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

 

workforce-tests-match-learning-objectives-issues-of-fidelityA lot of you write test questions for online training (or even for paper-based training).

Maybe you’re doing it with an e-learning authoring tool, such as the ones from Articulate, Adobe, or Lectora. Or maybe you’re doing it with quizmaking tool built into your learning management system (LMS). Or maybe with pencil and paper. Probably not with chisel and cuneiform, though 🙂

However you’re doing it, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for writing standard question types. (By the way, instructional designers often use the wonky phrase “assessment items” for this kind of thing–an assessment “item” is a question).

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 notably juice blog post despite the wedding ring image above). 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 test questions, we’ll cover a few other best practices, too. Hope this helps you with your question writin’.

(more…)

Read More

Training that Sticks: Six Tips from “Made to Stick”

Want some easy tips to follow to make training that sticks? To create training workers will remember and apply on the job? To help you attain the business goals you’re trying to reach?

Although inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point and written for a popular reading audience instead of exclusively for training professions, the book Made to Stick (more details about the book will come below, don’t worry) is a great source of information about current research into evidence-based “brain science” that makes things memorable and causes people to act on that training. And that, of course, means making training effective. It’s even a book you will notice a lot of training professionals referring to.

Interested in learning some of the tips from Made to Stick? If so, start by taking a little time to read the two selections below. As you read, ask yourself which you’re more likely to remember later–one or two days later, but even an hour or fifteen minutes later, too.

When you’re done we’ll cycle back and explain how this all relates to effective workforce training.

“A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let’s call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink.

He’d just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks-one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered.

Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice.

He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note:

DON’T MOVE. DIAL 911.

A cellphone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, “Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?”

Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube.

The operator said, “Sir, don’t panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There’s a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don’t move until they arrive.” [Source: see note 1]

Now, the second:

“Comprehensive community building naturally lends itself to a return-on-investment rationale that can be modeled, drawing on existing practice,” it begins, going on to argue that “[a] factor constraining the flow of resources to CCIs is that funders must often resort to targeting or categorical requirements in grant making to ensure accountability.” [Source: see note 2]

OK, now that you’ve read them both, which are you more likely to remember? Why?

And how can you apply this to the training you create? Read on to learn how.

(more…)

Read More

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

writing-test-questions-for-online-training-activitiesIt’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.

In either case, it’s important for that test to be a good one. By that we mean that it provides you withuseful, actionable information about whether or not the employee has truly benefited from the training and is ready and able to successfully apply the new information or perform the new skill on the job.

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.

(more…)

Read More

Learning Management Systems (LMSs) for Online Safety Training

LMS-for-oinline-safety-trainingMany companies are interested in adding an online component to their current safety/EHS training.

It makes sense. We already do so many things online, and we know that putting stuff online can make things easier, more efficient, less costly, more convenient, and more effective.

Why can’t the same be true with safety training? Well, it can be and it is, my friend.

Plus, by now we all probably have at least some familiarity with online safety training. Maybe you’ve seen and have been impressed by an online safety training course. Or maybe you’ve seen how online systems can keep track of and automate training assignments that workers must complete recurrently (such as every year for HazCom training). Or maybe you know how efficiently and effortlessly they can create and store records of completed training and even auto-generate reports on that training and deliver them to your email inbox automatically.

So in this article, we’ll take a look at one tool you can use in an online safety training solution: the learning management system, which is also known as the LMS. If you already know what an LMS is and how it relates to online safety training, you may learn some new stuff here. If you’re not aware of what an LMS is or how it’s related to online EHS training, this may be really eye-opening (and very welcome) news.

 

(more…)

Read More

eLearning Courses for Online Safety Training

eLearning-courses-for-online-safety-trainingOnline safety training can come in many forms. For example, it may mean watching a one-time, “live” webinar or a recorded, on-demand version of that webinar. Or it may mean watching a video online.

But another thing it may mean is watching and completing one or more elearning courses.

eLearning courses are unique animals because they allow for a lot more interactivity, including but not limited to online practice quizzes and scored online tests, than you can get with an online video or a recorded webinar, for example.

Another aspect of an eLearning course is that they’re delivered through a learning management system, also known as an LMS. That combination of eLearning courses and an LMS gives a lot of power and flexibility.

We’ve already written about LMSs for safety training, so in this article, we’ll focus on eLearning for safety training.

(more…)

Read More

How Can an LMS Improve the ROI of My Health and Safety Training Program?

effective-online-roi-and-safety-training2

In other articles, we’ve explained what an LMS is and demonstrated how you can use an LMS to improve your EHS training program and your new employee safety onboarding, and we’ve even given a free LMS Buyer’s Guide checklist to help you get the right LMS for your company the first time.

Hopefully you’ve read those articles and enjoyed them (although it’s not necessary to read those articles before you read this one). And maybe you even learned a thing or two.

But maybe your thoughts are stuck on a single point, one that is often relevant in our society: the almighty dollar.

Specifically, maybe you’re wondering if an LMS would be “worth it?” Is it just a shiny new toy that you can’t afford and that will never help you recover its purchase price? Or is it one of those things that you will purchase and have it save you so much money you come out looking like a genius and smelling like roses?

Well, we’ve got some thoughts about that in the article below. Read on and reap the profits (ha ha!).

