Approaches to Training
After a business has made the decision to upskill existing employees, it must decide on the delivery method. Common approaches to training include, classroom training, virtual classroom training, microlearning (learning in short bursts when the worker desires it), and simulation training. For highly complex tasks or dangerous jobs where errors can be deadly, simulation training provides a safe and effective way for staff to train “hands-on.”
Why Simulation Training?
Simulation training has long been used by pilots, and is now commonly used by surgeons, nurses, firefighters, the military, and electrical maintenance workers (e.g., Simutech Multimedia’s Troubleshooting Skills Training SystemTM for repairing electrical faults in high-voltage equipment).
Among the many advantages of simulation training are:
- It allows trainees to engage in high-risk activities—activities that in the real world could result in harm to themselves or others or cause costly accidents—in a safe environment.
- Users receive immediate feedback, which is beneficial to learning.
- It is interactive and allows for active trainee participation, which is far more engaging than passive listening to lectures.
- It offers a realistic, hands-on environment, but learners don’t have to wait for a particular situation to arise (as they would in real life) in order to practice.
- It can be set up at appropriate times and locations, and repeated as often as necessary.
- It can be customized to trainees’ skill levels and areas of weakness.
- Disadvantages of simulation training include the expense of a physical simulator versus other approaches to training, and the length of time it can take to develop a good simulation model. These disadvantages do not apply to simulation software, which can be easily deployed on standard computers, and already has the simulation model in place.
Download “The Skills Gap and Training For The Future of Manufacturing to find out the implications of the skills gap in the manufacturing industry, and how simulation-based training can help.
The Future of Manufacturing
The youngest of the baby boomers are now 54 years old, heading for retirement within the next decade, and taking with them their experience and embedded knowledge.
This exodus is happening at a time when manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States, via economic expansion and reshoring. Technology will continue to advance at a rapid pace. It has already intersected with the manufacturing industry to create production line equipment and processes requiring advanced skill sets in workers, but the current lack of interest in a manufacturing career among the young and the decline in related educational program, will see the skills gap continue to grow.
The Manufacturer’s Institute predicts a production worker shortage of 63% by 2020, up from 54% in 2011.1 It is reasonable to assume the trend will continue beyond that. The manufacturing sector as a whole must collaborate on solutions to the talent shortage by making manufacturing careers more appealing to youth, and by working with educators on curricula and apprenticeship programs that will to ensure students are graduating with critical skills. This will take time. In the meantime, manufacturers that want to remain competitive must adapt and invest resources in internal training and development programs to create the workforce they need right now.
Download “The Skills Gap and Training For The Future of Manufacturing” to find out the implications of the skills gap in the manufacturing industry, and how simulation-based training can help.
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