Organizations, generally, do a good job of task-specific training — where a specific problem has been identified and, then, a training initiative is immediately implemented in order to fix that problem.

Likewise, organizations often lay out successful task-specific training paths for new hires and for the retraining of existing employees in multi-craft responsibilities.

However, most companies are not so good at improving the basic knowledge skills required for every job within the organization. Too often, we mistakenly assume that our employees come to work with sufficient basic skills knowledge already acquired in previous schooling or prior employment — and, that is a mistaken assumption!

A solid background in fundamentals such as work practice, proper tool use, applied industrial mathematics, reading and writing are all critical elements in any meaningful industrial skills training program.

And, in those organizations that attempt to backfill the gaps in basic skills knowledge, they usually choose “the wrong way.” Improvements are not made — much to management’s surprise — and, that is usually because the chosen programs are “too academic.”

Adults in industrial environments have a difficult time learning from textbooks and traditional classes that, generally, don’t relate to real life situations.

Worse still, is the assumption that many of these fundamental skills have already been successfully learned in earlier employment or in public school. Of course, that latter assumption is fatally flawed since most public school classrooms still deal in the old “lecture-assigned reading” method of instruction. And, as we all know by now, nearly half of our population lives today in a “television and computer screen learning” culture in which sound multisensory media instruction is the better answer.

Excellent multisensory training programs (video-based E-Learning and interactive CD-ROM) make fundamental skills come to life by showing how those skills actually relate to the job. The same is true of the emerging examples of Games & Simulation. These application-oriented approaches motivate adults. Real life situations present the “hows” and “whys,” along with the facts, through job-related examples. What a way to learn!

Multisensory learning in the areas of tool use, applied industrial math, interpersonal skills, reading and writing are designed to build a strong foundation for more task-specific skills training. More than just facts and theory, video-based E-Learning and CD-ROM programs prepare adults for the real challenges they will face on the job.

American business needs to awaken to our contemporary learning culture. We must re-emphasize basic skills training in our curriculum. Along with “developing logical thinking,” basic skills training will often make the difference in increased growth and profitability.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com