Why hands-on training is uniquely effective

By |  February 4, 2019
Attendees were split up into three groups that had to solve issues from three different scenarios. Photo by Allison Barwacz

Attendees split up into three teams that had to solve issues from different scenarios. Photo by Allison Barwacz

The McLanahan 2019 Dealer Academy followed a unique format, encompassing traditional education and hands-on training.

The two-day event, which took place Jan. 22-23 in Nashville, Tennessee, drew about 60 McLanahan Corp. dealer representatives. The first day offered cut-and-dry, classroom-style education, as McLanahan employees delivered presentations on the company’s various equipment, including cyclones, separators, thickeners and presses.

The second day featured hands-on training. Attendees split into teams to solve issues based on real-life scenarios. The first scenario involved addressing out-of-spec material production and water recovery; the second required teams to draft a process-flow diagram of a plant to produce C-33 concrete sand; and the third focused on solving a wastewater issue that required drawing up possible flowsheets and stages of implementation.

Each team included attendees with different experience levels from different companies.

“What we like about doing this is you get the inexperienced people who get to see how the experienced people do it and participate in the activity,” says Mark Krause, managing director of North America at McLanahan.

Once teams completed their activities, a representative from each presented solutions to the entire group.

“This way you get people up and they’re actually doing things and they’re participating a lot more than just listening to presentations,” Krause says. “They’re, in many ways, leading their own class.”

A refresher

Representatives presented the solutions to the entire group. Photo by Allison Barwacz

Representatives from each team presented solutions to the entire group. Photo by Allison Barwacz

An important takeaway from the Day 2 activity is that problems can be solved through various processes.

The hands-on aspect of the activity heightened attendees’ equipment knowledge and gave some the confidence to make important decisions. The activity also gave attendees experience working as a team with new people.

Not only did the hand-on training educate those with less experience, but it served as a refresher course for veteran employees.

Some attendees admitted they had forgotten some of the things they learned at the previous year’s Dealer Academy, so the activity was a good way to help them remember processes.

In all, the hands-on activity gave attendees the chance to both experience and solve potential real-life problems, as well as meet new people and make self-assured decisions.

“We’re looking for them to network, experience how things go, see how the program goes,” Krause says. “[We don’t want them to] feel threatened by what it takes to size something or what questions to ask, and to have a little fun with it.”

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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