Using Metaphors, Similes, and Analogies to Create Better Training

Metaphors, Similes, and Analogies for Training ImageWhat would you do if someone told you something entirely new and you wanted to make sense of it, remember it, and use it later?

For example, say I started telling you about a game you had never heard of. While you’re trying to figure it out, is it possible you might compare the new game to a game you already know? For example, when learning chess, did you ever compare and contrast it with checkers? Have you ever done anything like that when you’re trying to learn something?

Even better, would it also help if, while I told you about the new game, I explained how it’s similar to and different than a game you know? For example, if I know you understand soccer, and I’m trying to explain American football to you, would it help if I explained some similarities between the two sports (they’re played on a rectangular, grassy field; there’s a ball; you score by moving a ball down the field to a goal or zone at the other end) and also explained some differences (a soccer ball is round, a football is ovular; in soccer you kick the ball, in football you run with it or pass it; in soccer you score by kicking the ball into a net, in football you score by passing a line at the end of the field, etc.)? Don’t you think that process of comparing and contrasting something you already know and something brand new to you helps you learn and remember?

In this article, we’re going to see how using metaphors, similes, analogies, and comparisons/contrasts to create better training materials can help your workers understand, remember, and later use new information on the job more effectively.

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8 Training Mistakes to Avoid

8 Training Mistakes to Avoid Image

Normally when we write about training here, we write about how to design, create, and deliver effective training.

You know-training that works.

Meaning, training that’s designed and delivered in a way that helps your employees learn. That helps them understand, remember, and later apply that training on the job. Training that builds real job skills and changes on-the-job behaviors. Training that makes your workers better at their jobs and more successful. Training that helps your business reach its business goals (which is why you’re providing training, right)?

But today we thought we’d have a little fun and turn our normal blog post on its head by listing some ways to create bad training. And so we’re offering you some tips of training mistakes to avoid.

We all have some ideas about this, no doubt. And so we ask you to please use the comments section below to give some “tips for bad training” or “bad training you’ve observed.”

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Lean Manufacturing and Training: A Look at “Training Within Industry”

Our customers are very interested in being more efficient. That’s why they come to us looking for help with their training programs. But of course training isn’t the only solution they look at to increase efficiency. As a result, many are interested in lean manufacturing principles, and so we’ve recently been running a series of articles on some basic lean concepts. For example, we’ve had articles introducing 5s/lean 6s, kaizen, and kaizen events, and we’ve even listed some ways you can use these lean tools to create a safer workplace.

In this article, we’re going to look at another aspect of lean manufacturing–Training Within Industry (TWI). Training Within Industry is the lean approach to training, has been used by Toyota and other manufacturers throughout the world for decades, and still has valuable lessons that can be put to use in training today.

Read on to learn more.

After you’ve read this article, you might want to read the following articles for a deeper dive on different TWI issues:

And you may also enjoy the following lean manufacturing articles:

And to top it off, we’ve included a FREE “5 PRINCIPLES OF LEAN MANUFACTURING” INFOGRAPHIC you can download at the bottom of this article.

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A Look Into The Future of Manufacturing Training: an Interview with Fred Foster

fred-fosterRecently, Fred Foster, owner of Technical Training Professionals, and fellow 3D-animated training proponent, sat down with us to discuss the finer points of using computer-based courses for technical training, and give us his perspective on the future of manufacturing training.

Read below to see what Fred had to say about manufacturing training in general and the use of 3D graphics in particular.

Once you’ve finished, use the comments section below to include your own predictions for the future of manufacturing training, or do share your thoughts about 3D animation and training, or even stuff like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for manufacturing training

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4 Good Books about Training We’ve Read Lately

We thought we’d pull together a list of a few good books about training or instructional design that we’ve read lately.

If you’ve read any of these, it would be great to hear your thoughts on them. If not, you might want to check one or two out.

Of course, you’re invite to use the comments section below to give us some additional book suggestions as well–we’re always looking for good ones.

And if you’re wondering what’s next on our reading list, it’s this book about “lean” training: Training Within Industry: The Foundation of Lean.

(Note: It’s been a while since we originally wrote this post–so you can read our article about TWI and Lean Manufacturing now, too).

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How to Perform a Task Analysis for Job Training

Task Analysis ImageIn an earlier post focusing on identifying job roles and job tasks, we mentioned the importance of creating (1) a list of the job roles at your site and (2) a list of the job tasks that people in each of those job roles have to be able to perform in order to hold their job.

In this post, we’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve created that list of tasks, and we’ll show you how to perform a task analysis for each task on the list. The idea is that you’ll “break down” each task into the smaller steps or sub-tasks that a person would have to perform to finish the task.

The point in doing this is that once you’ve identified the steps or sub-tasks that make up a job task, you’ll know exactly what you need to teach employees who will have to perform the task properly on the job. You would then create learning objectives, assessments, and the actual training materials.

This is an “instructional design” basic. To see how the task analysis fits into the general flow of training development, you may want to check out 8 Steps to Great Training article and/or download the guide to writing learning objectives at the bottom of this article.

