July 1, 2013

As you know, most media courseware has an exam at the end. The courseware with meaningful exams has a bank of questions that are randomized but, at the same time, asks at least one question for each of the learning objectives. (We’ll discuss the correct placement of the final exam in a later paragraph.)

In addition to formal testing, it would be wise to follow up the formal training with a hands-on test that will give you a clearer picture as to the transfer of learned knowledge into correct work practice. The following are a couple of ideas you might use to get a more accurate picture of the efficacy of your training initiatives:

On-the-job Follow-up:

The trainee and the appropriate supervisor are given a copy of the performance checklist for each completed lesson. The supervisor assigns the student to perform tasks on the checklist and evaluates that performance. Through discussion, the supervisor can then augment the training activities with site or equipment specific identification and information.

Shop/Laboratory Activity Integration:

Shortly after the completion of a lesson, a shop/lab activity is conducted allowing trainees to practice the activities covered in the course. For example, your trainees finish a lesson on laser alignment and then go into the shop to practice laser alignment. That shop/lab activity can then be followed up with a hands-on performance test administered by the instructor.

I’m now going to return to the final exam we referenced in my initial paragraph — and, its correct chronological placement.

As you well know, determining learning mastery is the goal of each of your training initiatives. But, contrary to most current practice, you will not be able to assess that by simply giving a final exam at the completion of each course. A far, far better method is to administer a post-test six months, or longer, after the learner has finished his initial formal training. Only then will you will be able to test retention, which, as you know, is the only true measurement of learning.

These are just a few ideas to help you affirm that the learning initiatives taking place actually translate successfully to the plant floor.

With Independence Day falling on Thursday this year, I wish you all a long and happy weekend. More next Monday – – –

 Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning

www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Mondays & Wednesdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com