Modern digital technologies are vital in driving manufacturing and production performance improvements. Getting the most out of these technologies requires the knowledge and skills specific to their use. Educational courses help in upskilling personnel. The quality of that education helps determine how successfully the learned skills will be applied.
Give the podcast a listen and visit the Education Services & Training section on Emerson.com for ways to increase your employees’ knowledge and skills with a full range of training options.
Jim: Hi all, thanks for joining us today. In this Emerson Automation Experts podcast, we’ll look into some of the reasons that customers come to Emerson because of the quality and reliability of our products, solutions, and services. Emerson products conform to many industry codes and standards such as ASME, ASTM, and ISO 9001, and educational services are no different.
Today, I’m catching up with Sandra Schwartz, Senior Manager of Education Services. Sandra will share with us more about quality standards for Emerson’s Education Services. Welcome, Sandra.
Sandra: Hey, thank you for having me, Jim.
Jim: Well, it’s great that you’re here with us. So, Sandra, how would you describe quality from an education perspective and what does it involve?
Sandra: Great question. For Emerson, Quality in education is giving our customers the best learning experience possible. So, this means experience about how they learn and enrolling in our courses. It’s everything like coming to our facilities and then also having like professional and qualified instructors. And, most importantly, that the content is relevant and engaging.
So, to do all of this, we have to have quality standards that include policies and processes that have to be followed by everyone that touches Education for our customers.
Jim: Well, that certainly seems like it incorporates that lifecycle from, you know, signing up for it to the instructors and teaching it, and that the content is very relevant to what they’re trying to get out of it. So what would you say our customers’ primary concerns are regarding quality standards?
Sandra: Well, our customers’ primary concerns are that they want to be able to fully utilize the functionality and the capability of Emerson products that they’ve purchased. So, many times, a customer will ask about our processes before ever coming to a learning event.
Once we share that we are IACET accredited and that we offer CEUs with many of our courses, then, you know, customers feel more confident that the people that they send to our training events will have a great experience and they know that we at Emerson are dedicated to their success.
Jim: That’s interesting. So how is Emerson ensuring and addressing high-quality standards for courses?
Sandra: Well, you know, great question again. And we do this through our accreditation with IACET. And that stands for International Accreditation of Continuing Education and Training. This is an accreditation that Emerson has maintained since 2008.
And this accreditation standard holds Emerson to a higher quality to design, develop, and deliver our training. It also ensures that we have different systems and solutions in place, you know, for us to enroll students to track their progress. To evaluate, are they learning what we intended for them to learn?
And we have the ability to report on all of this and look at that data so that we’re constantly improving for future customer events. So we have to be audited every year and through those standards and policies, that’s how we are able to ensure that high quality for our customers.
Jim: Yeah. It sounds like that collection of data and being able to apply that in a continuous improvement process is really important for that. So what are the benefits of having a quality standard process?
Sandra: Well, so what IACET allows us to do is focus on how continuing education and training that we deliver is designed and developed, and of course, delivered. And then, like I said earlier, evaluated. And this standard really follows researched and proven best practices that can be applied across all disciplines and all industries regardless of the content. So by having the IACET accreditation, we are held to the rigor that produces excellence in Emerson courses. And our customers can rest assured that they will have a great experience and learning outcome.
Jim: So I guess with these quality standards, how is it helping companies improve their skills and productivity overall?
Sandra: Quality standards help us, like I said a minute ago, to plan and design our learning events and then to focus on the learning outcomes. Which is what our customers will be able to know and do when they return back to their job. So, in our courses, we use a lot of templates to create the content for the learning event, and we use specific design techniques, such as like participant centered learning, and like, tell me, show me, let me do components.
And so the intent is to ensure that the content is relevant and really to keep the adult learner engaged in the learning.
Jim: Yeah. It sounds like having that varied way keeps them engaged, keeps the brain going there. And I guess as you get to the people side of these things with our Emerson instructors, how are they transforming the way they teach?
Sandra: Oh, gosh, yeah, this is really been a good part of the Emerson education arena. It’s part of our quality standard, but we have an instructor certification program where we spend many hours developing our instructors. So this development includes not only product or solution knowledge that they will be teaching in their courses, but also we spend a lot of time on engagement strategies so that adult learners are active in the learning process, and this includes like the learner-centered or participant-centered approach, and that helps learners take more ownership of their own learning.
So our instructors are very versed in this technique. And this allows the instructor really to facilitate the learning and the student engagement in the process so that they are not only talking with the students, but they are also getting the students to teach back and then talk and teach to each other, so it works very well.
Jim: That’s interesting, this notion of the participant centered and adult learning. I guess, how does that impact the way the training curriculum is developed?
Sandra: So the courses are designed with a couple components. One is variety and the other is an engagement activities. So these activities could be like energizing activities.
They could be activities that revisit certain content. So again, we leverage templates that help the instructional designers create these activities for our instructors. And also our instructors go through a train-the-trainer event. And this teaches them about participant-centered learning and these techniques to engage the learners. So when they see it designed into the courses that they’re going to teach to our customers they already are well versed on how to apply these techniques.
Jim: Well, that sounds like a robust way to go about developing those programs. Now, earlier you had mentioned IACET. So what exactly is IACET and how does this work?
Sandra: IACET is an accreditation organization, and they actually are also accredited by the American National Standards Institute or ANSI.
So, to be granted the IACET accreditation provider designation, we have to be compliant with that ANSI IACET standard, which currently is the 1-2018 standard for continuing education and training. So, the accredited provider application and review that Emerson has to go through, I mean, not only to initially get accredited, but then to stay accredited, is a very, rigorous process that involves extensive hands-on evaluation, looking at our policies and our processes and then the evidence from those.
So this is our system, my training, where we do all of our tracking and keeping those scores and deliver some of the assessments. This helps us just go through annual reviews and have the in-person audits with IACET every year to ensure our compliance.
Jim: Wow, that does sound pretty rigorous and extensive there. Now, I’ve heard the term CEUs, but I guess for our listeners’ benefit, what are CEUs and what does it mean to them?
Sandra: Right. Yeah. A CEU stands for Continuing Education Unit, and those units are based upon the number of hours the learner is involved in a learning event. So, we calculate those for all of our learning events.
But many customers, you know, just depending on their industry, they may have some type of designation that they are certified for. Or it could just be a lot of locations, whether it’s in a state or in a country, they might have a certain certification that they need to stay up on their education. A lot of engineers have these designations, so they earn CEUs, so anytime that they can come to a learning event and that we offer those CEUs, that helps them keep up with that accreditation or certification or designation, whatever it is that they have.
Jim: Well, that makes sense. Yes. For professional engineering to have that continuing education, much like other professions in there. Well, Sandra, this has been really educational for me. And I hope so for our listeners too. Do you have any final perspectives to share overall, about quality standards?
Sandra: I believe by Emerson Education Services, having the IACET accreditation, we are telling our customers that we are committed to the highest quality possible for their learning experience. And this is important to us because we want our customers to get the full value of the products and solutions that they buy from Emerson. So they expect our customers expect this quality and excellence from us.
And honestly, this is how we earn their trust and loyalty. So the IACET accreditation is very important and we’re happy to be able to do this rigor for our customers.
Jim: Well Sandra, I want to thank you so much for sharing all about the quality processes built into our Education Services offerings and how our customers will find great value in them.
Sandra: Absolutely. I appreciate having the opportunity to be with you here today, Jim.
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