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Business Goals, KPIs, and Job Training

Business Goals, KPIs, and Training ImageJob training shouldn’t be designed or delivered in a vacuum. And you probably know that.

We’ve written a LOT about how training should be delivered with the learners in mind (the employees, that is). And that’s definitely true and important.

But in this article, we’re going to look at training from a different angle: the connection between training and the business itself–in particular, the goals of a business. And we’ll do that by looking at business goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and job training.

Sometimes, trainers forgot to consider this and forget to build it into their training, development, delivery, and evaluation process.

So hopefully this will be a good review and reminder.

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Identifying Job Roles & Job Tasks for Training

Job Roles and Job Tasks ImageBecause we got our start in training workers at paper manufacturing facilities, and because that’s still a core part of our customer base (even if we’ve expanded quite a bit beyond that), we’ve been writing some blog posts recently specifically geared toward training at paper manufacturing facilities.

If you’re not a paper manufacturer, it’s OK–what you’ll read below is true for any job training. So don’t let that introduction scare you away.

What we’re going to cover below are a few things to make sure your training is doing what it’s supposed to do–preparing workers to do what they have to do on the job.

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How to Make Safety Training More Fun and Engaging: Tips from Safety Managers

fun and engaging safety training image

What do YOU do to make your safety training at work fun and engaging for employees?

Recently, we posted that simple question into a number of LinkedIn groups that deal with safety and/or EHS: “What do you do to make your safety training more fun and engaging for your employees?

A large number of safety professionals chimed in to share their safety training tips, and we’ve collected their replies in this article. It’s interesting to read the replies and to see how many of them work along similar themes. If you’re looking for ways to create fun, enjoyable, memorable, and impactful safety training at your work, we think you’ll find some good ideas below.

We’re particularly interested in creating fun safety training because we’re always looking for ways to help our customers create a fun and engaging safety training experience for their workers that includes our safety training eLearning courses (quick sample video below) as well as other types of training in a blended learning safety training solution.

So, let’s get to it. Here’s how to make safety training more fun and engaging, with stories and tips from real-life safety managers and trainers.

Also, since you’re interested in fun safety training, check out these 11 free online safety training word games (like Wheel of Fortune) and these 10 free online safety training word games. You’ll see there are even options to download free copies of some of those safety training games.

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5 Steps of Creating Training–Tips from Cognitive Psychology

5 Steps of Creating Training ImageProbably the most famous “steps of training” guidance is the one created by the instructional theorist Robert Gagne. Gagne’s ideas are justly well-regarded and we’ve already written an article about Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. So feel free to click that link you just passed up if you’re curious.

But in their 2003 book Writing Training Materials that Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything, Wellesley R. Foshay, Kenneth H. Silber, and Michael B. Stelnicki present their own, more updated steps. What makes these steps especially interesting (and I believe useful) is that they’re grounded in the field of cognitive psychology, the study of how people learn, including things like attention, thinking, memory, and problem-solving.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the steps, as you’d guess. And we’ll also present some additional ideas from the book. Of course, we encourage you to buy and read the book on your own, too.

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Training Needs Analysis for Paper Manufacturers

training-needs-analysis-for-paper-manufacturers imageBefore you begin any training program, you should first do a training needs analysis.

If you’re new to training, maybe you don’t know what a training needs analysis is. But not to fear, because we’re about to spell it out for you here.

And even better, because a big chunk of our customer base is made up of paper manufacturers, we’ll put it in those terms. If you’re not a paper manufacturer, but you’re still interested in learning about the training needs analysis, you can still learn from this article. Or you can read this more general training needs analysis article.

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Applying Lean Value Stream Mapping to Corporate Training

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Lean Value Stream Mapping and Training Image
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People familiar with lean manufacturing probably know the concept of value stream mapping.

Value stream mapping is the process of mapping, diagramming, or otherwise analyzing your current production state and a desired, more efficient future state. The point is to map the current state, search for and identify any inefficiencies that cause waste and don’t add value, and then map a new, more efficient process. And then, of course, to make changes to move toward that more efficient desired process.

Sounds simple enough, and it is. The key things to remember are that value stream mapping (1) is focused on the lean idea of making sure production steps are always intended to provide value to the customer and (2) removing all production steps that don’t provide value to the customer or that aren’t otherwise necessary.

Trainers can learn a lot from their lean friends and from these concepts underlying value stream mapping. For one, trainers should always focus on providing value to their customers. It’s sometimes easy to forget this and sometimes easy to forget who the customer(s) is/are, so we’ll get back to this shortly. The second thing trainers can learn from lean value stream mapping is the importance of taking things out of training materials if they don’t provide benefit to the “customers.” Again, we’ll get back to this point.

When you finish up this article, feel free to download the FREE “5 PRINCIPLES OF LEAN MANUFACTURING” INFOGRAPHIC we’ve put at the bottom for you.

You might also want to check out our online courses for teaching employees about lean manufacturing.

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