From Sept. 23 – Sept 26, RV dealers descended upon Elkhart to meet with their manufacturer partners and fill their inventory for the upcoming year, but for a few of the RV Technical Institute’s licensed partners, the week represented the launch of a new era in technician training.
Six representatives from the Camping World Technical Institute and two representatives from the Windham School Texas District completed the first ever RV Technical Institute Train the Trainer program, designed to use licensed partners to expand the audience receiving the industry’s standardized tech training. Utilizing this model of instructor training provides individuals with the practical instructional skills to facilitate learning and ensure retention of the new training curriculum. It also allows the RV Technical Institute to quickly scale the number of techs in the country receiving training.
The Windham School provides appropriate educational programs to meet the needs of the eligible offender population, thus reducing recidivism by assisting offenders in becoming productive members of society. They are piloting the RV technician program with a women’s prison and are looking at adding RV Repair to the over 147 certification programs they currently run including carpentry, plumbing HVAC, sheet metal, construction, telecommunications and fiber optics. The Camping World Technical Institute supports and promotes their stated Mission as the Training and Development Team for Camping World. They emphasized that the new nation-wide standardized curriculum is “industry-changing.”
The trainers received a walkthrough of how the curriculum was developed as well as specific elements of the RV Technical Institute Level 1 curriculum, highlighting some of the safety tips that need to be hammered into new technicians as well as identifying the proper terminology and tools for learners who are unfamiliar with the industry. They learned the required scores needed to pass as a Level 1 tech, the difference between a Level 1 tech and a Level 2 tech and instructions on how the PowerPoints, textbooks, labs and lesson plans all work together. RV Technical Institute instructors also highlighted some of the most successful ways to establish connections and lightbulb moments for new students and how to use a combination of hands on learning, textbooks and learning labs to train new students.
The trainers were also some of the first to see the RV Technical Institute’s new Learning Management System. They checked out how students will access the training portal and discussed exciting current and future capabilities of the system, including the system’s ability to track technician training progress, the number of hours of continuing education a tech has received, where to find training courses, and how to set up the system at the trainer level to evaluate certification and testing results.
In addition to learning how best to deliver the curriculum, the trainers in attendance received instruction on theories of successful adult learning and how to incorporate those elements into their own classrooms at their facilities. Understanding a technician’s years of experience, role within organization and what they hope to get out of the training is critical to setting student and instructor expectations, and ultimately developing successful techs.
The Train the Trainer program wrapped up with a course from the RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, examining the nine core values of a winning team mindset and how developing core troubleshooting skills and habits are key to successfully and efficiently diagnosing an RV issue and going from delivering a mediocre RV repair experience and an outstanding one.
The RV Technical Institute’s first-ever Train the Trainer program was a huge success. Both the Camping World Technical Institute and the Windham School District in Texas will help the Institute execute on its vision of rolling out standardized technician training nationally.