Category Archives: Microlearning

Various flavours of training in manufacturing – when to pick what?

The manufacturing sector in India is booming, and it has emerged as one of the high growth sectors in India.  According to the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index published by Deloitte, by the year 2020, India will be the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world. Under its Make in India initiative, by 2022, the Government of India wants the manufacturing sector to contribute up to 25 percent to the GDP.

To compete for its global ranking, the Indian manufacturing industry needs to address a few key challenges. For instance, the retirement of the experienced class has resulted in the loss of expertise and fewer opportunities for the young generation. This gap is widening, to say the least. The young generation of workers needs to be effectively trained on not only the age-old manufacturing best practices but also on the latest tools and technologies and paradigm shifts which are coming because of Smart Manufacturing.

The training needs of manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is one of the strongest and largest enterprises of the globe. CEO, Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers, believes that a skilled workforce is the cornerstone of manufacturing industries and the success factor of the economy. In India, even the government is trying to mitigate the skills shortage by offering incentives and subsidies for an upgrade in the technological subsector.

The Indian manufacturing industry has traditionally relied on classroom training for their workforce. With the proliferation of Internet and mobile and the fact that the young workforce is entering the industry, it is also warming up to the adoption of eLearning. However, there always confusion about which training mode is best suited for the company. Obviously, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. The type of training depends a lot on the training needs and learning objectives.

Let us take a look –

For awareness and knowledge creation

For manufacturing firms, companies often need to train the large workforce and GETs on concepts like safety, compliance, accounts, or new concepts like Industry 4.0. Conducting these types of training programs in a classroom environment can be incredibly time-consuming and costly. eLearning works very well in these situations. With eLearning, a large workforce can be quickly trained – without causing any significant downtime and as per the convenience of the workforce. That apart, all the courses can be thoroughly tracked. Studies show that manufacturing companies have witnessed a rise of 25-60% in employee retention with the use of eLearning.

Skill Development

The manufacturing industry employs multi-skilled employees who need to perform a wide variety of tasks. Many of these tasks require basic as well as highly specialized training. The employees also need to be updated about the latest happenings on an ongoing basis. For these training objectives, companies need to go with a combination of eLearning and classroom training. eLearning courses can offer the basic training and classroom trainings can be leveraged for more hands-on and advanced training courses. For the ongoing training needs, again eLearning can be adopted.

Expertise Development

A small but important portion of the workforce needs to be trained to become experts at the job. For this type of training, one classroom session or a series of eLearning courses may not be enough. The workforce might need on-going mentorship wherein the mentor is available on an on-going basis to clarify doubts, brainstorm on ideas, or seek opinions. Such on-going engagement with the mentors ensures concept reinforcement leading to an increase in productivity.

What should manufacturing companies look for in their training partner?

In 2017, the US manufacturing corporations spent nearly $161 Billion on corporate training, indeed a massive amount of investment! Manufacturing companies are leaving no stone unturned in training their workforce.

It is quite evident that because of the unique peculiarities of the industry, to effectively address the training needs of this industry, the training partner needs to possess specific capabilities, skills, and qualities. These include –

  1. Subject matter expertise – It is essential for the training partner to have a pool of subject matter experts who come with strong industry background and are well-versed with the practical aspects of the manufacturing operations
  2. Learning solutions expertise -The training partner should have expertise in all types of training methods – be it eLearning, classroom training, or blended learning
  3. Industry domain expertise – The training company should have industry domain expertise
  4. Process expertise – The training company should have experience of working with other manufacturing companies – only then the company can understand the intricacies of working in the unique set up

Are you looking to increase the RoI of your training initiatives? At Enggenious, we have worked with several manufacturing and engineering companies and helped them successfully design, develop, and deliver their training programs. Our large team of Subject Matter Experts with an average work experience of 30+ years and training experts will be happy to discuss your specific training needs and offer the right solution.

Manufacturing companies – look for these things in your training and development partner

The manufacturing industry is in the midst of change. Widespread technology adoption, increased automation and the drive towards digital transformation and the subsequent dawn of the age of Industry 4.0 are propelling us into a new age of manufacturing…one where productivity is optimal and waste is minimal.

This shiny new age is definitely giving the manufacturing industry the facelift it needs. Traditionally associated with large number of blue collar workers, this era of manufacturing with all its technology implementations and use of gadgets and sensors is moving away from the dim image of the factory that we have so far been used to.

