Blended Learning for Manufacturing Training

Blended Learning for Manufacturing Training Image

You can’t train a manufacturing workforce using just one “type” of training–just field-based OJT, just written materials, just instructor-led classroom-style training, just e-learning, etc.

Well, you can. But you won’t get the most effective training, and you won’t create a cost-effective training program. So you don’t want to.

Instead, it’s best to use a “blended learning” solution that mixes and matches different types of training. In fact, this recent and well-respected study suggests that blended learning solutions tend to lead to best learning results.

In this article, we’ll give a few reasons why you should consider a blended learning solution for your workers; give you some tips for creating the right blend to help workers acquire basic knowledge, develop skills and learn procedures, and develop advanced job skills that really create value for your company; and show you some tools and techniques for making this all happen smoothly.
(more…)

Read More

Training Manufacturing Workers for Next Job in Line of Progression

training-manufacturing-workers-for-next-job-inline-of-progressionAt many manufacturing companies, employees enter the workforce in a role reserved for new hires, then work their way through an organized line of progression from their first job to the next job and so on throughout their careers.

As a result, it’s helpful to have a plan in place, and some tools to use, to help train workers at each position and better prepare them for success at each new job during their career with your organization.

In this post, we’ll give some tips and introduce some tools you can use to improve the line of progression training at your facility and make administering it more efficient.

By the time you’re done reading, you should have enough information to help you deliver (a) more effective training to your employees in each job position, (b) at a lower cost, and all while (c) spending less time administering the training. You’ll be better prepared to move new employees from one position to the next in their line of progression, and as a bonus you’ll find some tools to help you cross-train employees so they can fill multiple job roles if necessary.

(more…)

Read More

Using Scenario-based Training for Workforce Learning & Development

using-scenario-based-training imageIf you read current literature on training, one of the things you’ll read about a lot is scenario-based training. This goes by other names, too, including immersive learning and problem-based learning. For this article, we’re going to stick with scenario-based training.

No matter what you call it, there’s a reason why people talk about it a lot. Because it’s an effective way to learn. Within the context of job training, scenario-based training has a couple big advantages. These include:

  • Creating training that more directly matches true performances expected of the employee on the job
  • Making compliance training more active, fun, engaging, and effective
  • Reducing the amount of time it takes for an employee to develop expertise in his or her job (moving employee  from basic, foundational job knowledge and skills to advanced skills that create value for the company more quickly and efficiently)
  • Providing a safe learning environment in which employees can practice and learn from mistakes without harming themselves, machines, or business goals

This article will at least touch on all four of those points. But we’re going to primarily focus on how scenario-based training can reduce the amount of time it takes for an employee to develop advanced job skills and become an expert in his or her field, something everyone wants.

Along the way, we’re going to be focusing our lessons from a book by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark. And we’ll also provide some examples and helpful resources from other influential writers on workforce L&D, including Anna Sabramowicz, Cathy Moore, and Christy Tucker. Hats off to all of them, and please do check out their work and articles (in particular, this interview we had with Anna Sabramowicz about using Storytelling & Scenarios in Job Training).

(more…)

Read More

Online Options for MSHA Part 46 New Task Training

MSHA Part 46 New Training Training Online Image

In an earlier post, we gave an example of how you could use online training tools as part of the MSHA Part 46 New Miner safety training requirement.

That post got a lot of attention, so we’re circling back to do the same basic thing for MSHA Part 46 New Task(s) training.

What we’re going to do is give some ideas of how you can use online tools–a learning management system (LMS), eLearning courses, and other online learning activities–as part of the training you deliver for MSHA Part 46 New Task training.

What we’re not going to do is try to tell you that you should use only eLearning courses for your Part 46 New Task training. We recommend a “blended learning” approach in which you use a variety of different kinds of training. For example, you might have your workers do some reading, watch an e-learning course, attend some instructor-led training in a classroom setting, and do some task-based procedural training in the field. Or maybe you’ll sprinkle in a mine tour. You get it–mix and match.

So let’s get to it.

(more…)

Read More

Using Leading Indicators for Safety Performance Measurement

Leading Indicators for Safety Performance Measurement Image

You work hard on your safety & health/EHS program at work. You give it a lot of thought, you spend a lot of time on it, and you care a lot about it (and about the people and environment it’s intended to protect).

But how do you know if what you’re doing is effective? How do you know if it’s working? How can you measure your own performance?

One thing you can do is to keep track of the number of incidents at work. Things like work-related fatalities, injuries, or illnesses. Or chemical spills to the environment. As a group, these are known as lagging indicators. They’re called lagging because they tell you about things that have already happened.

Lagging indicators have their place, and they’re important to track. But they have their limits, too, and it’s helpful to track other stuff as well in order to truly measure the success of your EHS program.

As you may have guessed, we’re “leading up to” the subject of leading indicators here, and the use of leading indicators for EHS measurement. Ha! Did you get the little joke? 🙂

But jokes aside, what are leading indicators, in general? What are some good examples? What’s the point of using them? How can you get started using them? Those are the kind of questions we’re going to address below.

If this article is of interest to you, once you’ve read all we have to say about leading indicators for safety, you may also find some articles we have on Safety Differently and HOP (Human and Organizational Performance) interesting as well. Check out the links at the bottom of this article for more on Safety Differently & HOP.

(more…)

Read More

Onboarding New Employees: Why and How to Do It

onboarding-new-employeesWhat do you do when a new employee is hired? Do you have a process for onboarding new employees?

