A reader asks: "Do you prefer classroom lecture type training of front line workers or do you recommend on the job experience training of key custodial tasks?"

The short answer is yes. In other words, I believe that there is certainly a place of classroom training which can be radically enhanced by on the job experience. Please remember that we all learn in a combination of ways but primarily through three avenues: auditory, visual and kinesthetic (hands on) which means that different trainees will benefit more from one method than another. As a trainer, a major challenge for me is to identify how the recipient learns and then adapt my presentation to accommodate their particular needs. Unfortunately, I never have been in front of a group of ten or twenty students who all learned the same way.

My technique is to adapt my material to cover all three aspects so that when I am reaching one group who primarily learns through visual information I am following up with auditory or kinesthetic. The ideal training environment is a mix of lecture, exercises, hands on demonstrations followed up with the students handling the same equipment. Whenever possible, the same chemicals (colors, numbers, etc.), tools and equipment should be used that the front line worker will be using on the job.

Once the worker has been trained on a topic or process, it should be reviewed in different ways so that the process is reinforced in different ways. An example is to cover the theory (chemistry, pH, safety) in the classroom for cleaning a restroom. Then take the workers to an actual restroom and demonstrate the safe, most effective way of cleaning. Finally have the worker repeat the training with a review at the end to reinforce key points.

There is a lot more to training custodial operations than simply showing a video or handing out a manual.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.