Putting Adult Learning Principles to Work

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If you’ve studied different ways to make the training at your work place better, you’ve probably noticed a few things. The first is that a lot of the ideas are presented in difficult, specialized language that you wouldn’t hear at the water cooler. And the second is that it’s not always clear how to put these different ideas to work. And hey, to expand that, maybe you’ve noticed that employees often don’t remember or apply the training on the job.

Let’s see if we can help you with those problems so you can make your job-training programs better. Specifically, we’ll list and define six adult learning principles and give you some tips on how to put them to work in your training.

Understanding adult learning principles will help you create training materials and a training program that helps adults learn. Without this understanding, your training program won’t be as effective.

Once you’ve got these adult learning principles down and know how to use them while designing, developing, and delivering training, there’s more to learn and do. But this is certainly a great place to start. 

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Convergence Mobile Training Coming Soon

We’re preparing for the upcoming release of Convergence Mobile, our tablet-based mobile training solution. Designed to integrate seamlessly with our Convergence Learning Management System (LMS), Convergence Mobile is an essential on-the-job training tool.

Convergence Mobile puts information in the hands of workers in the field, leading to decreased downtime and production expenses, and makes it easier to train workers in their work environment, which cuts the cost of training while at the same time making it more effective.

If you’re Convergence LMS user, you’ll soon be able to add this fully-integrated mobile component to your training program. And if you’re not yet a Convergence customer, the addition of Convergence Mobile to the powerful features in Convergence LMS should open your eyes to a whole new world of training opportunities.

Key Features

Work Performance Support Delivery: Use the tablet’s built-in barcode scanner to view a list of any training activity or reference material related to a machine or work area and then view that material instantly. Get access to the information you need when you need it most—on the job.

On-the-Job Training (OJT) Skill Demonstrations and Approvals: With Convergence Mobile’s Instructor Tools, a supervisor can give credit to an employee for properly demonstrating skills, procedures, or knowledge in the field. The supervisor can check the employee after each item is completed, and both the employee and supervisor can sign a digital document to confirm the training is complete. Training data is automatically synched with other employee training records in Convergence LMS.

Fully Automated Training Verification: Create training activities that ask employees to identify machines, machine components, or work areas. Then let the employee take the Convergence Mobile tablet in the field and use the built-in barcode scanner to complete the identifications. Let Mobile save your money by freeing up supervisors for more important jobs.

Full PC Functionality: Convergence Mobile isn’t just a learning device; it provides you with a modern, wi-fi-enabled, touch-screen PC running Windows 7. If you can do it on a laptop, you can do it on a tablet. Send emails, write notes, update spreadsheets, and surf the internet.

Flexible Hardware Options: Convergence Mobile can run on any Windows-based tablet. From rugged, shock-proof workhorses, to slim, lightweight portables, run Mobile on the hardware most appropriate for the job.

Convergence Mobile will begin to be available to current Convergence LMS users beginning in December 2012, with a full release date planned for early 2013. Stay tuned for updates.

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Getting Better at Work (A Review of Atul Gawande’s Book “Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance”)

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When I’m not at work, I read a lot of stuff directly related to my work. This includes lots of books on instructional design, training, learning and development, and performance improvement. And it includes books on safety and safety management. And on manufacturing, maintenance, and reliability.

Sometimes, though, I like to kick back and read something different. I even retreat into the pure escapism of a novel sometime (most recent novel, as of October 31, 2018: The Song of Achilles). But ignoring the occasional novel, even if a book I’m reading isn’t directly related to my work, it’s often indirectly related. And that’s the case with a book I just finished: Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, by Atul Gawande.

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Modernize Your Workforce Training to Increase Efficiency

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A message from Kenny Dellavalle, Operations Manager of Convergence Training

The most successful modern businesses are ultra-efficient and advanced in everything they do, including how they educate their workforces. Successful businesses understand that a good training program more than pays for itself—it makes money.

A good training program educates workers quickly, minimizing downtime. A good training program distributes knowledge throughout an organization, where and when it’s needed. A good training program ensures workers have the correct information, across the organization, and this minimizes mistakes. In some industries, a good training program keeps workers physically safe by educating them about hazards. With all of these benefits, a good training program makes money.

