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The Training Camp

Keeping students working, night and day.

Anyone who’s ever struggled through a long training program may wish that they could just do all the training at once, skipping personal activities to slice weeks off the course schedule. Wish granted, according to Edward F. Denzler, President and CEO of The Training Camp, based in Philadelphia. In this immersion setting, students can forget hanging out, he says, it’s all about learning instead.

Why was The Training Camp started?

We realized that the pace of traditional training was falling short of what the industry demanded from a technical training aspect. The traditional type of certification class has 26 days of training, and the person is out of work for that time. We deliver the more training in 7 to 14 days with our accelerated program. Because of our understanding of how people learn and what they expect from a training provider, we can deliver a more tailored product, and have people learn faster.

What do you like about an accelerated program?

I was a trainer and I would see people come into classes who would never achieve their goals. Because of the duration of the class and the lack of effective delivery, they’d lose interest and wouldn’t get certified. I’d see them coming in to do a refresher before they’d even taken the certification test once. Our training is based on a lecture lab review, so we test the students during the class to make sure they leave certified.

What was the greatest challenge in developing your program?

The thing that we initially had to really deal with was the perception that this was a cram course. We don’t do that, because it’s outcome-based. The students are learning a tremendous amount, and they’re getting certified because they understand the material, not because they’ve memorized it. Our method works for any type of technical training.

How does your program differ from other training courses?

People learn in three different ways: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Our delivery revolves around those styles, so they can get more in a day. We do lectures for the visual and auditory side, and our labs are geared toward the kinesthetic. So, we end up covering information in a way that works for each of the unique types of learners. Usually, training is geared toward the auditory-type learner, with the instructor lecturing to them. That’s when the Charlie Brown mode starts: there comes a point when all they hear is “blah blah blah.”

Some of your courses involve learning for 12 hours a day; how do the students handle it?

We house them, we feed them, and we put them in an education center so they have zero distractions. You check your personal life at the door and immerse yourself into the environment, much like a language immersion class. If you were going to learn to speak French, you’d go to where people were speaking it. It’s the same here. There is no feeling of “I’m here for fun,” it’s more like: “I know this is important to my career. I need to get up on this technology, quickly.”

Is there any point when the immersion gets to be too much for students?

We keep them at a rolling boil. The first two days, people run on pure adrenaline, they can get by on endorphins alone. The third day is the wall. We know at that moment they say, I’m in this now, I have to stick to it. Part of what helps getting over the wall is the element of camaraderie. We know there’s a group element to every class, and having the students work in pairs allows them to orient appropriately and rely on each other. The students come in knowing this style of training is going to work for them, because they’ve tried other kinds and they don’t work well for them. They need zero distractions, and everything revolving around the material. And that’s what we give them.

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