Better Papermaking Training for New Paper Makers: Get New Employees Up to Speed Fast With Visuals

Paper Manufacturing Training Visual Image

Need to get a brand new hire with no experience in the papermaking industry trained before he or she can hit the floor on the clean up crew? Or do you want to get someone from converting ready to work on a paper machine? Or maybe you need to train workers to prepare them for a new position on the paper machine, as they move from Winder Operator to 5th Hand?

If so, papermaking friend, then this is the post for you.

At Convergence Training, we do a lot of work with companies in the paper industry. And we often hear similar stories from these papermakers: they’ve got a large number of very experienced workers who are nearing retirement, they’re hiring a lot of new workers to fill those positions, and they’re struggling to get  these new hires up to speed quickly enough.

We tell our customers that there are a couple of things they can do to onboard these new papermaking employees, make sure the training is comprehensive, and even compress the amount of time necessary to do it.

For one, they can get and use a learning management system to help administer this process.

Secondly, they can create a structured OJT program to help deliver part of the training in an organized, comprehensive manner.

Third, they can use training materials, including online paper manufacturing training courses and online health and safety training courses, that make strong use of visuals to compress the learning curve (visuals are a very effective way to increase comprehension and retention for new learners).

And fourth, they can create scenario-based learning to help the new worker develop advanced job skills, such as problem solving, troubleshooting, and process optimization, that really create value for the company. There are other things you can do, too.

In this article, we’ll discuss that use of visuals within your training materials. Click those earlier links if you want to study some of those other aspects in more detail.

Better Paper Manufacturing Training Uses Visuals

Learning experts have conducted many studies beginning with two groups of people, both novices in a specific content area (such as papermaking). Each group was trained on the same topic, and that training included all the same words. However, the training provided to one group included no visuals, while the training provided to the other group included helpful learning visuals.

After the training, the people in each group were given tests to determine what they learned. The results were dramatic–the people who completed the training that included visuals consistently learned significantly more than the people in the other group did.

Imagine how much more easily and effectively your paper manufacturing employees might learn from training materials with compelling visuals like those in the sample video below, taken from an online Paper Machine Winding Basics training course.


What Kind of Visuals? Tips from the Pros

Although visuals can help improve the effectiveness of your training, that doesn’t mean adding just any visual will help.

There’s an art to it. Or rather, a science to it. Or rather, a science to the art of it.

Fortunately, lots of smart, talented people have written about this and shared tips for doing it well. We’ll give you two great examples, below, from two noted learning experts:

  • Connie Malamed
  • Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark

We’ll give you some tips from each of these experts (plus links to other articles that discuss the tips from each book in detail and provide example images), and then we’ll show you some examples put to use in papermaking training.


Training Graphic Tips from the  Book Visual Language for Designers by Connie Malamed

Connie Malamed is one of our favorite instructional design experts, and she’s got a ton of experience in instructional design and visual design.


Her book Visual Language for Designers includes 25 specific techniques for creating effective training visuals. She groups those 25 specific techniques into six categories, including:

  1. Organizing the visuals on screen to make them easier to perceive
  2. Directing the eyes of the learner to the important parts of the visual
  3. Simplifying the image and reducing visual clutter
  4. Making abstract concepts and ideas visually concrete
  5. Creating visuals that bring clarity to complexity
  6. Creating visuals that provide some form of emotional charge or resonance

To read more about each of these 25 techniques, and to see specific examples of each, check out our article Graphic Design Tips for Training Visuals.

Training Graphic Tips from the Book Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark and Chopeta Lyons

Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark is another of our favorite instructional design authors. One thing in particular that stands out about her is her insistence on presenting only evidence-based methods that have been proven to be effective. She authored this book with Chopeta Lyons, another smart cookie, and someone with a specific interest in visuals for learning.

clark book

As was the case with Malamed’s book, the book by Clark and Lyons gives tips for constructing effective training visuals, and groups those tips into specific categories. Those categories include:

  • Decorative graphics (although they include this as a category, they include it only to say don’t use these because they’re not effective)
  • Representational graphics
  • Mnemonic graphics
  • Organizational graphics
  • Relational graphics
  • Transformational graphics
  • Interpretive graphics

Want more details and visual examples of those graphics and information about when to use them? You guessed it. We’ve got an entire blog post decided to explaining what each of those categories mean and showing specific examples of each. Check out our article on Matching Training Graphics to Training Content.

An Example of Better Paper Manufacturing Training for New Hires: Exhaust Gas Scrubbers with Visuals

The courses in the papermaking libraries (pulp, paper, tissue, and corrugated) created by Convergence Training take advantage of special power of graphics to help your new employees get up to speed quickly on essential paper-related training topics.

For example, check out the short sample below taken from our Exhaust Gas Scrubbers training course. (Presenting information in small “chunks” like this is another instructional method that helps new workers, and we’ve discussed it more fully in our article on chunking and a separate article on chunking for papermaking training.)

You can see for yourself–no pun intended–how effective the visuals make this papermaking training.

You can use this tip when you’re creating training materials on your own–just remember to add relevant visuals to your training materials. Or, if you’d like to take advantage of the papermaking training materials by Convergence Training that incorporate life-like visuals, 3-D animations, and more, contact us and let us know what you need.

Other Examples of Visuals Making Paper Manufacturing Training More Effective

Here are a few longer articles that demonstrate specific techniques for creating visuals that make paper manufacturing training materials more effective:

To see some of these tips in action, and learning a bit about safety issues associated with paper manufacturing at the same time, check out this article:

Paper Manufacturing Safety Tips

And although this article doesn’t focus exclusively on visuals, you may find it interesting as well:

15 Tips for Better Paper Manufacturing Training 

Take a second to download our free guide to online training for people in the pulp, paper, tissue, and/corrugated industries since you’re here.

The Papermaker’s Guide to Online Training

Need to know how to use online training tools at your paper manufacturing company? This guide will tell you everything you need to know and will help you get started.

Download Free Guide

Sources: For more information about the studies described above, please see the book Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark, pp. 34-40.

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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