Evidence-Based Training Methods and Smile Sheets (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

It’s always a good idea to use training methods that are (1) based in evidence and proven to be effective and (2) focused on improving performance on the job.

Dr. Will Thalheimer is one of the leading research experts on evidence-based and performance-focused training methods, and he’s been kind enough to grant us an interview that we’ll present as a series of four related articles.

In this article, our interview with Dr. Thalheimer will focus on smile sheets.

You may already know the term smile sheet, but if you don’t, you’re probably familiar with the concept. You know those surveys trainers hand out to learners who have just completed some form of training? And the learner then uses the survey to evaluate the training event, materials, and instructor? That’s a smile sheet, also known as a training evaluation sheet, reaction sheet, or a Kirkpatrick level 2 evaluation.

These learner evaluations are sometimes called smile sheets, however, because there’s a belief that the learners may not use them to put down truthful, objective, helpful information, but instead just write nice comments about the training and the instructor that are meant to make the trainer smile about supposedly having done a good job.

So you see the problem. If a smile sheet is nothing but a bunch of well-intended but fake or meaningless “smiles,” we’re not drawing helpful information from learners about the training material that we can use to evaluate the training and revise it if necessary so our training has a desired influence on worker job performance. And that’s why Dr. Thalheimer has done research on smile sheets, first to determine that as commonly written they’re often meaningless and second to give us tips on how to write better smile sheets that will help improve performance.

If all this is ringing a bell for you, you may be familiar with Dr. Thalheimer’s great book Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form or with the earlier article we wrote exploring his book on how to write better smile sheets.

So let’s check out the interview. Remember this is one part of a longer interview with Dr. Thalheimer, and we’ll have additional articles in which he discusses:

  • Spaced practice
  • The effectiveness of elearning
  • Evidence-based training methods & learning myths


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Convergence Training Now Offers Courses in 14 Languages

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We’ve recently released many of our courses in a variety of languages to meet growing international demand for our online training. Several years ago, we began developing courses in both English and Spanish to meet the needs of Spanish-speakers throughout the U.S. Now, in coordination with multinational customers, we’ve produced multilingual courses in the following languages:

  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Portugese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Thai

Visit our Multilingual Courses page for more details on which courses are available in which languages. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’ll be happy to help!


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Benefits of Online Safety Training

Wondering if you should make the plunge with online safety training? This guide gives 10 reasons why, each based on experiences at real companies like yours.

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Active Shooter Response: New Online Course Available

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Sadly, shootings, gun violence, and gun-related killings are a part of our culture and society. That’s true in all walks of life, including in the workplace and at schools.

That reality means it’s important for every workplace to know what to do if an active shooter is in their site of work. To help your organization create a plan, we’ve just released our new Active Shooter Response online training course.

The course will explain best actions to take when an active shooter is in the workplace and also describe how to interact with law enforcement officers or other first responders who arrive on the scene.

Read on to learn more about our active shooter response course. We’ve included a short sample video and a list of the course learning objectives to help you evaluate it for your workplace.


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8 Things You Should Know about Human and Organizational Performance (Based on Dr. Todd Conklin’s ‘Pre-Accident Investigations’)

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I recently finished reading the book Pre-Accident Investigations: An Introduction to Organizational Safety by Dr. Todd Conklin. It’s a great introduction to Human and Organizational Performance, also known as HOP.

HOP is a systems-based approached originated with safety thought leaders like Conklin, Sidney Dekker, and James Reason. It haas been adopted by General Electric and other companies, and was the focus of the exciting and somewhat-controversial plenary session at the ASSE Safety 2017 Conference (I’ve included a video recording of that HOP/BBS discussion near the bottom of this article). HOP has much in common with safety differently, new safety, safety 2, etc.

If you’ve wanted an introduction to Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) and/or to Conklin’s thoughts, this book is a good starting point. In our article below, we provide some key points from the book. If you’ve read the book yourself, of if you’re using HOP at work for safety, please leave additional comments at the bottom of the article.

And keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming article based on Conklin’s book Workplace Fatalities.


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Root Cause Analysis: New Online Course Available

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Anytime you have an unexpected outcome at work, it’s worth investigating to determine why. That’s especially true in safety. One way to do this is to perform a root cause analysis.

That’s why we’ve offered our new online Root-Cause Analysis training course.

The course explains a number of different methods for performing a root-cause analysis.

