2. How to assess existing training equipment
This article helps you to evaluate your existing instructional technology and decide which systems to keep, and which systems to discard or replace. It is also a chapter from the Free eBook: Managing Technical Training Equipment.
Do you have a current training center with existing technology? Are you unsure if your training systems and equipment are up to date? You might ask yourself these types of questions when you are to revamp, extend, or scale-up your training program.
Perhaps the easiest way to assess your existing training equipment is by analyzing if it can support effective learning of the skills which your training center is supposed to teach.
In this chapter we will address the most important steps and factors, let us jump straight in!
1. List all Skills & Competencies
First, make sure you have a clear picture of which skills and competencies are to be taught, and that they are measurable and verifiable to a standard level required (Chapter 1).
Also, while workforce development takes a long time to implement and assess, technology development is only accelerating into shorter and shorter development and adoption cycles.
Therefore, it is critical to highlight the importance of not only focusing on CURRENT workforce needs, but also on FUTURE workforce needs.
To properly include future workforce needs we suggest analyzing both local industry needs and predictions, as well as global macro technology trends for the near to medium future.
2. List all Instructional Technologies
Second, take stock of the different types of instructional technologies and educational tools which you have available for learners in your training center.
Make sure to include, machines, equipment, hardware training systems, e-learning, software simulation tools, virtual reality training, educational contents etc.
Ideally you should know which type of skills each training system can effectively teach, the depth of the knowledge transferred and the richness of the learning experience.
3. Map Skills to Technologies
Third, map the two lists of (a) Skills & Competencies and (b) Instructional Technologies towards each other, this exercise will make it clear:
- which Skills & Competencies are well met and supported, poorly covered, or unaddressed by the existing Instructional Technology.
- which Instructional Technology is currently adequate, which should be reviewed, and which is superfluous for training the desired Skills & Competencies.
The goal of this exercise is to be able to swiftly decide which existing training equipment should be reviewed further before we decide to keep, or to discard of them.
4. Evaluate / Assess existing training equipment
There are various reasons as to why we want to implement educational technology, namely improving learning outcomes, instructional processes, access to learning and scalability, lowering costs, increasing organizational capacity etc.
Considering these different reasons, we have aggregated the below list of parameters to make evaluation and assessment as easy as possible.
Since priorities differ between each training provider, we suggest that you use the below parameters in any combination and with whichever weighting that makes sense for you.
- Subject knowledge (level of content quality, student outcome)
- Hand skills preparedness (degree of hands-on, physically applied, kinesthetic learning)
- Problem solving (degree of included fault diagnostics, troubleshooting processes)
- Job readiness (degree to which the technology is the same as used in future job)
- Technology literacy (degree of preparation to work in a fully digital environment)
- Information literacy (promotes reflective and critical discovery of information)
- Safety aspects (degree of which safety requirements are considered)
- Collaboration & teamwork (didactic approach to small group work)
- Teaching efficiency (is process and approach efficient considering trainer time)
- Trainer workload (will workload decrease or increase)
- Subject knowledge (level of content quality, trainer outcome)
Access & Scalability
- Reach (degree of off-premises access to learning experience)
- Simulations (degree of pre-class simulation training to increase learning effectiveness)
- Tech support (availability of tech support from producer, supplier, distributor etc.)
- Total cost of ownership (purchase costs, ongoing costs, maintenance costs etc.)
Use whichever parameters are important for you, assess the existing training equipment and decide which are worth keeping.
5. Planning of Training Environment
Once you know which training equipment makes sense to keep, and which to discard, its time to dig into planning your training environment. The training environment is the room, workshop, or laboratory in which you will be conducting the training.
The better that such an environment is initially planned and organized, the higher use and lower cost the final training environment will have.
Good planning of the training environment starts by knowing which occupations we are training for, which exact tasks are performed at each job, what needs to be learnt, and at which verifiable and standard level required (chapter 1).
Furthermore, it is important that the design has utilization in mind, that it includes elaborations of learning concepts, room data sheets with descriptions of utilization and with input from all prospective users of the learning space.
Based on such understanding it is possible to decide what type of equipment and training systems should be used, and how to physically organize them in the learning environment for the highest potential learning output.
Thus, to assess your current training equipment;
- List all skills and competencies
- List all existing instructional technology
- Map skills to technologies
- Assess equipment on various parameters
- Plan your training environment
In the previous chapter you could learn about how to setup a technical training program.
In the next chapter we will go through how to search and find suitable training equipment.
You can also download the full Free eBook: Managing Technical Training Equipment.