How to Format Training Materials To Make Learning Easier

formattingA lot of workforce training materials is written. This is true if it’s something your workers will actually read. And it’s true of scripts that are used for e-learning training courses as well.

We’ve written earlier about style issues for your written training materials–click here to read more about that. That article includes some simple tips, such as writing at an appropriate reading level, using conversational words, and so on.

But in this article, we’re going to show you how to format training materials using simple techniques like headers, bullets, and tables can make your training materials more effective. This will apply to materials such as Word documents and PDFs that your employees read but also to PowerPoint presentations and e-learning courses they view on a monitor or screen.

Convergence Training is a training solution provide with many libraries of e-learning courses, different learning management systems (LMSs) for companies of different sizes and industries, and custom training solutions. Contact us to learn more or set up a demo.


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Confined Spaces in Construction Rule Issued By OSHA; Goes Into Effect August 3, 2015

After much discussion and years of planning, OSHA just announced a new Confined Spaces in Construction rule (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA). The rule goes into effect August 3, 2015 (later this year). So there’s time to learn about it and to prepare, but on the other hand, time’s moving and you should too.

We’ve put together some information for you to help you get ready. Hope you find it helpful.

Convergence Training is a training supplier with a large library of health and safety e-learning courses, learning management systems (LMSs) for companies of different sizes and industries, and custom training solutions. Contact us for more information or to set up a demo.

OSHA’s New Confined Spaces in Construction Rule

So let’s get right down to some of the big questions, shall we?

When does the new confined space rule for construction go into effect?

As noted above, August 3, 2015.

Is the rule for Construction, General Industry, or both?

The new rule (1926 Subpart AA) is for construction. The old rule (1910.146) is for general industry.

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Effective Paper Manufacturing Training Programs: Better Training Through “Chunking”

We just wrote an extended blog post explaining the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and giving tips of how to do it.

Click here to read the extended article on chunking.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview of chunking and then would like to see how chunking can make your paper manufacturing training materials more effective, read on.

The Importance of More Effective Paper Manufacturing Training

Paper manufacturers face a series of difficult issues these days. For one, they have to complete with overseas producers who manufacture paper at lower labor costs. For another, they’ve got an aging workforce and the need to quickly “train up” new replacements that are young, bright, but inexperienced.

We have customers who have told us that it has typically taken 30 years to train a new hire to fill a high-level paper machine operator job. Faced with the challenges above, paper manufacturers realize they have to condense this training cycle. And that’s why it’s increasingly important to turn to the field of instructional design when creating training material for this industry.

Instructional design is the study of how to design, create, and deliver the most effective training materials. It’s based not just on things that people did in the past or “things my teachers did in school.” Instead, it’s based on a scientific knowledge of how the brain works to process, store, retain, recall, and use information (known as cognitive science). Even better, instructional design is backed up with studies, evidence, and statistical data (see the classic book Evidence-Based Training Methods by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark for an example).

One instructional design technique based on an understanding of how the brain works is called “chunking.” We’ll explain it briefly, below, and show an example of chunking put to use in our Paper, Pulp, Tissue, and Corrugated e-learning libraries for paper manufacturers.

Convergence Training is a training provider that makes a series of learning management systems (LMSs) for importing, creating, assigning, delivering, tracking, and reporting on training materials of any type. In addition, we make hundreds of e-learning courses, including courses on paper, pulp, tissue, corrugated, health & safety, manufacturing, and more.  We’ve even got apps for mobile devices. Contact us for more information.


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Testing Employees After Training: Best Practices for Workforce Evaluation

questionCompanies put a LOT of money, time, and hard work into training their employees. New employee onboarding, job role training, compliance training–you get the picture.

In many or most cases, that training includes some element of testing. People in learning and development often refer to this testing as “assessment” or “evaluation.” We’re going to try to use the word “test” as much as possible in this article, though we’ll fall back on assessment from time to time.

The problem is that after putting so much work into planning and creating the training materials, it can be easy to give short-shrift to the test part. And that can be a BIG problem because you don’t really know if your employees are learning what they have to learn if you’re not testing in one way or another. So you may be providing training that’s not effective for some, many, or all of your employees. And that’s why we’re going to focus on tests in this post–testing employees after training. Hope you find some stuff interesting and helpful.


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Selecting Different Types of Training for Different Types of Learning

types-of-trainingIf you’re a trainer or design instructional material, your job is to train people.

But what exactly are you training them? What kinds of things? If your initial answer is “stuff for work,” we can dive down a little deeper on that. The benefit of doing so is that once we realize that we train people on different kinds of “stuff for work” (or to speak a little more formally, we train people to help them with different types of learning), you can get a little more efficient and use different training techniques for each of those different types of learning that you want your employees to master.

That’s what we’re going to cover in this blog post. So if that sounds spot-on, continue reading. If you’re not quite sure how you feel about it, keep reading nonetheless, if you can spare the time. You just might find some tips to make the training programs at your workplace more effective and efficient.

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Book Review: Robert Mager’s “Developing Attitude Toward Learning”

We just read Robert Mager’s book Developing Attitude Toward Learning, one of six books in the classic “Mager Six Pack” series. In this article, we’ll give you a short book review. We have another, longer article if you’d like to study in more detail his ideas about creating enthusiastic trainees who want to put their new knowledge and skills into practice at work.