Some organizations have no real plan for managing this process at all. Whatever happens, happens, and it varies from one new employee to the next based on a variety of circumstances.

Other organizations have some minimal preparations in place. The person gets a desk, computer, and phone, or the proper tools and safety equipment, and gets to fill out his or her benefit paperwork.

But high-performing organizations have a consistent, well-thought out new employee onboarding process in place. We’ll show you what that involves below. There’s even a checklist at the bottom for you.

(more…)

Read More

The Past, Present, and Future of Manufacturing Training

past-present-future-of-manufacturing-trainingTraining within manufacturing organizations has undergone a lot of changes over time, and there are plenty more changes coming.

In fact, even if you’re not aware of it, changes are happening right now. And the infrastructure that will lead to even more changes is coming soon.

If this seems interesting to you–and if you’re in manufacturing training, it should, because it directly affects your present and future realities–you may find the quick overview below of interest.

This is also a great post for including your own thoughts at the bottom, since so much of the future is speculative. Please share your own experiences and thoughts and let us learn from you.

(more…)

Read More

Determining Training ROI: Isolating the Effects of Your Training Program

Isolating the Effects of Training Programs on Business Goals ImageIn some recent articles, we’ve been looking at issues related to determining if your training program is having a desired positive effect, determining how big of a positive effect it’s having, and communicating that information internally within the training department but also externally with others in your workplace.

For example, we discussed the importance of aligning training with business goals, gave an overview of the commonly used Kirkpatrick evaluation model, and in our last article that touched on these issues, we looked at a way to evaluate the movement of a key performance indicator (KPI) after a training program was held.

In that same article, we also noted that although it’s great if you initiate a training program and see a KPI (or several KPIs) that the program is intended to effect respond in a positive manner, that’s not the whole story. Because there are other factors that may have influenced that KPI at the same time. And if that’s the case, who’s to say that the newly implemented training program truly deserves all the credit? Or how much of the credit it does deserve? Or even if it deserves any credit for the improved KPI?

And that introduction leads us straight to the point of this article. Today, we’re going to explain a few methods of “isolating the effects of your training program.” What this means is determining how much of that desired increase in the KPI your training program was responsible for–if any.

(more…)

Read More

3 Ways Online Training Can Improve Your Safety Culture

online-safety-cultureIf you’re in safety, you may be familiar with various reasons why it’s a good idea to use online training tools as part of your safety/EHS training program at work.

There are lots of reasons. It can result in more effective training and therefore a safer workplace. It can help you deliver training to more people, especially those who work on different shifts or in different locations. And it can do all that while ALSO cutting your EHS training costs and still facilitating instructor-led training or other forms of face-to-face training.

But here’s one you may not have heard before: adopting an online training system can cause your workers to take a more active, engaged role in safety matters at work. So the online training not only improves your EHS training program, it also has a positive effect on your safety culture and on safety as a whole at work.

But you don’t have to take it from me. In fact, we’ve heard this very point from three customers who made the move to an online training system and began using them for safety training at their workplace. We’ll give you a quick overview below.

(more…)

Read More

Big Data and Big Learning Data

big data and big learning data imageIf you live in today’s world, read the papers, listen to the radio, or (more to the point) get on the Internet, you’ve heard the phrase: BIG DATA. And maybe you’ve heard of BIG LEARNING DATA too.

We know big data is about data, and we know if we consult our friends at Merriam-Webster, they’ll tell us that in general terms, data is “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something,” and in terms that are more specifically relevant to this article, data is “information that is produced or stored by a computer” (bonus points if you happened to know that “data” is the plural version of “datum,” grammar junkie).

And of course, we know that the word “big” placed before “data” means there’s a LOT of data. It doesn’t really matter exactly how much data you’re talking about. It’s enough data that it’s hard to manage, analyze, and make sense of with common software applications (read: Excel spreadsheets).

But how much do you know about big data? And in particular, how much do you know about how it’s being used and will be used at your workplace, and how it will be used in your training programs and your learning & development programs?

If you’re a little fuzzy on all of this yourself, take a few minutes to read this article. It may provide a few “a-ha” moments, give you an insight or two, and help you better prepare for the big data revolution we’re told is coming soon.

We’d also very much value your own insights, thoughts, predictions, opinions, and comments in the comments field at the end of this article.

(more…)

Read More

How to Conduct an Incident Investigation

How to Conduct an Incident Investigation Image

In this article, we’re going to introduce to you a relatively standard process for conducting an incident investigation. While we think you’ll find this article and method helpful, know that you may also want to explore an alternative method of incident investigation that uses a learning team.

An incident investigation is something you (and/or others in your company) should perform when an incident occurs at the workplace. This can include near-misses, quality problems, accidents, property damage, illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.

There are two primary purposes of an incident investigation. The first purpose is to identify the root cause or causes of the incident. That’s the short-term goal. And the second purpose is to use the information gathered in the incident investigation, and the determination of the root cause, to prevent a similar incident from happening again. That’s the long-term goal.

But not everyone knows how to perform an incident investigation. What about you? Do you have a plan in place right now? Do you know what you’d do if you had an incident at work?

If you have already planned your response and investigation, hats off to you. If not, you can begin planning now. But if you don’t begin planning your investigation until you’ve had an incident at work, you’re much too late and will be behind the proverbial eight-ball.

So in this article, we’ll sketch out what you need to know about performing an incident investigation. And we’ll even give you a list you can use to begin making your incident investigation plan and another list you can use to begin stocking up your incident investigation kit. Hope you find it helpful.

(more…)

Read More