However, as this exciting time comes upon us, manufacturers have to address the conundrum of the growing skills gap. According to Deloitte’s Skills Gap Report, over the next decade, there will be over 3.5 million manufacturing jobs. Owing to the skills gap, almost 2 million of these jobs will remain unfilled. India too is feeling this talent shortage. While the Indian Government is giving the Indian manufacturing ecosystem a push with its Make In India initiative, we still need to equip 15 million people by 2020 to realize this dream.

The thing is, manufacturing now doesn’t just need skilled people. They need multi-skilled people who can thrive in this new technology-driven environment. So while government initiatives to upskill people will lead to a certain decrease in the skills gap, manufacturing companies themselves have to upgrade their learning, development and training initiatives to create a workforce ready for the Factory of the Future.

But what should manufacturing companies be looking for in their training and development partners? Here’s a ready laundry list

Experience – it has to be relevant

Not all manufacturing companies are the same. And not all training companies are created equal. Manufacturing companies have a unique environment. They have unique requirements owing to the change being brought about by technology and automation adoption. Manufacturing companies also have a diverse workforce with diverse needs and learning demands.

The scale of training and development initiatives is also much larger because to the huge numbers being recruited each year. Additionally, there is the challenge of a distributed workforce to mitigate as well – these organizations have a large number of field workers and often manufacturing units are located in different geographies. Manufacturers have to navigate all these challenges and ensure that all the training needs of their workforce are adequately addressed without impacting employee productivity. How can they achieve this if their training and development partner does not understand this unique environment that they work in?

Manufacturing companies need to thus look for training and development partners who have experience in addressing these unique training needs and then delivering industry standard training specific to this industry.

Knowledge – it has to be current

“The times they are a changing”…Bob Dylan’s iconic lyrics seem to resonate eloquently in the changing manufacturing landscape. With the kind of change manufacturing is experiencing with the use of technologies such as IoT, data analytics, AI and Machine Learning, 3D printing, robotics amongst others, the training and development partners of such companies also have to be on top of all the current trends this industry is experiencing. How can you provide training on the supply chain, for example, if your training company doesn’t know the workings of the new and IoT optimized supply chain? Having industry domain expertise to have a complete understanding of the all-round learning needs of the different manufacturing and engineering domains also becomes critical.

Along with having a keen eye on all the latest trends, the training and development company also has to have a sound knowledge repository – their trainers. This repository has to consist of skilled resources and subject matter experts who come from brilliant academic backgrounds and have extended work experience to deliver relevant and impactful training programs.

Training delivery model – it has to be optimized

Learning and training initiatives in the manufacturing environment of today not only have to be comprehensive but also have to be delivered in an optimized manner. Depending solely on classroom training can impede the scale at which knowledge can be delivered owing to the multiple constraints in the manufacturing ecosystem – logistics, training a large workforce together, getting the right trainers all available at the same time without a productivity impact can be an uphill battle.

Training and delivery partners for manufacturing companies thus have to have multiple training delivery models. They have to be proficient in delivering both online and classroom training. They have to know when to employ which training model. They have to have sound knowledge and experience of implementing blended learning programs, along with enabling microlearning, and mLearning. Experience in leveraging gamification, videos, animation, webinars etc. to ensure better knowledge retention also impacts training outcomes and hence, experience in these aspects is something to look out for.

Customization capability – it has to be adequate

The training needs of no two manufacturing companies are the same. Thus, the training and development partners of manufacturing companies have to possess extreme customization capabilities. Capabilities that include thorough need analysis by assessing the learning objectives, accounting for the capabilities of the target audience, understanding the learning subjects and then defining the delivery mode become important to have positive learning outcomes and also lower costs. The training partner also has to develop and deliver learning content based on the organizational objectives, and also ensure that international standards and process benchmarks are being followed at all times.

In this age of constant change, manufacturing companies have to adjust their learning and development objectives with the greater organizational goals and objectives. With the right training plans in place, not only will they be able to mitigate the challenge of the skills gap but also ensure a boost in productivity. However, a good training partner is critical to this success. Choose wisely.

The role of technology in training for Indian manufacturing industry

Category : eLearning , Microlearning

The Indian Manufacturing sector is estimated to have grown at a Compound Annual Growth rate (CAGR) 4.34 percent between FY12 and FY18. With the launch of the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government of India, the manufacturing sector is gradually emerging as one of the high growth sectors in the country.

