Although VMA’s entry-level basics seminars have been extremely popular since introduced to the industry in 2009, the association has worked for a long time toward a broader way to reach people hungry for knowledge. That goal has been accomplished in the form of VMA’s Valve Basics Online Program (VBOT).
“When VMA’s Education & Training Committee began developing the Valves & Actuators 101 program in 2009, we knew we wanted to offer the course in different ways. The first leg of that program was twice yearly, instructor-led seminars,” says Greg Johnson, chairman of the committee and president of United Valve. However, the sheer need created by a graying workforce and the broad desire for a way to train newcomers to the industry meant a tool was needed to reach many more people than could attend those seminars.
Since the younger generation is so attuned to working in a digital environment, creating an online channel was really a “no brainer,” Johnson acknowledges.
Leon Brooks, director of international sales, Cameron’s Valves & Measurement division, and vice chairman of the committee, agrees. “As the committee met over the years, we had many discussions on how to expand the program; an online program was the next logical step. In an ideal world, everyone could come to the live seminar to be able to interact with the instructors and have a chance to examine valves and actuators in our ‘Valve Petting Zoo.’ But a lot of folks—and companies—just don’t have the budget or time for this type of learning.”
By the time the New Orleans Valve Basics Seminar takes place in early November, nearly 900 people will have taken the course in person, reports VMA. With individuals and companies around the world having access to the association’s online Valves & Actuators 101 course, the number of people receiving basic education could go into the thousands.
About the VBOT
Individuals who purchase a license through The VMA Store on www.VMA.org will be given a unique passcode that provides access to the program for 90 days. The program is divided into eight lessons, with voice narration that adds to the information shown on screen. At the end of each lesson, a number of questions will be asked, and once the quiz for each lesson has been completed (with a passing grade), the participant will be able to move on to the next lesson. When the course has been successfully completed, VMA will create and mail a personalized Certificate of Completion, along with awarding the recipient a total of 6 professional development hours.
The eight lessons cover the following topics: An Introduction to the Valve Industry; Multi-turn Valves; Check Valves; Quarter-turn Valves; Pressure Relief Valves; Actuators – Pneumatic and Hydraulic; Electric Actuators; and Control Valves. The content is very similar to what is offered in the onsite Valves & Actuators 101 seminars.
The release date for VBOT is approximately Nov. 1. Those who anticipate taking the course can pre-register via email and will be notified once the program goes live. In addition, VMA is offering a 5% discount to those who sign up before the product is released. The estimated price for the first, or “beta,” version of the eight-lesson program is $295 ($235 for VMA/VRC members). Pricing will go up when the second version is released in early 2014.