Help your tech get the most out of your training investment!
Click on a topic to jump to it:
1. How to enroll your tech in the Mr. Appliance Academy
2. What to do if your tech leaves the company
3. How to help your tech succeed: planning and tracking progress
4. Why earn Master Certification?
5. How to structure the tech's study time
6. Academic honesty
7. Evaluating a tech's performance
8. Where should they study?
9. Attitude can make all the difference
Enrolling Your Tech in the Mr. Appliance® Academy
1. The first step is to submit a Registration form by clicking here.
2. Once you have the username and password from the registration process (they will be emailed to you, usually within 24 hours), log in with those and then enroll that student in the desired Course or Bundle. As soon as the payment goes through, the tech is ready to log in and begin learning!
What to do if your tech leaves the company.
Log in to his/her account as soon as possible. At the Welcome - Members Area page you can change the student profile information (scroll down a bit). You cannot change the username, but the student name and email address can be changed.
At a minimum, immediately change the email address on the account to one of your own, or to a different tech who is going to take the courses instead (assuming the original tech never made any progress on the courses).
If the original technician did some work on the courses, the account may still qualify for a reset for use by another tech if they didn't make too much progress. See this page for more details.
How to help your tech succeed
A well-supervised tech is much more likely to complete the courses in a shorter time and earn Master Certification.
We know you are busy, but by building just a few small habits, you can make a big difference in your tech's success at learning and retaining the information in the courses.
It comes down to three simple things:
- setting goals (if you expect them to earn Master Certification, make sure they know this!)
- tracking their progress (check regularly to make sure they are earning the required scores)
- intervening when needed
We've got tools and advice to help you with this. First, check out our downloadable documents that you can use to plan and track your tech's training. Then read the next section that has more details on how to check on your tech's progress.
Helpful Documents for Supervisors
Here are some documents that can help you plan, communicate, and track your tech's progress.
Supervisor information sheet: (read this one first!)
Tech progress sheet:
Example tech progress sheet:
Keeping Track of Student Progress
1. Log in as your tech. Whether you want to track your own progress or that of a tech under your supervision, the place to go for a great "at-a-glance" tool is the Members Area page, which shows the progress and grades for each course a student is enrolled in. When you log in to the site using their student account login credentials this is the page that you'll be taken to first. (If you are already logged in to the account and on a different page, you can just click on the name in the upper right hand corner of the window to get there.)
Click on any course title to see detailed progress and quiz grades for each unit.
This is how most business owners/service managers supervise their technician-students. The supervisor should have a regular routine of checking on the student's progress through the course and quiz/exam scores, and making sure they are progressing according to expectations.
2. E-mail. There are a number of communications that occur between the MST course software, Team Samurai, and the students. These include quiz grades, module completions, exam scores, etc. If the tech's email address for the Academy is a work-specific address, then you can set it up (in their email account) where you also get a copy of emails sent to them. That way you'd see these emails as well, which is a very convenient way to track progress.
Some business owners have a company email address set up for their techs. Others simply set up a free Gmail address that is for work/training use only. You can arrange for either of these to forward to you. (Note: this is not done on our end - it has to be done in the email account itself.)
If you have any questions at any time about your techs and their progress, please contact us!
Why should my tech earn Master Certification?
We think every tech should try to earn Master. Here's why:
- Encourages attention to the coursework, since they must earn 90% or higher on all tests. (Training should be about mastery, not just “passing”.)
- Offers pride of achievement for your tech, with a printed Certificate and the ability to wear the Master Certified Technician patch.
- Assures your customers that your techs are well-trained.
- Earns your tech a free membership at www.Appliantology.org
- A well-trained tech has higher job satisfaction and creates happier customers.
To give your techs the chance to earn Master Certification, enroll them in the Bundle 1 set of courses. They will need to earn 90% or higher on EACH quiz or exam in the course. (It is NOT based on an average.) This is strict, but doable. Each quiz or exam comes with two attempts, so they have the chance to study, get help, and improve their score. And, if needed, we do have an occasional reset available to them.
How to Structure the Tech's Study Time
Online training offers a lot of flexibility, which often makes supervisors wonder what is the best way for a tech's day to be structured when they are taking our courses. Here are some general suggestions based on our experience with students and feedback from employers.
1. Communicate your expectations clearly. Whatever schedule you decide on after reading the rest of this page, create a clear set of instructions for your tech as to his/her study schedule and performance goals (quiz scores).