Going by the plans for this segment, India is expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of 2020. As a part of this initiative, the Government also aims to increase the share of the manufacturing industry to the GDP to 25% by 2022 and create approximately 100 million jobs. The Labour Bureau’s Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario shows that this sector added an estimated 89,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2017-18. Given the changing landscape, India is on the road to becoming an attractive manufacturing destination and a hub for foreign investments.

The technology impact in manufacturing

It is great to see the upward trajectory that the manufacturing industry has taken. However, as the industry itself is caught amidst the winds of change. Large-scale automation and technology implementations are changing this sector completely. In order to increase efficiencies, eliminate waste, improve the productivity of processes and the employees, and increase cost efficiencies for profitability, this sector is heralding the age of Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 employs the use of advanced technologies such as IoT, cloud, big data and analytics, robotics, AI, and Machine Learning amongst others to reach these desired outcomes. To meet the goals designed for the manufacturing sector, the industry thus has to not only focus on its technology investments but also focus heavily on its human investments.

Clearly, with so much change, training had to climb up the priority list for manufacturers address the skills gap and also change perceptions regarding the blue collar work so prevalent in this industry.

Labor shortage or skilled labor shortage – which way does the cookie crumble?

A skilled labor shortage is one of the greatest challenges that the Indian manufacturing sector has to scale. Tom Captain global aerospace and defense industry leader at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu says, “India doesn’t have a labor shortage – it has a skilled labor shortage.” In the Indian context, most of the blue collar workers in this segment have lower education levels. The lack of specialized courses in the Indian education system also means that companies have to train their own people. Additionally, the quality of engineering graduates is also often not considered A Grade. The onus of training, therefore, falls on the manufacturing companies themselves.

As Indian manufacturing witnesses a mismatch between the skills that they have versus the skills that they need, this industry has to leverage technology to aid learning. The present mode of training and learning and development initiatives has been that of the classroom style. With a large number of recruits joining the workforce every year, this style of training becomes hard to execute, is expensive, and has a heavy cost and resource impact. Manufacturers additionally have to manage the logistics when it comes to training employees in geographically distant locations. Training, which is an essential activity, suddenly becomes tedious and complicated.

It’s technology to the rescue

In the age where technology is eating the world, manufacturing has to look at technology in training as well.

  • Just as all the manufacturing processes are getting improved with technology, training too can improve a great deal. Leveraging technology in training by using technology elements such as video, gamification etc. that fit in beautifully in the eLearning model, manufacturing companies can give their training methodologies a much-needed facelift.
  • Technology-aided learning can be leveraged greatly to build virtual worlds where the employees can learn skills in a safe environment. AR and VR simulations, gamification etc. are great elements that can be used to help employees learn the cause of the effect of different operations and help in better knowledge retention without a safety compromise.
  • Technology also helps with personalization. When everything in our world is getting personalized why should training and development initiatives be any different? In the age of the mobile, online learning gives training teams access online content anywhere, anytime. Knowledge is also disseminated in bite-sized, easily consumable chunks that ensures better knowledge retention. Microlearning is serving as the most effective method to deliver trainings on subjects like standard operating procedures and even conceptual stuff.
  • Technology also makes sure that these training programs can be further customized to meet the learning styles of the user. Progress is monitored easily, feedback is proactive and hence knowledge gain is better.
  • Training departments also need to consider the mature age workers who are just about learning to adapt to the evolution of manufacturing. Many of these mature workers have low literacy levels. Training them on new processes using dreary text or long classroom sessions is often counterproductive. Leveraging eLearning, training departments can create courses that are task-related and visually attractive. By replacing text heavy training with this visual form of training, manufacturers enable better knowledge gain and absorption by reducing the cognitive load of this demographic. eLearning also helps the mature workers become more receptive to learning as they are more likely to ask questions in a virtual forum than in a classroom setting.
  • One of the most important aspects of training using technology is the kind of reach that manufacturers can get. Manufacturing employs a large workforce and often, a large number of these employees are in different locations and/or plants. It can be a logistical nightmare organizing training programs together for such a large and distributed workforce. Using eLearning and mLearning, manufacturers can easily navigate this logistical minefield and ensure that all the members of the workforce receive comprehensive and yet timely training.

