Help with Pre-screening
Not everyone can become a musician. Indeed, most of us lack the
necessary musical ability and never even dream about a career in music. As
everyone knows, someone who can't sing well can practice forever and never
sing any better. About 4% of the general population can't even "hold a tune".
Another kind of human difference relates to colour vision:
about 1 man in 12 has problems (especially with red and green), but less than 1 woman in 200.
It's nobody's fault. That's just the way we're born.
More and more people are coming to recognize that becoming a heavy
equipment operator also requires human abilities which cannot be taught;
just like musical ability, you either have them or you don't. Many people
call this aptitude (sometimes "mechanical aptitude"). And
studies show that in typical vocational training programs, up to 30% of
trainees lack the pre-requisite abilities to become truly proficient
operators of modern heavy equipment.
Industrial psychologists have identified the three kinds of
natural abilities important for operating heavy equipment:
various "psycho-motor" abilities associated with manual dexterity,
i.e. moving both arms/hands and many fingers at the same time
a "sensory/perceptual" ability associated with depth perception,
i.e. seeing things at a distance and knowing what's in front and what's
a "cognitive" ability associated with thinking about spatial orientation,
i.e. keeping track of where you are in a changing work environment
Why differences in natural abilities are important
Other research indicates that learning new skills and creating muscle memory is a three part process. In
stage 1, differences in learning correlate with differences in general
intelligence. That's because the focus is on listening and thinking
carefully about instruction, to get the "what to do" and "how to
do it" right. Later, in stage 2, differences in learning are largely due
to differences in perceptual/cognitive abilities. Here the focus is on
learning to anticipate the consequences of your operator inputs
to achieve the required results. Finally, in stage 3, differences in
learning are dominated by differences in psycho-motor abilities, where
gestures are made with increasing ease. This means that once training
ends, how skilled you become depends upon your perceptual, cognitive, and
psycho-motor abilities. And that's why evaluating human
abilities is so essential for predicting eventual on-the-job performance
of new operators!
How to evaluate differences in natural abilities
But measuring differences in those natural abilities, is difficult to do
in a reliable and meaningful way. To be sure, industrial psychologists
have invented all kinds of tests with peg-boards and paper folding (to
name just two examples) to help out, but these are just "surrogates" or
"proxies" for the real deal because they are designed to reproduce, in
highly simplified ways, what operating modern heavy equipment is all
about. As a result, trainers have continued to rely on observing people
at work at the controls of real machines, with all of the associated
costs and potential danger.
Now simulation technology from Simlog can
help out! For example, what better way to double check that someone has
what it takes to become a competent operator of mechanized forestry
equipment than to spend time at Simlog's forestry machine simulator? Indeed, we
have documented evidence that just
half a day of simulator-based training is enough to reliably
identify those training candidates who lack the necessary human abilities
to become highly skilled operators at the controls.
Your bottom line
With your Personal Simulator used to help evaluate operator potential, the
average competency of your training class increases, leading to higher
productivity and fewer equipment problems. In addition, on average, your
training staff will have time to turn "average" trainees into "good"
ones, instead of "wasting" time with the weakest trainees who are unable
to develop the required proficiency.
So use your training budget as wisely as you can, and to look to us for
help with simulator-based pre-screening (and training).
Questions? Just contact Simlog!