The TWI Blog for the Training Within Industry Community of Practice

The Learning Curve

As I work with people who are new to TWI, I observe their learning process  and realize, anew each time, that there is always a learning curve from awareness to understanding to expertise. Everyone must go through it. I have labeled the six phases or periods in this process (somewhat lightheartedly) as:  1. I heard about TWI. How do I get certified? 2. The Aha! moment. 3. Oh, now I get it! 4. The Oops! phase. 5. Okay now, I really see how this works. 6. Now I feel competent to do and teach this.    

 It starts with: “I heard about TWI and looked at your website. How do I get certified?”  This is the awareness period. The learners are aware of the program and maybe know something about it, but think it is all about them getting trained.  They need to learn much more about TWI, but first we always ask: Why did you call us?    

Once we spend some time discussing why they need to use TWI in their company, we get down to the real issues driving the inquiry. That’s when we get to what I call “the Aha! moment”. This is when they realize that TWI is a program that will change the way they do business not simply a once and done training program.  It is at this point we lose some. Those who remain are usually anxious to get started with the ten hour class and/or benchmarking successful implementers. 

Once they do either or both they reach another level of learning I call “Oh, now I get it!”  This is the, “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” phase.  Failures after the initial training occur because, in truth, they don’t get it.  So, unless someone is there to coach them through their first efforts to create materials and use them, they frequently do not know what they are doing wrong.  This is especially true in JI and JM.   

That’s why the next period on the curve is called “the Oops! phase”.  You see, no matter how good the instructor, there is a period of practice and learning that must be experienced. This is when coaching is most important. It is also a critical phase in the learning curve and sometimes will determine whether the learner quits or improves.  I believe many implementations get stalled at this point due to a loss of confidence in the program or themselves.  This is why coaching is so very important.

After some practice and coaching the learners are at the “Okay, now I really see how this works” period of learning and go on from there to use TWI with great success in the company.

Finally, some may be ready to take their training to the next level, Trainer the Trainer.  Train the Trainer, once completed, puts them in a privileged group who have taken the time to develop deeper knowledge and skills in the TWI program.  They are now prepared to train others in the basics of implementing TWI, and to become a TWI Champion in their company. Now they feel competent “to do and teach this” (phase 6).  From there on the company must support the program and allow the learner to practice the skills they have learned. 

No one knows that better than our expert trainers that the learning curve never ends. It continues upward as, even the experts, continuously strive to improve and learn. 

So, if you are just starting out, be patient, the learning curve takes time and a degree of dedication, but, the long term returns will be great for both you and your company.


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