Writing Better Tests for Job Training: The Issues of Reliability and Validity

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It’s often, if not always, a good idea to provide some form of test or assessment after providing job training to employees.

In some cases, this may be a written test scored in a pass/fail manner, and in others, it may be a performance test that requires the workers to demonstrate a skill or the ability to perform a procedure in a satisfactory manner before they go back and perform that skill for real on the job.

In either case, it’s important for that test to be a good one. And by “good,” we mean that it provides you with useful, actionable information about whether or not the employee has truly benefited from the training, can satisfy your learning objectives, and is ready and able to successfully apply the new information or perform the new skill on the job.

Side note: Tests are also beneficial for compliance reasons, to prove the worker understood the training, and also because tests have been proven again and again to improve comprehension and retention (see this article on the “testing effect” for more on this).

There are a number of characteristics that “good tests” like this share. Learning & development experts know the two that we’ll talk about in this article as validity and reliability. Read on to learn more about what a valid and reliable test is and why it’s important to create valid and reliable assessments.

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Workforce Tests That Match Your Learning Objectives: The Issue of Fidelity

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An important part of designing, creating, and delivering job training materials is creating learning assessments–the test at the end of the training activity to determine if workers can perform the skill or skills required by the learning objective.

That test can come in many different forms, including performance demonstrations and, often in the world of online learning, multiple-choice questions.

Whatever type of test it is, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for creating the test or assessment that employees must complete after training and before they perform the tasks for real on the job.

In this article, we’re going to give you tips about something related to test creation that learning experts call fidelity (no, not THAT fidelity–this is not a juicy blog post). In training talk, fidelity is the extent to which your test or test question mirrors the real task your workers will have to perform on the job.

In describing fidelity and tests, we’ll cover a few other best practices, too. Hope this helps you with your question writin’.

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OSHA Offers Helpful Resource for Wearing Respirators Safely at Work

OSHA’s been creating a lot of helpful materials related to workplace safety and COVID-19, and they recently created some materials to help workers wear respirators correctly to preserve their safety.

One of those new OSHA resources is this OSHA Poster titled Seven Steps to Correctly Wear a Respirator at Work. Another is this OSHA Video titled Putting On and Taking Off a Mask.

Additionally, there are a lot of guidances at the OSHA COVID-19 Safety and Health Topic webpage regarding respirators at work that you should check out (in particular, check out the Enforcement Memoranda).

On top of all that, you might also want to check out the following, more general materials from OSHA on COVID-19:

And before you leave, you might want to read our short article on 4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19 and/or our much longer article about OSHA Safety Training Compliance & COVID-19.

Stay safe, friends!

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OSHA’s Guidance for the Package-Delivery Workforce & COVID-19

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If you’re a safety professional or worker in the package-delivery industry, and you haven’t yet seen this, OSHA published a guidance for COVID-19 and the package delivery workforce. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In addition, you might also want to check out the following from OSHA on COVID-19:

Beyond that, you might want to read our short article on 4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19 and/or our much longer article about OSHA Safety Training Compliance & COVID-19.

Please use the comments to share any experiences, insights, suggestions, or cautions you may have. And stay safe and healthy!

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OSHA’s Guidance for the Construction Industry Workforce & COVID-19

If you’re a safety professional in the construction industry, and you haven’t yet seen this, OSHA published a guidance for COVID-19 and the construction industry workforce. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In addition, you might also want to check out the following from OSHA on COVID-19:

In addition, you might want to read our short article on 4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19 and/or our much longer article about OSHA Safety Training Compliance & COVID-19.

Please use the comments to share any experiences, insights, suggestions, or cautions you may have. And stay safe and healthy!

And be sure to download our free guide to OSHA Construction Compliance while you’re here. 

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Guide to OSHA Construction Industry Compliance

Get some helpful tips for complying with OSHA’s requirements for employers in the construction industry. Remember, all workplaces have unique hazards and compliance requirements and this guide can’t guarantee compliance for all workplaces.

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OSHA’s Guidance for COVID-19 and the Manufacturing Industry Workforce

If you’re a safety professional in the manufacturing industry, and you haven’t yet seen this, OSHA published a guidance for COVID-19 and the manufacturing industry workforce. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In addition, you might also want to check out the following from OSHA on COVID-19:

In addition, you might want to read our short article on 4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19 and/or our much longer article about OSHA Safety Training Compliance & COVID-19.

Please use the comments to share any experiences, insights, suggestions, or cautions you may have. And stay safe and healthy!

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4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19

We’ll start this article with two quick reminders: (1) in the middle of the current COVID-19 pandemic, things are changing quickly and (2) we wrote this article on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. So be sure to check OSHA’s website dedicated to COVID-19 frequently for updates.

On April 13, 2020, OSHA released a guidance called Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recommend you read the whole thing and make yourself familiar with the OSHA COVID-19 Safety and Health Topic page in general.

In this article, we’ll list out the four requirements for safety training related to COVID-19 mentioned in the guidance. As always, since this is a novel virus, we’re still learning about it, and things are changing quickly, keep checking in with OSHA and other credible, reliable sources to stay up-to-date on these issues.

