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Archive for June, 2011

A trainer’s dilemma

Have you ever thought: Is there some way to make TWI JI better, faster, more up to date with technology?

Here is a trainer with a dilemma and Patrick Graupp’s  response.  


The program I am working on today requires to train hundreds of people worldwide on new processes and software. I would like take the advantage of the TWI methodology to boost the speed and the quality of the training that is a bottle neck for us regarding the available resources.

I do not know if it has been tried before but for learning software could you effectively follow the 4-step method in a classroom environment (no more than 10 people)?

Step 1 – the instructor performs a general presentation:

–          Explain the objective

–          Ask each person within the group what they know

–          U shape room is used to ensure everyone can see the software on a screen

Step 2 – Instructor presents the software

–          Go through each important step on the screen

–          Do it again stressing Key Points

–          Do it again stating reasons for Key Points

Step 3 – Try out performance with each person in the group

–          Each person within the group would do the job – correcting each error

–          Each person would explain each important step

–          Each person would explain each Key point as they do it again

–          Each person would explain each reason for Key points as they do it again

Step 4 – Follow up

–          Put the group on their own by giving them 2 or three exercises to do. Instructor remains in classroom but only helps when help is needed

–          Encourage questions

 I realize it is somewhat of a compromise but it does have some advantages like having heard and seen the learning process many more times than one on one instruction. Please let us know your thoughts and experience.

 Patrick said:

TWI is a very good tool for teaching software routines. Since there are so many functions available, it is always confusing to learn to do specific things using software. So when we “break it down” and give specific instructions, we can isolate the tasks and ensure a correct performance. Be careful with the breakdowns: the Important Steps should be large segments and not too detailed (e.g. “Log in,” “Open file,” “Select correct customer,” “Input data,” etc.). Then the Key Points can be shortcuts or techniques, but only those points where things go wrong. You do NOT need to instruct them on things they know from their experience like “hit enter key.” A good example of a Key Point might be the best “path” to get to a certain screen like “Format -> Options -> Files -> Customers.”

 So, about the instruction of large groups of people, your suggestions can work if they are done thoughtfully and with care but keep in mind that, at some point, it will actually be FASTER to teach them one at a time. If it takes 30 minutes, say, to teach the job you could get 10 people trained in less than a day without having to go through all the logistics of setting up the classes. This is the most effective way because each person can have the training adjusted to their level of experience and knowledge. Any time you get away from the ideal method, the quality of the training effort goes down. Of course, this is a big effort—see Chapter 9 of the Implementing TWI book where they set up individual training for 467 nurses and nurses assistants.

 Having said that, there is always a place for classroom training. TWI does not change that. Especially with software applications where you are not teaching “on the line” where machines are moving and product is in motion, you can sit people down in a class and go through the instruction where everyone can see (on a big screen) and you can pace the instruction to the needs of the group.

 Actually, going over your suggestions I thought of yet a third option you can consider:

 Step 1 and Step 2 are done with a group of 10 people in a training room setting

–          In Step 1, go around the room and quiz each person on their backgrounds one at a time. Use this information to get the whole group “interested in learning the job” making sure you don’t leave anybody behind. Different people have different motivations.

–          In Step 2, adjust the presentation to the “lowest level” of experience/skill in the group. The more advance people will have to be patient, but you don’t want to leave anyone behind by going too fast or too complicated.

Step 3 and Step 4 are done individually at their own work stations  

–          Disperse the group and have the trainer visit them at their desks/work stations one at a time and confirm that they can do the job and remember all the Important Steps, Key Points and reasons

–          Here, tell them the Step 4 items, pointing out when you will come back to check on them. Remember, this is the follow-up which means that the trainer then must go back and check up on the people one by one. In other words, you don’t just tell them you are coming back but actually go back and make sure they are using the method.

 There is indeed a lot of work to do proper training. But the goal is to have each person be able to perform the job correctly and following the standard. When you bring a group of people together and try to teach it at one time, you cannot assure that each and every person “gets it” so one-on-one attentions is critical. That’s why when we train more “supervisors” (trainers) how to do the method in the 10-hour class, you can have more coverage for this one-on-one effort.

What do you think?

Steve G


What do the evaluation ratings mean?

Are  you are a certified trainer who sometimes asks: What do the numerical ratings mean on those evaluation forms?

 Richard Abercrombie has delivered hundreds of classes and has seen a pattern emerge on those feedback scores.  He says: 

 “Anything from 8-10 is a ‘promoter’.  This person will speak favorably about Job Instruction to others and will be willing to recommend it.  For you as the trainer, and for company management, there is no serious concern here.  But they still need follow-up and encouragement.

 A score of 6 or 7;  I consider to be a person who is “not sure.”  Something is bothering them.  If management has selected these participants because they expect them to use the method, this is a concern.  Management needs to follow-up with the group and see if they can get them to talk about what lingering concerns there are.  It’s hard to know why they think that way without getting them to express their feelings and opinions.   

A score of 5 or below is a BIG concern for management because that person is a ‘detractor’.  They will be willing to actively discourage others.  In this case, Management must be very active in follow-up with the specific individuals if they know who.  

 While you’re doing your follow-up you can try to get a feel for those that are still ‘not sure’.  Your coaching will probably convert them to 8-10.”

Thanks Richard! 

 What do you think?  Do you agree? Let us know – leave us a comment.

 Steve Grossman

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