Reading Materials are Not Training Materials

I was recently asked about the effectiveness of reading materials…

We receive several monthly periodicals at our plant, and my manager asked me why these cannot be used for training… I know this won’t work, but I don’t know how to explain this to him.

Can you help me understand why this is so?

My Response
Just because something provides good information does not always mean it is an effective training method. Reading does not provide particularly high retention rates: meaning that you’re likely to forget most of what you’ve read!
Studies have shown that most people can only remember about 20% of what they read. This retention drops even lower when the reader is unfamiliar with the topic, making it particularly ineffective when training new hires or inexperienced personnel.
Certain factors can increase retention of what’s being read, such as an emotional connection with the information. As much as we’d all like employees to be passionate about plastics, it is unrealistic to expect them to react emotionally to what is usually pretty dry reading material.
Additional Thoughts
I always recommend plants have such periodicals to their employees since these periodicals can be great tools when trying to introduce someone to a new featured technology.

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