Industrial Training Resources

Industrial Training Resources
Resources

At Vector Solutions, we offer online training and other performance-improvement software solutions for industrial and manufacturing organizations. No matter your training challenge--onboarding, upskilling, reskilling, compliance, safety, career-path-of-progression, etc.--we are here to partner with you to improve not only learning and skill development at your organization but your organization's bottom-line performance metrics as well.

One of the ways we do this is with our extensive collection of 3D-animated online manufacturing training courses, which includes all the topics you might need training assistance with: operations, quality, safety, lean, maintenance, facilities, professional development, basic science and math skills, computer skills, and more. Another is with our learning management system, or LMS, specially designed to help with training management and administration in industrial/manufacturing settings. And plus we have other performance-improvement software solutions, including mobile risk communication platforms, EHS/safety management software, workplace scheduling software, and more.

But beyond our products, we make an effort to share helpful information with all manufacturing organizations, be they our customers or not, through our blogs, free downloads, and free webinars, that can be used to improve training and workplace performance at most any workplace.

In this article, we've pulled together some resources that can help learning & development professionals in the industrial/manufacturing sector. We hope you find some of these resources helpful and we encourage you to share to your own tips in the comments section.

Of course, feel free to contact us if you'd like additional help on manufacturing training & online manufacturing training challenges as well.

The following resources may help you supercharge your current learning & development programs at work.

Human Performance Improvement, or HPI

Training can help solve workplace performance problems, but only if it's the kind of problem that training can have an effect on. Generally, this means it's a lack of knowledge or skills.

So if a performance problem is resulting from an employee (or employees) who don't have the necessary knowledge or skills to perform their job tasks, as is often true when an employee is newly hired, or when an employee moves to a new job, or a new task is introduced, or a production process has changed, then train away, my friend!

However, don't rush into training design, development, and delivery in cases when training can't solve the problem. Maybe you've got a poor workplace process, or maybe you need to modify workplace expectations and communications, for example.

This is what HPI, or human performance improvement, is useful for. HPI begins with a strong emphasis on the "front-end analysis," in which you'll define the workplace problem, determine what's causing it, and then select an appropriate solution as well (you'll then go on to implement the solution, conduct change management, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution).

You can learn more about HPI in the following resources:

Additionally, you might enjoy the following downloadable infographic--the classic Mager/Pipe problem-analysis flowchart:

Being a Systems Thinker

You may not think of this every day, but the organizations where we work are systems. That means they're a series of inter-related elements that combine or work together to create outputs. Many of these outputs are good and desired (like products and profits), and some are less-than-desired (for example, workplace performance problems for which we often develop training to try to solve).

But because we sometimes forget that we work in a system full of interrelated elements, we sometimes propose solutions that are too "siloed." They don't consider the multiple or unexpected causes of the problem (which is what HPI is intended to help us with). Or they don't consider the possible results of a proposed solution, including unanticipated ones.

This is where being a "systems thinker" pays off. We don't look at isolated elements at work, we look at relationships and connections. We don't think in a linear manner, but instead we think in terms of loops and feedback cycles. We don't focus narrowly on one element of workplace performance, but instead we take a wider, holistic view.

If you'd like to learn more about systems thinking, check out the following article:

Job Aids Instead of Or Along with Job Training

Learning & development professionals put a lot of emphasis on training, but sometimes training isn't the best solution EVEN IF it's a knowledge or skill problem.

Sometimes it's easier, more efficient, and more productive to just create a job aid. If you don't know what a job aid is, think of a checklist or even a photo at a workplace that helps a worker perform the job correctly. And in today's mobile-technology enabled world, that can also include things like online manuals (maybe a PDF), online videos, short microlearning courses, or similar assets the worker can access at the moment and place of need while actually on the job.

In fact, job aids can be so helpful, you might want to create them instead of training or maybe modify your training so it shows workers how to use the job aid while performing the job task.

Read more about job aids here:

Know How People Learn (So You Can Make Training Accordingly)

If you're going to develop training to help people learn, it's a good idea to know how people learn first, right?

