Develop Education/Training Goals
Once deficiencies have been identified, goals need to be set. Goals
provide the guidelines and targets for specific plans and should be
outcome focused, achievable, and as specific as possible. They
should address desired skill levels, time frames, numbers and types
of participants, and relevant costs. In developing its basic skills
program, Motorola's initial goal was for all manufacturing workers
to have communication and computation skills at the seventh grade
level by 1992, soon going up to eighth and ninth. (Wiggenhorn, p.
71) A broader goal which demonstrates Motorola's commitment to
education is to provide a minimum of 40 hours of instruction to
each of its 100,000 employees worldwide. (Washburn and Franklin, p.
Develop Training Plan
The training plan should address the specific activities for
achieving the training goals. Included in the plan are
considerations of timing, cost, types of classes, providers, sources
of funding, and technology.
Each organization has different needs, and as a result, plans vary
dramatically. A valuable tool in developing plans is to study the
approaches used by organizations who have been successful in
developingbasic literacy programs.
Once the plan has been developed it needs to be implemented. This
sounds like a common sense step, yet many plans fail from improper
or incomplete implementation.
A vital step in the process, evaluation assesses how effective a
program has been. Organizations often assume that something has
worked without really going back and doing the analysis. While
knowing about results is important, the primary value in this part
of the process is to feed the results into the re-planning process
so that improvements can be made the next time.
Common Stumbling Blocks in Literacy Programs
Several major stumbling blocks have been identified in the
development and implementation of basic literacy programs. Pour key
aspects which need to be addressed include the lack of commitment
from top management, the special needs of the adult learner, the
motivation of people to start and stay with a program, and English
as a second language.
Lack of Top Management Commitment
As is the case with any activity involving substantial change in an
organization, commitment of top management to a literacy program is
essential. "Many companies have a commitment to education and
workforce training, but the resources allocated to that commitment
often show that it ranks below other priority items. Training goes
on, to be sure, but it is not world-class training, and it certainly
does not involve the time and effort of the key managers who say
they are committed to leading the company to world-class standing."
(Bell and Burnham, p. 252)
If people who are asked to change don't see active interest and
visible participation from those at the top, they won't give the
program their full effort.
Special Needs of the Adult Learner
Adult learners in general, and those with literacy problems in
particular, may have special needs which need to be addressedfor
learning to bemeaningful. Many adults don't (or never did) feel
comfortable in the traditional classroom, where the teacher presents
the information and the student is expected to learn. Many older
students need to "experience" the material in some other manner in
order to grasp it, and to have the teacher be more of a guide or
facilitator. Technology-based, self-paced instruction can also be
used effectively in situations where students may feel uncomfortable
about participating in a normal class environment.
Another special need of adult learners is to feel that what they are
learning has some value or application in their own work
environment. This makes it essential for exercises to be developed
that are less abstract and more realistic in terms of daily
activities. This also creates a higher level of general interest in
Finally, adult learners need to feel that they have some
self-control over the learning process, whether it's choice of
material, subject or pace. Many adults feel more comfortable with
smaller blocks of material which can be mastered quickly. This
changes the role and perspective of teachers in adult environments.
To be Continued
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02
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