4. How to evaluate and select training equipment
Here we cover a few parameters which will help you evaluate and select the didactic systems for your training center. This blog article is also chapter from the Free eBook: Managing Technical Training Equipment.
Before starting the search for training equipment, we recommend that you establish the parameters you will use for comparison and evaluation.
The relative importance of each parameter is always different for each educator and each situation, which is why we have listed them below in no particular order.
What are the costs implications of this didactic system? What is the one-time cost of the system? What are the ancillary costs of shipment, import clearance (if duties apply) etc.? Are there any recurring costs on a yearly basis (i.e., software licenses or similar)? Does the producer charge for installation and training? How about any costs associated to after sales technical service, support, and maintenance?
Does the producer speak your local language or a secondary language which you can use for any support related functions? Alternatively, does the producer have a local sales agent in your country whom you can deal with in your local language? Is such local agent well trained in the producer’s products?
Is the producer helpful in any pre-sales support? Can you get access to the information you are looking for? How do they prove the didactic impact of their products? What is the student population like in their use cases so far? Does it match yours? Do you have access to input from any other educators whom you trust?
Installation & training
Does the producer provide installation and training support? How deep is the training and what can you expect to learn? Will you cover setup, operation, trouble shooting, didactic implications, theory etc.? Can installation and training be delivered when you have your colleagues available? How do you assure continuity if the main educator leaves the organization? Is the knowledge of how to use the training system well spread in the organization?
After sales technical support
How much support can you expect from the producer once the system is commissioned and paid for? Is there a service level agreement (SLA) in place which clarifies goals and objectives, response times etc.?
Is the content language available either in the mother tongue of my learners, or can they manage with content in a secondary well-spread global language such as English? If the content is not available in local language, can the producer translate it for you if you buy the training system?
Clear product descriptions
Does the product description clearly define the didactic process of the training system? Which learning components will be used and how? Are the learning goals from the training system matching my identified goals from the Competency Development Framework? Is the scope of delivered product what I need in my training center?
Does the optimal setup of the training equipment fit well within my learning center? Does it fit through the door to your training center? Can you provide any necessary inputs for the system (consumables such as correct voltage, clean water, gases etc.)? What are the necessary health and safety considerations associated to this equipment?
Effectiveness of teaching
To which extent does the training equipment transfer; subject knowledge; technology literacy; and hands-on preparedness to the learners? What non-biased proof of such transfer exists? If the producer shows you case studies, would they be relevant for your training setting? Do the students have the same pre-existing knowledge?
Workload on educator
To which extent does the training system add to or decrease the workload of the educator? Does it improve upon current existing processes which the educator needs to perform anyways, or does it add more administrational tasks for the educator which might not have an obvious value?
Product delivery time
Do you have a deadline for when the product needs to be delivered, installed and training received? Can the producer meet such delivery time from the point of your order? Keep in mind that many producers will produce to order. This means that when they receive your order, they will order parts from their suppliers, they will build and test the system, and prepare packaging and documents for delivery. All this can be time consuming, be prepared to clarify delivery times.
As you can see there are many parameters to consider when choosing didactic equipment, what is important is that you tie them to your specific situation.
Our research shows that the three top-voted underlying parameters when choosing didactic equipment are the following: Clear technical requirements, Proven effectiveness of knowledge transfer, Budget.
In the previous chapter you could learn about how to search and find technical training equipment.
In the next chapter we will explore all the commercial terms and how to acquire and purchase technical training systems.
You can also download the full Free eBook: Managing Technical Training Equipment.