The Training Without Application Blues

Application is just as important as the training itself. Finding a way to keep your staff up to date with on-the-job knowledge while allowing them to apply said skills is a task that Avanceon looked to solve with an internal learning management platform.

Brian Fenn, vice president of operations, Avanceon,
Brian Fenn, vice president of operations, Avanceon,

You receive some scheduled training (probably even had to travel for it), only to not have to apply it for another six months. We’ve all been there.

The session was a while ago and you weren’t able to start the work and apply the skill until today. Maybe that was the only time the training was available, but by now the vast majority of what you remember, what scribbled down, doesn’t mean a whole lot. You struggle through trying to make sense of those notes from long ago and have them coincide with the task that you are now presented with and, honestly, it’s a bit painful. Maybe even more than a bit.

At Avanceon, we utilize an internal learning management platform to form the basis of our knowledge management system. We can use this portal to find information and training on a wide array of topics from project leadership and execution to technical and safety topics to business and financial literacy and a whole bunch in between.

We find this tool to be essential in providing in-time information and instructions to a host of problems and questions our people might run into. It allows us to combine good content that is perfectly tailored to our application(s) along with the ability to access information to refresh (or learn) on a multitude of topics. That is important because the effectiveness of training relies heavily on the actual application of those principles frequently and in a short time frame.

If you don’t start applying the lesson(s) immediately after the training, or are only doing it infrequently, the learning curve can be a bit longer than it should be. But by being able to re-access that training in its entirety, those connections to when you first learned it come back a lot quicker and easier. And having that library at your fingertips allows you to find advice and council on new topics, too.

As an organization, we’ve had so much success with this that we’ve started to share it with our customers as well. We established a secure, external learning management tool that customers can utilize to access training we’ve developed for both their current, trained personnel as well as future employees that would require that same information.

Our training with customers has become a lot more impactful for both current and future generations of employees. We also use this in the staff development work we do with our customers’ resources and provide access to both their custom content as well as relevant content we’ve developed for our internal team. It’s been a difference maker in the resource’s buy in and overall retention.

How do you handle knowledge management at your organization? What have you found to work the best for learning new skills and topics?

Brian Fenn is vice president of operations at Avanceon, a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). For more information about Avanceon, visit its profile on the CSIA Industrial Automation Exchange.