Meet the principal: Training is more than a free lunch

Posted: August 17, 2023

My first job out of school was as a unit engineer in a small plant in Southeast Texas. One of my favorite memories from that time is the fire response training we took as part of the job. The fire marshal would light a fire and we would practice—first with extinguishers and then with the hose. You could feel the heat and the weight of the gear. It was an experience. On-the-job training is how we learn. 

It would be great to say that all industrial training is created equal, but it’s not. We might get a lunch-and-learn with free food. If you’re in operations, chances are they call you in on your day off for overtime. Much of it is death by PowerPoint.

Computer-based training has been with us for many years, but it has not always been updated. The delivery of training can be hit or miss. Knowledge is often passed down from person to person or learned by doing.

Build competence and drive a cycle of continuous improvement  

Theories on adult learning focus on the many ways we acquire and retain knowledge. There are many guiding principles, but they can be summarized in the list below:

  • We like to learn at our own pace in our own way.
  • We learn by doing and framing knowledge with our experiences.
  • We learn with our senses, which requires more than just rote presentation.
  • What we learn should matter and benefit us in some way.
  • We learn best when properly motivated.
  • It takes time.

A comprehensive learning environment is designed to build competence, improve worker performance, and drive behavior change. In this environment, we learn required knowledge, practice required skills, assess our retention, and reinforce our learning. Learning is a cycle of continuous improvement.

Virtual simulation facilitates real learning

In our last blog, we discussed aspects of AVEVA™ Unified Engineering. It takes your engineering information, digitalizes it, and connects it along a single digital thread. Extending this thread, we connect this asset information to the learning environment, augmenting typical classroom learning by creating virtual walkthroughs and model-based simulation scenarios. Couple this with access through cloud-based technologies, and our teams can now learn on their own terms in ways that facilitate their personal journeys.

Today, we’re seeing companies build these models, connect their global teams, and interact virtually in these collaborative environments. I invite you to explore these concepts included in AVEVA’s Unified Learning Platform. Maybe it’s time to step away from that old CBT module.

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