While a number of manufacturers offer on-line training, it is generally a complement to formal on-site training that leads to 'factory certification.' 3VR has announced that their new on-line "training is designed to replace the on-site System Integrator Technical Training required of
all 3VR Certified Channel Partners." In fact, users can go straight to a website, pay and start. After taking the 6-8 hour on-line course and passing the test with 80% or higher, the participant earns 3VR Technical certification.
It is an interesting approach that definitely has some benefits and risks. On the plus side, it's a lot less expensive and time consuming that getting on an airplane and flying to training. For that reason, it's certainly attractive, especially since it allows the trainee to become certified. On the downside, how much can you really learn of a manufacturer's specific product through a relatively short on-line training without access to the product itself? Can you verify that the trainee really knows the material and did not get the online manuals and find the answers? Is an online certified tech as well trained as an in person one? Should you replace on-site with on-line training?