Hybrid is a buzzword these days, especially in the automotive sector. But it is also becoming part of HVACR talk as a growing number of vocational technical schools and community colleges are embracing what is being called blended/hybrid instruction.

It used to be that HVACR students arrived on a campus to first sit in a classroom for an hour or so of instruction before moving into the lab for several hours of hands-on work. But with blended/hybrid, the classroom part is online to be watched by the student at his or her timeframe, while the lab part is still hands-on and face-to-face with the instructor.

One such institution that has used that approach is Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) in Wichita, Kan. “Students were more involved in their online instruction, had higher test scores, were better prepared, and had more time to develop their hands-on skills in the lab than when the entire program was offered face-to-face only,” said WATC instructor Dave Sullivan about the results of the WATC program done in conjunction with HVACReducation.net, which created the online courses tailored to the WATC curriculum.


Currently there are about six academic institutions and more than 1,600 workforce training centers across the country using the HVACReducation.net program. “The online course development and instruction comes from HVACR industry instructors and technicians,” said Chris Compton, HVACReducation.net founder. “Our crew is committed to student success and believes that education for the trades - delivered online - is a high quality way to support the HVACR industry’s educational needs.”

He added, “Existing HVACR technicians, as well as the new generation of computer-savvy students, utilize our online program for upward mobility, taking advantage of the flexibility and enhanced learning strategies online learning has to offer.”


“Online education used to be little more than correspondence courses delivered electronically. But, that is no longer true,” said Patricia Leiser, executive assistant to the CEO of HVACReducation.net.

“The learning management systems used by colleges, universities, and private schools is so friendly for the students and the instructors that online learning offers a richer exposure to the topics than ever before imagined. Courses are written and taught by enthusiastic experts on the topic. Courses include videos, graphics, charts, tables, animations, simulations, and games impossible to deliver in a standard classroom setting. Courses may be completely self-contained or may align with textbooks or other study guides.”

It is her contention that “online students are more likely to spend additional time exploring topics without the constraints of scheduled classes. Online courses are more consistent in content and delivery than live classrooms-every time the course is offered to every student, it is the same course. The course does not vary from one instructor to another.

“Online exams are more consistent and are automatically graded with software that provides accurate and immediate feedback to the student. Test scores also contribute to the student’s final grade in the course without the element of instructor error or favoritism, providing unbiased immediate results.”

For more information, visit www.hvacreducation.net.

Publication date:10/12/2009