A resource for finding and scaling your training from the leaders in simulation training.

Greetings once again, Troubleshooters! Thanks for joining us here on Troubleshooting Thursdays. Right now we’re mid-way through our series on how to select a training program. Since a training program can represent a significant investment for your enterprise, you have to be sure the solution you choose meets all of your company’s needs and ease of scaling your training.

In case you’re just tuning in, we began this series with a post on the top 11 criteria you must use to evaluate a potential training solution. We then began looking at each criterion in depth; so far we’ve covered value (estimating a trainings gain and cost of investment), professional development opportunities, ease of training implementation and access, proven track record (proven training solution) , and completeness (training evaluation techniques).

Today in Part 5, we’re going to talk about item 6 on our Top 11 list: scaling your training. If you are a Director of Technical Training, a manufacturing executive, or plant manager of a company that’s facing growth or needs to train on a large scale, this criterion is especially important for you.

Training program scalability

Scaling your training or scalability is “the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged to accommodate that growth.” 1

If your company is planning to expand down the road—say, open new plants, or put an extra shift on the production line—you must be thinking about scaling your training now. Perhaps you hire seasonally, or your workforce grows and shrinks from year to year. The question to ask is, will the potential training solution be easy to set up, run, and administer for a large number as well as a small number?

If growth happens and a training solution is not scalable, it will cause a strain on resources and administrator time, a drag on production, and possibly even an unsafe working environment if employees cannot be trained in a timely manner. If the workforce shrinks after a company invests in a program that isn’t scalable, that’s money thrown out the window.

Cloud vs. physical simulation-based programs

Another thing to consider is whether the solution is cloud-based because if it is, it’s more likely to be scalable. Take the example of simulation-based programs: they may be either physical or cloud-based. Physical simulators are actual machines either built to recreate the real-life environment (such as flight simulators), or decommissioned from the factory to be used for training purposes.

A physical simulator is not very scalable, especially if it is a large or expensive machine. If a physical simulator such as a large piece of production line equipment is being used to train staff, there is a limitation on the number of people that can use it at one time, and it is expensive to create another one in order to train more people in the same place or set up other simulators in different locations.

On the other hand, in cloud-based simulation training programs, the simulated environment is created using software rather than a physical machine, so scaling your training is far more easier, only requiring a few computers, and internet access, to train more staff.

Scaling your training via software

Looking specifically at software, “a system is considered scalable when it doesn’t need to be redesigned to maintain effective performance during or after a steep increase in workload.”2 “Workload” may refer to the number of simultaneous users, the storage capacity required, or the total number of transactions. Essentially, scalable software programs can easily grow or change along with the user’s demands.

Software experts advise that if your business model depends on growth, you need to be scalable.2 Scalability also affects the lifetime value of your software, something people often forget to weigh against the cost.

If you are evaluating a software-based solution, make sure to ask whether it takes advantage of that fact to build in functionality that makes installation, upgrades, assessment or custom-test, and trainee evaluation easy.  Solutions that do this take up less of an admin’s time and therefore let them manage large numbers of trainees more efficiently.

In addition, a cloud-based solution will mean there is no drain on your company’s revenue.

Simutech Multimedia’s scalability

The Simutech Training System (STS) is a completely scalable series of engaging, interactive software-simulation modules that let you easily manage your staff’s electrical troubleshooting skills development. STS is cloud-based, so it can be accessed from anywhere and you don’t have to worry about your server capacity. One-click install, auto-updates, trainee data tracking, and easy report generating save administrators’ valuable time, allowing fewer admins to oversee more trainees.

And that’s all for today, Troubleshooters! Tune in to Troubleshooting Thursdays next week when we look at item number 7—varying degrees of difficulty.

References:

  1. Bondi, André B. (2000). Characteristics of scalability and their impact on performance. Proceedings of the second international workshop on Software and performance – WOSP ’00. p. 195. doi:10.1145/350391.350432.
  2. Leo Farias, Concepta. (2017). The importance of scalability in software design. https://conceptainc.com/blog/importance-of-scalability-in-software-design/
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