Aug. 30, 2004
Meeting the Training Needs of Your Business

About the author: Mark Rowzee is the education director for the Water Quality Association where he coordinates education activities for the association and the WQA Aquatech USA trade show event. He may be reached by phone at 630 505 0160 ext. 513 or by E-mail at [email protected].

Every business has training needs, but whether or not they meet those needs is a different issue. Nowadays, businesses need to rethink the way they conduct training. In addition to providing correspondence-based learning, face-to-face education and regional seminars, the Water Quality Association (WQA) recently put one more tool in the toolbox for water businesses in search of quality training—online learning. This new offering saves businesses time and money while helping meet the demand for in-house training.

Today’s Customer

Although your customers are more aware of their water than ever before, it does not mean they are better informed about water. Much of the information they receive on water problems or issues comes from the media. The majority of that information is distilled down to a popular “sound-bite.” They know about water treatment technologies, but do not necessarily understand the differences between one technology or another. To consumers, all treatment devices tend to be “filters.” They also have fears about the “stuff” in water—some of which are well-founded, and others not. However, this same consumer does seeks information on water and water treatment, and trusts those who can explain things in a way that is easily understood.

The customer’s appetite for information demands that all water treatment professionals stay ahead of the water issues bombarding consumers, and become capable of correcting, or better directing, the customer’s understanding of the issue. It also demands staying ahead of your competition—providing better service to distinguish you from “the others.” This, in turn, requires that your staff understands many issues and is able to convey them during contact with the customer.

Better Learning

Most of us remember very well the better presentations or classes we have taken on a subject. The best presentations are those that touch on as many of our five senses as possible (or practical) while not droning on too long. Presentations that contain text, audio, periodic written quizzes and illustrations, pictures or animations tend to serve the widest audience of learning types. These elements work together to break up the monotony of book learning or sitting in a classroom and provide different way to keep the learner “on his/her toes.”


One way of pulling all of these elements together is electronic learning or E-learning. E-learning is one example of better learning. Visuals, combined with short bullet-points of information, animations or step-wise visuals, which show concepts better than the static page. And short diversions, which periodically check a student’s understanding such as quizzes, are all used to enhance the student’s recall of information. These tactics are good practice, especially compared to the simple book alternative.

Another welcome feature often used in E-learning is links to “diversions” for extra study on particular aspects of a subject. These features are incorporated for students wanting to learn even more about a particular facet and are very useful, but are not necessarily required.

E-learning educational modules go beyond just the theoretical and can also present real-world illustrations of a concept. For example, in WQA’s Basic Water Chemistry module, during discussion of ions in water and conductivity, a break-away segment shows photos of a common experiment where water is used to complete an electrical circuit containing a light bulb. The photos show that the circuit is completed (light bulb glowing brightly) by a saltwater solution (water having high dissolved solids content) much better than the case involving distilled water (very low dissolved solids content). The demonstration helps deliver the concept of dissolved ions and the idea of a TDS meter being able to gauge dissolved solids content of a water based on its conductivity.

In addition to being a more effective type of learning, based on peoples’ varied learning types, E-learning is more effective because it can be completely self-paced. Users can access it at any time of day or night as long as a computer is available. Thus, the student has more time to digest the information and can re-visit the information if something was not clear the first time. This feature is much better than having students leave a classroom or session empty-handed.

Download: Here

About the Author

Mark Rowzee

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