SynAudCon Looks to the Future with Web-Based Training
HEADQUARTERS: Greenville, IN
LEARNING CURVE: Pat and Brenda Brown did their homework in creating an online version of beloved SynAudCon courses.
In 2009 SynAudCon recognized that the advances in media and internet technology provided an opportunity to reach more of the professional audio industry through web-based training. The challenge was to create a web-based audio education program that was equal to SynAudCon’s reputation for in-person training.
The year 2010 was one of transition. The SynAudCon team developed a new website and Learning Management System (LM S) robust enough to handle web-based training. Pat Brown spent hundreds of hours creating “Level 100: Principle of Audio” and “Level 200: Audio Applications 1,” released in November 2010.
When we first announced our plans to create webbased training, some expressed concerns that a web-based format would lose the intimacy of a live SynAudCon event. This challenged us to do our homework. We reviewed existing online training and worked hard to find ways to make our training engaging and interesting. After much research, we believe we have produced web-based training that will serve the audio industry well.
Pat Brown has been teaching audio for 15 years, always keeping an eye on the evolution of the technology tools used for training and presentation. Those tools, along with the internet, have made it possible to replicate the live seminar experience through web-based training.
“In many ways the web-based training eclipses the live class. I can refine the presentations by choosing the exact words, graphics, and animations needed to convey the concept,” Pat Brown said. “I can add further refinements based on response from the participants. In addition, the participant has the ability to ‘pause and repeat’ as many times as needed to ensure that they fully understand the concept.”
If that isn’t enough, the LMS provides quizzes for each training module so the participants can quiz themselves on their comprehension before continuing to the next lesson. There is a forum for participants to post questions to clarify concepts or bring up additional points for discussion. Participants can take the training any time or any place, and spread it out over 45 days rather than the two or three days typical of in-person seminars.
Because the course price is lower than a live class and it eliminates any travel expense, companies can now train their entire technical workforce, not just a select few.
Companies are taking advantage of the new format as well. Because the course price is lower than a live class and completely eliminates any travel expense, they can now train their entire technical workforce, not just a select few. The LM S allows companies to assign courses to employees based on their role within the company. Supervisors can evaluate the employees’ progress and scores and help identify strengths and weaknesses. As an added bonus, all courses are approved for continuing education units.
“Truly web-based training has come of age, and it is this audio instructors dream come true,” Pat said. “It is gratifying to see the pieces fall into place to make SynAudCon training available worldwide to anyone who is interested in learning audio fundamentals.”
Since our web-based training was released, we have had hundreds of participants take advantage of the system. We are proud to say that many well-known companies have added us to their employees’ training path, which speaks volumes for the quality of webbased training that we offer.
Pat is currently working on two more courses that we hope to complete in 2011—“Level 200: Distributed Loudspeaker Systems” and “Level 300: Sound Reinforcement for Designers.” We plan to continue to add and refine courses as the industry demands. We believe that web-based training is the future, and we plan on leading the way.
Brenda Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an owner at Synergetic Audio Concepts (SynAudCon).
Online, SynAudCon currently offers three courses.
“Level 50: How Sound Systems Work” is geared toward those who are new to audio. Training lessons include audio and acoustical signals, hooking up a sound system, and common system problems. This course is introductory and is for “anyone who touches a sound system.”
“Level 100: Principles of Audio” presents the foundation that people need to know if they are working in any audiorelated field. The training lessons include the time and frequency domain, the decibel, audio meters and interfaces, basic electricity, and loudspeaker fundamentals. This is a good course to take to prepare for product-specific training offered by DSP manufacturers, etc.
“Level 200: Audio Applications 1” is a course that addresses the weak links in most sound systems—gain structure, selecting the appropriate amplifier, speaker wire calculation, sound fields and equalization. This is a technician-level course that builds on Level 100. It includes software calculators for amplifier and wire selection.