24 Breadth includes the number of trained tasks performed on the job Activity

24 breadth includes the number of trained tasks

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24 Breadth includes the number of trained tasks performed on the job. Activity level is the number of times or the frequency with which trained tasks are performed on the job. Task type refers to the difficulty or criticality of the trained tasks that are actually performed on the job. Trainees who are given opportunities to use training content on the job are more likely to maintain learned capabilities than trainees given few opportunities. 25 Opportunity to perform can be measured by asking former trainees to indicate (1) whether they perform a task, (2) how many times they perform the task, and (3) the extent to which they perform difficult and challenging tasks. Individuals who report low levels of opportunity to perform may be prime candidates for “refresher courses” (courses designed to let trainees practice and review training content). Refresher courses are necessary because these persons have likely experienced a decay in learned capabilities because they have not had opportunities to perform. Low levels of opportunity to perform may also indi- cate that the work environment is interfering with using new skills. For example, the man- ager may not support training activities or give the employee the opportunity to perform tasks using skills emphasized in training. Finally, low levels of opportunity to perform may indicate that training content is not important for the employee’s job. Technological Support Electronic performance support systems (EPSSs) are computer applications that can provide, as requested, skills training, information access, and expert advice. 26 An EPSS may be used to enhance transfer of training by providing trainees with an electronic information source that they can refer to on an as-needed basis while they attempt to apply learned capabilities on the job. EPSS use in training is discussed in detail in Chapter 8. Cagle’s, an Atlanta-based poultry processor, uses EPSS for employees who maintain the chicken-processing machines. 27 Because the machines that measure and cut chickens are constantly increasing in sophistication, it is impossible to continually train techni- cians so that they know the equipment’s details. However, technicians are trained on the basic procedures they need to know to maintain these types of machines. When the machines encounter a problem, the technicians rely on what they have learned in train- ing as well as the EPSS, which provides more detailed instructions about the repairs. The EPSS system also tells technicians the availability of parts and where in inventory to find replacement parts. The EPSS consists of a postage-stamp–size computer monitor attached to a visor that magnifies the screen. The monitor is attached to a three-pound computer about half the size of a portable CD player. Attached to the visor is a micro- phone that the technician uses to give verbal commands to the computer. The EPSS helps employees diagnose and fix the machines very quickly. This speed is important, given that the plant processes more than 100,000 chickens a day and chicken is a perishable food product!
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