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5 Reasons Why More US Manufacturers are Using Online Training

While many U.S. industrial facilities still use time-consuming classroom training for repetitive site-specific orientations, more progressive manufacturers are turning to custom online training to reduce injuries, lower costs, and make better use of valuable classroom training time. Here are five important reasons why.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider that specializes in training for manufacturing and industry. We make a series of learning management systems (LMSs), many library of e-learning courses, custom training solutions, and more. Contact us for more information.

While you’re here, feel free to download this free Guide to Effective Manufacturing Training, too.

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Updates & Edits – The Hidden Benefits of 3D Animated Training

In addition to the visual appeal and technical detail delivered through 3D animation and computer graphics, some other hidden benefits really start to show up when edits and updates are required. And edits are more common than most clients expect, in the form of adding, removing, or altering visual elements due to client policy changes, compliance requirements updates, or even evolving brand aesthetics.

For example, a client recently requested an update to a custom training course we produced for them several years ago. They had recently switched to a new type of chemical tote, or bulk liquid container, and they wanted the training to accurately reflect that as well as the procedural changes involved in handling the new equipment. Since we modeled the work environment and visual assets in the training on the client’s warehouse, we were able to model the new type of tote in 3D, put it appropriately into the training, and update the edit for a completely seamless update. Because this client also used our online learning management system, we could republish the new version of the course with no interruption to their intensive training schedule.

In the old days of live-action video training, matching this level of visual and audio continuity would have been nearly impossible. Very likely, the old video would simply become obsolete and the cost of production would have been lost in favor of a completely new production. So by starting with 3D animated training and computer graphics, clients get the benefits of seamless edits, consistent visual quality, and training that has a much longer shelf-life than traditional live-action video.

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What Makes Convergence Courses Awesome

Welcome to our first official Blog-Swap! Below, is a guest post by Kelly Meeker, Community Manager at OpenSesame.com, one of our reseller partners. Among other services, OpenSesame sells our eLearning courses directly into client learning management systems.

At OpenSesame, the world’s elearning marketplace, we work with customers daily to select off-the-shelf elearning courses to meet their organization’s learning needs. The OpenSesame course catalog currently features more than 10,000 courses from more than 100 different sellers. Day after day, customers love safety and compliance training courses because they are:

Chunky.
Convergence has a wide selection of courses on safety and compliance topics, including everything from slips, trips and falls to using lasers safely. (Who could ask for anything more?) To make sure their content is easily understandable, Convergence has ensured each course is a short, digestible chunk that covers a specific topic. This means learners don’t waste time wading through hours of content to find the one nugget they need because each course is targeted and to the point. Customers can mix and match different Convergence courses to build a safety curriculum that meets their organization’s specific needs.

3D.
Convergence uses excellent, realistic 3D animations that bring safety topics to life. With realistic demonstrations of workplace challenges, as well as the safe practices that promote a healthy workplace, Convergence makes it easy to understand the information and apply it in your own workplace.

Fast-paced.
Finally, Convergence doesn’t beat around the bush, repeat themselves or hem and haw. Each course covers essential topics directly, with clear examples that move at the speed of life.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider with many libraries of e-learning courses, several different learning management systems (LMSs), and more. Contact us for more details or to set up a demo.

manufacturing-training-guide

 

Kelly Meeker is the Community Manager at www.OpenSesame.com, a marketplace for buying and selling elearning courses. Connect with her at @OpenSesame.

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Choosing Training Management Software

If you’re in charge of instituting an enterprise-wide computer-based training program at your company, you’ll quickly discover there are a lot of potential choices out there. How do you choose the training software that best fits your company? First off, I’m not going to pretend that this is an unbiased article. Our LMS software, Convergence Server Enterprise, is fantastic and quite frankly I think it’s the only one you will need. In this post I’m going to tell you why.

So let’s get straight to the point. Why should you choose our training management software?

It’s easy for learners to use – With a simple to navigate training home page, our user interface provides an ease-of-use for all levels of learners, including those who may be novices at using a computer. Your learners will get clear instruction on what training they are assigned, how to access their assigned training, and the ability to track their overall training progress.

It’s easy for administrators to use – With a wide range of reporting and administrative options, you have the ability to track and report on your organization’s training program ranging from qualifications, classroom training, and task based events. Our platform allows you to mirror your organization’s structure (locations, regions, sites, departments, job codes, etc.) and assign, track, and report on training throughout your entire organization. This allows you to easily and efficiently assign, track and report at any level of your organization. In addition, training status reports can be scheduled for automatic email delivery to anyone in your organization.

