Back to School

Ah, it’s that time of year. Fall is in the air, baseball is in its penant-chasing frenzy, college football and the NFL regular season are finally underway, and the kids have returned to school. Many pundits predicted that by this time, our notion of “school” would have changed from a specific place where students congregated to any place where learning takes place. While we might all agree that an E-book reader should be standard issue for every student (think of the reduction in back injuries!), it seems we still aren’t quite ready to tear down the bricks and mortar and have learning and education delivered via laptop wherever the student happens to be.

So, just what is the “best” environment in which to learn new skills and acquire knowledge? The challenge for trainers and educators is that the answer to this question is “what do you want it to be?” Some people still prefer to attend live classes with an instructor. They glean information from fellow participants and enjoy the interaction they are able to achieve with other learners and instructors. Others, particularly younger employees, prefer to have learning delivered via webinars where they are able to obtain the learning points they need to do their jobs, but don’t have to travel and spend days attaining it. The ultimate in online delivery is a series of YouTube videos of two to five minutes that will instruct employees on how to perform the specific tasks of their job, delivered at the precise moment when they need the information.

At Insurance Skills Center, we are committed to providing not only timely and relevant topics, but delivering the appropriate skills and knowledge in a format that works for your agency. That means a combination of live seminars, open to the public and offered throughout the state, in-house live seminars for larger agencies, exclusive virtual seminars for agencies that wish to provide learning using the Internet, and webinars open to anyone needing the information being presented. In addition to our Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS) and Certified Insurance Specialist in Construction (CISC) designations, we will also explore opportunities to partner with national organizations to offer other professional designation programs.

We’re not sure where education and training are headed, but we are committed to providing the skills and knowledge members need in formats that address their concerns. Now is the time to set up your training and education calendar for next year. If you wish to schedule in-house virtual or live classes, please contact Patty Carlson at

Cheryl L. Koch, CPCU, CIC, AAI, ARM, AAM, AIM, AIS, ARP, API, ACSR, AFIS is the Managing Director of Insurance Skills Center/IBA West Education