January 20, 2016

In Monday’s post, I cautioned: “ . . . many find that their employees simply don’t have the reading and math skills necessary for effective job performance. While readily investing dollars in task skills training, too many businesses ignore the basic skills knowledge gap that exists throughout their organization. And that means specific training in reading and math skills!”

Today, I want to share with you a few of the communications I have received from trainers charged with addressing this challenge. Real people citing their own real experiences:

“We have to increase the skill levels of our workforce because of rapidly changing technologies. We had determined that there was a serious literacy problem in our plant and had implemented classroom training as a solution. We quickly found that some of our employees did not thrive in that environment. In fact, they were embarrassed to be seen in a basic skills class. Most adults do not want their peers to know that they have a literary problem, let alone know the extent of that problem. . . . Now no one knows whether a worker is training on technical skills or basic skills.” (Fortune 100 Conglomerate)

Interactive computer training has provided us with a private method to evaluate an individual’s knowledge and identify possible deficiencies. In the nuclear industry with the constant influx of new employees, it is difficult and costly to provide one-on-one classroom training. In addition, it is difficult for a new student to reveal to an instructor (who is a total stranger) that he or she has a learning deficiency. The use of multimedia programs allows the student to interface with the computer and avoids placing the student in an embarrassing situation. . . . Student performance is monitored and as a result, we have seen as much as a 60% improvement in the areas of comprehension, reading, and writing skills!” (Nuclear Power Facility)

“When we first realized we needed to provide training in writing, we addressed this problem by providing classroom training. After the initial large classes completed the training, we needed to supply this training to one or two individuals at a time. We could not wait until we had enough people for a class and it was not cost-effective to provide one-on-one instruction. We investigated our options and determined that multimedia was the only cost-effective, quality solution.” (Electric Utility)

As I concluded on Monday: “Don’t assume your employees have the requisite basic skills (applied industrial math, reading & writing) to perform effectively. Measure the skills gap — and, then address it with knowledgeably designed media-based training programs.

In so many ways the payback to your organization’s bottom line will exceed all the investment dollars you currently spend on specific task instruction.”

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)

(This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant. They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)