(Nearly) Everything you need to know about and look for if you want to take your crane training online
Online training and certification has seen huge growth in the last few years. As high schools increasingly shift to digital learning, and more than 3 million university students graduate with a degree taken entirely online, tomorrow’s workforce is more digitally savvy than ever.
Digital learning for the crane and lifting industry is following suit. As the world adapts to new norms following the COVID-19 pandemic, the practice of social distancing puts limits on traditional classroom learning. Meanwhile, the opportunity for online crane training is enormous.
Who is it for?
New entrants to the crane and lifting industry looking for quality training
Existing professionals who want to renew their industry-approved, non-CCO certifications
Since historically the government turns to construction to stimulate growth after an economic downturn, the demand for certified, qualified, and competent crane operators, riggers and inspectors will only increase. Investing now in a career upgrade online will reap dividends in the future.
Existing operators, riggers and inspectors will also find online training beneficial. Certification is a necessary part of every crane operator’s profession. Certified riggers are undoubtedly more in demand than the untrained. And thoroughly trained, prepared and qualified crane inspectors will continue to be called on as construction and manufacturing industries expand.
What is it?
Online crane training can take a variety of forms, as with any form of digital learning.
Common to all forms is the ability to do the training anywhere the student is. Aside from a quiet space, there are very few restrictions on where the student studies.
Some programs follow the traditional distance learning, or correspondence model. These rely on material posted back and forth between the student and the instructor. The process is given an injection of pace by replacing some of the postal correspondence with email, perhaps providing links to certain digital materials such as videos online.
A popular version of online learning is the self-paced model. In this approach, NCCCO certification is not the goal as crane operators, riggers and inspectors instead focus on refresher material to ‘keep their hand in the game’. Pre-recorded webinars are uploaded to a digital library that exists behind a paywall. Students pay for access to certain modules/video banks and watch the recordings in their own time.
Finally, crane training online can mirror the experience of a classroom by using webcams and video-conferencing technology such as Zoom to put the student in the classroom virtually. This model gives the student a live experience, rather than a recorded one. Students are able to see the instructor teach live and interact with him/her just as if they were in the class itself. Webcams relay picture and sound both ways, while the video conferencing technology also allows the instructor to share his screen with the students. This way, students can see clear and crisp pictures of rigging, crane setup, accident prevention, etc., at a level beyond even the classroom.
Where can I do it?
A chief selling point for online training is its convenience. Self-paced classes allow the student to study around their work schedule. The less formal setting of digital learning gives students the freedom to come as they are. And distance learning means a student does not have to face the travel logistics, costs and inconvenience associated with getting to a learning venue.
The ideal place setting for any form of online crane training is a quiet room, free from distraction. This could be a guest room, a garage, or even a rented office space. As a bare minimum, the space should be equipped with a desk with space enough to position your computer/laptop/tablet as well as a notebook to write in.
If your course requires you to use a webcam, then the room should also be well lit, with the light behind the camera, not behind you.
What will I need?
Traditional approaches to learning simply require you show up to the classroom. Everything else is provided for you. Online students need to be a little more prepared. And while the requirements for digital crane programs do differ from provider to provider, the basics remain the same.
Central to any interactive online course is the ability to see and be seen. The larger the screen the better, so desktops and laptops have the advantage over tablets and cell phones. Most computer monitors and laptops have inbuilt webcams, but if yours does not you will need to consider buying one before your course begins.
Similarly, you will need to hear and be heard. The in-built speakers on your device of choice will work adequately, but a pair of headphones will cover for any weak internet connection. The same cannot be said for the microphone built into your digital device. Instead we recommend purchasing a quality pair of headphones with a noise-canceling microphone.
When should I do it?
When is the right time to begin your online crane training? This depends on a few factors. First, find out when the online training runs. If it’s self-paced and you come home from work with energy, perhaps you can fit it around your already busy schedule and study in the evenings. If, like CICB’s online crane training, the program is live and interactive, you’ll need to take some time off work to engage in the class. Perhaps you find yourself with a little downtime from work and can squeeze in a few days training between jobs. Better yet, ask your boss if he’ll pay for you to train for a week.
Another factor to consider is the length of the training. Some programs require only a few hours of study, while others will occupy up to a week. Remember, also, that a serious training program will require time spent in private, independent study even after the class has finished for the day. Make sure your daily schedule allows for that.
Why should I do online crane training?
Now you know the facts, you should be in a better position to judge whether CICB’s online crane training is right for you. Here are five things to consider:
You know your learning style and preference is more kinetic, less visual
You don’t have a private, quiet space in which to study
You have never been in a crane and you feel like you need to begin there
You are an extreme extrovert who needs regular interaction with others to survive
You are a total technophobe and can’t figure out how to plug your headphones in
Will I be qualified?
Making the decision to start your online crane training is not an easy one. The rewards, however, are great. Students in CICB’s NCCCO prep classes for Mobile Crane Operator or Rigger 1 will have a complete understanding of what is required to pass the CCO examination and can take it with confidence. These exams can be booked independently or with CICB help and can happen either at CICB’s locations in Houston or Orlando, or at any of the NCCCO testing sites nationwide.
Students in CICB’s online Inspector Training programs will finish their studies with a test. Those who pass the test will end the class with a Certificate of Completion to present to their employer. Students wanting a wallet card will need to take a practical examination as well. This can be arranged either through on-the-job supervision, or by coming to CICB’s offices in Houston or Orlando for a practical examination.
Online crane training with CICB
With its new digital classes, CICB is leading the way when it comes to digital crane training. Blended classrooms bring online learners into the room with as much functionality and interactivity as if they were there. Combining all the benefits of distance learning with the highlights of guided, face-to-face instruction, CICB’s digital offerings are a win for crane operators, inspectors and riggers.