Real-Time Learning vs Training: Enhance Your Workforce

By: Ben Baldwin

May 27, 2021

real-time learning

Real-time learning vs. traditional training: which is the best method for your organization? We are currently in a skills gap where finding qualified employees is becoming more and more difficult. In a recent study by Monster, 85% of employers said that they are having significant difficulty finding qualified workers to fill positions in today’s market. Over the long term, the skills gap is expected to leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled by the year 2028. In light of these growing challenges, companies are looking for innovative ways to quickly and effectively train new employees while also advancing the skills of their current workforce.

In the pursuit of finding the best training methods, in-process learning approaches such as real-time learning are compared to traditional training methods that mimic the school system. The question is often posed: should employees be trained at specific times prior to working or can training and instruction be an ongoing process in a real work environment?

Finding the best way to advance the skills of your workers is highly dependent on the needs of your operation. Let’s explore the benefits of each methodology and see how you can empower your employees to perform more complex jobs, strengthen their knowledge retention, and create value sooner.

What is Real-Time Learning?

real-time learning

What if you could learn a new skill at the moment it was most essential? What if you could immediately acquire knowledge for a specific task regardless of previous training? This may sound like something out of “The Matrix” but it is the power of real-time learning.

As the name implies, real-time learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and guidance in real-time. By using Industry 4.0 technology like work instruction software, employees can actively work on the shop floor and learn new skills simultaneously. The system guides workers in real-time through every step of the procedure while monitoring quality and productivity.

Real-time learning enables people to acquire knowledge on demand while immediately creating value.

Unlike traditional modes of education, real-time learning takes a segmented approach to knowledge discovery. Instead of working through a training curriculum with a specific order, workers access the training and work instructions specific to their tasks. This enables a fast and agile knowledge distribution method that molds to the needs of your operation and your business.

As discussed in The Connected Worker Platform and the New Connected Economy, work instruction software and real-time learning present useful advantages for mixed-model manufacturing where production is based on the ever-changing demand of the market.

The power of real-time learning is its long-lasting ability to transmit pertinent information at the right time and in the right place.

Real-Time Equals Real-Place

real-time learning in a real work environment

Much like the philosophy behind the Gemba Walk, real-time learning seeks to take advantage of going to the real-place and gaining hands-on experience.

When we look at traditional learning methods, the student is removed from where real work is performed. And there is a specific reason for this. The idea is to provide a safe place for people to learn the skills apart from the real work environment. The downside is that the quality of the learning experience is diminished and workers are more likely to forget what they’ve learned. This leads to workers having to learn everything twice while potentially picking up bad habits once they are working on the shop floor.

For this reason, training still needs to be supplemented by experience on the shop floor. With real-time learning, employees gain this experience within the real work environment; strengthening the learning experience and enhancing employees’ knowledge retention. This enables training to closely, if not exactly, resemble their future tasks and responsibilities.

The 4 Advantages of Real-Time Learning for Companies

The focus of real-time learning is the enhancement of employees’ capabilities and performance. But it also presents four key advantages specific to the organization.

  • Job-specific training:

Real-time learning transforms how you deliver knowledge to your employees. Instead of workers learning in a strictly sequential order, employers can supply specific knowledge at the time it is needed. This means that training is agile and flexible to the needs of the operation and does not rely on what an employee already knows.

  • Training that enhances productivity:

Often training can put a halt on productivity as it involves multiple people and time away from production. But with real-time learning, employees that have little to no prior training can create value from the get-go by following the standardized work instructions. In this way, training does not impede productivity but enhances it.

  • Increased standardization for every worker:

Real-time learning applications enhance the reliability of every process through standardization. It ensures that training and process guidance is being performed the same way for every employee. Also, as experienced and inexperienced employees follow and perform their work, our work instruction software is monitoring that the job is being done according to the standardized method.

  • Continuous Improvement made simple:

Real-time learning creates a fast and effective way to implement continuous improvement across your shop floor. With work instruction software giving every employee the most up-to-date instructions, training employees on new procedures is done with the click of a button. Employees follow their work instructions and are notified when changes have been made and the system guides them through the improved process.

Read More: VKS: The SOP Maker

How to Bring Traditional Training into The Next Generation

advanced industry 4.0 training

Within the era of Industry 4.0 and the amazing benefits of real-time learning, it may seem that there is little space for traditional training methods. But this cannot be farther from the truth. The classroom setting is a great place to cement in the company vision, best practices, and any knowledge that may not be directly tied to any one procedure.

But despite the contemporary relevance of traditional training methods, they can certainly be improved through modernization and Industry 4.0 technology.

With work instruction software, classroom training can be remodeled into an interactive experience. Instead of hearing someone explain a process with a PowerPoint presentation, workers can interactively follow along with the work instruction guidebook. Instructors can share the screens of the trainees and the whole class can work together to learn and solve problems in a safe environment.

Essentially, we can apply qualities of real-time learning to the classroom with an interactive platform. This greatly enhances the learning experience and knowledge retention of each employee when classroom training is needed.

Seize the Advantages of Both with VKS!

At VKS, we believe in the unique needs of our customers. Whether you need to train large groups in a classroom or guide individual employees through new procedures, our goal is to empower your workers and your operation at every step of the way.

Real-time learning is taking the manufacturing world by storm, yet classroom sessions for learning the basics are still worthwhile. There is no doubt that both real-time learning and traditional training methods are needed for the vast landscape that is modern manufacturing.

With work instruction software, manufacturers are intelligently tailoring their training methods to suit the specific need of their operation. This strengthens the whole workforce and enables employees to learn new skills, maintain confidence, build quality, and immediately create value.

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