How to Train Your Technicians Using E-learning

Think of a factory shop floor or a pit stop – what does your mind conjure? A beehive of swirling activity, instructions being shouted, parts being assembled, the incessant roar and hum of machinery, people running around, and finally, the product emerging – shining like a new penny.

In this whirlpool of bustle, how and where does training fit? It is very important that your technicians be well trained and up-to-date on their skills. They are responsible for bringing forth the finished product and hence time and quality are the essence of their work.

Why Train Technicians?

With technological developments evolving in manufacturing and production almost every day, it becomes important to ensure your employees are informed about the latest tools and technologies. For example, implementing Lean methodology in your factory will speed-up processes, reduce errors, wastage, and ensure quality.

Similarly, you might have introduced a calculator to estimate the productivity based on the level of inputs. How do you ensure your employees are trained on the requisite aspects? More importantly, how can your employees keep up with the pace of these developments without interruptions to their work?

The Challenges

Training employees on the shop floor is a task of immense proportions. Imagine the man hours lost if the task force is engaged in a classroom session. The lost productivity, missed deadlines, and ensuing mayhem are huge. Can you afford to shut down the shop floor to accommodate a classroom training session? Also, consider the logistical, financial, and infrastructural ramifications of organizing and scheduling classroom sessions for your task force.

Conducting classroom sessions has two additional cumbersome aspects.

a. The cost of transporting instructors – in most cases, since factory employees might not be proficient in English, you would need Subject Matter Experts proficient in the native languages. This could be a huge stumbling block.

b. Most factory operations need on-the-job training and it might not be possible to provide the relevant experience through just instructor-led sessions. Even if this is accomplished, how can you provide learners the scope to practice and hone their skills?

E-learning: The Perfect Solution

The perfect training solution that meets all your needs in this scenario is e-learning. This mode of learning addresses all the drawbacks associated with traditional classroom trainings and offers ample scope for learners to become familiar with the new tools and technologies.

Let’s see the various ways in which e-learning makes learning manageable and convenient for technicians while enhancing its effectiveness.

1. Byte-sized Modules
The foremost advantage offered by e-learning is savings in employee time. Develop short courses which concentrate on specific tools, technologies, or learning points. This approach has multiple benefits.

a. Individualized, Anywhere, Anytime Learning
With small modules that take around 5-10 minutes to complete and drive home a couple of learning points, learners have the flexibility of taking the courses at their place and time of choice. Normal working hours need not be interrupted to take the course. This will ensure that work is not affected.

b. Learn on Any Device
E-learning courses also provide learners the liberty to learn on the device of their choice. It is not necessary to learn only on their office PCs. They can take the course on their laptops or Smartphones even in their homes or while travelling.

c. Improved Knowledge Retention
Knowledge retention will also be better as each course concentrates on a limited number of learning points. This ensures that learners will not be overloaded with too much information, giving them the opportunity to focus on the topics covered.

2. Blended Learning
E-learning courses lend themselves perfectly to blended learning.

a. Pre-Training
They can be used as introductory programs to detailed, exploratory sessions with Subject Matter Experts. This ensures that learners will be familiar with the premise before attending the sessions. Usually, learners are allotted workshops or instructor-led sessions after they complete the e-learning courses.

b. Post-Training
E-learning courses can also be assigned to learners after instructor-led training programs to reinforce learning. They can be used to reinforce learning, and serve as handy reference tools. They in turn can provide additional resources such as:

  • PDFs
  • Glossary documents
  • Links to peer groups, discussion forums

c. Scope for Practice
Technical trainings often encompass new tools and applications. Learners need to be proficient in handling them before they actually start using them since safety and speed are of paramount importance in manufacturing processes. This is where E-learning pays huge dividends compared to traditional training methods.

‘Watch-Try-Do’ simulations in e-learning allow learners to practice using a new system before they actually work on it. Learners are given a chance to view the process and try in a simulated environment. This helps them practice without the fear of repercussions. They thus become well-equipped to perform the tasks in real-time.

In this context, scenario-based approaches can also be incorporated in e-learning courses to test learners’ decision-making skills in various situations so that they get the experience of handling real-life situations and become cognizant of the consequences.

So, go ahead and implement e-learning for your technical trainings. Your employees will be in tune with the latest technologies, have ample practice on new applications, and be better prepared to handle their jobs, thereby increasing productivity and quality.

Blended Learning: A Guide to Boost Employee Performance