Years ago, I was invited by the then-President of one of the Big Three auto manufacturers to visit him in his office to discuss a problem he was having.  It seems that he had engaged a consortium of some 30+ college and university Deans and Math Professors throughout his state in order to come up with a print solution for his UAW math training needs.  The initial product was completed and, when recently tested at several UAW sites, it was a disaster.  I asked him two questions:  1)  How many production sites had that academic group visited? and 2)  How many UAW employees had that academic group talked with before developing their pilot program?  The answer to each of my questions was “None.”

Now I’ve got two questions for you:  Do you work at a manufacturing or process facility?  Is your job in maintenance training (mechanical, electrical and/or instrumentation? 

If your answer to these questions is “Yes,” this post directly relates to you.

I would maintain that if you are a trainer working in a process or manufacturing facility that is part of a large corporation, the workers at your site need you more than they ever have! 

You have knowledge of the maintenance procedures necessary to your plant’s operations.

Moreover, you are readily aware of the knowledge gaps that exist within your facility.  Gaps that are hindering outputs of more and better products!  Gaps that result in increased scrap and lost revenue for your corporation! 

Furthermore, those gaps will be different within the various sister plants within your organization.  (One size will not fit all!)

Up until the last couple of decades most training purchases were made at the individual plant level.  Those purchases were typically made by individuals, like you, who had actual plant floor experience.

Today, the buyers of technology training solutions have changed.  And, in many instances, that has not been a good thing for learning outcomes.

Recently, driven by e-Learning technology, many of the purchases that you had once routinely made are now being executed at the corporate level and, far too often, by individuals who have come out of an HR or IT environment.  Few of these corporate buyers have had prior shop floor experience or were ever professional maintenance trainers.

Unfortunately for the workers who have to take the training, much of what is purchased today by many corporate buyers includes adapted PowerPoint presentations and/or adapted written procedures that have been re-purposed for e-Learning delivery.  They’re called e-Learning but they’re really anything but.  At best they can be called e-Information. 

As we all know by now, those word-laden examples of e-Learning do not teach anyone anything.  They violate almost all knowledgeable instructional design principles.  They totally ignore the fact that half of our nation’s workforce does not comprehend anything written beyond a 4th grade reading level. 

In addition, as national statistics indicate, 70% of re-purposed PowerPoint and re-purposed written procedure courses are never completed by the assigned trainees.

It’s past time to get you and other supervisors and trainers, with plant floor experience, back into the corporate buying process.

You know your workforce.  You know their needs.  You know their training gaps.  You know what works —- and, you know what doesn’t.

American process and manufacturing companies had better bring their subject-knowledgeable trainers back into their training-solution decision activity — and, quickly!

Trainers with plant floor knowledge should lead the maintenance training purchasing process.  Effective maintenance training for today’s workforce bears little resemblance to the HR soft skills purchasing coming out of corporate headquarters.

It’s time to get you back in the game!

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

 — Bill Walton, co-Founder,
ITC Learning
November 7, 2018  (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.)