by Anna Sullivan
Manager, IREC Credentialing Services
This year’s ACI national conference once again brought together many of the greatest minds in energy efficiency for an exciting dialog and showcase of advances in this sector’s technology, installation techniques, and workforce training.
Through IREC’s exhibit hall booth and participation in an array of engaging discussions around work quality at the New Orleans gathering, our staff met face-to-face with many IREC credential holders to learn about new practices they have developed to further increase the quality of their workforce training initiatives.
A number of training programs and trainers we met with at ACI this year have increased learning outcome success through the integration of cutting-edge learning technologies and training delivery methods, while others have applied laser-like focus to fine-tuning their models for production-based on-the-job training (OJT).
As part of this continuing dialog among IREC credential holders focused on best practices in energy efficiency training, IREC staff was happy to join as one of five presenters at an intensive half-day speed date-style learning session. During this well-attended, dynamic conference event entitled Educational Tools, Tips, Technologies and Theories, IREC challenged attendees to think about how they select training technologies for specific learning tasks. Participants first categorized and identified the primary domain or mode of learning required for a given task (cognitive, affective, and/or psychomotor) and then carefully matched a training technology that best supported the dominant learning domain.
At the end of that session, attendees agreed that, in an industry where the choice of learning technologies and tools continues to expand exponentially, a framework for making sound instructional design decisions (not to mention sound financial and capital improvement decisions for physical and technological upgrades) can help training program managers and instructors get the biggest return on investment when selecting new educational tools to enhance learning outcomes.
Many of the other sessions our staff attended at this year’s ACI conference touched on and reinforced the ever-present need for competency-based training and assessment as new work methods and technologies emerge, as well as a continued focus on quality management at the level of field production and training program management. These and many other topics of discussion swirling around the Big Easy during May’s conference form the bedrock of IREC’s credentialing program standards. Hearing this year’s debates, success stories, and challenges from the field further validated why we are all working together to share best practices and promote the highest level of quality attainable in energy efficiency training.
IREC came away from New Orleans with a profound sense of honor to work with and support the innovative energy efficiency training centers and trainers who are leading the way in clean energy training excellence both in the US and, indeed, around the world.