The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will decide Saturday (April 1) whether to keep the Distance Learning Network (DLN) intact and – potentially – how to go about paying for it.
The FRVTA board will meet at the Embassy Suites Hotel Westshore, Tampa, to hear from committees and begin the process of deciding what to do in the wake of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) pulling $200,000 in funding from the program after service technician certification classes end in June.
One possibility is for the DLN to become Internet-based next year with classes archived from earlier sessions. RVIA will launch its own e-learning program to prepare techs for certificatian in September under the direction of the Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council (RVSTC).
“The (FRVTA) Education Committee is excited about RVIA’s e-learning program, but feels there is a place for the DLN in the overall technicians training program,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “It’s probably time for a transition to take place, but you want to make sure it makes sense.”
Still to be decided are what will happen to advanced training and the product-specific classes sponsored by individual companies that the DLN has telecast for the last three years.
“The DLN has tremendous merit,” Wilson said. “The question is how it interfaces with the e-program so that we don’t lose any momentum training service techs.”
The FRVTA created what became known as the DLN in the late 1990s with state grants, and in 2001 RVSTC took the training via satellite nationwide. During the five years the RVSTC operated the program it lost $88,000 that wasn’t recovered from fees paid by dealerships participating in the program.
After initial setup the RVSTC expects to operate the new service technician e-learning program for about $15,000 a year which is expected to be recovered from fees. Initial setup costs are expected to run about $60,000.