Article -June 2002
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Increased Focus on Online Training for Building AutomationPublished June 2002

 Engineered Systems    

Ken Sinclair

The importance and necessity of online training for our industry has reached a new level. In the past online training concepts gained ground but recent events have increased industry focus on the value of online training. Travel restrictions plus the reduced desire to travel, when coupled with the amount and diversity of information necessary to learn, are driving us to more online training. As email becomes the way we think, learn and communicate, the value of interactive email relationships with peers and mentors is adding fuel to this process. As the acceptance of web based everything increases daily, increasing our educational boundaries online seems to be a very natural evolution.

From a recent interview on Web-based Training with Jack McGowan and myself 

Reliable Controls

McGowan states: It will be years before it is truly understood how the tragic events of 911 have impacted every aspect of life in the United States. One major area of impact of course has been on travel, and the fact that both individuals and companies have cut back dramatically. This has affected many businesses including the professional training business, and perhaps accelerated the trend toward Web-based Training. There are a number of factors that have already created tremendous demand for professional development that is completely flexible and not dependent on a specific time or place. Enter the Web, and the concept of asynchronous learning environments. Given the current climate toward travel, the is an optimum way to offer professional development training without travel, and employees can be asked to do it on their own time.

The interview goes on

Sinclair - What is an asynchronous learning environment? McGowan: The real benefit of Web-based training, as with other virtual offerings, is to create a virtual classroom that students can log in to anytime, anywhere. Think of the traditional classroom as synchronous, everyone must arrive at the same time and participate for learning to take place, and to pass the course! Asynchronous environments rely on a virtual environment, like a chat room, that participants can log on to at any time. Lectures, messages and other posting information will be there from participants to read and respond to, and therefore it is possible to have an ongoing open-ended dialog. Even though the full group does not sign on simultaneously, they are able to create dialogs on topics and comment on both course materials and real world data.

Reliable Controls Sinclair - How do professionals take an online seminar? McGowan: The first requirement of course is to identify an organization that offers a seminar topic that is of interest. The next step is to sign up and order materials. A Seminar Course book is typically made available to provide a reference document and the participant will be given assignments. This form of training is self-paced in terms of time, but the seminar materials provide a detailed outline of the reading and written assignments that must be completed along with the dates that these will be due. The participants will post a bio in a public venue and on a regular weekly basis will sign on to the public virtual environment. Participants will read and if desired download topics from the public classroom and interact with other seminar members. This is an excellent opportunity to share with some of the seminars greatest resources, other participants. As written assignments are due, participants will submit these to the instructor's personal email. The instructor will provide feedback or grading on written submittals, and at the end of the seminar issue a Certificate of Completion. is providing a new service to our readers, Online Training by Industry Experts. We are providing a virtual online classroom for specialized courses about the large building automation industry. The approach to course presentation is kept simple and low tech allowing anyone with an industry related course to present with If you are interested in creating and presenting or suggesting a course email us

Use online training to educate your staff about the rapidly changing environment around them. Be certain to investigate the possibilities of using online training to educate your clients about your products and services. The process is not complex or even time consuming. Existing paper orientated training courses can often be easily dusted off and reformatted into informative low cost available anytime anywhere training. Providing this new service increases our ability to communicate the complex information necessary about our products and services.

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