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Taking Training Beyond Traditional PowerPoint

By Holly Mockus   |   

I have been surprised to discover that many manufacturers are still managing their training programs with a combination of PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets.

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Maybe I shouldn’t say I was surprised since trainers, managers, and directors have long relied on these tools for their training. And I should know because I was once one of them.

Before joining Intertek Alchemy, I was a food safety director and an Alchemy customer. But before using Alchemy, I too used transparencies, sign in sheets, PowerPoint and Excel to train employees.

When I was introduced to Intertek Alchemy’s training solutions, I learned that my PowerPoint training programs were lacking on three fronts: consistency, engagement, and management.

And so, I thought I’d share how Intertek Alchemy’s courseware and tools, like Creator, Intertek Alchemy’s PowerPoint plugin tool, are helping customers move beyond the confines of PowerPoint and Excel.

Consistency Across Multiple Sites

From my experience, training with PowerPoint slides can work with a single audience and single presenter. But once other trainers are introduced, or more plants and training sites are added, you risk allowing inconsistent materials and training styles. Trainers can alter materials to fit the way they like to present. They potentially have the freedom to eliminate or add materials that fall outside of the company’s safety policies. Most likely this is unintentional, but the consequences are the same, nonetheless.

And then there’s the quality. Some PowerPoint presentations can be fantastic while others might be truly dreadful. If the person putting together the PowerPoint doesn’t know adult learning practices, and they’re not an instructional designer, you can wind up with eye charts and irrelevant graphics. Training PowerPoint slides should be easy to read and include graphics that complement and relate to your company’s policies and procedures.

This was one of the biggest drivers for me to adopt Intertek Alchemy when I had to develop employee training. Using the Alchemy courseware and Creator, we had all the tools we needed to customize our training to fit our audiences and retain the overall culture and adherence to company policies.

Engagement and the Ability to Connect with Employees

A single PowerPoint presentation across multiple sites can sometimes cause you to lose your audience. First off, we know the notion of “death by PowerPoint” is all too real, especially when you take your employees off the production floor and put them in a nice, warm conference room while a presenter drones on and reads line by line from dozens of slides.

You can also lose the audience with unfamiliar terms and content that falls outside of the context of their jobs. In this instance, people will usually tune out.

Intertek Alchemy’s courseware does a great job of providing consistent training. And Creator allows you to take this overarching content one step further to make it relatable to your workers.

You can add images that pertain to their jobs and add photos and videos of their coworkers performing tasks to emphasize a point in a way that makes sense to them. Since Creator is a PowerPoint plugin, it is much easier than most course authoring software to create interactive training courses. The Creator courses can be played as eLearning or in a classroom setting and the interactivity makes them far more engaging than PowerPoint slides.

Language can become a massive barrier if English isn’t their first language. And loose translations can obscure or completely lose the point of your training objectives. Intertek Alchemy’s hundreds of courses come off-the-shelf in English, Spanish, and Canadian French. Those same courses can be easily customized at the facility level for translation into 84 languages within Alchemy Creator.

It’s also important to include storytelling techniques that flow logically to meet how your audience receives and comprehends data. This makes training more relatable and understandable while remaining contextually correct.

Management, Reporting, and Comprehension

Part of management includes verifying who participated in a training session and whether or not the employee understands the training. Unfortunately, this is where PowerPoint, sign in sheets, and Excel can really come up short.

In addition, the task of maintaining and retrieving training records can become complicated when auditors ask for them. Invariably, the file they’ll want to see will always be the hardest to find. I know this from experience. It’s not uncommon to have multiple employees searching filing cabinets at several locations to find a document or a report requested by an auditor.

Keeping accurate manual records that show proof of attendance with Excel sheets is one challenge. Then there’s the goal of being able to show that your employee comprehended your courses. Unfortunately, you rarely achieve this with a spreadsheet.

Intertek Alchemy training platform technologies solve these problems in a couple of ways. First, all records of course participation are captured electronically and maintained in a single location. No more sign in sheets. And knowledge check questions incorporated into the course eliminates those paper tests that need to be manually graded and filed. And when it comes to comprehension, we apply several unique approaches.

We know that adults learn and test differently. That’s why it’s important to incorporate techniques that help ensure employees understand their training. For example, we apply patented remediation loops, so if an employee answers a question incorrectly, the point will be reviewed, and the question is asked again in a different way. This gives them a second chance and helps to cement the information in their long-term memories.

This is just a few ways we can take your existing PowerPoint and Excel programs and better enable you to build a training program that reaches every employee in a more effective and accountable way.

If you’d like to see this in action, contact us. We would love to schedule a demonstration. Or, if you have an Intertek Alchemy program in operation now, we can talk about ways to make it better.

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