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Last week, I had the pleasure of being an instructor for the Investment Casting Institute’s Process Control Seminar.  We had students from all over North America come together at Western Michigan University to learn how to apply process control tools in the three major areas of the investment casting process: wax, shell and foundry.

The structure of the course was for investment casting, but, there are definitely some takeaways which can be applied to all employee training.

  1. Provide multiple methods of learning.  As I have previously discussed, everyone learns differently, so make sure you include visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning. Whenever possible, instructors should incorporate activities so the students can apply what they were learning.
  2. Tie the training back to something that can impact their jobs. Adults want to know that the effort in learning something new is worth it.
  3. Ensure the instructors are prepared and comfortable with the material they are presenting.  We all know what an impact a great instructor can have on learning.
  4. Provide the training materials in different formats. Some people want their training materials electronically, while others prefer to have hard copies.
  5. Make sure caffeine is available throughout the day.  Very few people are accustomed to sitting and listening to lectures for an entire day.  Providing some stimulants, including chocolate, can help keep students focused.
  6. Control the environment.  This includes the temperature of the room, noise in the hallways and conversations amongst students during the lectures.
  7. Get feedback on what can be improved.  The perspective of the course should be evaluated from all angles, not just from the instructor. After the course, make sure to conduct a de-brief with the instructors while their experience is still fresh in their minds.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to