Effective Paper Manufacturing Training Programs: Better Training Through “Chunking”

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We just wrote an extended blog post explaining the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and giving tips of 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 chunking can make your paper manufacturing training materials more effective, read on.

The Importance of More Effective Paper Manufacturing Training

Paper manufacturers face a series of difficult issues these days. For one, they have to complete with overseas producers who manufacture paper at lower labor costs. For another, they’ve got an aging workforce and the need to quickly “train up” new replacements that are young, bright, but inexperienced.

We have customers who have told us that it has typically taken 30 years to train a new hire to fill a high-level paper machine operator job. Faced with the challenges above, paper manufacturers realize they have to condense this training cycle. And that’s why it’s increasingly important to turn to the field of instructional design when creating training material for this industry.

Instructional design is the study of how to design, create, and deliver the most effective training materials. It’s based not just on things that people did in the past or “things my teachers did in school.” Instead, it’s based on a scientific knowledge of how the brain works to process, store, retain, recall, and use information (known as cognitive science). Even better, instructional design is backed up with studies, evidence, and statistical data (see the classic book Evidence-Based Training Methods by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark for an example).

One instructional design technique based on an understanding of how the brain works is called “chunking.” We’ll explain it briefly, below, and show an example of chunking put to use in our Paper, Pulp, Tissue, and Corrugated e-learning libraries for paper manufacturers.

Convergence Training is a training provider that makes a series of learning management systems (LMSs) for importing, creating, assigning, delivering, tracking, and reporting on training materials of any type. In addition, we make hundreds of e-learning courses, including courses on paper, pulp, tissue, corrugated, health & safety, manufacturing, and more.  We’ve even got apps for mobile devices. Contact us for more information.

And hey, while you’re here, why not download our FREE GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE MANUFACTURING TRAINING?

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).

An Example of Chunking Paper Training for Effective Paper Manufacturing Training

At Convergence Training, we use chunking techniques when we design and create our e-learning modules. And that pays off for our customers because their employees learn the materials more quickly, readily, and effectively.

For example, consider our  Lime Mud Washers e-learning course (which is one title in our Paper Manufacturing course library) and consider how the various aspects of chunking, described below, will make it easier for your employees to understand this critical paper manufacturing technology.

Chunking Within Our Paper Manufacturing Curriculum

  1. The course is just one part of our Recaust series of courses.
  2. That is just one part of our Pulp Mill library.
  3. And that is just one part of our Paper Manufacturing curriculum.

Chunking Within the Course

  1. The entire course is only 16 minutes long, including the content screens, practice questions, and course-ending test.
  2. The course is composed of multiple screens, each quite short.
  3. The course includes practice questions every few screens to review new material.

Chunking Within the Screen

The screen in the sample (below) runs for only 23 seconds and explains only a few things:

  1. Where the lime mud comes from
  2. Where it’s discharged
  3. What happens to the lime mud inside the lime mud clarifier

All of this makes it very easy for your employees to grasp and retain how the lime mud washers work. If they want, they can watch the video again to review the materials before advancing to the next screen. This gives them the ability to direct their own training–a key adult learning principle, and another example of instructional design techniques we use in our paper manufacturing training materials.

Convergence Training: Tools for More Effective Paper Manufacturing Training

Chunking is just one of many “aces in the hole” that Convergence Training uses to create more effective training materials for paper manufacturers. Our learning management systems (LMSs) were created in close consultation and are used by leaders in the paper manufacturing industry. Our e-learning courses feature unmatched realistic 3D graphics and were constructed using techniques from instructional design like the chunking we just discussed, or the inclusion of process training for better employee problem-solving and troubleshooting. And we have in-house paper subject matter experts to help you design custom training solutions of your own.

Contact us whenever you want. In the meantime, take a second to download our free guide to online training for people in the pulp, paper, tissue, and/corrugated industries.

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The Papermaker’s Guide to Online Training

Looking for a way to improve your employee training and make it more efficient? Then check out our free guide on implementing online training at work.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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