Hitachi’s mining product experts on benefits of Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Need to know how to correctly check the track sag on your mining excavator? What about how to discharge the accumulators in a hydraulic system? Want to complete classes to expand your certification? Hitachi says its mining product experts are ready to answer all these questions and others through a new Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) experience. From its training centre in Davenport, Iowa, Hitachi mining product experts are educating Hitachi customer and dealer technicians located throughout North and South America. This allows technicians to attend training from any location as long as they have a laptop with internet connection.

“Due to the expansion of global markets, we needed a new training method to reach more people and offer additional learning opportunities,” said Kendall Mattson, Instructional Team Lead for Hitachi Mining Products – Americas. “Our goal was to create an interactive training experience for customer and dealer technicians that meets and, in some cases, may exceed our current instructor-led training.”

Mattson and his team feel they have achieved this goal with Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT). These online training sessions use live-streaming video, interactive activities, poll questions and testing to ensure student engagement and participation. A technician’s time is highly valuable, and this type of training allows the Hitachi team to more easily accommodate a dealer or customer’s busy schedule while reaching a larger, widespread audience.

“It allows us to create more opportunities on a global basis to train people,” Mattson said. “We’re a lean organisation and it has become challenging to meet the growing demand for the number of training requests we receive. So, we’re taking a different approach by offering the VILT experience.”

The VILT classroom is actually an advanced production studio packed with technology. This includes a TriCaster video production system, multiple monitors, a green screen, lights and an Elmo document camera that can zoom-in live on drawings, machine parts and components. This allows for better visibility with different angles for technicians to learn from. The instructor can easily monitor and interact with students in real-time through the students’ web cams.

Brent Leopold, Senior Instructional Designer, is the technology expert who produces each session and makes sure everything runs smoothly in the studio. He mentioned that adaptability is the name of the game for training to be successful.

“With the technology, we have the ability to do a lot of different things during the sessions,” Leopold said. “We also have a camera out in the shop that we can always cut to if we need to demonstrate something live on a machine. Or we may cut to a shot of a schematic – it’s whatever works best for the scenario.” Mattson has been pleased with the outcome of the sessions they have offered so far.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Hitachi’s BREAKOUT magazine, Summer 2020 issue