The manufacturing industry has an extremely diverse workforce. You have blue collared workers and white-collar workers working in peaceful coexistence. However, with changing times, and with the new age of manufacturing, this industry needs to mitigate the challenge of skilled talent fast. Only then, this industry can live up to the demands of new innovations and advancements – and the kind of scaling that training needs to do can only be achieved leveraging technology.

Learning the ropes – eLearning doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ proposition

Category : eLearning , Microlearning

With the dawn of the new age of manufacturing with Industry 4.0, this sector needs to focus on the human capital now more than ever before. With a growing millennial population ready to get into the workforce and the baby boomers gearing up for retirement, this sector is expecting almost 2.7 million jobs to open up globally. As baby boomer retirement coincides with industry expansion, the manufacturing industry will have to navigate this talent shortage by proactively enhancing their learning and development initiatives to create a skilled workforce for themselves. According to research conducted by the U. S. Bureau of Labor, “new employees in the manufacturing industry are only going to stay in one particular job for an average of 4.6 years”.  Clearly, training has to be a continuous process in the manufacturing segment now.

While classroom training has been a mainstay in this sector for the past couple of decades, eLearning is making its presence felt owing to the enormous benefits of cost and time that it brings to the table. However, manufacturing companies can be reticent in jumping on to the eLearning bandwagon thinking it to be an all or nothing proposition.

It also has to be taken into consideration that some aspects of training in the manufacturing ecosystem are best conducted in the classroom in a more hands-on manner. However, there is a wide chunk that can be conveniently be accomplished with eLearning. Here’s a look at how manufacturing companies contemplating eLearning should move forward.

So, where should you begin? Start small

To identify where to begin companies need to first evaluate the entire training universe. The idea is to take a phased out approach so that eLearning can fit into the Learning and Development canvas with ease. The first step, therefore, would be to identify which trainings to conduct with eLearning and create an adoption timeframe with quantified milestones.

Once the evaluation of the suitable eLearning courses has been done, companies can move to the next step. In this stage, companies can have a small user base subscribing to the available eLearning courses. These users go through the course, evaluate and assess its outcomes. The Learning and Development team also evaluates the development process and the outcomes. Organizations can actually evaluate Microlearning at this stage as these courses are easier to develop and deploy. The good part about starting small is that there are no CAPEX, infrastructure or other overhead costs involved.

Pilot testing

At the end of a set period, say three months, organizations can validate the usefulness and suitability of eLearning modules and Microlearning programs. Analyzing user feedback here is essential as it highlights the gaps in the module, what could be done better and if knowledge retention has been adequate using these modules. Evaluating the eLearning data is also a good way of identifying areas for improvement. Once this is done, organizations can plan for a larger but still a more controlled deployment, for example, in one department or with a certain audience with specific years of experience. Once this is identified, the eLearning development activity kicks off.

Controlled deployment

The timeframe for a controlled deployment exercise could be set at six months. At the end of the timeline, the deployment has to be complete, and the feedback collected, analyzed and evaluated. Any changes to the learning models and content, and tweaking of the target audience to have more impactful outcomes are done and executed in this stage. Once this is complete, the company can look at an eLearning development and deployment plan that is ready for organization-wide adoption. In this stage, it helps to decide on priority levels by evaluating the top priority needs and kick off the development for the highest priority.

High priority deployment

In this stage, the development and deployment of eLearning solutions for top priority needs have to be completed within the specified timeframe. Once this is completed, the organization needs to start planning for the development of the courses for the next priority level and start the development work for the same.

The feedback analysis of the first priority deployment also has to be completed within this timeframe, changes have to be made, priority 2 deployment has to be completed and the feedback from the same accumulated, analyzed and evaluated. The priority 1 and 2 development and deployment can be completed within a timeframe of 18 months from inception.

Once these steps have been taken and the organization has familiarized itself with the flavors of eLearning, this practice can be rolled out organization-wide and ensure adoption by all stakeholders. By taking this systematic approach to eLearning adoption, manufacturing companies will have accounted for the needs of their users, have the right number of modules, and have identified the right priorities for learning and development initiatives.

This phased out approach also ensures that there is a scope for proactive corrections even mid-way which ultimately ensures a robust program that helps the employees learn and train better. Since this approach marks all the ticks in the checkboxes, getting organizational buy-in becomes easier, and provides a clear indication of how much to invest and when to do so.  Taking such a systematic and organized approach consequently translates to easier adoption, better learning outcomes, and a better RoI.