Bringing ‘Distance Learning’ to Our Industrial Customers

Bringing Distance Learning to U.S. Industry

By: Siemens Corporate Communications

While more states issue shelter-in-place or stay-at-home mandates to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, industrial companies are turning to Siemens for innovative solutions to keep their employees engaged, active, and learning.


Gail Norris, who heads the SITRAIN Digital Industry Academy for Digital Industries U.S. says our customers are more interested than ever in “distance learning,” or providing their teams with virtual training that can be completed at home, even though such training has historically been delivered in person.


Norris’ learning-services team executes 750 training classes every year for our industrial customers across a wide range of markets, including automotive, chemical, food and beverage, and oil and gas. A typical attendee works in maintenance, operations, or engineering at their company and is responsible for programing and maintaining the industrial controls and, more importantly, knowing how to find and fix a fault. 


“These aren’t the types of jobs you can do from home,” Norris said. “With COVID-19, however, we’re at the point of need where our customers are asking for the training digitally to keep their employees engaged and learning. We’re seeing an uptick in interest for virtual training across the board.”


The learning team already offers a few introductory-level courses virtually as well as web-based training, but to meet the new demand, Norris and her team are quickly converting some of their most popular week-long, in-person trainings to virtual offerings. Like millions of K-12 school teachers in the U.S. right now, they also are adjusting their teaching methods to ensure students stay engaged throughout an eight-hour course each day.


The first class launched remotely the week of March 23 with six students from states including Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. 


“If we can deliver these trainings successfully over the next couple of months, we think this approach can be a viable product in the future,” Norris said.


Delivery of this knowledge base remotely allows for students to pick up new skills and capabilities in an otherwise limited situation. Digital Industries will continue to make its distance learning more accessible in the future.