In addition to this article, you might also want to check out our much longer, more comprehensive article looking at a range of issues related to OSHA compliance, safety training, and COVID-19 or the recent discussion on similar issues we had on the ASSP podcast channel.

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Lean Manufacturing and Visual Management

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One of the hallmarks of lean manufacturing is visual management. In our continuing series of articles on lean manufacturing, which supplement our online training courses on continuous improvement and lean manufacturing, we’ll introduce you to the basic concepts of visual management in this article.

We hope you find this article helpful in terms of understanding visual management better but also in terms of implementing your own lean and continuous improvement efforts at your workplace. Let us know if you need some help with training solutions at your work and until then, read on below and have a great day.

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Convincing Reasons to Reduce Your Reactive Maintenance

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Reactive maintenance is a major drain on efficiency, running time, and costs. You probably know this, but what are you doing to avoid it?

And, how much reactive maintenance are you actually performing as opposed to companies that are in the top-quartile for performing the least reactive maintenance?

By moving to more preventive, predictive, and conditions-based maintenance, you can

For example, in 2010 the US Department of Energy claimed that returns of conditions-based maintenance included 10x return on investment; 25-35% reduction in maintenance costs; 70-75% reduction in breakdowns; 35-45% reduction in downtime; and a 20-25% increase in production. Sounds pretty good, no? Or how about this Jones Lang LaSalle report showing that not only does an investment in preventive maintenance pay for itself, but that in fact it results in an average 545% return on investment (wow!).

How much reactive maintenance should you be performing? Our friends at the University of Tennessee’s Reliability & Maintainability Center (RMC) suggest 10%, plus or mine 5% either way. That amount of reactive maintenance would put your organization in what they refer to as the “top quartile” when it comes to reactive maintenance activity. Likewise, they recommend your organization’s preventive maintenance rate be about 70% if you want to hit that same top quartile.

In this article, we’ll give you a convincing list of just SOME of the reasons why your organization should reduce the amount of reactive maintenance you perform (and yes, we think our maintenance training solutions may help you reach this goal of reduced reactive maintenance).

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An Introduction to Learning Assessments & Multiple-Choice Questions with Dr. Patti Shank

In this recorded discussion, we talk with learning researcher and instructional designer Dr. Patti Shank about learning assessments in general and, in particular, multiple-choice questions.

In the discussion, Dr. Shank talks about the relationship between learning objectives and learning assessments; how learning activities are influenced by leaning objectives and lead to learning assessments; the purpose of creating learning assessments; authentic learning assessments; tips for writing multiple-choice questions, including the stem, answer options, and feedback for correct answers; passing scores; and more.

This is one of two related discussions with Dr. Shank. Be certain to check the discussion about Learning Objectives as well.

As always, thanks to Dr. Shank for sharing her time and knowledge and for all the great learning research she compiles and shares.

Here are some related links to check out:

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Helping Workers Develop Problem-Solving Skills

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Work is easier when everything goes perfectly and there are no problems.

But as you probably know, “perfect” is a rare state. Problems pop up from time to time and workers need to solve them.

As a result, it’s important that workers be effective problem solvers. Having a workforce with well-developed problem-solving skills is a significant competitive advantage for a company.

All workers benefit from strong problem-solving skills. For example, we have a customer who led a training system upgrade for a major, multi-site manufacturing company in the United States (they make common household products and the odds are very good you’ve used their products). He would often tell me that he wanted to “help his machine operators become machine engineers.”  (Hello to you, Steve, if you happen to be reading this.)

What our customer Steve meant by that was, at least in part, that he wanted workers to have problem-solving skills so they could address problems on their own at work to decrease downtime, increase efficiency, and maximize production.

But those problem-solving skills don’t come “built-in” to every person. And even those with a natural knack for it can always get better, or learn to apply those skills more effectively in a given work circumstance. And as a result, it’s a good idea to provide resources to help workers develop and use problem-solving skills at work. That’s what this article will focus on.

In addition to this article, also feel free to check out our article on Continuous Improvement at Work, as problem-solving is also a big part of continuous improvement and that article provides a long list of tips to help with problem-solving and continuous improvement.
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Free Recorded Webinar: Online Facilities Maintenance Training Program Case Study with Customer CBRE

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We recently co-presented a webinar with our facilities maintenance customer CBRE about a partnership in which we worked together to create online facilities maintenance training courses and help them put together a robust maintenance tech training program.

Here’s the recording of that webinar. Feel free to check it out and ask us any questions you may have.

Also, before you leave this page, scroll down to the bottom and download our free Guide to Online Facilities Maintenance Training.

Thanks to our partners at CBRE–we’re looking forward to entering phase 2 of this project with you soon.

Watch our recorded Facilities Maintenance Online Training Program Case Study webinar online at our Webinars page. 

Here’s the free guide, too–don’t forget to download it today.

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Free Guide to Facilities Maintenance Online Training

Download this free guide to learn everything you need to know about putting together a best-in-class facilities maintenance training program, including online training.

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