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How to evolve your employee training techniques

November 20, 2018 By    
propane safety inspection. Photo:

Examine your current training techniques to make sure it is right for your operation. Photo:

There are numerous methods and materials available to provide effective education and training to help you prepare and equip employees to do their jobs.

With so many different approaches available and technology continuously updating and improving, it can be difficult to determine which methods to use and when to use them.

The propane industry has resources available through the Propane Education & Research Council, the National Propane Gas Association and various state associations that can provide many educational needs, including training materials and programs.

Using a variety of resources, techniques and methods to deliver workforce education may actually be the most effective way to help employees learn and retain information.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before looking at educational methods. The answers to these questions might begin to narrow your educational choices.

  • What are your educational goals? (New skills, new techniques, better workplace behavior, a safer workplace)
  • Who is being educated? (New employees, seasoned employees, management)
  • What is your budget?
  • How much time has been allocated for education?
  • What resources and materials do you have at your disposal?

Now, let’s examine the methods and some of the ways to execute them.

Traditional instructor-led

Traditional instructor-led forms of training remain some of the most used in the propane industry and have a track record of being effective. Traditional instructor-led training includes:

  • PowerPoint presentations – This method is one of the most popular and is usually combined with students following along with printed materials or other interactive methods.
  • Video – Lectures can be broken up with video portions that explain sections of the training topic or present case studies for discussion.
  • Storytelling – Stories can be used as examples of real-world applications and ways to perform the outcome of which is most effective with debriefing questions.
  • Demonstrations – Whenever possible, bring tools or equipment that are part of the training topic and demonstrate the steps being taught or the processes being adopted.

E-Learning or computer-based

E-Learning or computer-based training is another technique used today. With the changes in technology, it is becoming more widely used and available. Examples include:

  • Multimedia – An advanced form of computer-based training from the original text-only types of programs provide stimulating graphics, audio, animation and/or video.
  • Web-based training – Uses computer-based training modules located on the web, making standardized materials available to employees either on the company’s intranet or on a vendor’s website. Web-based training programs are often linked with software that makes employees’ progress trackable, making documentation easy.
  • Virtual reality – Virtual reality immerses employees in a learning experience. Most virtual reality training programs take the form of simulation, which is highly effective. It is hands-on experience without the performance risks.

Blended learning

Blended learning is a commonsense concept that results in a great educational process. This approach acknowledges that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to education.

Blended learning uses more than one educational technique to train employees. Learning experts believe that a big advantage of blended learning is that it more closely replicates how people actually learn on the job, through experience and interaction with co-workers.

This approach works well because the variety keeps trainers and trainees engaged. Think about the questions we addressed at the beginning of this article. Any or all of these considerations affect your choices for education and may even require using blended learning.

Chances are you already use this technique, perhaps without even realizing it. Have you ever used a PowerPoint and incorporated written quizzes, small group discussions and/or role playing at various points in the training? Have you ever broken a complex subject into parts and used a different training method to teach each section or step? If you have, you are already using a blended-learning approach.

Randy Warner is the owner of Warner C3H8 Consulting LLC.

NOTE: The opinions and viewpoints expressed herein are solely the author’s and should in no way be interpreted as those of LP Gas magazine or any of its staff members.

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