By Tim Neubauer, MS, CSP | JoAnn Dankert, CSP, CHMM, CIT | Kimberly Kemp, PhD
In the contemporary workplace, the era of one-sizefits-all instructional paradigms is effectively over. This is particularly the case in complex, high-stakes industries like steel erection. In such fields, training isn’t a mere formality but a crucial process that ensures not only competency but also safety. A misstep or misunderstanding can result in serious injury or even loss of life, making the stakes exceedingly high.
In-house trainers can be more effective when they take a comprehensive approach and understand their audience.
In the 21st century, steel erection training requires more than rote learning. Workers require a deep understanding and practical application of complex principles, ranging from physics to safety regulations. The risks of getting it wrong are not just financial but can be human as well. With increasing technological complexity and a more diverse workforce, the one-size-fits-all model has become obsolete.
Adapting content and delivery
Today’s workforce is incredibly diverse, not only in terms of demographic factors like age, ethnicity, and educational background but also in terms of learning styles. According to the Cone of Learning developed by Edgar Dale, the retention rate for different types of educational activities varies widely. For instance, people generally remember only 10% of what they read but as much as 90% of what they do or teach others.
Emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality offer unprecedented opportunities to adapt training to individual needs and to integrate more hands-on learning. For example, virtual reality scenarios can simulate the high-risk, high-stakes environment of a steel erection project, providing workers with a safe space to practice skills and procedures. A 2020 study by Price Waterhouse highlighted that trainees retained over 80% of the material through virtual reality training, compared to much lower retention rates for traditional methods. Moreover, this kind of training can be completed in a fraction of the time, leading to cost savings and quicker deployment of skilled workers.
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