Amanda Beckner, vice president of learning at AVIXA, explains why AV organisations should commit to professional development – and how AVIXA can help them.
For more than 30 years, individuals, companies and customers within the AV industry have recognised the Certified Technology Specialist designation for its credibility and integrity. Certification is known as evidence of technical proficiency and professionalism, showing commitment to continual development and improvement. These are values that increase consumer confidence in an AV service provider’s competency, experience and ethical behaviour.
Not only is CTS respected worldwide, it is the only AV certification with ISO/IEC 17024:2012 accreditation. This means many architects, general contractors and others require their AV designers or systems integrators to employ individuals who hold the CTS credential. Others give preference to AV companies that employ CTS holders, because of its value and mark of high-quality service.
A true certification programme assesses individuals against peer-developed standards and competencies, and provides a credential that is time limited. A certification exam assessment must be independent of any specific course or curriculum. In addition, continued competency is enhanced through ongoing renewal requirements, and there must be adherence to a code of ethics. AVIXA is constantly updating its training and refreshing the context around it, to ensure the learning experience is rooted in creating exceptional experiences that support end users’ desired outcomes.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Of course, there are other forms of training taking place in the industry, often carried out by manufacturers and integrators. I view the industry’s sources of professional development as complementary, not competitive, in supporting the AV workforce. But manufacturers and integrators need not reinvent the wheel. Time and again, I meet a marketing or AV operations professional working for a manufacturer or integrator and tasked to create a training programme from scratch. Why? The company could just license AVIXA’s vendor-neutral, industry-validated content and work from that. Then, energy could be spent on adding what makes their company’s solutions unique in the marketplace, rather than reinventing lessons on AV fundamentals.
For consultants advising clients on solutions that achieve their business outcomes, AVIXA offers training to help define systems performance metrics and standard processes to ensure exceptional experiences. Elite AVIXA members also have access to search and use online education for just the lessons they need.
AVIXA has a wide variety of audiences, and personalisation is a huge trend in adult learning. It is challenging to personalise the learning experience for each of the professional disciplines, competency levels, and geographic regions that AVIXA serves. The association is meeting those challenges by designing a modularised curriculum that can be disseminated via different delivery methods; by investing in learning content management solutions to codify content; by improving processes for more effective translation and localisation; and by offering a new service to Elite members – allowing them to search for and utilise the online learning module they need.
Beyond training, there is the difficult yet rewarding experience of developing industry standards. AVIXA is the leading resource for AV performance and documentation standards. Our standards are balanced and open, so everyone in the AV industry can benefit from incorporating them into their projects. These standards support technology design and procedures that focus on reliability, competency and success. The development process involves groups that work cooperatively to develop voluntary national consensus standards. AVIXA’s Board of Directors established a Standards Committee in 2006 to start working on performance standards. Each standard lists the names of the volunteers who authored it. I encourage anyone to reach out to peers who are using standards and ask about their experience and what they gained from it. Also, there are other advisory opportunities for consultants, and I invite you to contact me for details.
Information on AVIXA’s diverse training offerings – including CTS – can be found on the association’s website.