Interactive training of the workforce is the most effective approach

2 min read

The dynamic nature of industry today means that training needs are constantly evolving. E-Learning – the flexible delivery of training solutions via a range of interactive media, including CD-ROM, Internet and Intranet – can provide manufacturing and engineering organisations with extremely effective, economical and consistent training courses for their employees. The courses do not rely on the experience of an instructor and are engaging, interactive and therefore motivating for employees.

Corus Northern Engineering Services (CNES), the engineering services organisation within the Corus Group, is now offering a range of e-Learning training courses, including industrial and professional engineering training, health and safety and induction training, to customers outside of the Corus Group, tailored to the customer’s specific needs.

“Although we manufacture steel, Corus and CNES have built up a wealth of training expertise in many areas that we are now applying successfully to other manufacturing companies, outside of the steelmaking industry. These courses include materials handling courses, project management, risk assessment, ATEX training, condition monitoring, health & safety, and induction courses,” says Nick O’Hara, Business Development Engineer Training at CNES. “Our training providers are practising engineers. Every course we deliver, Corus has been through the pains of meeting that particular bit of legislation itself, and so we think this gives us an edge when it comes to providing training to other industrial companies. We know what’s practical and how to interpret that legislation for the customer.”

According to O’Hara, many training courses are traditionally “pedagogical” in their approach. In other words, the courses are reliant on the experience of the instructor(s), are therefore personal, inconsistent, crucial information can be missed, competence assessment can be open to abuse and the courses are generally not interactive and are open to interpretation. “The more modern approach, and the way we do things here at Corus, is to be andragogical in our training techniques. This means having a learning environment that is active, engaging, student-centred and where the training is initiated by the person’s inner drive, not by an instructor. Therefore, we’ve developed a range of e-Learning training courses which use the interactive, andragogical methods. This can involve simple, self-assessment questions right up to full-blown simulations of plant, processes and systems.”
E-Learning courses offered by CNES include a range of innovative techniques and media. These might include interactive CD-ROMs, Internet, Intranet, audio/voiceover, instant feedback mechanisms and audit trail information. The courses are stimulating and engaging, cost effective, easily translated and offer consistent messages. Students can also learn at their own pace and at their own PC. But there are benefits for the business too. E-Learning courses free up resources, because you don’t need an instructor, are repeatable and consistent in their delivery, and they encourage employees to learn by their own mistakes.

As O’Hara rightly points out: “Shoving a training or corporate video in front of a group of new employees is not an effective training technique, but many companies do it. E-Learning is the most effective technique for training your employees. Over the years, studies into learning techniques have shown that around 10 per cent of what we read, we actually remember. 20 per cent of what we hear, we remember. 30 per cent of what we see, we remember. 40 per cent of what we see and do, we remember. 50 per cent of what we see and hear, we remember. But 80 per cent of what we say, we remember, and 90 per cent of what we say and do we remember.”

CNES offers a range of training courses tailored to a customer’s specific needs. On the materials handling side, these courses include forklift truck training; electric overhead cranes; slinging and rigging; skid-steered loaders; and oxy-fuel burning.

Professional engineering training includes courses on project management; risk assessment; statutory legislation (including ATEX, DSEAR and COMAH); and condition monitoring awareness, health and safety; and company induction training.

“In reality, pure e-Learning will never replace the traditional pedagogical approach to training, as companies will always require some level of instructor training. But companies need to find the right balance between the two,” says O’Hara.

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