Towards more effective training models

June 2nd, 2015, Published in Articles: EngineerIT, Articles: Vector


Endress+Hauser hosted a talk on “Training vs Learning” during the Africa Automation Fair which took place from 5 to 7 May 2015. The talk focused on new training models which are needed in the field of instrumentation and control, and speakers also urged employers in attendance to implement these new models.

Dr. Holger Knau, who develops internal and external courses for the company, suggested a practical, participatory learning approach over passive methods that are commonly used. Passive teaching techniques (e.g. lectures, slide shows, demos, and readings) yield a low retention rate according to research, Dr. Knau explained. Participatory methods such as group discussions and practical exercises are far more effective when it comes to knowledge retention.

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E+H’s Dr. Holger Knau, Hennie Blignaut, Chris Gimson and Rob MacKenzie.

A practical approach, Dr. Knau argues, looks at whether a trainee can implement ideas, rather than sit in lectures and merely understand them theoretically. Key to participatory programmes is the evaluation and assessment process. Long-term evaluation is easier internally than when training other companies’ staff, but there are short-term evaluation models that can be used during the course to make sure trainees keep up. A continual assessment is also more effective than one at the end of the course, Dr. Knau said.

Dr. Knau also mentioned successful programmes in other parts of the world. One such programme has a pre-test phase to identify candidates for training, followed by an e-learning module, and then a virtual classroom module. The courses build up to the classroom training section, with assessments at each stage that trainees need to pass before being promoted to the next level. The advantage of a course running over an extended time is that it is a lot more effective in knowledge transfer than the short courses which most training programmes allow for.

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Endress+Hauser’s “Universal Training Rig”, a mobile measurement and instrumentation unit for training.

Chris Gimson, the company’s training manager in South Africa, also showed how this training is implemented in practice, and demonstrated Endress+Hauser’s “Universal Training Rig”, a mobile measurement and instrumentation unit on which trainees can gain practical experience of different important instrumentation and measurement concepts. For the time being it is to be used in a standard training program, but the company is looking to partnerships, which might see custom training programmes being developed around specific client needs.

As of yet there are no standard training programmes or modules within the SAIMC, but E+H’s Rob MacKenzie is at the helm of the organisation’s training community and said there are talks among various industry partners to establish such programmes.

Contact Hennie Blignaut, Endress + Hauser, 011 262-8000,

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