A resource from the leaders in simulation training.

Hey Troubleshooters, welcome back! We’re strong believers in the need for practice, but did you know there is a correct way to practice? As Vince Lombardi, a legendary Green Bay Packers head coach, famously said, “perfect practice makes perfect.” A five-time Super Bowl champion, Lombardi not only acknowledged the value of practice, he was insistent that practice won’t help much unless you’re practicing the task correctly.

But, before practice, you need to learn a skill. According to Greg Wingard, author of The Red Bucket Strategy and Guaranteed Success, your mind goes through six stages when learning a skill. We’ll break down these skills further down. Once you have that skill, you can practice it.

 Two Ways of Learning

Practicing a task correctly requires a bit of guidance. Skilled workers, such as electricians or machinists, learn their skills with plenty of guided practice. They spend years apprenticing under the watchful eye of an experienced teacher, practicing and mastering their special skills before employing them on their own.

But, there is another way to learn important electrical troubleshooting skills. Like simulations for astronauts and pilots, Simutech’s electrical troubleshooting training uses real-life simulations of electrical systems. This way, users acquire first-hand experience solving troubleshooting problems, making their training effective and long-lasting.

Acquiring New Skills

The six stages of The Red Bucket Strategy happen in two parts: the theory, or mental, segment of learning, and practicing, or doing, segment of learning. The theory segment happens first. It’s basically the discovery that you need to learn a specific skill. During this phase, your mind goes through three stages:

  1. Unawareness that there is a skill to be learned. As an example, when a child says, “I want to go to outer space!” they don’t understand that being an astronaut takes years of education, training, and hard work. They think they can fly into outer space right then and there.
  2. Awareness that you need to learn a skill in order to perform an activity. One sad day, the child learns that astronauts go to school for many years and actually have to work before going to outer space.
  3. Clarification of what you need to do differently. For example, the child realizes that if she wants to make it to outer space one day, she’ll have to get outstanding grades in school, get into top physical shape, and begin accumulating experiences that will contribute to her career path.

 

The practice segment comes next. Now that you know what skills you need to learn, it’s time to do it. And what better way to learn a skill than through practice? Practicing happens in three stages:

  1. Awkwardness. You first attempt the new behavior or skill and find it difficult. For example, the first time you throw a baseball, it doesn’t go far enough, hits a window, etc. The skill is unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
  2. Familiarity. As you practice, the new behavior becomes easier, but still requires thought. The more you practice throwing baseballs, the better you get at it. However, even at this stage, the skill requires constant and consistent practice; otherwise, it becomes awkward again.
  3. Automatic. You can perform the activity without difficulty or concentration. Herein lies the value of practice. By consistently repeating the skill (i.e., throwing the baseball every day for an hour), you master that particular skill. Once you reach the “automatic” stage, the skill will always be there, like riding the proverbial bike.

 

I’m practicing: Why aren’t I improving?

Of course, things aren’t always so simple as three steps and—boom! — mastery. Unfortunately, sometimes people consistently practice a skill and see no improvement.

Here are some conditions for successful practice, so that you know your practice will be valuable:

  1. Motivation of the learner: The learner needs to want to improve. Otherwise, the practice becomes arduous, and ultimately unsuccessful task. In order to make practice enjoyable and motivating, start with small, manageable chunks of skill. If your goal is more achievable, you’ll be more motivated to complete it. You’ll also be more inclined to keep practicing.
  2. Understanding the context of the skill: It’s important for learners to practice in the environment where the skill is required (like the simulations), otherwise, the skill is useless.
  3. Feedback: the learner needs to know what is good about their practicing and what is bad about their practicing. Otherwise, there’s no opportunity to grow, and improvement becomes difficult.

Simutech Electrical Troubleshooting Training

Simutech’s electrical troubleshooting training system incorporates all of these considerations in order to make training as successful as possible. Our electrical troubleshooting programs are broken into manageable chunks, enabling trainees to master one section at a time and remain motivated to complete the training.

Central to the design of all Simutech’s electrical troubleshooting modules is Simutech’s systematic troubleshooting approach. Trainees learn specific troubleshooting concepts and techniques by watching video demonstrations (the theory aspect of learning), training in simulated environments, and practicing exercises in instructional modules. By exploring and experiencing these concepts, trainees learn exactly what skills they need to master and how to master it.

Simutech’s modular courses are similar to eLearning electrical troubleshooting classes, but with greater flexibility. Trainees can use the programs independently, or the system can be incorporated into a troubleshooting class curriculum. The program also provides direct feedback through testing. Trainees immediately learn where they succeeded and failed so that if necessary they can try again—the correct way—making their practice can be as valuable, efficient, and effective as possible.

At Simutech, we believe in the value of practice. Our programs are a simulation-based solution that incorporates both the theory and practice aspects of mastering a skill. When employees know what skills they need to learn and how to learn them, and then have the opportunity to apply them safely in a simulated environment, real learning takes place.

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