You want to be able to prove yourself as a valuable employee and coworker, help your company meet and exceed production expectations, and feel satisfied about the work you do. But in a workplace where continuous production is the primary responsibility, and with numerous daily distractions, how on earth can anyone find time to train? Particularly when many plants are understaffed due to the industrial skills gap?
Time: There’s Seemingly Never Enough
It can be easy to put off time for continued learning, training and growing your professional skillset. After all, there’s only so much time in the day – time that seems like it’s already stretched too far, at work and at home.
But we’ve all had those bad days – days that test our patience and our knowledge as we deal with an emergency we wish we had been better prepared for. When the production line unexpectedly grinds to a halt on a plant floor, you know the chaos that can result. And if you’ve ever been the person responsible for helping get that line back up and running, you know the stress and pressure that comes with that responsibility. You also may identify with feeling like you could have performed better – if only you knew how to.
As a controls engineer, maintenance manager or maintenance technician, you are either empowered and enabled by your knowledge, or you are limited by your lack of it. The more you know and are able to do, the better equipped you are to quickly remedy unexpected events.
The Paradigm is Shifting
The good news is, training is now being tailored to a busy lifestyle. The traditional model of taking staff offsite for partial or entire days spent in classrooms and filling out paperwork is evolving. Thanks to modern technology, you can accomplish valuable training in short timeframes, wherever is convenient to do so. That’s key, because employees have only an average of eight minutes per week to dedicate to learning.
While hands-on, instructor-led training isn’t going away, it can now easily be supplemented with more flexible, easily accessible, on-demand trainings. Terms you’ll see enter the mainstream include:
- E-learning: The term “e-learning” encompasses many different ways to train, creating a customizable hybrid approach. E-learning typically provides training that can be delivered anytime, anywhere.
- Microlearning: This refers to short modules that focus on very specific topics, products and systems. Microlearning can be a great way to serve up refresher trainings and introduce new topics. As younger generations enter the workforce, access to e-learning options that fit the way they consume content will be increasingly important.
E-learning is self-paced, allowing the trainee to control their experience. They can pause, rewind and fast-forward through content to find the information they need. They can re-watch a module if they need to digest the content again. Just as streaming services have changed the way we watch TV, e-learning is changing how employees train.
Find Trustworthy E-learning Providers
When you have a question about an actor in a movie or how to make enchiladas, it can be easy to let a search engine find the answer. But when it comes to training, using a search engine to find answers in a forum or on social media is not recommended. Not only is it difficult to verify the legitimacy of a source, but it’s not an official training that you can add to your resume. Plus, since your time is so valuable, wouldn’t you rather skip the time spent searching and get the information straight from the source? The bottom line is, when the safety of your plant and colleagues are at stake, don’t cut corners with your training.
Now that you’re ready to commit to e-learning, what are your next steps?
- Make the time. If you’re still unsure how you’ll make time for training, start with setting aside 10 minutes a week. Maybe over a lunch break or during a lull in the afternoon. By protecting your time to prioritize learning, you’re making yourself a priority, laying the groundwork for self-improvement and increased job security.
- Do what works for you. With the many types of training available, you’re able to choose the types of learning and the courses that are right for you.
- Don’t stop learning. Learning and development is an ongoing commitment, and must progress beyond e-learning modules. Continue to practice and grow your skills in your job and keep looking for ways to grow.