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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES The benefits of online training are obvious. The need for travel is eliminated. The feedback is immediate. The dialog is spontane- ous and direct. Questions can be addressed and options are easy to review. You can offer training to existing clients and demon- strate capabilities to potential clients. With your own personnel in remote locations, you can exchange host capabilities within the session so participants can share their desktops and demonstrate an issue on their computers, thus allowing collaboration on an unprecedented basis. THE PROVIDENT GROUP The training is mostly for our own products. Our products are mostly Windows based. We will train on anilox inspection, bar code quality verification, things like that. We have been doing this for about two years. Originally, it was a matter of both con- venience and cost. It is very convenient for customers who have a question for us to hook up with them online and show them directly on their PC how to do something or interpret something. That instant gratification is No. 1. In addition, to be able to do this without incurring travel costs is excellent. You do lose a bit of the personal touch. We are not using video conferencing where you are at least looking at each other. We are simply running applications. But the benefit far outweighs that, especially since we can do multiple sites. This is more convenient for the customer with two or more plants across the U.S. to all be online together. I can walk a customer through something right then and there, or send out an invitation to one or more people and have them join in at an appointed time. Our customers love it. There has been no negative feedback. It doesn’t always cover everything and sometimes a live, in-person session is the next step. But there is always a value. This is a good starting point. And for some people this is all they need. Less than one third of our training sessions require a follow up. X-RITE X-Rite has trainers that are experts in color workflow and pro- cess control in file creation, prepress production and in the press- room. We offer a wide variety of training options including travel- ing seminars, classroom with hands-on, custom on-site training, computer based training,DVD tutorials, and remote training. We have been focusing on development of creative ways to deliver training content in a way that is useful and effective for the student while also sensitive to the needs of users that are not able to afford the time or cost commitment for our live training options. For several years we have offered self-paced, Web-based training on our MeasureItRight web site. These free programs are slide style presentations with text. They are divided into short topics with a quiz at the end of each. Our DVD tutorials use 3D graphics, software demos, and lively instruction to deliver the concepts of color management in an easy to understand and fun way. These movies are divided into short chapters that can be easily fit into tight schedules. There are some training needs that require a trainer to coach the user through a process or may involve more question and answer or custom content. For these situations we offer the Personal Color Trainer (PCT). The PCT is a one-on-one training session where the user and the trainer are logged into a Web ses- sion that allows the trainer to observe and coach the users actions on their own computer. It is almost as if the trainer is sitting right next to the user. These are typically limited to topics that can be covered in about an hour, which makes them easier to fit into busy schedules. The PCT sessions share many of the advantages of a live trainer without the large time and travel commitment. We are currently developing more advanced self-paced, Web- based programs that will be more interactive with more video and audio content that include built-in software simulators. ? Editor’s Note: The above is not a comprehensive guide to online education in the flexographic printing/converting industry. Many suppliers and educational institutions not named in this article also offer Web-ready training options. More than 130 companies were approached for comments. What appears represents those firms that responded within the available timeframe. Inclusion or exclu- sion from this guide does not reflect the quality of the offerings, nor is it indicative of an endorsement (or lack thereof) by FTA/FFTA.
End of Year 2008