in to a four hour window. The class would have been structured much differently if that timeline wasn’t in place. I suppose that the timeline was the third stipulation beyond having a book and performing a presentation. Our ‘book’ was trimmed (negotiated) to about 400 from 500 pages. In the future I hope to include more interactive content in the presentation.

I realized that most of them would sit on a shelf and collect dust. There simply isn’t a whole lot of time on the job to study. But you spoke to gathering information - the book will serve as a useful reference when the time comes. Afterwards I combed through it and culled a list of specific tests and their typical and required results. About 20 pages of quick reference information, it was provided as an addendum.

Education is a complicated job. The NATEF/ASE model comes to mind and readily provides one example of how the issues you described are addressed.

I guess what I would say is that my goal would be to prepare the student to be successful in their work. That’s the thing that matters. Teaching theory helps develop reasoning and critical thinking skills which are important to figuring out how something has broken and how to diagnose it. No matter what kind of education we could provide there are always some really atypical cases that aren’t going to be addressed. A baseline of knowledge and skill is important, but going beyond that the ability to learn, reason, and adapt is critical.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia

Hi Andrew. As you have discovered and are experiencing, deciding what the intended learning objectives are and then selecting appropriate information, tools and activities to achieve the desired learning within a specific time line, can be quite a challenge.

When you sent me some material to review some time ago, I believe that my initial comments were that it was "all encompassing" and "very comprehensive". Whenever creating learning materials, the foremost consideration that I ponder, is whether there is a need or desire for the prospective learner to participate in the learning. Will the course guide incorporate a healthy mix of reference material and useful activities to support class and shop discussion. What do we desire to achieve from facilitating the training and whether is it needed or of interest to the target audience, must be considerations.

We can build what we might believe to be a wonderful learning opportunity, but unless there is interest and some valuable "take away portable skills", we may not achieve the desired results. It takes some careful planning and execution to "hit the mark".

It is a very different world, where "one hit wonders" roam North America delivering niche short course content to receptive audiences. Often, once the content has been shared along with incorporation of a few case studies, we may not see these individuals again for some time until a new topic or major refresh of the material and case studies has been assembled.

So, while "traveling road shows" can be entertaining and serve well to bring together groups of participants who may have met in a forum or local group, the entertainment factor can be higher than in the day to day college classroom setting due to a certain amount of freedom.

Bound by guidelines and restrictions of the institute, to be successful the instructor must have a continuous and useful arsenal of "tid bits" related to a much wider range of learning procedures than our counterpart "one hit wonders". In short, with day to day instruction, the crowd can be much tougher to entertain.

Since I have experience in both traveling and fixed learning environments, I can relate that you can "get away" with more, or perhaps are less restricted when doing remote training, because standards and acceptable boundaries are often down to the individual instructor or small instructional organization.

When traveling to deliver remote courses, case studies and processes are generally well-rehearsed and perfected, since the intended results are staged and practiced to perfection.

With any course, the student work guide should contain some valuable reference materials, often that which may be obscure or hard to locate, include alternative tooling or contrasting views from approaching diagnosis, service and repairs from a different perspective. Getting it balanced just right takes some practice.

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William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia

I think the biggest hindrance to training techs already in the field is the lack of daytime training with pay. No one wants to come after work or on Saturdays, and if they do come after hours, about 3 hours are all they are good for. After that you have lost the attention span and engagement.

Many classes I have taught have a large number of students who are there "because the boss said I have to come". They don't want to be there because: #1: They have worked all day and are tired. This is time away from family and friends. #2: They are not paid to be there. #3: They have learned that the knowledge is good, but the management will not charge for them using it when diagnosing, or buy the tools/scan tools/information systems necessary to use that knowledge in the shop. I hear this all the time, both from chains and independents. They are better off not knowing as it does not benefit them at work. #4: Most techs don't have the basics (mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, reading and researching information, etc.) down enough to really use the diagnostic procedures. #5: Because of the above, you are limited to a 1 night 4 hr. class. Few will commit to multiple nights, and no shop will send them during the day, due to having to pay them, pay for the class, and lose production.

Because of these factors, what and how you present is very limited. Any type of hands-on is almost impossible. In depth studies of systems takes too long, and most techs are looking for "silver bullets", since that's all they really get paid for anyway. Until the pay issues overall and paying for diagnostics is solved, I don't see this changing.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded