Human Information Processing System: Sensory Memory to Working Memory

From Sensory Memory to Working Memory Image

In a recent blog post titled “The Human Information Processing System: How People Learn (or Don’t),” we went over five key steps in which people learn and later apply information. In this post, we’ll look at the transition from Step 1, “We experience information through our senses and sensory memory,” to Step 2, “Some of that information is processed by our working memory.”

As we learned earlier, in Step 1 sensory information (sights, sounds, etc.) is perceived by our sense organs (eyes, ears, etc.) and is briefly processed by our sensory memory. The information stays in our sensory information for a very short time—in many cases, only a fraction of a second, though in some cases, it may last for a few seconds.

Some of that information goes on to be processed by our working memory; this is when we become aware of the information. The rest of that information is essentially lost. This is why people sometimes say that the working memory is a “bottleneck” within the learning process. And it’s why if you’re trying to help employees learn, you want to try to draw their attention to the right stuff to get past that bottleneck.


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Free HazCom 2012/GHS Labels and Pictograms Word Game

Here’s a free Hazard Communication word game for you to play.

You can play it here, directly from our blog, any time you want. Or you can download your own free copy, import it into your SCORM-compliant LMS, and play it from there anytime you want (read more about that option below if you’re interested).

Hope you enjoy this and have fun. Let us know if you have any questions.


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How People Learn and Why They Forget

How People Learn Why They Forget Image

In a recent blog post titled “Why People Don’t Remember Their Training: Five Steps of Learning and Applying Information,” we introduced a few basic ideas about how people think and learn (that process, by the way, is known as cognition).

In that post, we briefly mentioned a five-step process of learning, and noted that when people forget what they learned in training, it’s often because the training was designed without keeping these five steps in mind.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at each of those five steps.


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Mandatory Safety Training and a Bit of Humor

Mandatory Training and Humor Image

In this article, we’ll take a look at safety training and humor. And we’ll do it by talking about flying to Hawaii. Not bad, huh?

In an earlier part of my life, I flew to Hawaii a lot.

I had a friend who was the Artistic Director for the Honolulu Theater for Youth in Honolulu, and because he had to travel to stage plays, I often was “saddled” with dog- and house-sitting responsibilities. Rough life, huh? Living in Hawaii was great, and I even got to surf the famous Pipeline surf break on the legendary North Shore. Never got to surf Waimea Bay on a big day, though.

On one flight from Oahu to San Francisco, several hours after the plane took off, the captain announced that there was a mechanical problem and we were returning to Honolulu. When I heard that, I was a little alarmed, and so I did four things:

  • First, I looked at the map to figure out how far from land we were. We were basically in the middle of the ocean.
  • Next, I grabbed the safety information card in my seat pocket and read it: where are the emergency exits, how do the doors open, and just exactly how does that seat cushion double as a flotation device?
  • Then, I tucked my little bag of peanuts into my shirt pocket. I figured if the plane crashed, I’d eat them on the way down before we went into the drink, giving me a little energy to use while I was wading thousands of miles from land.
  • And finally, I took a nap, on the assumption that if I was going to be paddling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for hours, I might as well rest up first.

My point is that before I pulled the safety information card out, I didn’t know the critical safety information I would need if the plane went down. Why’s that? Because I didn’t listen to the safety information talk or watch the safety video before the flight took off. I blew it off, maybe reading a book or staring vacantly out the window. Odds are you’ve done it too; we all have. Right?


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Nuevos Cursos de Entrenamiento Estan Disponibles (New Training Courses Available–in Spanish)

We’re excited to announce the completion of the first titles in our new Spanish-language training library.

The nine new courses cover standard safety topics required in many industrial, manufacturing, and construction workplaces (and required by OSHA and other regulatory agencies).

All courses are 3D animated and include spoken audio narration and a test to confirm your workers have understood the material (in Spanish, of course).

Check out the new titles and view samples below, and keep checking back as we release more titles.

If you’d like to learn more about these courses or view them in a demo, click here.

Contact us about obtaining computer-based versions of these courses. Or, purchase DVD copies from

Overhead Crane Basics

Description: This course covers the basic components and functions of floor-operated overhead cranes used in industrial facilities. It also covers the inspections of cranes and rigging components that many facilities require to be performed before a crane can be operated.

Overhead Crane Operational Safety

Description: This course covers the dangers associated with lifting and moving a load with an overhead crane, as well as safe procedures that will avoid those dangers. Based on relevant standards for overhead crane safety from OSHA, ANSI, and ASME, as well as recognized general industry best practices. Using clear, concise 2D and 3D diagrams and animations.

Hot Work Safety

Description: Based on FPA 51B and 29 CFR Subpart Q regarding welding, cutting, brazing, and other hot work, this course is intended to help workers recognize the potential hazards of hot work and avoid injuries and property damage by properly planning, preparing for, and performing hot work.

Confined Space Awareness

Description: Don’t get stuck in a tight spot. This computer-based training module provides information on confined space identification, hazardous atmospheres, physical hazards, entrance and exit hazards, hazard prevention and permits. Other topics discussed include, atmospheric testing, energy isolation, engulfment, moving or rotating equipment, and rescue procedures.

