Using Scenario-based Training for Workforce Learning & Development

using-scenario-based-training imageIf you read current literature on training, one of the things you’ll read about a lot is scenario-based training. This goes by other names, too, including immersive learning and problem-based learning. For this article, we’re going to stick with scenario-based training.

No matter what you call it, there’s a reason why people talk about it a lot. Because it’s an effective way to learn. Within the context of job training, scenario-based training has a couple big advantages. These include:

  • Creating training that more directly matches true performances expected of the employee on the job
  • Making compliance training more active, fun, engaging, and effective
  • Reducing the amount of time it takes for an employee to develop expertise in his or her job (moving employee  from basic, foundational job knowledge and skills to advanced skills that create value for the company more quickly and efficiently)
  • Providing a safe learning environment in which employees can practice and learn from mistakes without harming themselves, machines, or business goals

This article will at least touch on all four of those points. But we’re going to primarily focus on how scenario-based training can reduce the amount of time it takes for an employee to develop advanced job skills and become an expert in his or her field, something everyone wants.

Along the way, we’re going to be focusing our lessons from a book by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark. And we’ll also provide some examples and helpful resources from other influential writers on workforce L&D, including Anna Sabramowicz, Cathy Moore, and Christy Tucker. Hats off to all of them, and please do check out their work and articles (in particular, this interview we had with Anna Sabramowicz about using Storytelling & Scenarios in Job Training).

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Onboarding New Employees: Why and How to Do It

onboarding-new-employeesWhat do you do when a new employee is hired? Do you have a process for onboarding new employees?

Some organizations have no real plan for managing this process at all. Whatever happens, happens, and it varies from one new employee to the next based on a variety of circumstances.

Other organizations have some minimal preparations in place. The person gets a desk, computer, and phone, or the proper tools and safety equipment, and gets to fill out his or her benefit paperwork.

But high-performing organizations have a consistent, well-thought out new employee onboarding process in place. We’ll show you what that involves below. There’s even a checklist at the bottom for you.

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The Past, Present, and Future of Manufacturing Training

past-present-future-of-manufacturing-trainingTraining within manufacturing organizations has undergone a lot of changes over time, and there are plenty more changes coming.

In fact, even if you’re not aware of it, changes are happening right now. And the infrastructure that will lead to even more changes is coming soon.

If this seems interesting to you–and if you’re in manufacturing training, it should, because it directly affects your present and future realities–you may find the quick overview below of interest.

This is also a great post for including your own thoughts at the bottom, since so much of the future is speculative. Please share your own experiences and thoughts and let us learn from you.

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Determining Training ROI: Isolating the Effects of Your Training Program

Isolating the Effects of Training Programs on Business Goals ImageIn some recent articles, we’ve been looking at issues related to determining if your training program is having a desired positive effect, determining how big of a positive effect it’s having, and communicating that information internally within the training department but also externally with others in your workplace.

For example, we discussed the importance of aligning training with business goals, gave an overview of the commonly used Kirkpatrick evaluation model, and in our last article that touched on these issues, we looked at a way to evaluate the movement of a key performance indicator (KPI) after a training program was held.

In that same article, we also noted that although it’s great if you initiate a training program and see a KPI (or several KPIs) that the program is intended to effect respond in a positive manner, that’s not the whole story. Because there are other factors that may have influenced that KPI at the same time. And if that’s the case, who’s to say that the newly implemented training program truly deserves all the credit? Or how much of the credit it does deserve? Or even if it deserves any credit for the improved KPI?

And that introduction leads us straight to the point of this article. Today, we’re going to explain a few methods of “isolating the effects of your training program.” What this means is determining how much of that desired increase in the KPI your training program was responsible for–if any.

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Big Data and Big Learning Data

big data and big learning data imageIf you live in today’s world, read the papers, listen to the radio, or (more to the point) get on the Internet, you’ve heard the phrase: BIG DATA. And maybe you’ve heard of BIG LEARNING DATA too.

We know big data is about data, and we know if we consult our friends at Merriam-Webster, they’ll tell us that in general terms, data is “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something,” and in terms that are more specifically relevant to this article, data is “information that is produced or stored by a computer” (bonus points if you happened to know that “data” is the plural version of “datum,” grammar junkie).

And of course, we know that the word “big” placed before “data” means there’s a LOT of data. It doesn’t really matter exactly how much data you’re talking about. It’s enough data that it’s hard to manage, analyze, and make sense of with common software applications (read: Excel spreadsheets).

But how much do you know about big data? And in particular, how much do you know about how it’s being used and will be used at your workplace, and how it will be used in your training programs and your learning & development programs?

If you’re a little fuzzy on all of this yourself, take a few minutes to read this article. It may provide a few “a-ha” moments, give you an insight or two, and help you better prepare for the big data revolution we’re told is coming soon.

We’d also very much value your own insights, thoughts, predictions, opinions, and comments in the comments field at the end of this article.

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How to Measure the Impact of Training on Business Goals and KPIs

Measure Impact of Training on Business KPI Image

You can train people all you want, but it’s nice to know if the training is working. More specifically, is it helping your company reach a business goal?

Actually, that’s not just nice. It’s something that’s very important to know. Otherwise, you may be just wasting time and money. And you may even be without a job soon if you can’t prove this.