For more information about this new course, including a short sample video and a list of the course learning objectives, read on.


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Come Visit Us at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2018 (March 7-9, 2018, Columbus, Ohio)

Hello Safety Ohioans!

We’ll be attending the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus, Ohio on March 7-9, 2018 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Come swing by booth 844, we’d love to meet you and say hi!

We’ll be showing off our award-winning solutions for safety and health training, including online safety and health coursesonline mining safety/MSHA compliance courses, and learning management systems (LMSs) that help you manage and administer all your training, including tracking, reporting, managing due dates and expirations, and much more.

Feel free to shoot us off an email if you’ve got a question between now and then. Otherwise, why not download our free guide to effective safety training? You’ll find it a great resource.


Effective EHS Training: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to design, create, deliver, and evaluate effective EHS training by following these best practices with our free step-by-step guide.

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Best Practices for Employee Participation in an OHSMS (Occupational Health and Safety Management System)

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In this article, we’re going to look at some best practices for getting and keeping employee participation in your workplace occupational health and safety management system, or OHSMS.

This is one of a series of articles looking at occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS). We’ve got links for all the articles at the bottom for you.

The series is based on ANSI Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. We recommend that you buy a copy of the Z10 standard for yourself. There’s a lot of great information in it, including many helpful helpful appendixes. And the cost is only $105, a great safety investment for your organization.

And now let’s turn our attention to employee participation in your health and safety management system.


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Safety Inspections and Observations: New Online Course Available

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One of the best practices of safety management systems at work is to perform safety inspections and create a system for collecting and acting on safety observations.

To help your organization with that, we’ve just released our new Safety Inspections and Observations training course.

The course provides a helpful overview, which you can use to be proactive in reducing incident rates at your workplace.

For more information about this new course, including a short sample video and a list of the course learning objectives, read on.


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Equipment You’ll Find at a Typical Surface Mine

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The typical surface mine (quarry) has lots of specialized equipment, and each piece has a name that new miners may not be familiar with.

To help you get up to speed fast, we’ve provided a list of common surface mining equipment, along with images and explanations of the equipment’s function and operation.

Not only did we write all the terms down for you below, but we’re also presenting the same information in an interactive, multimedia glossary that you can download for free.

And we through in some tips if you need some MSHA Part 46 Surface Mining training. What’s not to like about all of that?

All of the terms, definitions, and images in this article come from our online MSHA Part 46 “Typical Equipment in a Surface Mine” training course. We’ve included a short sample of that online mining safety course below.


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Physical Characteristics at a Surface Mine Explained

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If you’re new at a surface mine, you’ll notice there’s a lot of specialized language: berm, highwall, pit, and more. If all that lingo has got you longing for understanding, this article is for you. We’re going to explain the terms typically used to describe the physical characteristics in a surface mine.

If you find this helpful, know that you can also download an interactive, multimedia glossary with these terms, definitions, and images, and also know that we’re working on a similar list of definitions (plus another downloadable, interactive glossary) about the typical equipment found at a surface mine as well.

So let’s get right to explaining what all those benches and berms are. You’ll be interested to know that all the terms, definitions, and images came from our online MSHA Part 46 Physical Characteristics of a Surface Mine Training course–we’ve given a short video sample immediately below, too.


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9 Great Uses for Mobile Training at Work

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Organizations are becoming increasingly interested in mobile training these days (also called mobile learning and M-learning).

Which is great, because you can use mobile training in a lot of positive ways. But on the other hand, you don’t want to just rush into it, believing that this new technology is the silver bullet that will make training magical in the same way that people made the same claims about radio, TV, movies, filmstrips, video tapes, DVDs, the Internet, and more.

So in this article, we’re going to list out for you some productive ways to use mobile training at work. Please add any additional ones from your experience as well.


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6 Common Triggers of an OSHA Inspection

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We wrote an article about Hazards OSHA Inspectors Commonly Look for During an OSHA Inspection recently that drew a lot of interest, so we thought we’d continue along those lines by writing this article, which will focus on the most common reasons OSHA will come and inspect your facility.

We’re also going to follow-up with another related article that explains what typically happens during an OSHA inspection, so watch for that one as well.

As always, your comments, insights, and experiences are welcome in the comments section at the bottom. Maybe you’re an OSHA inspector, or maybe you’ve been inspected. Let us know!


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