If you talk to any older technicians, they can tell you about how ASE testing was both a professional and social event. Every six months, ASE would have a series of tests administered at a local high school or community center. Technicians from the area converged on the location. Before, after and during breaks it was a chance to talk shop.
The only disadvantage to this approach was that it was difficult to complete all the A-series tests in one day, and some tests were only offered once a year. When the computer-based tests (CBT) started in the 1990s, the ability to take tests quickly was a clear bonus – but the social element was lost.
Some people complained about the loss of the mass gatherings, but I think we are at the same point with online technical training. New platforms and better bandwidth have made for more engaging training in the past five years. The quality of the content has also improved with more videos and live webinars.
During the recent pandemic, I have seen an uptick in technicians engaging in technical training on the Brake & Front End website. During March and April, we produced three live webinars with larger than normal audiences. Also, the views of our on-demand webinars have increased significantly. To check out future webinars and view training webinars on-demand, go to www.brakeandfrontend.com/webinars.
I’ve seen more online events being offered during the past month by manufacturers, trade associations and training organizations. We can never have too many training opportunities.
For the time being, regional training events have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the pandemic. The next big training event will be the AAPEX show in Las Vegas. All events need to come back or be rescheduled as soon as possible. Face-to-face training events are excellent ways to get the training you need to be successful and they are a great way to network with trainers, technicians and shop owners.
I guess one good thing about this pandemic is it has improved the online skills of everyone. We have seen grandparents starting video chats and the NFL hosting the Draft online. In two months, more progress was made than over the past three years to becoming a better online society. But, we still hunger for the real thing – let’s hope everyone can meet soon offline.