Examining the Importance of Understanding During Training: An Industrial Perspective
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Human error is an inevitable existence in virtually all tasks in which an issue arises as humans are almost always directly or indirectly involved with the process. Researchers have examined many past accidents and catastrophic events for the types of human error involved and found inadequate training, deviation from procedures and insufficient knowledge, especially in critical and emergency situations, to be among the most common root causes of these incidents. However, within the field of research aiming to resolve the issue of lack of operator knowledge, researchers have yet to perform studies regarding how to equip operators with this knowledge and the extent to which providing training on important knowledge and concepts can help improve their process operation and prevent human error. The objective of this research is to examine the impact of improving operators’ understanding on the following 4 aspects of their process operation: 1) performance, 2) adherence to instructions, 3) emergency response, and 4) retention of learned knowledge and skills. In particular, this study focuses on the use of training manuals as a method of improving operators’ understanding. An experiment was conducted where participants were trained to operate a hydraulic pump system using either an explanatory training manual, which describes both ‘what’ needs to be done and ‘why’ it needs to be done, or a procedural training manual, which only describes ‘what’ needs to be done. Participants were then asked to manipulate process variables to achieve production requirements while meeting operating criteria in scenarios that exemplify both real-world normal operation and emergency situations. The results of this experiment indicate that type of manual and educational background showed no significant effect on participants’ operation time and accuracy performance of control operations or on the appropriateness of their response to an emergency scenario. However, type of manual was found to have a significant effect on procedural adherence, where participants using an explanatory manual showed greater adherence to procedures compared to those using a procedural manual, though these findings were not replicated for adherence to wait times. All participants also significantly increased in understanding of the process after participating in the training session, with similar levels of knowledge retained after approximately 2 weeks and chemical engineering participants outscoring those from other faculties overall on the questionnaires. These findings identified the usefulness of incorporating explanatory information within a training manual and the aspects of process operation in which an increase in operator understanding was shown to improve. It provided evidence on the importance of operator training and understanding of vital concepts and its impact across the production process, as well as provided insight into the development of better and more appropriate training programs.
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Keziah Chan (2017). Examining the Importance of Understanding During Training: An Industrial Perspective. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12377