Chunking Mining Safety Training Materials: Improve Your Mine Safety Training

Chunking Mining Safety Training Image

We just wrote an extended blog post that explains the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and gives tips for how to do it.

Click here to read the extended article on chunking.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview of chunking and then would like to see how you can use chunking to make your mining safety training program more effective, read on.

The Bird’s Eye View on Chunking Training Materials

  1. Chunking refers to taking training material (during the design phase), breaking the training materials up into little “bite-sized” parts, and then organizing them in a way that makes the material easier for your employees to learn.
  2. Chunking is helpful because of how our brains work when we learn-in particular, the limits on our working memory to hold only about four bits of information at a time.
  3. Although learners who are novices or experts in a given topic can each only remember about four chunks at a time, experts can remember bigger chunks.
  4. You should arrange chunks within training materials in a way that makes it easier for your employees to understand and remember them. Some organizational methods include job sequence, dependent learning, cause and effect, and whole to parts, but there are more.
  5. Chunking training materials begins at a high level–the entire curriculum, for example–and then works its way down through modules, lessons, courses, and screens (or similar sub-divisions of your training materials).

A quick head’s-up for ya here: We’ve included a free Guide to MSHA Training Requirements at the bottom of this article.

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How to Deliver EHS Training: (Based on ANSI Z490.1, Section 5)

delivering EHS training image (Note: This article is based on the newly revised, 2016 version of ANSI Z490.1.)

Hello. We’re back with our continuing look at effective EHS training. The series takes its cues from and expands on the ANSI Z490.1 standard on EHS training.

In this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Section 5, which is all about delivering EHS training.

The strong focus is on the EHS trainer in this one, plus there’s some stuff about training delivery and training materials.

If you want to download our free 42-page Guide to Effective EHS Training just click that link you just whizzed past. Or you’ll get another chance at the bottom of this article.

So with that said, let’s learn more about effective EHS training delivery, including trainers, training delivery, and training materials, right?

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How to Identify and Close Skill Gaps at Work

identifying-and-closing-the-skill-gap-blogConsider this scenario, if you will.

You’re a training manager. Or maybe you’re someone else who is involved in training–the head of operations, or in HR, or the safety manager.

You or someone else at work determines there’s a performance problem. More specifically, you think your employees may have a skill gap.

What’s the answer? Create and lead some training? Well, maybe. But maybe not.

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that training’s the answer for everything. But there’s nothing worse than creating a training program for a problem that the training can’t solve. You’ve now spent a bunch of money and time creating and delivering the training, and you’ve still got the problem to boot.

The best way to avoid this scenario is to take a step back and analyze the performance problem first. If you learn more about the problem, you can then figure out what the best solution for it is. Maybe it WILL be training, but maybe it will be something else.

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Convergence Mobile Wins Brandon Hall Award for “Best Advance in Performance Support Technology”

brandon-hall-award2

Convergence Mobile has won a silver medal for “Best Advance in Performance Support Technology” in Brandon Hall’s annual Excellence Awards. Our Convergence Mobile solution debuted in 2012 and has seen continued development of new features designed to arm employees with the knowledge they need to make smart operating decisions quickly.

Winning this award validates the hard work our team has put into developing a performance support solution that meets the needs of our industrial and manufacturing clients. All Excellence Award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts. Brandon Hall senior analysts and executives evaluated the series based on innovation, value proposition, and measurable results.

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How to Develop EHS Training (ANSI Z490.1 Section 4)

How to Develop Effective EHS Training Image

(Note: This article is based on the newly revised, 2016 version of ANSI Z490.1.)

Let’s continue our series of articles about ANSI Z490.1, the US national standard that lays out “Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training.”

In this post, we’ll look at Section 4 of the standard, which focuses on how to develop effective EHS training.
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Chunking Manufacturing Training: How to Help Your Employees Learn

Chunking Manufacturing Training Image
We just wrote an extended blog post that explains the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and gives tips of how to do it. Click hereto read the extended article on chunking for training.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview and then would like to see an example of chunking applied to manufacturing training, read on.

The Bird’s Eye View on Chunking Training Materials

  1. Chunking refers to taking training material (during the design phase), breaking them up into little “bite-sized” parts, and then organizing them in a way that makes the material easier for your employees to learn.
  2. Chunking is helpful because of how our brains work-in particular, the limits on our working memory to hold only about four bits of information at a time.
  3. Although learners who are novices or experts in a given topic can each only remember about four chunks at a time, experts can remember bigger chunks.
  4. You should arrange chunks within training materials in a way that makes it easier for your employees to understand and remember them. Some organizational methods include job sequence, dependent learning, cause and effect, and whole to parts, but there are more.
  5. Chunking training materials begins at a high level–the entire curriculum, for example–and then works its way down through modules, lessons, courses, and screens (or similar sub-divisions of your training materials).

(more…)

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Goal Analysis: How to Analyze Goals (So You Can Meet Them)

goal-analysis-postPeople like you and I have goals: “I want to be a good parent” or “I want to be healthier.” Businesses have goals: “We want to be an industry thought leader” or “We want to be cutting edge” or “we want to be lean.” And trainers have training goals for their employee learners: “I want them to be motivated” or “I want them to want to do their jobs well.”