Pedestrian Safety

Description: Don’t set foot on the plant floor or walk into the warehouse without this basic training on safely walking in an active work zone. Learn about blind spots, the importance of establishing eye contact, and staying within designated walkways. This computer-based training module covers pedestrian safety guidelines, mobile equipment guidelines, and forklift driver guidelines.

Personal Protective Equipment

Description: Properly using personal protective equipment (PPE) can seem inconvenient at times, but is better than many unfortunate alternatives that can occur. This computer-based training module will educate you and your team on head protection, eye and face protection, hand protection, foot protection, respiratory protection, and hearing protection.

Forklift Safety

Description: This forklift training video provides knowledge of basic operating procedures that protect against most forklift accidents. This course includes important information required by OSHA as well as recognized best practices on powered industrial truck operation. This course can be used as an introduction to forklift safety or as a refresher on forklift basics.


Description: Protect yourself and your team from unintentional exposure to all types of hidden energy. This computer-based training module describes hazardous energy types, as well as, energy control procedures, including preparation, shutdown, isolation, lockout, stored energy check, verification, and release of lockout.

Fall Prevention and Protection

Description: Working at elevated heights presents a serious danger of falling. Falls can be caused by inattentiveness, slippery surfaces, working in awkward or out-of-balance positions, or insufficient training. This course highlights numerous methods of prevention and protection, including fall arrest systems, which can help keep workers safe from fall-related injuries.

Contact us about obtaining computer-based versions of these courses. Or, purchase DVD copies from

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OSHA Publishes New ‘Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms’ Brief

OSHA’s been busy releasing new documents about Hazard Communication 2012, the newly revised Hazard Communication Standard that has been “aligned” with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

In a previous post, we discussed a recently published Fact Sheet that focuses on an employer’s requirements to train workers about certain elements of the new regulation before December 1, 2013. In this post, we’ll discuss highlights of the new OSHA Brief titled Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms.

Our analysis? There’s one significant change that everyone should know about and then some interesting stuff that we’ve called out. We’ll address them in order. First, the change, which we’ll cover in detail. And second, we’ll point out some of the interesting stuff (which you may already know about) and let you know where to find it in the Brief if you want to read more.


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New Courses Available: Table Saws and Safety Showers

Here’s a quick announcement to let you know about three new courses we just added to our ever-growing libraries of 3-D animated industrial and manufacturing training courses. You can read descriptions and view samples of the new courses below, or you can see all the titles and view samples of the courses in our e-learning libraries here.

If you’d like to learn more about these courses or view them in a demo, click here.

Table Saw Basics

Course Description: This course explains the location and function of the major components of a typical table saw and provides safety guidelines to follow while working on and around a table saw. It includes explanations of how to adjust the blade height and blade tilt, how to square the blade, and how to set the cut width.

Table Saw Operations

Course Description: This course explains the location and function of the major components of a typical table saw, provides safety guidelines to follow while working on and around a table saw, explains different cut types that can be performed with a table saw, and demonstrates the techniques used make those cuts. Understanding how table saws operate will allow you to use them properly and effectively, and will help you prevent injuries.

Safety Showers and Eye Washes

Course Description: When accidents happen, safety showers and eye washes can be used to rinse the targeted area and reduce the severity of an injury. This course describes different types of safety showers and eye washes, explains how to operate them, demonstrates how to help an accident victim use a safety shower or eye wash, and provides best practices for maintaining and testing them.

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OSHA Publishes New HazCom 2012/GHS Alignment Training Requirements Fact Sheet

As you probably know, OSHA is revising its old Hazard Communication 1994 Standard and has created a new Hazard Communication 2012 Standard. The new HazCom 2012 Standard is “aligned” with the Globally Harmonized System, also known as GHS.

You may also know that employers have an obligation to train their employees about certain aspects of the new GHS-aligned HazCom 2012 Standard before December 1, 2013 (this year). This deadline is mentioned on OSHA’s website on a page titled Effective Dates. And it has also been the subject of one of our earlier blog posts explaining What to Know and Do for HazCom 2012/GHS During 2013.

But, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that OSHA recently published a Fact Sheet titled December 1st, 2013 Training Requirements for the Revised Hazard Communication Standard. That’s because it’s brand new. We just recently learned of it ourselves.


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Electrical General Requirements Word Game (1910.303)


As a kid, one of my favorite villains on the Amazing Spiderman was Electro, a walking, talking electrical hazard. Creating Electro as an arch-villain seems appropriate, because electricity can present many hazards at home and at work. And apparently, some people are either not aware of these hazards or are not taking them seriously enough, because the Electrical, General Requirements standard often appears on OSHA’s list of most commonly cited violations.

In this post, we’ve got a fun word game that lets you test your knowledge of electrical terms related to 1910.303 (the words and definitions themselves come from 1910.399, where all definitions for the subpart are listed). Hope you enjoy this one!


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

tips for better on the job training (ojt) image

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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