One useful model that learning and development experts talk about a lot is the information processing model for memory. To learn more about how we learn, you might find these articles helpful:

An Instructional Design Classic--ADDIE

Sometimes we can be in such a hurry to pump out training to solve a problem that we don't proceed in a logical manner. This can lead to poor training that doesn't help workers develop knowledge and skills, doesn't ultimately improve worker job performance, and doesn't move the needle in a positive manner for business results (but does add costs, burns time, and contributes to worker frustration with L&D).

That's where training design and development models come in. There are several training development models that L&D professionals use and no one is perfect or best for every instance. In fact, some in L&D use different models at different times. However, the most commonly used training design & development model, and one everyone in L&D should at least know, is called ADDIE (which stands for analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate). To improve your training, you might want to use ADDIE or something like ADDIE.

You can learn more about the ADDIE training and design model here:

We've also got an ADDIE infographic for you to download, below.

Create Appropriate Learning Objectives

In many ways, creating effective training begins with creating appropriate learning objectives, and all else flows from those learning objectives.

What's a learning objective, you ask?

Put simply (but maybe too generally), it's the reason your training exists or will exist. Put more specifically, it's what the employees who will later take the training should be able to do when the training is over. And to extend that point, it's not only what employees should be able to do when training is over, but it's also what they will need to transfer and apply on the job as part of their workplace performance.

Once you're created learning objectives, create assessments (think "tests" here) that workers will have to complete when the training is done so they can prove they can satisfy the learning objectives, and then create the actual training materials/content/activities that will help the workers learn to satisfy those learning objectives.

You'll find the resources below helpful for learning more about creating learning objectives:

And you might also enjoy our free guide to creating learning objectives, below.

Evidence-Based Training Practices

We are fortunate to live in a world in which many dedicated professionals study what works and what doesn't work in job training. The fruits of all this hard work is a collected body of wisdom known as evidence-based training practices.

As a result of all this work into evidence-based training, we know the following leads to positive results in learning and performance at work:

  • Developing learning objectives during training design
  • Awakening the prior knowledge of workers in training sessions
  • Using blended learning approaches (more on this below)
  • Chunking training into small, bite-sized pieces (this helps to reduce unnecessary cognitive load)
  • Using guided demonstrations, providing opportunities for practice, and providing feedback
  • Deliberate practice for skill development and the creation of expertise
  • Desirable difficulties (such as interleaving)
  • Spaced practice/spaced retrieval
  • Many more (see works by Patti Shank, Will Thalheimer, Mirjam Neelan, Clark Quinn, Julie Dirksen, and many others to learn more)

In addition to evidence-based training practices, all this research has also helped us identify things that DON'T seem to contribute to improvements in learning and later job performance. This includes some things that many people THINK are helpful, and so they've come to be known as "learning myths." One example of a commonly believed learning myth is the idea that we can (1) correctly identify a person's learning style, (2) design training to accommodate that style, and (3) see improved training effects as a result of this. But the truth is the data doesn't show this idea of "learning styles" in training is effective.

You can learn more about learning myths and evidence-based training practices in the following resources:

"Blend" Your Workplace Learning Programs for Better Results

We mentioned above that blended learning is an evidence-based training practice.

Put simply, blended learning means using more than one training delivery method as part of a training program or path.

When you blend your training, you should select the training delivery method that will best assist workers as they learn to satisfy the learning objectives.

To learn more about this, please download our guide to Blended Learning Solutions, below.

Even More about Effective Manufacturing Training that "Works"

This article and the resources it links to should give you a good head start on improving your current manufacturing training program(s). However, there's still much more to learn. If you want to dig in even more, try out our downloadable Manufacturing Training Guide, below.

Want to Take Your Manufacturing Training Online? This Guide and On-Demand Webinar Will Help

Interest in online training has been growing for years or even decades, and the COVID pandemic only increased and accelerated that trend.

If you'd like to learn how to get started with online training at your industrial workplace, or how to improve it, you might find our Selecting & Using Online Manufacturing Training recorded, on-demand webinar helpful.

Likewise, feel free to download our Guide to Online Manufacturing Training, below.

Summary: We Hope These Resources Help You with Your Organization's Manufacturing Training Efforts

We hope you found this compilation of L&D, training, and performance-improvement resources helpful and we hope you can use them to supercharge your current industrial training programs.

Of course, we'd love to partner with your organization to provide job training to the workforce at your organization. Give us a shout when you're ready to talk!

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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