Manufacturing Training On the Go
John Hindman, Director of Learning Services, Tooling U-SME on
January 07, 2020
Recently, Tooling U-SME launched a new mobile app for manufacturing training – and it’s quickly picking up steam. Users — especially the younger generations — love that they can complete training anywhere.
Here’s a quick overview. For Android and Apple mobile devices, including phones and tablets, the app allows you to:
- Access your full class schedule
- Complete classes wherever you are (same features with audio, video, and interactive elements)
- Take tests when it’s most convenient for you
- Get your scores immediately (see correct/incorrect responses and real time updates for administrative reporting)
While culture and technology in some manufacturing facilities may need to adjust to the “new” ways of training, we see two areas where the mobile app is notably creating benefits:
- “Just in time” training mechanism. It allows new competencies to be taught and allows users to brush up anytime. It’s a valuable work instruction job aid. For instance, if a worker is assigned a new process that they aren’t fully familiar with, they can go to their phone for a quick tutorial.
- Self-directed development. In every organization, there are those who push to move ahead. These motivated workers often want to take on voluntary training to get better skilled. The ability to take courses at home or other convenient spots away from work makes this process much more manageable and convenient.
Even for adult learners who did not grow up with a smart phone in their hand, the benefits are clear. Many are already proficient with social media and other technological advancements, so the leap to mobile learning in general is easier.
Adult learners may prefer the freedom of completing training when they don’t feel time pressure in a training lab to get back onto the floor. Allowing older workers the flexibility to complete training on their own schedules (i.e., early morning when they are fresh vs. late at night) can help focus their efforts.
Ultimately, we hope that jumping on the Tooling U-SME app will be a reflex, just like scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. To create this “habit,” companies must do more than make the tools available.
Whether these courses are mandatory or voluntary, companies must communicate regularly that various learning options are available and encouraged. To do this, some manufacturers offer incentives for completion of classes or a certain number of hours. Rewards range from cash to an extra day off. These types of programs contribute to a strong learning culture.
Millennials and Gen Z workers especially want — and expect — this flexibility. Companies that don’t make these training options available to their employees may have trouble retaining them.
For employee satisfaction, and maximum flexibility and efficiency, offering formalized training programs that teach both soft and tech skills must be available through various avenues, including mobile.
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