Many organizations have had to adapt and change some business practices very quickly in light of COVID-19 restrictions. The Oregon Department of Transportation Construction Training Program was no exception. Due to new social distancing requirements, we canceled all construction-related in-person training sessions that were scheduled through June 30, 2020.
There was one training, however, that the construction industry told us was crucial: Americans with Disabilities Act Inspector Certification. Due to the multiple ADA projects scheduled in the 2020 construction season and with highway construction considered an essential service, we moved quickly to offer an alternative to classroom training.
ADA Inspector Certification training curriculum has changed considerably over the last year. People who attended certification classes before the end of 2019 no longer had a valid certification. The revamped ADA Certification training began in January with students attending a five-hour in-person introductory day and a field training day and finally passing a two-hour exam with a score of 80% or higher.
Because ODOT requires all personnel who construct ADA curb ramps and perform ADA inspections to be certified, we knew we had to come up with a solution to replace classroom training. We contracted with HDR to develop a webinar to deliver the classroom part of the Introduction to ADA training virtually.
Students could register through the state’s training website, iLearn, and once we received confirmation that they completed the webinar, we provided a short-term ADA certification. ODOT certified 606 people since January, with 273 of them being certified through the webinar.
Several other ODOT units have begun to explore opportunities to deliver virtual training statewide. For example, ODOT’s Engineering Automation unit created videos to share updated information for their Survey Fundamental’s class, and the Quality Assurance unit is looking into adding e-learning as an ongoing option for certification training. The ODOT Construction Training Program is exploring various platforms such as Articulate, Rise and Storyline to create virtual trainings.
Transforming training from a classroom to a virtual experience takes research, expertise and time. We will not be eliminating in-person training, but rather offering more options for virtual training to increase the accessibility for our valued stakeholders. We are aiming to offer a few virtual courses in the 2021-2022 training season. Be sure to check out our website for more information.