Learning Hands-On Training in a Virtual World– Tek Ladder

What Exactly IS Hands-On Training and How Can You Use it in a Virtual Setting?

Think back to elementary school. Remember learning about chemical reactions by mixing vinegar and baking soda to make a homemade volcano? Or understanding fractions by sharing pie? Maybe you analyzed significant historical events and context by dressing up as a famous figure from the past, like George Washington. These are examples of hands-on learning, and chances are, you remember these lessons from your childhood (and probably well) because you were actually involved in the learning process firsthand. But what exactly is hands-on learning, how can hands-on learning be utilized in a virtual setting, and how does Tek Ladder use hands-on learning for the technical and professional development of its students?

What is Hands-On Learning?

Hands-on learning— simply put— is learning by doing. This learning method exposes students to not just the what but the how. With hands-on learning, students enhance their understanding of a subject by partaking in activities (i.e., creating a homemade volcano to understand that combining certain elements causes chemical reactions rather than just reading about it in a science textbook).

Sounds like it should be the standard method of learning, right? We wish. In many classroom settings, especially in college or other post-secondary education environments, students are taught in lecture halls and assigned heavy reading from textbooks, often in gen ed classes that don’t relate to their professional development. When this happens, students often don’t retain information as well as if they had learned it in a hands-on environment – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever re-read the same paragraph in a textbook ten times.

Can Hands-On Learning Be Done in a Virtual Setting?

Absolutely. We just call it hands-on training. Virtual hands-on training is becoming more and more common— especially as we see the positive results they yield. COVID-19 has only accelerated the attention we give to virtual learning. It has become a go-to learning method in the past few years because of how accessible it is. Hands-on virtual training allows students to practice what they are learning in real-time, even though it’s on a computer.

Even though you’re learning from your computer, you’re learning alongside your peers and instructor. You can engage with the lessons and participate in group projects and labs just as you would in-person.

How Does Tek Ladder Utilize Hands-On Training?

Tek Ladder leverages hands-on training in a variety of ways, but our primary focus is on what we call “labs.” In labs, you learn by role playing, or simulating technical requests and assessing how to resolve them effectively. We train you on the job skills and technical skills you need to complete the requests that you will most likely be responsible for in your first IT job (and then practice performing those skills until they’re perfect). By doing this, you’re practicing your critical thinking skills in a comfortable environment that allows you to test new responses and receive valuable feedback.

Take a look at this example pulled from Tek Ladder’s course curriculum:

You receive a help desk ticket submitted by a user that needs immediate assistance with a printer. The ticket reads as follows:

7/26/2021: 10:50am

Hello, I need immediate assistance with the accounting printer. I am unable to print this week’s accounts payable checks. I have checked the paper tray and turned the printer off and on, but I am still unable to print. Please help as soon as possible as these checks need to be printed and in the mail before 1:00pm today. Thank you.

Typically, this type of ticket would be assigned to a member of the printer support team, however, today, the team is participating in a day long training session on the new production printers, leaving you and one other technician responsible for handling all help requests. Due to the urgency of this matter, you have two options:

      1. Interrupt the printer team training to speak with a printer support technician.
      2. Attempt to resolve the issue on your own.

If you choose to interrupt the training meeting to speak with a technician, please explain why you decided to make this choice and what information you would provide to the printer support technician to help quickly resolve the problem.

If you choose to resolve the issue on your own, please explain the steps you initially take to begin troubleshooting the problem. If you choose to reach out to the user who submitted the ticket, what questions would you ask.

To work on the above example, you’d be partnered with other classmates so you can collaborate and brainstorm together. This allows you to share your insight and learn about how others might solve the problem, too. By working this way, you’re able to retain the information because you’re doing it—in real time—alongside a support system to help you succeed.

Although you aren’t in a classroom, Tek Ladder’s Online IT Training Program reenacts real-world examples similar to the tasks you will receive in your first entry-level IT job. Hands-on training allows you to not only understand what you are learning in a deeper, more impactful way, but also gives you valuable, real-world experience. And pro-tip – make sure you put your Tek Ladder training experience on your resume. It will demonstrate your value and experience and help you stand out against other applicants.

Ready to talk to Tek Ladder? Speak to an Enrollment Advisor by filling out our online form, calling 877-253-3331 or emailing [email protected]

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