An industrial power plant at sunset

Computer-Based Training has the Power

Computer-Based Training has the power to close knowledge gaps and expedite training at your facility.

One surefire way of running manufacturing plants safely, effectively, and efficiently is to maintain a well-trained staff of personnel.  A well-designed, comprehensive training program prevents costly unplanned outages, equipment breakdown, and worker injuries. It is all well worth the investment of time and money.  But just because training is essential, it doesn’t come without its challenges; creating and maintaining training resources, teaching courses, and finding the time in employees’ schedules to dedicate to training can all be time-intensive and expensive.  An effective training program is an investment of both time and money for any facility.

Managers across all industries use a number of approaches to meet these training demands.  Traditionally, these have included mainly printed training materials and classroom instruction.

Printed Training Materials

Printed training materials allow for independent study at any pace, whenever and wherever is most convenient.  Plants can also reproduce and distribute to many trainees, for a relatively low cost.  However, learning from a book is not always very engaging and it can be difficult to retain information this way.  Additionally, without an instructor present, it is easy to speed through the material and assume they understand.  There is also the additional challenge of maintaining a well-organized, up-to-date library of these materials. Then trainees can find the appropriate resources when needed.

Classroom Instruction

Classroom instruction engages trainees considerably more than reading printed materials.  An instructor can draw attention to the most important information and can ask questions to ensure trainees understand the material.  Additionally, classroom instruction often utilizes verbal instruction with visual aids, allowing for different types of learners to easily access the information.  However, classroom instruction can be costly and difficult to schedule because it requires all participants to be present at one time. It is difficult for sick or busy employees to make up missed training.

Classroom instruction is also only as good as the quality of the instructor, leading to a wide range of outcomes for trainees at different facilities, and even different groups.  The classroom training approach is also less efficient for new hires because they are generally not acquiring comprehensive training when they are first hired; they must wait until there is a large enough group to justify scheduling a classroom training, leaving that employee without adequate knowledge sometimes for months at a time.

However, there is a third option that combines the best parts of both these two training approaches, while minimizing their drawbacks.

Computer-Based Training

Computer-based training programs, or CBTs, provide pre-recorded, instructor-led training sessions. Employees can access the training at any time through their facility’s intranet or Learning Management System (LMS).  These trainings can be accessed whenever it is most convenient for the trainee, broken up into effective segments.  However, what makes CBTs better than regular training videos is the learning checks and interactive activities that can be interspersed.

Similar to classroom instruction, CBTs can use quizzes or knowledge checks to draw learners’ attention to the most important information. It also ensures they are retaining that information.  This can be even more effective than classroom training because EVERY learner is required to show their learning, not just those brave enough to raise their hands.  Additionally, because training is done independently, trainees can progress through the CBT at their own pace, allowing them to go back and review sections as needed.  In fact, the benefits of CBTs are so great that schools across the country (from kindergarten through college) are using them to supplement our children’s traditional school instruction.


Computer-based trainings come in many formats and have the ability to teach just about anything.  When considering implementing a CBT program for your facility, there are a variety of options for management to consider.  Some opt for off-the-shelf courses covering fundamentals, while others choose partially- or fully-customized courses to meet the specific needs of their facility.  Some want mini-courses that can be taken in short time segments, while others choose to stick with the more traditional hour-long training sessions.  You can even modify the frequency of knowledge checks to best suit your needs.

Fossil Consulting Services has been building computer-based trainings for clients for nearly a decade.

Benefits of Computer-Based Training

  • Instruction includes audio, visuals, and interactive components to meet the needs of all types of learners
  • Courses emphasize the most critical information for job performance
  • In many cases, courses can offer training to an unlimited number of employees for little or no additional cost
  • Training can be done when most convenient for the employee
  • New hires can train immediately
  • Knowledge checks with immediate feedback  identify to the trainee what is important
  • Final quizzes are built-in, and results can easily be reviewed by managers
  • Courses come in a variety of formats and can be customized to meet your exact needs

CBTs are a flexible and cost-effective way to deliver essential training to your employees.  If Computer-Based Training sounds right for your facility, contact us today to learn more.