It tracks ALL training – Our LMS was created for the high demands of industrial safety compliance. That means it is set up to be able to track ALL of your training initiatives—not just computer-based training, like some software. With Convergence Server Enterprise, you can assign and track on-the-job (OJT) training, classroom sessions, third-party trainers and contractors. This flexibility reflects the diverse amount of training that goes on at large companies, especially ones that require safety compliance.

It can deliver high-bandwidth training fast – Do you have large training videos that are difficult to access between facilities? Our training system hosts large files locally, so that learners can access these files immediately, with no delays. Because our system was created primarily for large industrial clients who use a lot of high-bandwidth training videos, and because we develop our own multimedia training content, this is an area where we excel.

It lets you create your own training – Our training management system is technically what is known as a learning content management system, which means you can use it to create your own computer-based content and tests. You can import existing SCORM or AICC-compliant training materials, or use popular content authoring tools to convert your PowerPoint presentations or documents into interactive training. You can create quizzes and tests in multiple formats, and upload documents and images to go with these questions.

It gives you many reporting options – A good training management system should give you efficient management tools. Our system lets you create status reports on your training program, and send out those reports in a variety of formats to the people that need to see them. You can set up automated email delivery of these reports to specific recipients so that administrative time is reduced and accountability can be extended to all levels of your organization.

It’s infinitely scalable for your company’s growth – Convergence Server Enterprise was built to be a solution for all businesses, no matter their size. Its scalability means it can be initially installed at just a few sites and then scaled up over time to include the entire organization. It will be a viable solution for your company to better deliver, track, and report of all of your organization’s training now and into the distant future.

Our training management system was created from working alongside large companies that require efficient and reliable training management for their safety compliance record-keeping. When you choose Convergence Server Enterprise, you get the result of this evolutionary design process and can rest assured you’re using a trusted solution.

Call us or email us now to schedule a no-pressure demonstration where you’ll be able to navigate in the program and see first-hand its strengths.

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Benefits of 3D Graphics in Training

For those of you curious about the power of our 3D animation, take a look at this recent comment from a customer who purchased our Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety DVD:

“Graphics were great! The information in the DVD was excellent, but what really stood out to me were the graphics. When I showed it in our safety meeting it definitely kept everyone’s attention and in turn everybody listened to the information better. It was definitely worth the price.”

In safety training, holding the attention of your employees is sometimes half the battle! An exciting visual format focuses the viewer’s attention and prevents their mind from wandering. We create 3D scenes, equipment, and environments that produce cinematic, visually exciting scenarios that keep people’s interest. But pretty pictures are only half the battle.

Some of our most effective use of 3D animation is to visually demonstrate critically important concepts that can be next to impossible with live-action video. For example, in our Compressed Gas safety video, we blow stuff up! But we also create scenes for visual impact based on actual incident reports, not just for fun. OK, it is fun… but we take our work very seriously! Another cool use of 3D is when we show gas molecules being condensed into a cylinder. Imagine trying to do that with a video camera!

So check out our Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety video and take a moment to see some of our other work… You won’t look at safety training the same way again.

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An Online LMS for Way Less Than a Trip to the Emergency Room

Convergence Training is bringing safety training tools to just about any business. Soon, pretty much any company will be able to train, track, report, and get important notifications anywhere at any time for way less than a trip to the ER.

Convergence WebExpress is our new Internet-based training delivery and management system. It’s an online learning management system, or LMS, without the expensive servers or sophisticated software. Keep reading to find out more.

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Training Programs and Return on Investment

At first glance, calculating the return on investment (ROI) of a product, including a training program, is relatively simple. You begin by assigning a monetary value to the benefit gained from the product. Next, you divide that benefit by the cost of the product. The result, expressed as a percentage, is the ROI.

In equation form, ROI = [Benefit/Cost] x 100.

Let’s consider an example. Say your company spends $100,000 in one year to establish a new division. By the end of the year the division has returned a total of $125,000 in revenue. The cost is the money spent over the year on the new division: $100,000. The benefit is the revenue brought in minus the cost: $125,000 – $100,000, or $25,0000. Now let’s plug those figures into our simple ROI equation:

ROI = [Benefit/Cost] x 100
= [$25,000/$100,000] x 100
= .25 x 100
= 25 percent

Because our time frame was one year, the ROI is 25 percent per year.

