As process control and automation continue to evolve practitioners need to invest in the latest field-tested techniques and best-practices so that they can keep pace with innovation. Whether you are a novice just getting your feet wet or a process control expert with years of experience, training is an essential component in keeping skills sharp. Fortunately training budgets continue to rise and the range of workshop options continue to expand.
When considering training and skills development there’s an important question that practitioners should keep in mind: What makes for an ideal workshop? With nearly thirty years of experience in delivering training workshops we recommend looking for these three (3) qualities:
The way in which a class is delivered can be a clear indication as to whether or not a given course is right for you. Is the class limited to lectures? Is it hands-on and interactive? Does it offer guidance through the use of demonstrations? Keep in mind that individuals who are tactile learners may not get as much value from a class that is limited to auditory and/or visual teaching methods. The same applies to those that learn best from lectures and those that gain maximum value from demonstrations.
We’ve found that a combination of teaching styles (i.e. lectures, visual demonstrations, and hands-on exercises) not only caters to the broadest array of students, but it also increase the level of retention for everyone involved.
Small Class Size
The size of a class matters. Learning in a large group can result in competition among students for the instructor’s attention. We all know that large groups frequently result in lots of chatter which can be distracting. Finally, some find that large groups are overwhelming and they hinder the willingness of some students to actively participate. Conversely small groups and the expectation for all students to actively participate can be intimidating.
We suggest that you look for workshops that offer the student to instructor ratio that suits your individual needs. In terms of Control Station courses we advocate for smaller courses that provide a more dynamic experience and that stimulate interaction. Smaller groups also enable an instructor to customize the class’ content.
One of the more important elements to consider is the experience of the instructor. It’s no surprise that an instructor who is limited to academic research may have difficulty connecting with the real-world challenges faced by his or her students. Similarly, an instructor who is unfamiliar with a particular industry segment may struggle to apply key concepts to the class’ work environment. Beyond practical experience the instructor should be skilled at conveying difficult concepts to an audience of students who may have a wide range of backgrounds.
We recommend finding an instructor who brings appropriate domain expertise and who possesses strong communication skills. For our part a good instructor is one half Einstein and another half P.T. Barnum. Such an instructor is capable of speaking on a highly technical level about the material while engaging students with a personalized and entertaining experience.
Finding the right course to stay current on process control or other technical topics is not always an easy task. By looking at the course methodology, size, and instructor experience, it’s possible to pinpoint courses that provide an ideal environment.
To learn more about what you’ll learn in our training workshops, click here.
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