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6:00 am
September 1, 2007
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Maintenance Quarterly: Get The Most Out Of Your Industrial Training Efforts

That big emphasis on “doing more with less” at your site also may apply to training efforts. This quick checklist can help you cut to the chase.

Considering the potential dangers of any industrial workplace, it’s important to ensure that your employees receive the training they really need. Beyond safety concerns, there also are environmental regulations, new equipment, new procedures and a wide range of other training requirements for employees. Actually developing the courses, however, can be both time-consuming and stressful.

0907_mq_training_1Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular and inexpensive course authoring tools available and can be integrated with other software programs that convert PowerPoint presentations into flash-based online training courses. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your employee training programs.

Define your objectives.
Clearly defined objectives are crucial to an effective training course. Before you even start writing the actual content for the course, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with the training. For example, do you want to go over standard safety protocol or focus solely on individual safety scenarios and prevention measures? Decide what you want your employees to learn and break it down into points to cover.

Don’t load too much information into one course.
When compiling your information, be careful not to include too much material. The easiest way to drive a training course’s effectiveness into the ground is to cram all the information there could possibly be on a subject into a single course. You might find it all indescribably interesting, but chances are your employees may resent spending an hour of their time taking a course when the same information could be conveyed in 15 minutes.

Stay on target.
If you’ve defined your objectives, it should be relatively easy to stay focused and on-topic. Remember that there is important information and then there is fluff. Keep the important stuff and discard the fluff, no matter how fascinating you think it is. Let your employees get in, take the course and get back to their jobs.

Always have a conclusion.
Just like a good article, good training needs a conclusion that sums up the main ideas in the course. By summarizing the main points, you increase the chances that your employees will retain that information, which is the whole aim of a training course.

Get the most out of your courses.
Try to make your courses as interactive and engaging as possible. Don’t feel tied to a linear format, either. If you are using PowerPoint as your presentation software, you can utilize hyperlinks to create dynamic presentations based on decision points. This allows you to create different paths for presenting the information rather than a pre-defined sequence that goes from one slide to the next.

Don’t overlook multimedia.
Capture audience attention with audio, animations and illustrations. Anything you can do to engage employees in the presentation or material will help improve retention. For presentations with audio, it’s best to use the “On Click” option to advance your slides. This allows you to synchronize your presentation with the audio you’re using.

You can also utilize creative transitions for your slides. New information can slide in, spiral or fade, or you can randomize the transitions. Don’t get too caught up in these features at the expense of your training, though. If every word spirals in and blinks for 10 seconds, your message will be lost.

Take your training online.
If you’ve developed a PowerPoint training course, you can easily distribute it to your employees using a learning management system with a flash conversion software program such as Swift Presenter.

These software programs can turn your PowerPoint courses into online courses and allow you to record audio narration to synchronize with your animations and create a truly interactive course. You also can add an assessment quiz at the end of the training to ensure that your employees retained the information.

Don’t pay more for features you don’t need.
There are several learning management systems out there, including many that are hosted so you don’t have to purchase and install software to your own servers. If you’re interested in one, determine the features you really need before plunking down the money for software with all the bells and whistles. If you only need the bells, why pay for the whistles?

No more headaches
Employee training doesn’t have to be a headache. By taking the time to plan out and truly prepare your courses, you can ensure that your employees will be informed and knowledgeable in every aspect of your industry.

Preston Stiner is president of Evolve e-Learning Solutions (www.EvolveeLearning.com), a solutions provider of training systems and programs that allow organizations to maximize the potential of their employees, reduce administrative costs and accelerate their performance.


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