You can then use the ROI to determine the break-even point of the investment. In our example, the new division with an ROI of 25 percent per year has a break-even point of four years (100/25 = 4).

However, calculating ROI is not always that simple. It can be difficult to accurately assign financial values to the cost and benefits of any product, and that’s true for training programs as well.

Costs of a Convergence Training Program and Your Current Training Program

To calculate the potential ROI of a new Convergence training program, you’ll need to determine the costs of both the Convergence program and your current training program. Determining the cost of your current program is important because the cost savings between a Convergence program and your current program is one part of the benefit of the Convergence program (but not all of the benefit).

Some costs of a training program are easy to identify. For example, if your company currently pays a consultant to create a training program, that’s part of the program’s cost. Alternately, if Convergence created a training program for your company, your payment for that program would be part of the cost.

But many companies significantly underestimate the costs of their current training program. For example, they may think their costs are no greater than the fees paid to a consultant to create their program. But this neglects many other costs that should be assigned to the training program as well: the salary paid to supervisors who deliver the program; the wages—including possible overtime wages—paid to operators who take the training; administrative costs to track and report on the training as well as to create records of training; facility and/or equipment rental; the expense to create documents, and more. These expenses often wind up allocated in the wrong budget, making training appear much less expensive than its true cost.

The two hypothetical case studies below demonstrate how to assess the costs of your current training program and a Convergence training program and illustrate how a Convergence training program can save money on training costs.

Training Costs Scenario 1 (Hires Retired Operator to Create Training Program)

In Scenario 1, a facility hires a retired operator to work as a consultant and put together documentation that will be part of a training program for qualifying future paper machine operators. The company tasks its own engineers or operators with presenting the material the retired operator creates, and schedules employees working through train-up ladders to attend classroom sessions in large groups to receive the training.

The first cost the facility faces is paying the contractor on an hourly basis to put together the training information. That cost can be significant, even though there’s no guarantee the contractor has the specialized skills necessary to create effective training materials suited for adult learning styles.

The second cost the company faces is the expense of the salaries and wages paid to the engineers or operators while they present the material. This cost is often kept in the general operating budget instead of being correctly assigned as a training expense.

Additionally, the facility incurs the cost of paying the workers to attend training sessions. Because the training is presented to large groups of workers in a classroom scenario, the workers may have to attend after their regular hours in order to make the schedules work, necessitating overtime pay. This is yet another cost that some companies neglect to consider when totaling their training expenses.

Finally, the company must factor in all of the other costs result from the training program. Some facilities employ a full-time worker just to coordinate the schedules of the trainers and trainees. Additional expenses can include the costs of renting a facility or equipment, creating training documentation, travel expenses, and more. Again, many companies fail to allocate these expenses correctly.

A thorough assessment shows that training expenses in Scenario 1 are $75,000 per year. Over an eight-year period, training costs total $600,000.

Training Costs Scenario 2 (Convergence Creates Training Program)

The next step is to calculate the costs the same facility would pay with a Convergence training program. The hypothetical case study below demonstrates the process.

In Scenario 2, the facility tasks Convergence with capturing the key training information from a variety of sources, including operators, existing documentation, technical drawings, verbal discussions, and visual inspections. Convergence then creates an interactive, visually compelling, self-paced study program that is available for employees at the facility 24/7 and is easily monitored and measured by people in supervisory positions. The program supplements online information with the ability to track and record traditional methods of training via structured lists of tasks that require supervisory approval as well as a method to credit time to individuals participating in class sessions.

The initial investment of setting up the initial training is $200,000. However, the Convergence program includes several features that drastically reduce the annual costs associated with the current program. Because the employees can take many courses at a computer, the company is able to cut down the use of supervisors and engineers as instructors. In addition, since individual workers can take courses on their own during slow periods of their day, overtime payments for training are significantly reduced. Finally, the tracking, reporting, and archiving features of the Convergence LMS help to cut the administrative costs of the current program. Therefore, the annual costs are reduced from $75,000 to only $20,000 per year. As a result of the savings, the facility can have the materials updated every 3 years at an expense of $40,000 per update. Over the same 8-year period, the costs of the Convergence training program are $420,000.

Chart C illustrates the costs of the two training programs. The higher initial costs of the Convergence program are quickly offset by its lower annual costs, creating a total savings of $180,000 over the eight-year time period.

My next post will discuss hard and soft benefits and how those would affect your decision making when it comes to implementinga training soluion.

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