Covid-19 not sole driver behind Garmin’s virtual training plan


The pandemic has been the largest factor in accelerating and expanding Garmin’s virtual training programme its aviation media specialist, Conor McDougall, told Corporate Jet Investor. However, the company has been developing its e-learning courses, webinars and training videos for the past three years. This month the company announced it was moving all training to a virtual platform until June 2021.

McDougall said: “The big advantage of virtual training is that we can reach many more customers at a location and time convenient for the customer. Some of our customers aren’t be able to attend in-person classes and so for the last three years we were already building our portfolio of eLearning courses, training videos, and webinars.”

Within eight days of transitioning to working from home, Garmin provided 16 hours of maintenance and pilot training webinars for the first virtual aviation show. It initially focused on training webinars to support virtual shows, owner and pilot association members, dealers, pilots, and other customers. In the first five months after the start of the pandemic, Garmin conducted over 100 training webinars and reached over 50,000 customers.

After initially suspending face-to-face training, the full transition to a virtual platform began in the summer when it became apparent that the pandemic wasn’t going to be a short-term problem. McDougall explained: “We established a virtual training option for our customers and developed our latest training catalogs with virtual training as our primary method of training in order to provide customers a plan to safely receive desired training.”

Providing remote training with the same level of interactivity and engagement is challenging, said McDougall. The hands-on training with kiosks that Garmin does when conducting in-person training is the toughest aspect to replicate when remote. The instructors have been using web cams, Garmin PC Trainers, and other tools to mirror what is done in an in-person class. The pilot instructors have reduced class sizes to ensure individual attention and use the PC Trainers for the hands-on portion of the class.

McDougall added: “The maintenance training team has used web cameras extensively to provide demonstrations on kiosks and to engage the class in troubleshooting scenarios. Customers have responded very well to the virtual training and we will continue to seek ways to make it even better.”