We spoke to veteran NTS instructors to find out how students and employers alike can get the most out of their training and education.
It’s no secret that NTS instructors are some of the brightest, hands-on professionals in the security industry.
Many of them have spent years working in the industry as a professional and then decided to dedicate their time and energy to sharing their experiences and knowledge with their colleagues and newly-minted security pros.
Every instructor brings a little something different to the classroom, from their own experiences working in the field to their approach teaching the course. But they all have one thing in common: they want to see their students succeed, and they work hard to make sure that happens.
We talked to three veteran NTS instructors about their tricks of the trade, including how students can get more out of their classroom experiences, better understand the material and use it when they head into the field.
Participate, Participate, Participate
One of the main themes NTS instructors point out is that learning can’t be fully accomplished without getting involved in the process. When it comes to material offered by NTS, students can’t just sit back and read the material and expect to comprehend it all – they have to get involved.
"They get the most out of an NTS course by actively participating and asking questions in the course,” says Don McInnes of Stanley Security Solutions. "You will learn more by taking part in the course rather than just sitting silent and taking notes.”
"The whole class can learn from questions because there may be more that one student that is unclear about the material and others may be afraid to ask a question because they think that it will reflect on their knowledge on a subject,” says Larry Mann. "I tell the class at the beginning of the presentation that there are no stupid questions, just un-asked questions."
Joseph Hayes encourages students to make sure they are adding to the discussion, especially if they have more to say about it or a story to tell. "I encourage class participation and asking questions, and if a student has additional information, they should share it with the instructor and then the class.”
How to Remember It All
There’s a lot of information discussed during NTS courses, so it’s only human to need to return to the key points learned.
"A part of the understanding and following the recommendation of the course can not be absorbed in the time allotted for the presentation, so I recommend that they read through the book a week after the course and then about a month later, that way they will retain more of the information or remember something important that they may have missed the first time around,” says Mann.
McInnes and Hayes tell their students to highlight key passages and write along with the instructor.
"I tell them to highlight the emphasized points the instructor points out during the presentation both verbally and by telling them to make a note of it in their course book, pay attention to anything in the course material in bold writing and review and answer each module’s learning objectives and review questions,” says McInnes.
"I always point out that following the slides with the workbook helps, and I emphasize taking notes, we remember more of what we write than what we hear,” says Hayes.
Learn from the Instructor’s Experiences
Many instructors share their stories of working in the field in relation to the material being learned, as McInnes does with his classes.
"I usually try to paint pictures in their mind of sensor applications by applying course material to actual applications I was engaged in. I also actively engage all students from day one by having them participate or asking them a question as it relates to their experience with the course subject being presented,” he says.
Get Familiar with the Book
"One of the things that I suggest to the students to get them to read the material and refer back to the book after the class is that the study material uses the code reference that applies to the topic in question, and that it may be easier to find the correct code reference in a study guide that they are familiar with, and it’s easier than spending hours looking in a code book that they are unfamiliar with,” says Mann.
"They can save time by looking in the study guide and reading the explanation there and then using the code reference to go directly to the code book for the complete text.”
Come with the Right Attitude
It may sound simple, but by coming to the course with a willingness to learn and the drive to succeed, students are more likely to excel.
Hayes calls it the "I am ready to learn” attitude, and it’s something all students are encouraged to show up with to class.