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The first time I saw Electude in 2008, I fell in love with the interactive e-learning lessons filled with unbelievably realistic animations and graphics. It is a unique web-based training program designed to train today’s technicians to repair modern vehicles. I was never able to get much out of a picture on a flat piece of paper. And, by pausing a video, I turned an object on the screen into another flat picture. Electude’s 2D/3D visualizations changed all that. Imagine being able to see how alternators rotate, magnetic fields, brakes that actuate, how components work–along with thousands of lessons quizzes, and NATEF task sheets.

Electude has taken lengthy lessons and converted the relevant content into powerful snippets of information, followed by either questions or directions to follow. Students are kept constantly involved in a familiar gaming environment and allowed to learn at their own speed. Using the mouse to activate the animations or identify component parts, then following instructions, and immediately answering questions reinforces knowledge. Electude eliminates the need for textbooks, teaches the student before he goes to the shop and makes the transition much more effective.

I ask, what more can we do for our students than to help them learn in a way they can understand and enjoy—one that makes sense in today’s world. One in every seven high school automotive classes in the US use Electude.


Veejer Electrical

I’m absolutely terrible at drawing schematics, but I love them for electrical training. I met Vince Finchelli at a NACAT conference back in 2002 and learned that he had spent much of his life putting together a written version of what I needed so badly to explain and show to my students. Not only am I poor at drawing, but sometimes find myself having trouble dreaming up new ideas to demonstrate electrical problems. Maybe it’s just my age; or, it could be that as teachers, we need to continually find new ways to demonstrate problems techs will encounter.

We all know that there are only a few diagnosable electrical problems: open, shorted, short-to-voltage, short-to-ground, and high resistance–such a small list to drive the best techs crazy! I’ve attended Vince’s training, used his training boards, gotten tons of ideas from his writings and printed out lessons from his 60-Lesson Series for my students. I used his schematics on the overhead–especially the pre-drawn series, parallel, and compound circuits to explain and do the math in Ohm’s law. Just add a few lines and now you are able to demonstrate shorts to voltage and ground, high resistance, etc.


ATech Training

I would say that the most important thing I tried to do was to find training tools capable of moving my students between classroom lecture and the world of hands-on shop electrical/electronic diagnostics. Seldom have I found a school shop with an adequate number of training vehicles capable of keeping all the students in a class busy performing diagnostics. To fix that problem, I purchased trainers from ATech. I assume that by now you know I really like blended learning. A few students here working and few there working on something different. Boredom is a terrible thing to have in training.

ATech has created solutions for every NATEF task in electrical. I didn’t want to just talk about electrical and the problems associated with electricity, but I wanted to know that I could duplicate the same problems found on a 20-foot vehicle on the trainers right in front of each student. No, I just needed to be able to monitor how each student was doing and which electrical issues were causing the student problems. My students taught me that they don’t need a long story about what they’re doing. They only want to get the right answer or find why they got it wrong. Kids, today are very smart, much smarter than we give them credit. ATech trainers make it easy to see exactly what issues your students are experiencing.

ATech has a huge selection of hardware trainers that connect to a teacher’s computer. Walk by your desk and see what they’re doing. Select specific faults and use the trainers as part of your testing.


Air Brake Interactive

As a diesel program head with an opportunity to teach, I found that I had tons of air brake hardware. I built a really great air brake board for the program, but found something was missing. It quickly became clear that the students did not have x-ray vision. They could see the components in the air brake system, but did not have a clue how the valves, brake chambers, governor, or check valves worked.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I personally want to know how something works and how it relates to the other components in the circuits. My diesel program supported a truck driver training program that had equipment at three locations with plenty of repair work. I desperately needed a program that would help the students see and learn more effectively. Finally, I found the air brake e-learning program that supported all the components on the tractors and trailers. Not only did I have a program that had the valves, chambers, “S” cams, brake shoes/hardware, compressor, and governor, but now the students could see the correct operation of the entire system from startup of the engine to pressing on the treadle valve and watching how each and every component operated.

Over half of the lessons are narrated. If you have a need for airbrake training, even if it is not for Class 8 equipment, don’t hesitate looking at this software. If it’s got air brakes, then there is software coverage. Since many state agencies have to train their technicians, we have a representative who provides this training and training materials.


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