I’ve noticed that some airlines take an entertaining approach to a serious topic – flight safety. New Zealand Airlines, Virgin Airlines and Delta have comic elements in their flight safety videos that are shown before take-off. If you haven’t seen these, you might be surprised. NZ Airlines has video versions that include disco, adventure, Hobbit and body-painting. Such “edutainment” is engaging and gets its information across.
I haven’t seen edutainment applied enough in the energy management or engineering fields, so I consider it an opportunity. Nevertheless, an increasing number of education videos and webinars are available for FMs constrained by time and expense.
To maintain professional accreditations/certifications, you may need to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) or professional development hours (PDHs). In addition to these requirements, facility managers need regular training on energy management techniques because the latest approaches are evolving at a rapid pace. However, if attending a live class is not an option for you, there are alternatives that can help you maintain your certifications and provide continuing education.
Video on Demand (VOD) Programs
Video on demand (VOD) training is popular because it allows people to do training when it's convenient for them and to watch on mobile devices as well as computers.
However, not all VOD training provides CEUs. Some systems (usually the more expensive ones) can monitor your training progress and verify that you watched the videos, thereby enabling them to grant you a CEU certificate. Keep in mind that the certifying association must keep records of CEU certificates for 7 years, so there is an administrative cost for the service. Here are some examples:
LEED Green Associate: 15-hour package:
On-demand webinars from the Association of Energy Engineers:
BOMA Energy Efficiency Program:
Note that some VOD courses do not qualify for CEUs in certain states. Here is an example of a provider’s list of applicable states that honor the CEUs:
If you want the video information but don't care about the CEU certificates, there are more economical solutions. You can always search for useful content on YouTube or Wikipedia, but you may have to spend time to verify that this free information is accurate and applicable. Some experts have released paid content that is more targeted to particular needs. For example, I just released some training options on energy management topics: http://www.profitablegreensolutions.com/shop
When you use web-based training, you may have the option to stream the video or download the video. Streaming allows you to watch something at any point in time provided that you have an adequate web connection. However, this can consume a lot of cellular data on mobile devices, so be aware of the risk to your phone bill. If the wireless network is not fast, you may be frustrated with videos that need to be buffered and pause, which wastes your time.
Downloading gives you the option of receiving the content in a Wi-Fi zone and then watching it wherever you want, whether or not there's a good connection. Of course, you may have to wait while the videos are downloading, but after that, you have tremendous freedom and can view content without an Internet connection. However, many video providers are reluctant to allow downloading, because the content is more easily copied and distributed illegally.
If you are limited on travel budgets, there is also training where you are watching a live webinar broadcast and have the ability to interact with the instructor. However, I have found that most attendees can only tolerate about 2 hours of webinar watching before they lose attention, so there are some limits to what can be accomplished via a live webinar.
Many registrants skip a live webinar if they know it's going to be recorded and watch it during a time that is best for them. Using this approach, they lose the ability to ask questions and get answers. However, by watching a recording, they gain the option of listening at 1.5 or 2X speed or fast forwarding or skipping entire sections in order to get to the information they want. It is not uncommon for 10 times as many people to watch the recorded version of a live webinar during the weeks after the event. Over time, the multiplier can be in the thousands for highly useful content.
Eric A. Woodroof, Ph.D., is the Chairman of the Board for the Certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) program and he has been a board member of the Certified Energy Manager (CEM) Program since 1999. His clients include government agencies, airports, utilities, cities, universities and foreign governments. Private clients include IBM, Pepsi, GM, Verizon, Hertz, Visteon, JP Morgan-Chase, and Lockheed Martin. In August 2014, he was named to the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Energy Managers Hall of Fame.
In a free webcast, Dr. Woodroof provides his 2016 update on the environment and energy management solutions. This webinar's information will impact most areas of energy management, including tax benefits and utility adaptation. It will help you get approval for your energy conservation project. To view the webinar, click here.