Running a Shop Education+Training Technology Technician Training

A Hands-on, Hands-off Approach

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The COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted many incredible innovations. For The Group Training Academy, powered by AVI, it meant expanding their accessibility efforts with their new and ingenious Coaching Program. These virtual sessions are offered on various subjects and include multiple classes. 

Each Coaching Program session is capped at 20 students in order to keep the numbers low and create a close environment to encourage strong relationships between students and instructors. For each virtual class, the AVI studio is set up with all of the needed vehicles, tools, and props. Five different cameras are set up throughout the space to provide students multiple viewing angles. The classes are all interactive and powered by student questions.

“The idea here is that we can actually give students hands-on lessons in an electronic space instead of an in-person environment,” Tom Rayk, Director of Training at AVI, says. “It requires a good amount of preparation to set up each class but it really provides real-world training at a distance.”

A professional videographer is present during each session to create the best angles and close-up shots.  

“These classes are very unique,” he explains. “As far as I know, we're the only training group out there right now who is offering something this detailed.”


Accessibility at a Distance

Coaching Program sessions are separated into up to six separate classes, depending on subject matter. Each individual class is two hours long in order to keep students active and to accommodate busy work and life schedules. 

“We work to offer sessions either during the day or at night to work with different shops,” Rayk notes.

This schedule also allows time between classes for technicians to apply what they have been learning to their real work⁠—and then the opportunity to come back to the class with any questions or hiccups they may have encountered along the way. As an added bonus, all live classes are recorded and posted on the AVI server for students to access for the next 12 months.

“The recorded sessions allow students the ability to refresh their skills at their own pace,” Rayk says.  

Each class also comes with a comprehensive manual that can be easily referenced during and after the session. 


Virtual Beyond the Pandemic

Some day (soon, hopefully) large groups and classes can be held without a safety worry. When that time comes, the Coaching Program sessions will still continue, says Rayk, because of the unmatched benefits of being virtual. 

These benefits are even larger for full shops, he says. The entire group can first enroll in some of the classic e-learning classes to become more comfortable with specific topics. They can then sign up for a Coaching Program and come with any questions they may have encountered from the previous online courses. The trainer can take them through any topics during the live virtual session. And then, of course, the recorded session can be revisited after for the next year.

Virtual classes also have the added advantage of including the props and vehicles that would typically be too large for in-person trainers to travel with.

“Being that these classes are done in a studio, props can be prepped and ready to go,” Rayk explains. “So, the amount of information given during the class is even more than some in-person sessions.”


Two new and exciting Coaching Programs have been recently developed, including a Diesel Scope Program, focusing on how to use lab scopes on diesel products, and an Engine Performance Program. To learn more, visit thegrouptrainingacademy.com.

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