Six Tips for Better On-the-Job Training (OJT)

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On-the-job training programs, also known as OJT, have a long history in manufacturing. And many times, they’re quite effective. However, if they’re not well-designed, the results can be less impressive.

What’s the story at your workplace? Are you struggling to get better results from your on-the-job training (OJT) programs?

If so, here are some quick tips to keep in mind. Use the Comments section below to add your own or ask some questions, too.

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What’s Your Training ROI?

whats-your-training-roi-imageIf you Google “Training and ROI,” you’ll get lots of hits. About 50,100,000 in my case this morning.

And there’s a good reason for that: people want to know if the investment in workforce training is worth the cost. And they often have to justify the cost of that to their bosses.

But let’s take a step back. Instead of trying to set a specific dollar figure on the value of an job training, let’s consider some ways that training programs, including training programs delivered through a learning management system (LMS), can affect your bottom line by increasing production and efficiency and/or by cutting waste and costs.

All of these examples are drawn directly from discussions with new customers after they purchased an LMS and/or workforce training materials from Convergence Training.

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Make Better Training Materials With Instructional Design Checklists

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Like you, the folks at Convergence Training are always trying to learn more and be better at our jobs. We take courses, go to conferences, read books, and prowl the web.

Yadda yadda yadda.

During a recent web prowl, I came across a fascinating and helpful discussion in LinkedIn’s “Instructional Design & E-Learning Professionals’” group (note: that link will probably only work if you’re a LinkedIn member and a member of that group).

Linda (Berberich) Ross, a Senior Principal Learning Architect at Oracle Corporation (and a former coworker of yours truly, by coincidence), began the thread, which was titled “Instructional Design Review Checklist.”

It was a great discussion and many people provided links to helpful instructional design checklists to use for course development.

We’ve summarized those checklists here, including the links so you can check ’em out yourself.

Thanks to all those who participated in the original discussion on LinkedIn, and to my former coworker Linda for starting it all up.

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Why Don’t People Remember Their Training? Five Steps of Learning and Applying Information

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You tell them, and you tell them, and you tell them again, and they still don’t learn.

Sound familiar? Have you ever uttered these words to yourself after a training session?

If so, you may need to remind yourself of some old cliches:

  • Telling ain’t training
  • Learners aren’t empty vessels you pour information into
  • Don’t be the sage on the stage
  • Don’t spray and pray

So if you hold training sessions, and your employees seem to forget the training immediately, it may be time to quit blaming them and turn your thoughts inward: what can you do to create more memorable training experiences? How can you help workers remember and apply what they learned during training when they’re back on the job?

To that end, we’re going to give you a quick overview of how people process, store, and later retrieve information. This is the first step to making training that’s more memorable.

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Checklists and the Convergence LMS

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Many people use checklists in different walks of life. Chances are you do too.

If you’re like us, you probably use a checklist when you go to the grocery store. Bananas–check. Milk–check. Vegetables–check. And so on. This is true even if your grocery checklist now comes to you in the form of a text message, as mine does.

But we know that checklists can be used for more than getting tonight’s dinner. In fact, we think they’re essential to many workplaces, jobs, and work processes. And so you’ve expect them to be built into a robust learning management system (LMS), on-the-job training programs, and work support systems.

Let’s take a closer look.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider. We make a series of learning management systems (LMSs), e-learning courses, and more. Contact us for more information.

Also, while you’re here, download these two free training guides:

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Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist Manifesto”: All About Checklists

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We’re big fans of the surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande here at Convergence Training. And we’re also big fans of checklists, which are very useful in several manufacturing contexts, including operations, quality, and safety.

So you can imagine how we felt when we discovered Gawande’s book “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” in our local book store.

We were intrigued. We were excited. We bought and read it, and we suggest you do too. Especially if you want to read a good book about standardized job roles and the use of checklist for better job performance. (more…)

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Essential Steps on the Way to Teaching Something: Robert Gagne’s “Nine Events of Instruction”

Instructional Design Basics

Have you heard the Miles Davis song “Seven Steps to Heaven?”

Well, this post isn’t about that song. Although it’s a great tune, to be sure. You’ve got to love that bass playing by Ron Carter and you can tell that this band was on its way to being Miles’ next great quintet.

Why mention the song, then? To make a comparison between the song title and the real topic of this post, of course. The title of Davis’ tune alludes to two things. The first is a sequential, orderly process—the seven steps. And the second is the desired end place—heaven.

There’s something similar in instruction (or training), too. It’s called the Nine Events of Instruction, and it’s based on a theory by instructional designer Robert Gagne.

Just like the Davis song title, Gagne’s theory also suggests a sequential, orderly process–the nine steps. And it leads to a desired end place–effective instruction/training. If you’re in the world of instructional design, training, or human performance improvement, effective training is the desired end place you’re interested in. So we don’t have to tell you why you’d want to know what those nine events are.

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Improving OJT with an LMS

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Note: An earlier blog post gave some tips for setting up effective on-the-job training (OJT) programs at work. It’s not necessary to read that post before reading this one, but if you want to, it’s there for you.

If you’re giving some thought to the best ways to implement an OJT program at work, you’re already making some good initial steps. But have you thought about how your OJT program could benefit if you use it in combination with a learning management system (LMS)?

In this article, we’ll take a look.

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Tips for Great On-the-Job Training (OJT) Programs

OJT Training Tips

Almost every workplace does some form of on-the-job training (OJT). In many cases, especially at companies in manufacturing or industrial industries, a good deal of that OJT training occurs when an inexperienced worker follows a more experienced worker around on the job. This is often called “shadowing” or “following.”

The results from OJT training involving shadowing can be mixed at best. In some cases, job knowledge is transferred effectively, and the less-experienced worker ends up being able to perform all of the necessary job tasks. In other cases, though, things don’t go so well, and workers are left without the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to succeed at their jobs.

Obviously, companies can’t afford to have OJT programs that don’t effectively train their employees. Plus, it puts the employee being trained in an unnecessarily difficult spot. But what can be done?

Below are some tips to get your OJT programs headed in the right direction. They’re not the full story, but they’ll get you moving forward and making progress.

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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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