“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford knows something about the importance of continuing to learn.
As the world evolves around us, we either adapt or fall behind. This is especially true for instructors. Those who learn and keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-changing world around them are sought by students and institutions alike.
Networking and Conventions
Networking is one of the best ways to gain insight, education, and partnerships to strengthen your instruction. Attending local educator events and joining instructor associations enable you to make more connections with peers in your area, expanding your opportunities to improve and gain additional skills to make you a better instructor.
One online networking and learning opportunity is the International Automotive Technicians Network (www.iatn.net). It has an active instructor forum where instructors discuss challenges and new ideas for being a better instructor. There are also a number of technical forums where technicians discuss technical issues and techniques.
Many groups hold meetings and conferences that allow attendees to network with others in the same field, demonstrate or sample new products, and take courses. Meeting with other instructors allows you to share experiences and gain insight on new trends. ASE Education Foundation’s Instructor Training Conference, and NACAT are two such examples that draw instructors from across the country. Many states also have their own instructor conferences.
Local Hands-On Opportunities
Many companies provide professional development programs that include hands-on learning coupled with mentoring opportunities to develop both hard and soft skills.
Reach out to companies that do hands-on training within their facilities. NAPA Auto Parts has developed several programs to offer education and training to members of the automotive industry, and Womack offers an in-plant hands-on training for basic and advanced hydraulics. AC Delco lists course options across North America in conjunction with local facilities. They feature everything from engine performance diagnosis to multiplexed data bus networks.
Online and Distance Training
Online learning options are available to enhance your knowledge or introduce you to new trends in the field. Online options allow you to explore an array of opportunities that may not be available locally but could serve you and your students in the future. Some of these options include the following:
- Advance Auto Parts has several options available through their Advance Professional programming.
- Bendix brakes offers online brake training.
- Bosch Engineering lists about a dozen courses covering topics like electromobility and vehicle networking.
- Timken offers online bearing training courses.
Continuous learning means continuous growth, and keeping up with industry trends lets you stay ahead of the game and better prepare students, which will also draw them to your courses. No matter how long you’ve worked in a field, you can always learn always something new.
If you’re looking to connect at an upcoming event or you're interested in getting additional training, contact us today to learn what we can do for you.