Chunking Manufacturing Training: How to Help Your Employees Learn

Chunking Manufacturing Training: How to Help Your Employees Learn

Chunking Manufacturing Training Image

We just wrote an extended blog post that explains the benefits of "chunking" your training materials and gives tips of how to do it. Click hereto read the extended article on chunking for training.

Otherwise, if you'd like a high-level overview and then would like to see an example of chunking applied to manufacturing training, read on.

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 Manufacturing Training

At Convergence Training, we use chunking techniques when we design and create online workforce training courses. And that pays off for our customers because their employees learn the materials more quickly, readily, and effectively.

For example, consider our online Centerlining Methodology course and then give thought to how the various aspects of chunking, described below, will make it easier for your employees to understand this topic that they may need to know to perform their job well, efficiently, and safely.

Chunking Within Our Manufacturing Training Curriculum

  1. The course is just one part of our Principles of Manufacturing series of online courses.
  2. That is just one part of our Operations & Industrial Maintenance library of courses.

Chunking Within the Centerlining Course

  1. The entire course is only 24 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 "Nelson Funnel" Screen Within the Centerlining Course

The course itself is made up of multiple screens. Each screen includes either a short video, practice questions, or a test question.

The screen in the sample (below) runs for only 31 seconds and explains only a few things:

  1. The Nelson Funnel
  2. How marbles move through the Nelson Funnel
  3. The relation of the Nelson Funnel to a manufacturing process that's running "in control" (see more about 7 Basic Tools of Quality here)

All of this makes it very easy for your employees to understand process variability, processes that are "in control," and the importance of not varying processes needlessly.

The Wrap-Up on Chunking Your Manufacturing Training

Hope you found this quick introduction to chunking for manufacturing training helpful. Please use the technique yourself when you create training.
And don't forget to read our longer article on chunking training materials for an even deeper-dive view of this basic instructional design technique.
For other examples of chunking in online training, check out:

For more about manufacturing training, check out any of the following articles and resources:

Let us know if you've got any "chunky" questions!

Jeff Dalto, Senior Learning & Performance Improvement Manager
Jeff is a learning designer and performance improvement specialist with more than 20 years in learning and development, 15+ of which have been spent working in manufacturing, industrial, and architecture, engineering & construction training. Jeff has worked side-by-side with more than 50 companies as they implemented online training. Jeff is an advocate for using evidence-based training practices and is currently completing a Masters degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University. He writes the Vector Solutions | Convergence Training blog and invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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