The business segment that has pioneered most of the design advances in corporate media training for the past four decades has been industrial skills training for the process and manufacturing industries.

The first generic industrial training media course was produced by NUS Corporation (Rockville, Maryland) in 1973. It was produced for the nuclear power industry and was in black and white, mastered on a two inch reel-to-reel video recorder. Two years later the first color generic training tape was produced by NUS. And in 1982, the first examples of generic, user controlled, full media, industrial skills training were created by ITC Learning with their successful pioneering forays into Interactive Laser Videodisc instruction.

Why so much early emphasis on industrial skills training?

Because the full power of media instruction reaches out effectively to individuals who need to acquire the skills so necessary to mechanical maintenance, electrical maintenance, instrumentation, operations and good safety practice.

This fit has proven ideal for a marriage between well-designed video and audio instruction, combined with the necessary skills and work practices associated with America’s critically important blue-collar workforce.

Manufacturing has always been an essential strength of any national economy. According to a July, 2009 edition of the New York Times, “No other sector contributes more to the nation’s overall economy, economists say. And, as manufacturing weakens, the country becomes more and more dependent on imports of merchandise, computers, machinery and the like — running up a trade deficit that in time could undermine the dollar and the nation’s capacity to sustain so many imports.”

Consequently, the payback that only well-designed media training can deliver is more essential today than ever before.

Instructionally sound media training can help revitalize American manufacturing. Both the media rich E-Learning and CD-ROM technologies are uniquely qualified to reverse that unwelcome trend because more than any other investment, each can significantly improve productivity and efficiency while allowing American manufacturing to regain a premiere position in the international marketplace.

The manufacturing and process industries have discovered that the way forward includes instructionally sound media training for their workforce. They have learned that learner retention rates grow, productivity increases, and lost-time accident rates shrink.

I believe they will continue to occupy this leadership role.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)