2. Mix studying time with "hands-on" time. Retention and interest in the course material are optimized when there is a combination of studying and application. In other words, for every hour or two of studying, a student-tech should have a few hours of doing service calls or working in the shop. If they are a rookie, then they would do service calls as a second tech alongside a more experienced tech.
3. Work on the courses should be done at a steady pace - not too fast or too slow, without long breaks in between study sessions. Ideally the student should work on the courses most every day of the week, at least an hour or more each study session.
4. Encourage repetition. While it's great to have incentives and encouragement to make steady progress in a course, sometimes the most important progress is made when a student repeats some lessons. This is especially true in the Basic Electricity module of the Fundamentals course. Even though it is near the beginning of the course, this is challenging material that often takes some repetition to master. It pays off in the long run, big time! So watch out for signs that they are rushing through in order to "get it over with," and be sure any incentives you've set up don't accidentally encourage this.
5. Encourage them to get help as needed. We witness so many "aha" moments when we interact with students in the Ask the Teacher Forums. It's a shame when students don't take advantage of these opportunities for personal help from Team Samurai. Encourage your tech to ask questions, especially if you know they are struggling in some way.
Emphasize Academic Honesty
In a multi-tech shop it can be tempting for a tech to ask a co-worker for help on a quiz or exam. They may not think that they are cheating, but it can often result in getting an answer correct on an exam without them having actually learned the material.
We have a clear Honor Code at the site that each student agrees to, but supervisors should also emphasize the importance of a tech doing 100% of his work on quizzes and exams, and the consequences of violating the Code.
If they are struggling, the best place to ask questions is in the Ask the Teacher Forums where we can give them the help they need. We've got lots of experience of helping techs have breakthroughs in understanding! We also do it in a way that isn't just giving them the answers, which can happen when fellow techs try to help them, even if they are not intending to cheat.
How to Evaluate a Tech's Performance
Every unit in the course has a quiz at the end, and every module has an exam, which is comprised of quiz questions from the units in that module. These quizzes and exams are automatically graded, and there are two attempts allowed. This gives the student a chance to study and retake any quiz or exam a second time in order to improve their score.
In the Core course, there are two exams (a midterm and final) with "open answer" questions that are graded by Team Samurai.
You can determine what performance you would like your tech to achieve in the courses. Here is the standard we have set in order for a student to earn Master Certification: a 90% or higher score on EVERY module exam, midterm, or final exam. It is not based on averages.
In any event, each student should always be encouraged to figure out the answer to any questions they miss on a quiz or exam! If they can't find the answers by looking back over the course material, then they can ask questions in the Ask the Teacher Forums.
Where Should They Study?
We've gotten a lot of feedback from business owners and service managers who have put their techs through the MST Academy, so we've seen various methods and structures employed. There's no one right way to do it - a lot depends on your business structure and each individual tech.
Some techs are asked to do the coursework from their homes, and others are given time and space at the office during the work day to study. Which is the best environment that is conducive to concentration? That's not always a simple answer, because each student has his own particular characteristics. Does he concentrate better with a little activity going on around him, or does he need some uninterrupted quiet time? Which location is he most likely to get that environment? Also, some techs simply need more supervision than others.
Your job is to recognize the importance of this training and facilitate it for each of your techs. It's an investment that can pay off quickly and generously, but the time and effort needs to be put in for a period of time. During busy service call season it might be tempting to have the tech take a break from his/her studies, but that may create a situation where they need to spend more time repeating lessons.
A positive attitude towards learning, where a student holds himself/herself accountable, produces powerful results. Not all techs come to their training with this attitude, for a variety of reasons. Some never felt they were good students in school, some have developed lazy habits, some don't understand why they are required to spend the time and effort to go through the courses. As their manager, you will need to identify any of these negative attitudes and help them shape more positive ones.
Training at the Academy is ultimately for them. They are the ones who will benefit most from gaining the knowledge and skills taught here, as it will increase their earning potential and job security. These courses aren't filled with fluff or non-useful information, like they may have felt their previous schooling did.
Here's an important example of holding themselves accountable in the Academy. When they take a quiz for the first time, they should look over the results and identify any questions that they missed. Even if their score is technically acceptable (say, over 90% for a unit quiz), why move on when there is something they didn't get? They can go back over the material to try to figure out the answer, or ask a question in the Ask the Teacher Forum. Then they can take the quiz a second time and aim to get 100%.
Certification is not actually the ultimate goal - being well-trained is. Certification just sets the benchmark, and is an incentive to help celebrate that ultimate achievement.
If you have any questions or your own feedback for us, please let us know using our Contact Form!