I want to take some time to explain our company philosophy concerning training methods – what works and what doesn’t. This is important for you as a subscriber because it is very different from the currently accepted practices of PLC training and automation training in general. Let’s start by understanding what the current industry practice is for training and where the problems are. Then we can move on and explain our system and why we think it is best.
Most of the in-class training for industrial control systems today is what can be described as “hold your hand while we cram it in.” What does that mean? Well first and foremost is the time in which the course load is delivered. Generally the courses are over 2, 3 or even 5 day time periods (I’m not even going to go into how much of that time is actually training and not morning donuts, lunch, or breaks). This is just too short a time period to fully grasp some material and definitely too short to make it stay with the student more than a week past the class completion. In addition the short time period requires that the material be taught at such a pace that the student is not allowed the “struggle time” required to really master any new programming skill. In fact most classes actually have a book that leads the student through the configuration step by step. This “hand holding” gives the student a false impression that they actually understand something when all they really have learned is – well nothing. Finally the short duration of the class doesn’t allow for real programming exercises that require time to complete. Once again, the “struggle time” that is necessary in order to really learn is not included in the training. On the other hand, college classes generally serve up the material in a more spread out manner that is better for retention and allows time for proper programming exercises to be examined. Unfortunately most college professors don’t have the real field experience necessary to be proficient in the hardware and software they teach (obviously there are exceptions). The class then gets watered down to what can be learned in the book provided. Tests become more important than programming exercises and generally provide the instructor with little or no useful information concerning the student’s proficiency. What about the programming exercises? Programs that would never be acceptable in the real industrial world are passed off as acceptable.
Therein lays the problems with the existing training industry. I have not gone into the time away from work, the added expenses required, or the exorbitant prices that are charged. I really just want to outline the differences in the ways that PLCMentor.com brings training to the student. At PLCMentor.com online training, we want our training to be useful and ongoing. First, the video format allows for easy to follow and real examples of the programming environment. In addition our training is not the “hand holding” type. There is no step by step action plan that the student walks through. You will have to struggle through the material so that you will actually be proficient with it. We organize the subject matter in a realistic and useful manner and then we drop an exercise in your lap to allow you to put that new knowledge to use. If you have problems, then the forum or webinar classes (depending on the stage in which you participate) are there to provide a nudge in the right direction. Not the answer, but just enough direction to get you past a stumbling block. There are no tests. If you can solve the exercises assigned, then no test ever created is going to be a better indicator of progress. When your coursework is completed, our job is not done. That’s when the mentoring starts. We will be there when the real stumbling blocks appear. Everyone starting out in the automation field needs a mentor.
This sums up our philosophy:
Real training by experienced professionals.
Real problems that require work to solve,
Real mentoring to help with the real world problems
If you want hand holding or expect to become proficient by next week then don’t subscribe to coursework. That is not how we train here. If you want a long term system that is designed to actually create or improve your skills then this is the place for you.