HxGN Radio

Stopping the Boredom: New Trends in Adult Education

Industrial Leadership

Work force turnover and increasing reliance on technology requires something more than death by PowerPoint training solutions. Join us as we explore what’s new in industrial education.

BK:  Welcome back to HxGN RADIO. I am Brian. Thanks for joining us today. Workforce turnover and increasing reliance on technology is requiring a new approach to educating the workforce. Solutions that had good-to-marginal results in the past have quickly lost what effectiveness they possessed with the newer generation of employees.

For today’s manufacturing and faculty organisations, Eruditio has developed custom training solutions that address the specific learning objective with cutting-edge technology. In today’s interview, we will hear about some of those new medias for education. With me today is Shon Isenhour, who is a partner with Eruditio, and today Shon and I are going to be exploring cutting-edge education. Shon, thanks for joining us today.

SI:  Thank you, thank you, it’s great to be here.

BK:  All right, well let’s get started. Tell us a little bit about Eruditio.

SI:  So Eruditio is a focused adult-education firm. We work to really develop cutting-edge learning solutions and training tools that address current manufacturing issues and really facilities as well. We see, especially in our world, the demographics are changing, and the needs that folks have haven’t been met with traditional solutions. I’m one of our partners with Eruditio, and I focus a lot on our outreach and marketing, as well as sales and new product development.

BK:  Love it, awesome. What problems are you seeing in the industrial and faculties, or facilities, industries?

SI:  Well, I think one of the biggest things we’re seeing today is a shortage of engineers and managers that really understand how to keep a production facility up and running, or getting it up and running for the first time. We’ve also noticed that we’ve got a growth in the economy that is forcing facilities to make more than they’ve ever made at a higher quality than they’ve ever had to produce, and hopefully at a lower cost. Unfortunately, the skill set’s just not there for a lot of the folks. The universities would love to help, but the universities … It’s so slow sometimes to change curriculum, that they haven’t been able to get to the point that they need.

BK:  Interesting, so slow. Tell me a little bit about some of the more … Like why that’s happening, and what are you doing to get in there and fix that?

SI:  Well, if you look at automotive as an example, a lot of new automotive facilities are being built.
There is expansion in the market, their sales are up, but at the end of the day, if they can’t get those vehicles produced and out the door, they’re missing those sales. We work with a lot of our clients to educate that workforce, help them solve problems, help them identify major issues, so that they themselves can address them ongoing into the future.

BK:  Now, you know, obviously we’re talking about newer generations. There’s been a lot of stuff around about younger generations, which I don’t know if everybody agrees with it or not, but are you seeing challenges in generational side of things or are you seeing … I mean, where are the challenges coming from?

SI:  We’re seeing it everywhere. We’ve got a Baby Boomer generation that is finally able to exit, because their 401(k)s have finally come back to something that they can work with. Because that, there’s a lot of knowledge leaving the industry. The other thing that we’re seeing, though, the newer generation is not interested in learning the same way, nor have they had the same experiences.

A lot of our Baby Boomers that are leaving, grew up working in the field, they know components, they know motors and pumps and gear boxes, they may have worked on a farm or worked with their father over the hood of a car, and today we don’t do that anymore. It’s computers and other things, so we’ve got to have a new way to interact with them.

We’ve also noticed the shortening of the attention span. That’s another piece that has come into play from an educational standpoint. Content has to now be more modular, smaller bite-size pieces, it needs to have direct application immediately or they’re not as interested.

BK:  So you’re adapting the style of learning, basically, rather than trying to change them.

SI:  That’s exactly right. You can’t necessarily change them, I don’t think, at least not in the short term, right?

BK:  Some people are trying, so yeah.

SI:  They’re trying hard, they’re trying hard. Yeah, what we’re finding is that using technologies like augmented reality, using small bite-sized content, delivered e-learning, making it an application-based process, where they’re applying it directly to their job so it has value to them immediately, those are the kind of things that the newer generation is interested in, and it gives us an opportunity, too, to help them work with that retiring older generation and mine some of that knowledge.

BK:  That’s awesome, I love it. All right, so tell me a little bit about what blended learning looks like, from that practical sense.

SI:  Yeah, so blended learning is an area that we focus in very heavily. You can think of it as having three components; the first part is, it is project based, so the individual has a targeted area that they’re going to be focusing on getting results. The second thing that I think is core to it is it’s delivered in multiple medias. Everything from video and augmented reality, all the way over to traditional face-to-face and e-learning. Because we mix those medias together, it’s not stale, it’s not the same thing every time. The third thing that makes the blended learning process, I think, very effective is we use real coaches that have been there in the real world. When someone applies something in their facility, or in their location, they submit that to that coach, and that coach is giving them real feedback, and they’ve been there and done it, so they have examples and things that they can share with them. That’s something that in traditional learning has not been available.

