Use Online Training to Educate Tradesmen – Part 2

by | Nov 11, 2009

Training Tradesmen – do you use a carrot or a stick?

This is the second part of a two-part series (Part 1) by Lisa Bordeaux from BlueVolt, an online marketing and learning platform that focuses on the professional tradesman.

Whether you are using the carrot or the stick to drive training participation, providing contractors resources for their folks to take advantage of can be a very real benefit to the tradesman in the field.

From a contractor’s perspective, having a manufacturer that’s committed to training is an obvious win. These guys are in the field and it’s a real challenge to corral folks into the office for formalized training. At the same time, the guys in the field need training to stay safe on the job, learn about new products, maintain their licensure or certification.

One of the reasons we started in the business was because we recognized there was a need for people in the field to have better access to information. When you sit at a desk, it’s different then when you work in the field. So early on – we thought it would be best to provide bite size information to folks that they could take on the fly.

Training with the Carrot –

The idea of incentivized training is not new. Tying a carrot to something that you want to deliver to the market is a very effective way to build an audience of learners who are open to the information. In fact, when we launch courses that have incentives, we see a 10X greater usage pattern then courses that don’t have incentives. If the information is not all product based and serves some more general purpose, manufacturers may actually charge for their courses and then offset the charge with a reward of equal or greater value.

Training with the Stick –

Individuals in the trade in many cases are training as a requirement of their job. This may be something like forklift safety which is regularly required or code related if the state requires code updates for license renewal. In this case, we see different usage trends – the majority of the training gets taken just at the point of need. So for instance, when we started our code change course in 2002, in Oregon there were 26,000 licensed electrical workers that were required to take 8 CEUs of code update. The deadline was October 1, and as of July 15, 17,000 of the license holders had yet to complete their code training.

This becomes a real problem and the companies offering the code training in-person are flooded with calls they can’t satisfy. Online training really makes sense.  The timeline creates a sense of urgency which can be a great driver of participation.


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