By Thomas H. West, CPLP
2017 ATDChi President & former Co-Director, WLPI
My initiation in the full science and art of good training came as a result of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant accident of 1979. I began working as a trainer with Westinghouse Nuclear Services when the “learnings” from that accident were being implemented throughout the industry, including change to the training of power plant operators.
The operators on duty at Three Mile Island when the accident happened understood the operation of the nuclear reactor, but they did not understand basic thermodynamics and fluid flow. It was their misinterpretation of these the lead them to take actions leading to the accident. The training department had not included these topics in the training program, and government regulators had not included these topics in licensing tests.
The nuclear industry recognized that to have effective training, it was necessary to look more analytically at the job of reactor operator, to create clear linkages from the tasks a reactor operator does, to the knowledge and skill taught in the classroom and on the job, and finally to evaluations conducted during and after training. The methods selected to do this were found in Instructional System Design (ISD), the forerunner of the ADDIE model, and it was from this that I learned the full scope of what it means to be a training professional.
Luckily, it is no longer necessary to have a nuclear accident to learn the importance of a systematic approach to training. WLPI was created by “old hands” in the industry to show new and experienced trainers alike the full scope of the employee training process and how to ensure that each individual training event is connected to actual job needs and supports documentable performance improvement—for the business, as well as for the employee.
The Fall 2018 WLPI begins on Oct 13, 2018 and consists of seven sessions. Learn more here: https://atdchi.org/WLPI