BK:  No, it’s usually more theoretical, and yeah, that’s fantastic, applicable hands-on, you know, here’s exactly what it looks like. That’s fantastic, I love that. How about augmented reality, how does that fit into the education?

SI:  That’s something that has come on in the last two or three years; we’re starting to use quite a bit more augmented reality. We refer to it as Augmented Reliability, and that’s our product name. A lot of the content we’re developing is everything from 3D models to explain how some complex component works. We’re also using it for what we refer to as AR video. It’s video delivered in that same format to the student, when they need it.

The idea here is, we can’t always take someone out in the field and show them specifically what something looks like. Could be safety implications, it could be distance and travel, so using the augmented reality tools, we’re able to take them to that environment. It’s right there in their phone, it doesn’t have some of the side effects that we see from virtual reality… No matter whether the student’s 55 or 25, I can take that student and engage them immediately in the learning process, and let them interact through something they all love, their phone.

BK:  Interesting, very cool. What are the benefits you’re seeing that customers are telling you? Yeah, what are you seeing, what’s some of the feedback you’ve gotten?

SI:  Well, when some of the novel tools that we’re bringing in place, and especially with the way we look to have every student apply something that is unique, and do it in a project-based approach, we’re seeing great results. The last class that graduated, we graduated 100% of the students.  Using distance learning, or blended learning as we are, that’s pretty unheard of.

The second thing that’s pretty interesting is we had a 30x return on investment on average for that class. Now, those numbers, you know, 30x could be inflated a little bit, but it was interesting watching what happened after those students presented. Our vice president of operations was in the back of the room, and he stood up, and he said, “Now, while I wouldn’t interrupt earlier, I can tell you now that I can vouch for the change that we’re seeing, and I can vouch for that impact on the bottom line.” I think that’s what’s really cool. I mean, for years, we’ve had death by PowerPoint, subject matter experts lecturing and droning on, and we never could really good quantify, “Did we get anything out of that, did it improve what we’re doing here?” Now education is seeing a bottom-line improvement.

BK:  What would you say is the main difference between the traditional model, like what you were just talking about, versus this?

SI:  It’s the application.

BK:  Application aspect.

SI:  Application and coaching, you know? Because now, they go out there, they do it, they realise that maybe they’re a little confused about something, or they need a little additional support, and immediately they can call their coach, that coach will talk them through it, send them an example, give them a little something to show them how this can apply, because everybody thinks, “My situation’s different, that won’t work,” right?

BK:  Of course, yeah.

SI:  That coach can reinforce them, and show them how it does work. Application, and then coaching, is literally what I think has changed the way we’re doing education.

BK:  Yeah, I mean, it makes so much sense. Somebody that’s been there before you, that’s done what you’re trying to do, and can walk you through it.

SI:  Absolutely.

BK:  That’s fantastic, I love this. Anything else you want to share before we wrap up?

SI:  I guess the one thing a lot of people are curious about when you do education this way, what does it cost? What we’ve seen, and I think this is a point that actually one of our clients shared with us just the other day, putting a student through a process like this will cost typically less than one major breakdown. It will cost less than two weeks of traditional consulting, and at the end of the day, we can see and document that return on investment through the process.

BK:  That’s important too, because I think a lot of times, you’re just doing business, you’re not thinking about that, you have a breakdown, okay, you do that, but you don’t think about, “Well, what would it cost us …”

SI:  To prevent this.

BK:  Exactly, are the costs better if we can prevent this kind of thing? Yeah, that’s fantastic.

SI:  Absolutely.

BK:  Do you see a lot of companies that are looking at that preventative side of things, or are they more in that reactive side?

SI:  We see a lot of reactive companies, but we’re seeing as … You know, because of some of the things we talked about earlier, a lot more folks are having to move to the preventive side, and be more proactive. They just can’t compete in that reactive nature that they’ve had in the past.

BK:  Sure, that makes sense.

SI:  This trains those students as they go through the process, to become more proactive and plan those things out.

BK:  I love it. Well, you know, not to mention you’re saving money, but you’re educating people correctly, and you’re seeing a huge return on everything you’re doing.

SI:  Absolutely.

BK:  That’s a win-win-win.

SI:  It’s really been good, it’s changed culture in some of the organisations. What we’ve noticed is, if one or two students go through it, that may not be quite enough, but somewhere around six or seven students get engaged in a process like this, and it really does start to change the culture of that facility.

BK:  That’s awesome, I love it. Shon, thank you so much for sharing this. Anything else before we head out?

SI:  I think that’s it for today, thanks for having us.

BK:  Yeah, thanks for your time today, appreciate it. All right, you can learn more about Eruditio, IBL, and Augmented Reliability at eruditiollc.com, and be sure to tune into more episodes of HxGN RADIO, hxgnradio.com, iTunes, SoundCloud, or Stitcher Radio. Thanks for joining us, have a great day.