July 5, 2013

Werner Braun: Earning CEUs through CRI

— Professionals in business, education, medicine, law and dozens of other fields have the opportunity, and quite frankly the responsibility, of earning continuing education credits (CEUs).

Keeping up one’s licensure, staying abreast of what’s new in a particular field, enhancing one’s professional development — even climbing the ladder for that next promotion — are just some of the reasons that obtaining those CEUs are so critical.

But oftentimes it’s just not convenient to spend a lot of money to attend a CEU seminar in another town or to take significant time away from the job to earn those credits.

While there are networking benefits to earning CEUs on-site, the benefits of earning CEUs online are innumerable. They include the obvious: saving money and saving time. There’s also the flexibility and stress reduction that comes from online learning because you choose the time that works best for you to take a particular course, and you move at your own pace, which often exceeds the pace of those who might have been your on-site “classmates.”

Most online classes are easy to use, and provide a variety of learning techniques that may include videos, forum boards, practice quizzes and the like. And oftentimes, there are more course options available online than you can find in the particular geographical area that you may be limited to.

Those are just some of the reasons why we at the Carpet and Rug Institute are so pleased about being able to offer our members the chance to earn continuing education units online.

We offer these courses through Hanley Wood University, a “parent brand” for specific learning environments that offer courses for specific professions, including the fields of architecture and building construction. Many in those professions who seek to maintain their professional certifications and fulfill CEU requirements prefer doing so in an online environment.

Our interest in offering online CEUs actually began about eight years ago, when a task group was formed called the CRI CEU Work Group, comprised of a number of hard-working CRI members. Lynne Peer of the Peer Resource Group facilitated this process, and our own Pat Jennings provided support as the CRI staff administrator.

The CRI courses offered through Hanley Wood University provide the first carpet-specific information on its site. Ten courses were chosen for online presentation, all approved by the American Institute of Architects and many also approved by the U.S. Green Building Council.

We offer a variety of courses that meet the continuing education needs of those in our industry. Among them are carpet construction, a course that covers carpet manufacturing processes and construction methods; dye methods, a course that covers types of dye methods and the process and machines used for each one; and backing systems and treatments, a course that covers the benefits of backing systems and identifies the technical features of carpet treatments.

While these may seem particularly specific, other courses take a broader approach to the subject. Some of those include carpet in educational facilities, a course that lists the benefits of carpeting in classrooms; carpet in acute care facilities, a course that defines the benefits of carpet with respect to safety, ergonomics, infection control and acoustics; and carpet for hospitality, a course that discusses hospitality needs and requirements.

Other courses that CRI offers through Hanley Wood include several near and dear to our hearts — those having to do with our signature Seal of Approval (SOA) and Green Label Plus programs. And we offer several that deal with our recycling initiatives and the importance of sustainability in our industry.

Since we began offering these courses online, more than 420 individuals have taken advantage of the program, and that’s just the start. We believe that over time, this method of earning CEUs for those in our field will grow exponentially.

But it’s not just being able to offer continuing education online that is a boon to us; it’s also the fact that Hanley Wood University provides a very useful service for all of its clients. They generate a “leads” document each month that provides contact information on individuals who were interested enough in one of our specific courses to enroll.

That gives our members the opportunity to follow up with these individuals to increase their familiarity with our products and services and to perhaps enhance the prospect of future sales success.

So for us at CRI, this has definitely been a win-win.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.