Before we begin, know that this is part of a series of articles looking at the books and ideas in the Mager Six Pack. So far, we’ve also got articles on the following:

Book Reviews

Overviews of Mager’s Techniques

With that out of way, let’s get to this book review.

Need any help with your training program at work? Check out the e-learning courses from Convergence Training, our family of learning management systems, or just contact us.


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How to Create Graphics for eLearning: Matching Graphics to Content

graphicsNot that long ago, we wrote a lengthy discussion of graphics and visuals for training materials. The article introduced 25 graphic techniques for making your training materials more effective, and it was based on the book Visual Language for Designers by Connie Malamed.

That post was so popular, and we found writing it to be so informative, that we thought we’d dig deep again and read another book on the issue of training graphics and visuals in training materials. This time, we checked out Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark and Chopeta Lyons. It’s a create guide full of tips for how to create graphics for elearning (and all types of learning, really).

If Malamed’s book was considerable in length–and it was–then the Clark/Lyons book goes even further–a whopping 420 pages. So, we’ll cover different aspects of the book in different posts. In this post, we’re going to just look at a part of Clark & Lyon’s book that introduces six different types of graphics and when to use each in training materials.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider–we make several learning management systems (LMSs) to meet the needs of companies of different sizes and in different industries, many libraries of e-learning courses for workforce training, custom training solutions for any industry, and mobile apps to bring training and workforce efficiency tools to your mobile device. Contact us if you have questions or want a demo.


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EHS Training Records & Documentation: Best Practices from ANSI Z490.1 Section 7

ansi-zWe’re back with a look at the final section of ANSI Z490.1, the American National Standard for Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training.

In this article, we’re going to look at ANSI Z490.1’s recommendations for documenting your EHS training and keeping records.

Because this article is the first in a series about ANSI Z490.1, know that we’ve got separate articles covering:

Need an LMS, EHS training courses, or other help with your safety training program? Contact Convergence Training to learn more.

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What Is MSHA Part 46? Training Requirements for Surface Mines

pt46Some of you are seasoned hands well aware of the MSHA Part 46 training requirements. But maybe a refresher would help. Others may be new to the field and might find this article a helpful introduction.

So let’s dive in and take a closer look at MSHA Part 46.

We’ll start by learning about MSHA, Part 46, and various aspects of Part 46, including:

  • MSHA Part 46 Training Programs, including New Miner, Newly Hired Experienced Miner, New Task(s), Annual Refrsher, and Site-Specific Hazard Awareness
  • MSHA Part 46 Training Plans
  • Records of training for MSHA Part 46 Training
  • Compensation and Part 46 Training
  • Contractors and Part 46 Training

In future articles, we’ll show you how you could use mine safety e-learning courses for part of your Part 46 Training Plan, and how using a learning management system (LMS) can help you assign, deliver, track, report on, and create documentation of that training.

What Is MSHA?

MSHA is an acronym that stands for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. They’re the government agency tasked with safety and health issues at mines. One aspect of their responsibility is to make sure miners receive proper safety training.

What Is MSHA Part 46?

Part 46 is a part of CFR Title 30 Mineral Resources. It deals with mandatory training and training documentation requirements at certain mine sites (see below to learn which mines).

Convergence Training is a training provider that provides training solutions for the mining industry. Check out our MSHA Learning Management System (LMS) and our library of mine safety e-learning courses that are appropriate for Part 46 Compliance Training. Intrigued? If so, contact us for more information or a demo.


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Motivating Learners: Tips from Robert Mager’s Book “Developing Attitude Toward Learning”

We all want to motivate our learners. Motivating learners during the training so they’ll have a better chance to learn is important, obviously. And it’s also important to motivate learners AFTER the training so they’ll be more positively disposed toward the topic in general and more likely to apply the training at work.

But how exactly does a good trainer motivate learners? One good place to look for tips is in the book Developing Attitude Toward Learning (or SMATs ‘n’ SMUTs) by the noted human performance improvement/learning theorist Robert Mager.

A quick note about Mager’s title: Mager is a funny guy and his books often have humorous subtitles. In this book, he explains that a “SMAT” is a “subject matter approach tendency” and a “SMUT” is a “subject matter unapproach tendency.” These originated as joking phrases he used around the house with his family while writing the book. A SMAT–or subject matter approach tendency–is a learner’s tendency to have a continued interest in the subject matter after the training is over. A SMUT–or subject matter unapproach tendency–is a learner’s tendency to avoid the subject matter after the training. Mager designed the book to teach us ways to increase SMATs for our learners and decrease SMUTs for our learners–in other words, try to make them want to engage with our topic and try to avoid turning them off our topic.

In this article, we’ll pass on some of the tips from Mager’s book. Of course, we recommend you buy the book and read it yourself. In fact, we recommend that you buy and read the entire “Mager Six Pack,” which we’re currently in the process of reading and writing about ourselves. Currently, here are the articles we’ve got about the Mager Six Pack:

Book Reviews:

Explanations of Techniques Described in Mager’s Books: 

With that out of way, let’s see what Mager has to teach us in this book (Developing Attitude Toward Learning).

Need any help with your training program at work? Check out the e-learning courses from Convergence Training, our family of learning management systems, or just contact us.


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