(more…)

Read More

Helping Workers Develop Problem-Solving Skills: How to Do It Well and Do It Quickly

fishboneWork 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.

Obviously, that’s true with your maintenance workers. But those aren’t the only workers who 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 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.
(more…)

Read More

How an LMS Can Help with New Employee Safety Onboarding

Manufacturing-onboardingIf you’re in Safety or EHS, you know it’s important to deliver safety onboarding training to new hires. And that’s true if an experienced worker is moving to a new site, work area, or into a new role as well.

But you also probably know that delivering safety onboarding comes with a number of challenges. It’s hard to have time available every time a new worker is hired, and that doesn’t even account for having time every time someone moves from Site A to Site B, or from Production to Warehouse, or from Forklift Operator to Machine Tender.

Plus you’ve got to create all the appropriate safety training materials for new employees, and in addition for site-specific safety training, work area-specific safety training, job-role specific safety training, and special task-specific safety training too.

And of course you’ve got to actually KNOW that a new employee has been hired, or that someone has been transferred from Topeka to your site in Memphis, or from Converting to Production. We may all like to say that communications where we work are perfect, and that we’re all informed of events like these, but I’m pretty sure you’d quickly agree that’s not always the case.

So, in a nutshell, there are lots of reasons why it’s difficult to provide safety onboarding for new hires and job transfers.

That’s where an online system that includes a learning management system (LMS) can pay dividends. You can think of an LMS as an automated assistant that can coordinate all this stuff for you. Kind of a safety onboarding auto-pilot system.

So if you’re in the market for an LMS, and want to be able to use it for safety onboarding along with other safety/EHS training, we’ll give you an idea of some of the features you should want.

NOTE: This article will focus on providing safety training as part of an onboarding process. For a fuller discussion of onboarding as a whole, please see our companion article Onboarding New Employees: Why and How to Do It.
(more…)

Read More

The 70/20/10 Model for Workforce L&D: How Your LMS Can Support On-Demand Learning & Performance Support

70-20-10-graphicHave you heard of the 70/20/10 model as it’s used in workforce learning & development?

Quite a few of you probably have–it’s a buzzword in L&D these days–but it’s possible that others haven’t.

In this post, we’ll briefly explain what the 70/20/10 model is, and we’ll give you some tips of how you can use your learning management system (LMS) to facilitate the model.

We’re also curious to hear your own experiences and thoughts (as always), so don’t forget to leave your comments below.
(more…)

Read More

The Paper Manufacturer’s Guide to Online Training

If you’re a pulp, paper, tissue, or corrugated manufacturer, and if you’re interested in learning more about online training solutions, well then look no further, friend.

We’ve prepared a free, downloadable, 40-page guide for your viewing and reading pleasure. It will answer all, or most all, of the questions you may have about using online training at a pulp, paper, tissue, and/or corrugated manufacturing company.

In general terms, the guide explains:

  • What  “online training” includes
  • What a learning management system (LMS) is, it’s role in online training, what it can do, and how it can help you
  • The types of training you can administer through an online training system, including:
    • Elearning courses
    • Other online activities, such as online quizzes and checklists for teaching procedures, skill demonstrations, and skill evaluations
    • Websites and online videos
    • Written training materials, such as PDFs and PowerPoint Presentations
    • Your own videos
    • “Real-world” training such as instructor-led classroom training, field-based OJT training, job shadowing and mentoring, meetings, offsite training sessions, and so on
    • Social learning websites and networks
  • How to implement your online training solution in nine easy steps

(more…)

Read More

How to Write Better Smile Sheets: What’s Wrong With Traditional Training Evaluation Forms and How to Make Them Better

smile-sheet-post-graphicIf you’re in training, you’re probably familiar with the sheets that trainers pass out to learners after a training session, asking the learners to evaluate the training session and the trainer.

These are known by a variety of names. Maybe you call them training-evaluation forms, or student-response forms, or trainee-reaction forms. But they’re also commonly–maybe most commonly–known as smile sheets.

Why smile sheets? Because it’s common for the learners attending training to give the training/trainer high scores that make everyone smile. But the common assumption is that the trainees do that politely, kindly, quickly, uncritically, and without giving any great thought. And so the term smile sheet is generally used somewhat dismissively, with the assumption that the information they contain doesn’t really provide a lot of value.

And yet, quite a few trainers continue to use smile sheets, and many of those trainers do nothing to improve them. Maybe they’ve never even thought of improving their smile sheets. It’s all become a bit of a habit to them, one they don’t think about because there’s so much else to think about, worry about, and to do.

I recently read a very good book called Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form by Dr. Will Thalheimer. The book explains some of the common problems with smile sheets, but also gives some very helpful tips to help make them better. We definitely suggest that you buy and read the book, and we’ve included a bunch of information to help you do that at the bottom of this article.

But for now, let’s look at some of the general points Thalheimer makes in his book and see what we can learn from them.
(more…)

Read More

Convergence Training Updates MSHA Compliance Course Catalog

online-courses-for-MSHA-46If you’ve worked at a surface mine, or performed work in an MSHA-regulated site, there’s a good chance you’ve seen our MSHA Surface Miner Training. Back in 2008 Convergence Training developed the original library of MSHA Part 46-compliant mine safety courses. And since then, our courses have been used in hundreds of MSHA training programs all across North America and viewed by thousands of mine employees and contractors.

(more…)

Read More