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How Stratasys took 3D Printer Training Virtual

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Pivot. Adjust. Adapt.

We all did it during the pandemic – present company included. But, it didn’t just affect us – it profoundly impacted our customers, like Stratasys 3D Printing.

If you aren’t familiar with Stratasys and what they do, they’re one of the largest 3D printer manufacturers in the world. Some of their printers are bigger than the average person and can cost upwards of six figures.

For years, we’ve provided face-to-face trainings to certify their engineers on these printers – all of us traveling to a central location. Sound familiar?

With no in-person trainings for nearly a year, and likely no change ahead for them in 2021, we suggested Stratasys fully transition to Virtual Instructor-Led Trainings (VILT) to enable them to certify new engineers and maintain the excellent customer service they’re known for. They jumped at the chance (did I mention we love our clients?)

In less than two months, we jointly developed two virtual training courses with hands-on activities, built tools to keep students engaged, livestreamed and recorded demos, and designed assignments they can perform on their own 3D printers. We knew we wouldn’t be able to cover all procedures engineers face in the field so kept our focus on the most frequently needed service call requests.

Fully leveraging digital technology, we made sure students and the 3D printer were outfitted with web cams, so we could see their progress and offer help or encouragement, as needed. Training’s took place over two or three days with a maximum of four hours per day to make sure we avoided virtual training burnout. Sessions were scripted ensuring each group of students received the same information. At the same time, the conversations were organic with student questions driving the conversations into other areas based on individual/group experiences and needs. As much as we’d love to say we knew this would be a success…we didn’t. But, the Intracon technology and approach combined with the strong commitment by our partners and the eagerness of the students created a trifecta.

“I know some people don’t like virtual courses, but these were brilliant,” one course participant said. “The courses were really well put together, and I learned a lot which will be so useful in the field. Thank you for the hard work.”

Yes, we pivoted, adjusted, and adapted. But we did it together. And therein lies the secret to success in this new (digital) world we’re learning to navigate together.

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