Three years ago, I began work on a training program to equip sewing machine repair technicians. In an industry that historically produced new technicians through an informal apprenticeship styled watch and learn process; developing a comprehensive training program loomed large. When I graduated from college, I launched into my public school teaching career. I complete my masters degree in education, and served as a learning specialist in Maryland for several years. For over thirty years, I had to develop curriculum and lessons on many different topics as a minister. My education and experience led me to believe I could develop a quality curriculum to train technicians.
Sewing and sewing repair have been the focus of our family business for nearly twenty years. Translating experience into lessons, coursework, and practical curriculum is a doable challenge. What do technical prospects need in order to successfully learn the information and skills to repair sewing machines? There is a vast amount of information involved in repair. To make the content understandable presentations should implement good learning theory. The course should provide instruction, application, technical support, and access to resources.
Instructional contents of the curriculum includes easy to read instructions with illustrative photos, charts, and illustrations. The course is broad in scope requiring smaller more focused courses. Each smaller course has its own textbook to present the necessary information on mechanical sewing machines, advanced sewing machines, antique sewing machines, sergers, embroidery machines, and business development. The curriculum employs fundamental program design including textbooks and workbooks. The student reads the textbook, tests their understanding by filling in the workbook, and reviewing their results for solid learning.
Since people learn in different ways, several resources are added to the program to enhance the learning experience. Audio presentations and instructional videos help expand the learning process. Bonus materials are also included to provide answers and practical resources.
Reading, listening, even watching content presentations, I did not consider enough to assure success. I believed that practical application is also essential. With this in mind, a detailed practicum calls for the students to perform a dozen actual services and repairs on real sewing machines. The student acquires the sewing machines from various sources to give them practice. They take digital photos and submit their results for evaluation.
Following the completion of each ecourse an exam is completed and submitted. Then a final certification assessment is also taken. Reference and support resources are also an important part of the program. These make training faster, easier, and more effective. Are there secrets that unlock student learning? Curriculum design must also consider the principles of learning. Student experience, receptive learning style, multiple presentations, doable application, and testing greatly affect the overall learning experience.
The student must be able to read and perform basic mechanical activities. They also need to understand the basic operations of the sewing machine. Since many would be technicians have never actually used a sewing machine; a special sub-course on the secrets of sewing is provided to the student. While this sub-course is not required, it is vital for the student to understand the use of the sewing machine before attempting to service them.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Going over the same principles, ideas, and concepts again and again insures that they are learned. The curriculum is designed to drum these core ideas through until mastered. The end result is a comprehensive curriculum with focused sub-courses to insure learning is mastered for each area of specialization. Students use their eyes, ears, heads, and hands to learn ingredients of the course.