Research shows that ergonomics training is essential to a program’s (and employees’) success. Depending on your organization, you may be able to have face-to-face meetings to train each employee in ergonomics. For larger organizations, this may not be possible. This article shares an interesting perspective in how to optimize your ergonomics e-training program.
How often have you been apart of a training program that’s layout, structure, or instructions just didn’t fit to what you expected? Many times this leads to longer learning times and frustrations. If you have been apart of as many training programs (both from the presenter and attendee’s perspective) as I have, I definitely agree that this can affect not only comprehension, but perhaps more importantly attention. And we all know time is money. Today’s technology resources enables e-learning opportunities to be a viable option for many organizations (no longer dependent on their size) as a cost-effective method to reach staff. This also has particular value for those who work away from the office. I’m sure many of you have been apart of countless training programs. In fact, in the last organization that I worked in there was an entire department who had the responsibility to develop and implement e-learning strategies. When they are done well, e-training programs can have a beneficial impact on employees as well as its organizational goals. But, when done poorly, quite frankly it can be a disaster and many employees can see this immediately, from a mile away.
It’s all about the user experience. New adaptations in technology allow for the customization of learning content to essentially adapt modules to each user for its optimization. Depending on the expertise in your organization, you may be able to adapt modules based on usage data with algorithms based on factors including popular modules and any specific user learning patterns.
Research has shown that a learner’s experience may be significantly improved if the instruction style of an e-learning system were to match their learning style as derived from personality features.
Personalization in online education not only facilitates learning through different strategies to create various learning experiences, but it also enables computer-based learning systems to include varied teaching or instructional packages. I find this last point to be really intriguing; based on a user’s personality you can ensure that training modules are set-up for total engagement. Of course, the first step would be to determine the user’s cognitive style beforehand to identify preferences and strengths. These can then be used to tailor (via instructional design) the system to each learner. The second step would be to adapt the learning experience to major trends in your workforce to provide for the best possible learning experience and outcomes. There are multiple ways to determine the personality type of your staff and luckily many of these are cost-effective, thoroughly researched, and easy to implement. One of the most popular types is the Myers-Briggs test, which will also be the basis for the rest of this post!
Research has consistently concluded that learners with different personality types tend to develop different learning styles.
These differences can be addressed in e-learning systems to bring your ergonomics program to the next level! The following is just a taste of the types of applications and potential that could be possible.
- Extraverted/introverted personality types are based on the focus of attention. Extraverts are more likely to express their ideas freely and readily seek feedback from others. Introverts think things through before acting. Possible examples of technology adaptions includes videoconferencing in e-learning systems for extraverted learners since this would provide face-to-face personal interaction, something that would match their personality style.
- Sensing/intuitive personality types are those who prefer to take in information in a certain way, relevant to instructional design. Sensing type personalities use observable facts and data whereas, intuitive-type learners focus on big picture concepts. Possible examples of technology that would benefit sensing learners would be more structured framework with very specific guidelines and directions. The intuitive learner may prefer more abstract content.
- Thinking/feeling personality types outline the way people prefer to make decisions. Feeling-type learners tend to decide on subjective values while thinking type learners base their decisions on logic, facts and objectivity. Possible examples of technology adaptions would be that thinking learners may enjoy courses with many case studies and tests to measure progress.
- Judging/perceiving personality types involves how the person orients themselves to the external world. Judgers expect an organized routine and will push for decisions to be made and then carry them out. Whereas perceivers usually need to gather more information and will postpone decisions.
What to Include in an Ergonomics Training Program
As we all know, effective ergonomics training programs have positive effects on workstation practices, musculoskeletal risks, complaints, stress, and well-being. We have some key topics that you can apply to your organization.
Suggested ergonomics training topics can include:
- Understanding the relationship between office ergonomics and the development of musculoskeletal discomforts
- Ergonomics improvements and adjustments of workstations
- Importance of pacing and other work behaviours
With something as simple as this outline it may not be completely necessary to apply personality tests. But, as soon as ergonomics training gets more in-depth and complex with many underlying themes, bringing in personality outcomes may be a big value-add for your organization.
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Kim, J., Lee, A. & Ryu, H. (2013). Personality and its effects on learning performance: design guidelines for an adaptive e-learning system based on a user model. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169814113000334.