Evidence-Based Training: Learning Maximizers & Learning Myths (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

In this article, the continuation of our series of interviews with noted learning researcher Dr. Will Thalheimer, we’re going to discuss evidence-based training methods and learning myths with no supporting evidence.

The focus on evidence-based training methods is central to Dr. Thalheimer’s career and work, and it’s been the central focus of our earlier articles with him, which looked at smile sheets, spaced learning, and elearning effectiveness.

In this article, you’ll read about three three models for applying evidence-based training, about some learning methods that many think are proven and effective despite a lack of evidence supporting that, and about the importance of fighting the good fight to identify and use learning methods that truly support the learner.

And since this is the final article in the four-article series, we’d like to issue a big thank you to Dr. Thalheimer for his time and knowledge, both of which have been greatly appreciated. Don’t forget to check out his new model for learning evaluation, which he finished while we were writing this series. Maybe he’ll be nice enough to come back and discuss that with us in the future.

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Evidence-Based Training: Is eLearning More or Less Effective than Classroom Training? (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

Question for you: what’s more effective in aiding employee learning–elearning courses or classroom training?

We asked the noted learning expert Dr. Will Thalheimer to answer that question. And presenting information from his Does eLearning Work? white paper and metastudy, the simple answer he gave was: classroom training < elearning < blended learning solutions.

(If it’s been a while since you last attended math class, that means classroom training is less effective than elearning, which is in turn less effective than blended learning solutions that use both classroom training and elearning.)

But….there’s much more to the answer than that. And in fact, that simple presentation of the answer isn’t just incomplete, it’s misleading.

So we encourage you to read this interview with Dr. Thalheimer to learn more about the effectiveness of elearning and classroom training, and to learn more about how to make both more effective.

If you’ve been reading along lately, you know we’ve also published interviews with Dr. Thalheimer on the topics of smile sheets and spaced learning.

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Evidence-Based Training Methods and Spaced Learning (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

In this article, we’re going to continue our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. Will Thalheimer, and we’ll be getting some tips for using spaced learning to better support learner memory in workforce learning & development efforts. For those of you keeping track at home, you may know that in an earlier article, Dr. Thalheimer gave us some best practices for writing level 1 “smile sheets,” and we’ll continue the focus on evidence-based training methods in this interview with the good doctor.

For those who aren’t familiar with spaced learning, which is also known as spaced practice, the idea is to have the learner re-engage with the learner material at different moments over time. There’s a lot of evidence that shows this really reduces the human tendency to forget job training very quickly, meaning workers will be more likely to remember the training and later apply it on the job to create the desired behavior the training was intended to create.

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Will Thalheimer, he’s a well-known and very credible research- and evidence-based learning professional who runs the Will at Work blog and generally shares useful information for learning professionals. Many, many thanks to Dr. Thalheimer for participating in this interview, the earlier interview, on smile sheets, and two more to be published soon.

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ANSI/ASSE Z490.2 Update: A Key Definition

A little-known poet once asked “what’s in a name?”

It’s not often that you get to refer to William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet when writing about safety training, but events at the most recent meeting of the committee to create ANSI/ASSE Z490.2 as a complement to the existing Z490.1 standard, gave me an opportunity to do just that. (Those events plus the tireless efforts my junior high English teacher, that is.)

But why, you might ask? Because we spent a good deal of time talking about the definition of “online safety training,” which is especially relevant since that’s what the standard is about.

Defining Online Safety Training

Over time, in discussions about the standard and in various drafts of the standard, we’ve been using terms like virtual training, distance training, elearning, online training, and more. And we’ve discussed the amazing variety of types of training this includes–streaming online videos; HTML web pages; elearning courses in SCORM, AICC, and/or xAPI formats; augmented reality viewed through smart glasses; virtual reality; simulations; and more.

So this notion of “what is online safety training” really isn’t as simple as it first appears. Although, perhaps it smells just as sweet by any name.

What are your opinions?

Stay tuned for more about Z490.2 in our next update.

Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide Checklist

Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist

Learn how to evaluate the different online safety training solutions that exist to find one that best fits your company’s needs with our FREE informative guide and checklist.

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Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide Checklist

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Lifelong Learning & Learning to Learn (Arun Pradhan on Learning and the Jobs of the Future)

lifelong learning and learning to learn image

We’re pretty excited because Arun Pradhan, a self-described “learning geek,” a senior learning and performance consultant at DeakinCo., the winner of the Australian Institute of Training and Development’s 2017 L&D Professional of the Year Award, and the creator of the amazing Learn2Learn app has agreed to speak with us about the importance of learning ability in the workplace, being a learning organization, and in particular how employees can learn to learn and become lifelong learners.

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know the importance of learning at work and have a sense that it will become increasingly important in the future. Maybe you’re a manager who wants to learn to improve at your own job while also seeing how you can facilitate employee learning at the same time. Or maybe you’re an employee who knows the value of learning to improve your career opportunities.

Either way, we think you’ll benefit from and enjoy Arun’s insights, and we want to thank him very much for participating in this interview and for all the works he does in workforce L&D.

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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 1 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:

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9 Great Uses for Mobile Training at Work

Mobile Training Image

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.

You might also want to check out our mobile training apps or our 3 Fundamental Uses for Mobile Safety Training article.