Luckily, you can use training data from your learning management system (LMS), along with other KPI data (for example, KPIs about operations or safety), to create a compelling visual display of the positive effects of your training program. And as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We’re going to give you a couple of quick examples of how to do just that in the post below.

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The Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Instruction Program (JI)

In a recent article, we provided an overview of Training Within Industry (TWI).

TWI is a training program that was created by the U.S. government during World War II. In the long-term analysis, however, TWI was more influential overseas than it was in the U.S. In particular, it really caught on in Japan, and it could be said that TWI was one of the things at the roots of the Japanese lean manufacturing revolution.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Job Instruction (JI) program.

Before you get started on TWI and JI, feel free to check out the sample video of some highlights from our online workforce training courses for manufacturers and our online lean manufacturing training courses, plus check our our learning management system for managing and administering all your job training programs.

If you’re interested in Training Within Industry (TWI), you might also find these posts about TWI interesting:

And for more on Lean Manufacturing, try these:

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Level 4 Training Evaluations (Mind Those Business Goals)

level 4 training evaluation imageKnowing if your training program is having a positive effect on relevant KPIs, and is helping move your company toward its business goals, is a good thing.

Trainers do this by performing what’s known as a level 4 evaluation (in the traditional four-level Kirkpatrick training evaluation model). There are other training evaluation models as well, and it’s worth exploring them too, but we’ll stick to Kirkpatrick and level 4 in this article.

By focusing on level 4, we’ll be paying attention to the real reason you’re creating training in the first place: to create desired behaviors, to improve performance, and ultimately to contribute to progress toward business goals like higher profits, lower costs, fewer accidents, etc.

Here we go. 

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9 Times When eLearning Is Better Than Instructor-Led for Safety Training

When Online Training Is Better Than Instructor-Led Training Image

A lot of people think that instructor-led training is ALWAYS better than e-learning, also known as online training.

And, based on our experience, it seems that this opinion is held especially strongly among safety professionals.

But, the truth is, there are often scenarios where elearning is as effective (and at times possibly more so) than instructor-led training. In this post we’re gonna take this topic head on, and give some examples when elearning is the most appropriate training method to use.

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Training and Balanced Performance Measurement Frameworks: What They Are And How They Work

Performance Measurement Frameworks Image

Job trainers have a lot of things to check off their to-do list.

One is to evaluate the learning of employees who have completed training. This means things like assessments and tests, seeing if people can pass tests, have necessary knowledge, and (most importantly) have acquired necessarily skills/can perform necessary tasks.

The second is to determine if the training is having a positive effect on the relevant performance metrics for the company and, if possible, to determine an ROI for the training (this is how you’re going to really prove your worth and really prove your training is effective). In terms of Kirkpatrick’s training evaluations, we’re talking about the elusive but equally important Level 4 here.

But a lot of trainers go to school and learn a lot about instructional design theory while learning next to nothing about performance metrics (this includes me-guilty). As a result, it’s not always clear how to start showing if training has had a positive effect on those performance metrics.

To help solve this problem, we thought we’d give you an introduction to some of the theory behind the development of meaningful workplace performance metrics, and in particular to what are known as “balanced performance metrics.”

This will be one of a series of articles we’ll write on how training is related to performance metrics and KPIs not just for the training department but for the company as a whole, so keep your eyes on future articles for more on this topic.

What you’ll learn here is based off a handy little guide called Designing Metrics: Crafting Balanced Measures for Managing Performance by Dr. Bob Frost. We found this book to be really helpful, pleasantly brief, and to-the-point. We recommend you buy a copy if this article sparks your interest, and we note that Dr. Frost has written a few other books that look interesting as well. In particular, Measuring Performance: Using the New Metrics to Deploy Strategy and Improve Performance looks like it might be good and a logical next step to this book.

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12 Ways to Administer Instructor-Led Training with an LMS

Administering Instructor-Led Training with an LMS

When many people think of learning management systems (LMSs), they think of “online training” or eLearning courses.

On the flip-side, what many people don’t think about is instructor-led training, classroom-style training, face-to-face training, field-based training, OJT, weekly safety meetings, and similar things that happen when people are working together to learn.

But you CAN use an LMS to administer instructor-led training and similar face-to-face training in different working environments, and doing so makes life easier for training administrators and for employees as well.

In this article, we’ll look at some examples of how you can  use an LMS to administer instructor-led training at your workplace and show how doing so makes work easier and more efficient and also makes your blended learning training solution more effective.

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Online Training Basics: Learning Management Systems, Authoring Tools, and SCORM

Online Training Basics Image

New to eLearning? If so, there are some things it helps to learn sooner instead of later.

But don’t worry, they’re not hard to pick up.

So let us get you up to speed on a few 100-level, eLearning basics in this article:

  • Learning management systems (LMSs)
  • Authoring tools
  • SCORM

Get a handle on these three and you’ve pushed yourself ahead from complete novice/deer in the headlights to someone who’s not lost in conversations with eLearning developers, trainers, and instructional designers, and other folks who talk about online training. Nice!

Once you’ve got these three basic terms down, feel free to move on to our Online Safety Training Glossary to learn even more (most of the terms apply to all online training, not just safety training).

PLUS, you can read (or watch a recorded webinar) to learn how to use an authoring tool to create an eLearning course in SCORM format and then import it into a learning management system (LMS)!

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