Blended Learning, Manufacturing

The Role of an LMS in Blended Learning for Manufacturing Companies

by Debbie Williams

Nearly 3 million jobs will open up in the global manufacturing industry as current workers, including baby boomers, start retiring.¹ That turnover will leave many companies with a shortage of skilled workers and an abundance of opportunities that will take time to fill.

As manufacturing companies lose skilled workers with years of experience in the industry, they will need to bring new employees on board gradually, preferably while seasoned workers are still available. By upskilling new hires over time, manufacturing companies will be better prepared for when their skilled workers retire.

Blended learning, a combination of live or in-person training and self-guided online courses, can help manufacturing companies upskill their new staff efficiently. For example, blended learning can help with equipment training as well as soft skills, management, and more. The easiest way for manufacturing companies to implement an effective blended learning program is with an LMS.

“Blended learning is a viable and cost-effective solution to provide support for (manufacturer) equipment training…” -- Intel²

Learn about 3 ways an LMS supports blended learning for manufacturing employees.

3 Ways an LMS Supports Blended Learning for Manufacturing Employees 

Several learning technologies enable blended learning for manufacturer training. A learning management system is one example. Here are a few ways an LMS supports blended learning for manufacturing employees:

1. An LMS helps manufacturing companies reduce time technicians spend away from work by deploying online learning -- The most basic function of an LMS is distributing and tracking online training for employees across a variety of departments. eLearning, which an LMS helps manufacturing companies deploy, is a vital component of a blended learning program and can reduce the amount of time employees spend away from work for training.

For example, using web-based training technology, the Intel Corporation was able to reduce a 12-day class on semiconductor equipment training to just 5 days in the classroom by blending classroom training hours with 3 hours of online training. The Intel corporation wrote,

“The results of the implementation demonstrated a 60% reduction of technician time away from the factory, benefits cost ratio of 2.27, and an ROI of 157%.”³

While a variety of learning technologies facilitate web-based learning, an LMS improves tracking of registrants for both live and online classes, making it a good option for manufacturing companies with many employees.

2. An LMS gives employees access to training-related data while they are learning on the job -- Using a learning management system, manufacturers can create an online compendium of searchable answers to commonly asked questions. This online store of information acts as a directory that can immediately connect workers with the support and information they need while training on the job or when they have a question. Such a tool allows learners to rapidly access expertise outside the formal classroom and supports blended learning.

To determine what data to include in the online directory of information, have in-person trainers and managers note what questions are asked most frequently. Include answers to those questions in the repository for easy access. Also, making good use of surveys can give employees a chance to let administrators know what questions came up during live training that they did not have the chance to ask.

MANUFACTURING: LMS Overview
3. An LMS delivers online courses that complement and reinforce in-person training -- Live training is a critical aspect of a blended learning program for manufacturing companies. Equip Employees in Manufacturing with Blended Learning4 stated,

“Complex concepts of the (manufacturing) processes can be explained through ILT (in-person live training), while eLearning courses can be used to complement the classroom training. Tables and flow diagrams are used to explain the various stages of the process and to give a clear overview of them.”

Simulations delivered via eLearning courses can also drive home information gleaned from on-the-job training. This helps manufacturing employees thoroughly learn production processes and feel confident in their abilities.

Investing in Manufacturer Training May Help to Decrease Turnover

The majority of manufacturing and fabricating companies are not investing in continued education or upskilling their employees, which could be contributing to higher rates of turnover.5 By implementing blended learning using an LMS, manufacturing companies can:

  • Help to decrease turnover.
  • Train employees more quickly.
  • Allow workers to access online answers to questions that arise during on-the-job training.
  • Reinforce and complement concepts learned during in-person training.

By implementing the right LMS and creating an effective blended learning program, your manufacturing company could see these results and more. Find out more about the role an LMS plays in blended learning in 4 LMS Features that Promote a Blended Learning Program.


References:

1. eLearning Industry. eLearning in the manufacturing industry: learning the ropes. https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-in-the-manufacturing-industry-today-learning-ropes.

2, 3. Intel. Blended learning in high-tech manufacturing: a case study of cost benefits and production efficiency. https://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/view/1726/558.

4. CommLab India. Equip employees in manufacturing with blended learning. https://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/blended-learning-for-employees-in-manufacturing.

5. FMA. New manufacturing report shows how worker turnover costs the industry. https://www.thefabricator.com/blog/new-manufacturing-report-shows-how-worker-turnover-costs-the-industry.

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing