In 2020 Arm Technical Training was delivered to a record number of engineers and saw an increase in satisfaction to over 93%.
Partner technical training from Arm has in the past been a mainly onsite affair. With the onset of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions put in place, this all changed overnight.
Although the outlook was bleak, one small element of good fortune was that many of the engineers who deliver onsite partner training already had some experience of delivering training by virtual classroom. This, however, mainly focused on shorter ½ day courses where long haul travel was impractical.
With virtual training looking likely for some time to come, the training team and engineers set about sharing experiences and best practices to extend virtual training to longer, more in-depth courses. Within a week, a list of best practices was drawn up, and a program of virtual train the trainer sessions booked.
The previous year’s focus on the on-demand training platform also continued to pay off. It provided an essential method to share course documents and recordings of the sessions securely. Trainers found it much easier to capture video of the training in a virtual setting without the challenges that they face when trying to record onsite.
Figure 1. Online training platform support of live virtual training.
Following the virtual train the trainer sessions and with each virtual session delivered, the experience for partners improved. This resulted in an average satisfaction score of over 93%. An improvement on the established onsite training.
Questions were encouraged and managed through chat, or the use of the raise your hand function. Break-out rooms were also experimented with to encourage small group chat. They were even used to act as a virtual help desk when running a live simulation-based practical.
An online question and polling tool was also introduced. Quizzes were written and used to check for understanding. Feedback forms were created in it and used to capture delegate satisfaction, increasing feedback completion from 0% to around 50%.It was also used to poll delegates to decide on how to build a system in a group guided hardware system design course.
The move to virtual also meant that training did not have to be delivered in 3 or 4 consecutive days, as with the onsite training. Instead, it could be spread out over a number of weeks. This gave delegates time to digest information, keep on top of the day job and even apply some of the learning between classes. Training was also more effective as it didn't have to be delivered by 1 or 2 trainers. Multiple trainers could be called on when needed to deliver their section of expertise
As well as delivering the usual partner focused private training, the situation also gave the team the opportunity to run four public sessions. These were aimed at helping engineers based at home looking to develop themselves and their prospects during this challenging time. The four public full training sessions covering Cortex-A and Cortex-M software had over 500 delegates attend.
Over the last 12 months, we have concluded that virtual training delivery is not better than onsite, or worse for that matter, just different. The following table sets out some of the findings.
Benefits and drawbacks of virtual classroom over onsite.
With plans for the COVID vaccination to be rolled out, the hope is to get back to some form of normal soon. However, the impact on training is likely to remain for a long while to come and may never return fully to how it was.
The focus of training moving forward will be on how we can encourage the use of labs and workbooks in a virtual class to increase engagement and limit distraction. How we can optimize the blend of live and pre-recorded materials and how we can encourage the pre and post-adhoc course conversation will also be a key focus.
We also plan to continue with a program of free live public training courses throughout the year.
For a full list of Arm training options visit our website.