Helping Learners Make the Connection
Many of our customers help learners make the connection by
providing a somewhat formal application workshop.
For example, if the training focus happened to be on
mistake-proofing, the trainer (instructor) would use existing data
to identify recurring problems in the learnerís work areas and
prepare a workshop intended to mistake-proof the recurring problems.
During the workshop, the learners (trainees) would be presented
with a mistake-proofing opportunity dealing with a target from their
The trainer facilitates the workshop, helping the worker
mistake-proof the target.
By the end of the workshop, the trainees have learned how to turn
a training concept into a job skill while adding value to the
operation by mistake-proofing a recurring problem!
Sounds good you say, but what if your organization doesn't have the
training staff, the facilities, and the number of learners to make
this approach effective? Or, what if your company is smaller?
What if you are the learner and you now simply want to apply what
you have learned? Do you really need a formal application
workshop to make the connection? NO! Here are some
examples of less formal ways to make the connection.
- Pair up learners and assign them a task to complete that
will use the skills that have been learned. Provide a
deadline and set checkpoints along the way as they work through
the task. Be sure that the task is "real;" no one likes
spending precious time on busy-work that doesn't have any
beneficial results. Be sure that you (or an expert such as
a black belt) are available to answer questions and guide the
pair when they need assistance.
- If learners are expected to use a skill learned in their
everyday job (for example - statistical process control or SPC)
visit them at their work station and review the control chart.
Ask facilitating questions to help the learner make connections.
A facilitating question, is NOT an interrogation nor is it a pop
quiz! Instead, facilitating questions lead learners to
think about what it is that they are doing and why. If the
topic is SPC you might take a look at the control chart that the
learner is using and make sure it is properly being used.
You could ask what if questions such as: What if there was
a sudden string of datapoints that trended upward? or What
should you do if you change materials during your shift?
- If you are taking training for your own professional
development, don't short change yourself! Be sure that you
too make the connection. After learning something it is
helpful to take a few minutes to sit back and reflect on what
you learned and then jot down a summary of key points you got
out of the training. Then, write down how you will use
your newly learned skills. Don't limit yourself to just
using the skills in your job context. Many quality
improvement techniques can easily be used in everyday life.
For example, if you have just completed 5S training, how can you
apply it to your everyday life? Perhaps you can use the
5S's to clean up your basement or even that stack of personal
paperwork that keeps growing.