In the video, Improving Troubleshooting Learning Retention Rates, Simutech Multimedia’s CEO Samer Forzley talks about the learning pyramid and how it relates to training manufacturing, electrical and maintenance staff.

The learning pyramid, as explained in this post from Michael Simmons, breaks up learning methods into different categories. Forzley organizes the list by four main categories: traditional, demonstration, practice and teaching.

The first category is traditional, which is the learning method most associated with a college course, where a classroom of students sit and absorb the material delivered in the form of a lecture by one person at the front of the room.

“By that method, according to research, you will retain about 5 percent of the material,” said Forzley.

Whereas by reading a book, about 10 percent of the material read will be retained by the student, and audio-visual methods used yield about a 20 percent retention rate.

“The benefit of these methods is you have the reference material, so you can always go back to it and check it, highlighting it and taking notes,” said Forzley.

However, Simutech hears from its manufacturing customers that they only have roughly one or maybe two hours a week to train their staff, which is not enough for a full-time course.

The second method is learning by demonstrating, or “show and tell.” In manufacturing, this method takes the form of a buddy system, where a seasoned professional takes a rookie onto the plant floor and shows him or her how to troubleshoot problems and fix equipment.

“It’s a good way to learn and increases retention rates, but it does come with some issues. One, it doesn’t scale,” said Forzley. “And sometimes the buddy can teach bad habits or cut corners and not follow steps.”

The third method is by practicing a skill, which is taking what you’ve learned and actually applying it. However, in a factory environment, being able to practice on live equipment is not feasible.

“Sometimes it’s dangerous, and you don’t want to be messing around on lines while they are running,” said Forzley. “That’s where simulation training comes in, where it allows scaling up the training and allows people to practice something over and over again.”

And not only does simulation allow for normal operational scenarios, but also the weird, freak occurrences that do happen even if they are rare.

“When you are able to practice, you can quickly diagnose what you are observing and fix it,” said Forzley. “That’s why practice makes perfect.”

The last method is teaching what you’ve learned. This reportedly has the biggest impact on retention rates, which is 90 percent. The problem is that the person teaching, such as in a buddy-system scenario, is getting more of the benefit of the training than the trainee.

“The best way to get the biggest benefit is to assemble the different types of learning methods in a sequence,” said Forzley. “Do some basic learning, followed by some demonstration, then some simulation and practice, and when that’s done, teach the concept to someone else.”

So, once a new recruit has went through the learning process have them immediately demonstrate or be the teacher in a buddy-system situation, rather than have the senior staffer or maintenance manager do it.

“There isn’t one way to teach someone something and different people respond differently to the various methods of learning,” said Forzley. “The best way is to provide the whole envelope for training. That way each individual will have the tools they need based on how they learn.”

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