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The Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Relations Program (JR): Making Better Managers

Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Relations Program Image

Not that long ago, we wrote an an overview of Training Within Industry (TWI).

As that article explains, TWI was a job training program created by the U.S. government during World War II. And, as it turns out, it had a strong influence on the development of  lean manufacturing in Japan.

TWI includes four primary components–Job Methods, Job Instruction, Job Relations (these three are together known as the “J Programs”), and Program Development.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Job Relations program, also known as the JR program.

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How to Create Better Workforce Development Training

                 

Workforce development is essential for businesses and other organizations in today’s economy. And while there are many aspects to great workforce development, starting with successful onboarding of new employees, workforce development training is a key part of the effort as well.

Yet many organizations don’t have an expertise in training development, and aren’t familiar with the nuts and bolts of how to go about it.

In this article, we’ll give you a simple blueprint to follow when developing workforce development training. Following these steps will get you far, and once you’ve got this down you can learn more and further refine your workforce development training as well as other aspects of your workforce development efforts.

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Tips for Beating the Training Forgetting Curve

Combatting the Training Forgetting Curve Image

In a recent article, we introduced you to the well-documented forgetting curve in training and explained that something called spaced practice can help reduce or even eliminate the forgetting curve.

In this article, we’re going to give you a few more tips for how to design training that combats the forgetting curve and creates memorable training that employees will not only understand during the training, but that they’ll also remember after the training and put to use on the job.

Sounds like good stuff to know, no?

Let’s get started, then.

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6 Steps for Creating Effective Manufacturing Training Programs

Want to know how to design, create, and deliver effective manufacturing training programs at work? The kind of manufacturing training that truly helps workers acquire new knowledge and develop new skills they can perform on the job? The kind that will have a real, measurable effect on key business KPIs such as average time to onboard a new employee and even production, revenue, and profit?

We’ve got a pretty simple, six-step formula for success for you to follow in this article. Just put these six steps into action at your manufacturing facility and you’ll have more skilled workers before you know it. The employees will thank you for it (after all, they want to know how to perform their jobs well) and so will your bosses.

This article explains each of the six steps in a good bit of detail below. But if you really want to take a deep-dive, know that we’ve provided links throughout the article so you can explain various aspects even more.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’ve got a free guide to Effective Manufacturing Training you can download right now, or a 30-minute on-demand webinar on Effective Manufacturing training that you can watch too.

And with that, let’s see what there is to know about effective manufacturing training at work.

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How to Motivate Workers: Developing a More Engaged & Innovative Workforce

Before we begin our article, let’s begin with a teaser to get you interested.

There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.

Daniel Pink, TED Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation

And with that attention-grabbing teaser, let’s return to our article, which ultimately addresses that teaser, explains it, and and offers tips on how to solve the problem…(but know that you can also find the video of that TED Talk near the bottom of this article).

We’re moving into a new era of manufacturing. Or really, we’ve already entered the new era, and things are continuing to change at increasing rates even now.

If you’ve heard people talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, you’ve already heard about it. The same is true if you’ve heard people talking about advanced manufacturing.

And that’s great, because this era holds a lot of exciting promise. But there’s a problem, too. Many employers are struggling to find enough workers with the necessary advanced skills. If you’ve heard of or read articles about the skills gap, you know what we’re talking about.

As a training company servicing the manufacturing industry, we’re dedicated to providing workforce training materials to help workers develop the skills necessary to help their companies thrive in this new, modern economy. Training can and does provide a measurable leg up in the perpetual manufacturing skill arms race.

But while training is helpful, important, and necessary, it can’t be the entire solution. There’s more to it than just that. For one thing, you’ve got to have workers who are motivated and capable of learning new skills–the skills they need today, and the new skills they will need tomorrow.

All that learning and skill acquisition takes motivation. Motivation to learn, motivation to acquire new skills, and motivation to be creative and innovative. But where does all that motivation come from?

Some of the motivation factor is up to the employee, of course. But employers also play a big role in creating and sustaining an environment that encourages motivation, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

In recent years, cognitive scientists, psychologists, behavioral economists, and other experts have learned a lot about what motivates people in their lives and at work. Some of those findings are pretty counter-intuitive.

What’s really stunning is that while some companies are doing the right things on this point, many or even most companies are not. Not only are their management practices, rules, and culture not actively contributing to these desirable workforce characteristics, they’re actively working against and stifling motivation. This is one of the areas of workforce organization where there’s a large gap between what studies and research shows us and what companies really do.

And that’s a shame, since the research is out there and in many cases can be easily applied if companies just look into it and make a few simple changes. Some companies will succeed precisely because they have taken steps to motivate workers to learn and innovate. And other companies will fail not only because they failed to take those steps, but because their culture, rules, and management techniques actually stifled that motivation to learn and create new business value.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips from Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, which focuses on how companies can create a workplace environment that nurtures these important traits in their workers.  Pink’s book is based on and compiles research from a lot of scholars in this field, including Dan Ariely (whose book The Upside of Irrationality: the Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home we’ve written about in the past).

Before you begin reading about how to motivate workers, feel free to check out the short video overview of samples from our online workforce training courses. And as always, let us know if we can help you with your workforce training programs.

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