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 learner’s 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 work area.
- 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.