Of course, the point of having goals is that we want to meet them. But it can be hard to meet a goal if you don’t really know what that goal means. Consider our examples above. How does a person know if she’s a good parent or healthier? How does a business know when it’s an industry thought leader, cutting edge, or lean? And how do trainers know if employees are motivated or want to do their jobs well? These goals are abstractions instead of being concrete.

In this post, we’ll show you a method that will help you develop goals that are clearly stated, concrete performances. The reason for doing that is that it makes it easy to tell you’ve reached the goal. And that’s the goal of goals, right?
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Use e-Learning for Standard, Consistent Training Messages

elearning-blog-postWe’re fans of “blended learning” solutions that make use of different types of training activities. This might include written documents, instructor-led training, on-the-job training (OJT), and more.

The idea is to pick the type of training activity that best suits each training need. For example, maybe you really need the real-time, spontaneous feedback that instructor-led training can provide for one training need. Or, maybe the hands-on practice in the real work environment with an experienced co-worker fits the bill for another training need.

When you’re choosing the right activity type, one thing to think about is “Does this allow me to deliver the same, consistent training message every time?” Something we hear again and again from new customers is that they struggle to deliver the same standard, consistent training message on a given topic to each worker, every time they hear the message.

You can see why this is important. For example, you may have a set of policies that you want to make all new employees aware of during their onboarding. Or, maybe you want each employee in the Production department to perform a particular procedure in the exact same way. Or, maybe you want to make sure the message in your yearly refresher training matches the message employees learned the first time they were trained.

Need some e-learning courses for your workplace? Check out our e-learning course libraries and our learning management systems (LMSs). Or, contact us for more information or to set up a demo.

And hey, why not download this free Guide to Effective Manufacturing Training or this Guide to Effective EHS Training while you’re here?

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Improve Troubleshooting Skills with Process Training

Training to Troubleshoot Image
We work with lots of companies who are continually trying to improve the efficiency of their workers, machines, and work processes. This is critical to them because they need to create more product and spend less doing it. Overseas competition has made this need even more pressing, especially since labor costs are often significantly less for companies operating in other nations.

As a result, our customers want to help their workers become more knowledgeable, skilled, capable, and efficient. One customer in particular summed up what many different customers have told me when he said “I want to help my machine operators become machine engineers.” (If you’re out there, Steve, hello–hope you’re doing well.)

When he said he wants his employees to become “machine engineers,” one of the things he means is that he wants his employees to be able to recognize and troubleshoot production problems to keep machinery operating at peak efficiency. But how can a company help their employees improve their troubleshooting skills? One way is through process training. That’s what we’ll discuss in this article.

A related article looks at the development of troubleshooting and problem-solving skills, and how to how employees acquire those skills, in even more depth and detail. Don’t forget to check that one out too.

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Book Review: Robert Mager’s “Preparing Instructional Objectives”

book-reveiwWe just finished reading Robert Mager’s Preparing Instructional Objectives, the classic book on learning objectives that’s also part of the six-book collection, The Mager Six Pack. (Yes, we bought the whole six pack, and you’ll be seeing book reviews about all of them over time).

Here’s our review of the book. You may also be interested in our more in-depth article about Mager’s Performance-Based Learning Objectives, which is the subject of the book.

Mager’s interesting because he’s one of the classic names in the history of instructional design, and this book is interesting because his performance-based learning objectives were very influential in instructional design. Plus, although there have been some changes in thought about learning objectives over time, most notably perhaps about how one presents them to learners, Mager’s emphasis on performance is very much in line with learning theory today (especially the emphasis on training to develop job skills).

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Robert Mager’s Performance-Based Learning Objectives

mager-performance-based-learning-objectives-imageYou don’t have to read up on learning objectives for too long before you run into the name of Robert Mager and hear about his performance-based learning objectives. These are also sometimes called three-part learning objectives or behavioral learning objectives.

This isn’t necessarily the only way to write learning objectives. Smart people have continued to think about training and the development of learning objectives since Mager’s time, after all.

But even though there are other schools of thought about learning objectives, what Mager had to say is still solid advice in many cases. And, as they taught us when we were kids, it’s a good idea to get the basics down before you begin experimenting (while riding bikes, they taught us to ride normally before going with no hands; while playing baseball, they taught us to throw a fastball before trying a curve; while writing, they taught us to print before teaching us cursive).

Mager outlines his theory about the best way to create learning objectives in his classic book Preparing Instructional Objectives. You can read our review of Preparing Instructional Objectives if you’re interested, and we highly recommend reading the book, which is informative, quick, and fun.

Otherwise, here’s the crux of what Mager has to say, below.

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ANSI Z490.1 Sections 1, 2, and 3: A Brief Overview for Effective EHS Training

ANSI Z490.1 Sections 1 2 and 3 Image
(Note: ANSI and ASSE recently released a new, revised edition of ANSI Z490.1. This article has been updated to cover the new, revised, 2016 version.)

In a recent post, we introduced ANSI Z490.1 and gave a quick overview of it and its seven sections.

ANSI Z490.1 is important because it’s the national standard that lists criteria for accepted practices in safety, health, and environmental training. So if EHS training is part of your job responsibilities, it is definitely worth your time to get to know ANSI Z490.1.

So with no further delay, let’s turn our attention to Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the ANSI/ASSE Z490.1 standard on accepted criteria for EHS training.

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