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RFID Education: Making the Grade

Association for RFID professionals outlines key elements in superior RFID education programs.

Dallas, TX, September 27, 2006 --( Radio frequency identification (RFID) education programs have proliferated as education providers seek to capitalize on the growing RFID technology market. Many educators hope to fill the need for qualified RFID technology talent. The growing number of RFID educational offerings covers a broad range of subjects delivered in a variety of methods.

RFID Tribe examined RFID education programs and found some common elements that make up exceptional and effective programs. “RFID education programs vary widely; some exceptional, some inferior. What seems to set RFID education programs apart is their focus on consistent, clear and measurable results,” said Mark Johnson, RFID Tribe president.

Due Diligence
Given the wide variance in RFID education programs, astute consumers evaluate education providers prior to selecting a RFID education provider. The consumer should first identify his education needs and objectives. Purchasing RFID education services should be similar to the process of buying a car; careful consumers “kick the tires,” read reviews and perform research to assess an education provider and its curriculum.

Prudent consumers vet RFID education programs. They ask for multiple references. They review an educator’s partners for industry expertise. Informed consumers seek knowledgeable instructors, request instructor’s resumes and ask for further information regarding an instructor’s RFID implementation experience. “Ask for a work history of the instructors that will be teaching your class. Look for hands-on experience on real implementations, not just lab and classroom experience,” advised Mark Brown, vice president of professional services at RFID4U, a RFID education provider. “Google the instructors, you may be surprised at what you find, or don’t find,” he continued.

RFID Education Basics
Most RFID education courses offer a broad base of general RFID knowledge. Many of these broad-based courses are titled “RFID 101” or “Basics of RFID”. These introductory courses typically cover information regarding how RFID technology works, basic RFID network elements, RFID technology standards and general applications of the technology.

Many RFID education providers offer the next level of depth with course work delivered in a RFID lab environment. Typical lab activities involve observing the physics of RFID, setting up equipment, interrogators, printers, applying tags and understanding RF interference issues.

Further RFID education targets different needs tailored for specific industries or for specific applications. For example, individuals in the payment applications industry have different needs than those in the distribution industry. Each industry has its own application for RFID technology. These industry-specific or application-specific RFID courses focus on relevant issues for the given topic.

Excellent RFID education programs recognize different needs for different work roles and responsibilities. An individual installing RFID equipment as a systems integrator has different educational needs than an individual who might be operating that same system. Educational programs such as “RFID Equipment Installation” and “Operating RFID Systems in Distribution Centers” focus on different work roles and responsibilities of those who work with RFID technology.

Educators offer RFID training in a variety of formats. Most offer classroom training held either at the client’s facility or held at a facility provided by the educator. Computing-based education takes several forms; courses on CD’s, web-based courses and virtual instructors giving live classes over the internet.

Education: Key Elements and Best Practices
Best practices in RFID education target consistent, repeatable processes for course development and for course delivery. The following basic elements may be found in excellent RFID education offerings:

1) The education is based on identified needs.
2) The educator offers clearly stated learning objectives.
3) The educator provides qualified instructors who use appropriate content and methods.
4) The educator quality program evaluates learners.
5) The educator quality program provides evaluation of learning activities by learners.
6) The educator provides a learning environment conducive to learning and relevant to learners.
7) Learners are encouraged to continue the learning quest outside the classroom or outside of the course work.
8) Courseware is kept up-to-date with the latest developments regarding the subject.
9) Courseware is developed to a written standard.

RFID Tribe has observed excellence in RFID education when educators use the above elements in course development and course delivery processes.

Complete information regarding RFID education quality guidelines is available on the RFID Tribe website.

RFID Tribe sets quality standards in education for RFID professionals. As the association for RFID professionals, RFID Tribe plays a role in the growing RFID workforce, its skills development, its career development and serves as a focal point for RFID workforce issues. As a result, the association deals with queries and commentary from RFID professionals regarding the quality and value of RFID educational offerings. RFID Tribe sets the direction for RFID professionals who seek quality in RFID education services.

About RFID Tribe:
RFID Tribe, a global organization with local chapters, is the world's association for radio frequency identification (RFID) professionals. The group of industry experts collaborates on RFID and sensor technology, standards, venture capital, products, applications, industry trends, people, careers and events. RFID Tribe serves as an engine for ideas, people and capital.

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RFID Tribe
Mark Johnson

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