Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools transitioned their higher education classes online, either partially or fully.
With the rise of virtual meeting and conferencing platforms, are online classes better than in-person? Or are in-person classes still the way to go?
For vocational training, which usually consists of hands-on learning, we believe both in-person training and online learning go hand in hand.
Hybrid Vs. On-Campus Vocational Training
Some technical training programs across the country tried out a hybrid model during the pandemic. This meant lecture classes could be taught online while in-person modules were postponed until it was safe to reopen campuses again.
Tulsa Welding School (TWS) took the approach of keeping campuses open with a staggered schedule and a mask mandate. And a recent survey showed that vocational students at TWS preferred in-person learning.
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While training time at TWS takes place in the lab, all of our classroom training is now online, allowing greater flexibility for students and letting them learn no matter where they are.
The Value of In-Person and Online Vocational Training
Online learning has its benefits as well, including flexible scheduling, networking opportunities and the advantage of learning from home.
The OcuWeld was designed to help students learn how to weld in a virtual environment, without the need to use physical welding tools or stand in an actual welding booth.
Interplay was designed for this same reason. Interplay is a virtual reality technology headset that simulates the experience of HVAC or electrical training, all without needing to use tools or be in a classroom.
Both Interplay and OcuWeld provide virtual environments that allow students to learn their trade no matter where they might be. While these are online learning platforms, they are interactive devices that require moving and using your hands.
Experiential Education Is Key to Vocational Training
Experiential education means “learning by doing.” This style of education is about applying the concepts you learn (like in a classroom or online) to the experience of using it in the real world (like practicing in a welding lab or on electrical equipment).
Vocational training teaches theory and experiential learning. Students learn concepts related to their field, and then use those concepts to build career-related skills.
We believe that online learning is valuable and makes training more accessible for everyone. But we also believe that hands-on practice with online learning makes for the perfect pairing.
For example, an electrician would need to understand how electricity works (online learning) and would also need to be able to use their hands on actual schematic wiring, meters and electrical systems (hands-on electrician training).
In this scenario, Interplay could provide that online learning while also providing the next best thing after physical, hands-on practice. Interplay simulates the electrician training experience via VR.
If you’re considering enrolling in vocational training for welding, electrical work or HVAC, call a TWS representative at 1-855-237-7711 for information about how to apply for an in-person training program at our Tulsa, Jacksonville or Houston campuses.