Building a self-directed online training program is a real challenge...it's hard to determine what level of understanding your audience starts out with because you have no interaction with them. Unlike face-to-face training, you have no chance to gear the course to the learners on the fly, or offer other resources or extra explanations. In any case, when you are creating a program for learning, core competencies are what you want to establish and improve. A core competency is fundamental knowledge, ability, or expertise in a specific subject area or skill set. There needs to be a way of benchmarking understanding of the basic concepts so that you can create a foundation for a useful learning program.
In our case, we assume that the core competencies we are aiming to establish or improve are the fundamentals of building science. The need for a broad, industry basic understanding of how the house works as a system has been noted in a wide range of publications, reports, and white papers from many different industry stakeholders.
With that in mind, Building Science Basics is the prerequisite course for all of our e-learning clients. But what if someone wants to take the other courses we offer and has significant experience and background in building science? We are, after all, marketing this program to tradespeople, contractors, and others who are already out in the field working. Those who have experience and a strong understanding of buliding science shouldn't have to spend their precious time taking a course that is redundant. They could, but they shouldn't have to.
And so they don't. Just like in other training programs, those with field experience can challenge the final exam for Building Science Basics. The challenge exam results in a certificate of completion, which could be, in some locales, the first (and possibly only) documentation a person could get that proves they have a basic understanding of building science. The certificate of completion also allows the learner to go on to more in-depth courses that build on their proven core competencies.
This also allows Demand Side Management (DSM) organizations and energy efficiency groups working with tradespeople on direct install or other programs that focus on providing energy efficiency measures a way to verify that their trades are able to carry out the work in a competent manner.