Workers’ Training Requires a Systems Approach for Success

Safe workplaces are created when workers make good decisions. But, workers need good information in order to make good decisions. Some of the best training programs share a common tack: they employ a systems approach that ensures a continual stream of current and contextually-rich information when and where it is needed.

Linear training approaches can result in lengthy gaps between initial and refresher classroom training sessions. During these gaps, knowledge and skills degrade. The adage “if you are not using it, you losing it” applies here.JK_JJs Graph

(image adapted from the Research Institute of America)

A systems approach to learning complements formal training events. It provides opportunities to continue learning at the point-of-work and keeps knowledge alive between sessions. Point-of-work support between formal training events also helps transform classroom knowledge into real-world application knowledge, or “know how.” Know how goes beyond book smarts; it is how work gets done.

There is good news for those questioning how today’s lean organizations can find time for all of this informal learning. Point-of-work support does not require time off the line or away from jobsite.

Organizations supporting workers in their “moment of need” capitalize on learning opportunities that exist outside of traditional training sessions — or about 95% of workers’ total time.

What’s more: Gains offset resources invested as well-informed workers end up being dynamically-adaptive, productive workers. Organizations that do not embrace a systems approach to training have a lot of knowledge, productivity and safety performance to lose.