Advances in engineering software and tools happen constantly. Staying current means implementing new methods of training and new ways of thinking about learning. Next-generation engineering training has evolved to deliver improved knowledge retention, use new technology, and fit into a new mobile and global team structure.

The Forgetting Curve

Studies that examine the forgetting curve have found that within a single hour of instruction, most trainees forget about 50 percent of what they learned. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten 70 percent of new information, and after a week, an average of 90 percent of what they learned is gone.

Ongoing learning is essential to helping engineers defeat the forgetting curve. Training is actually more effective when incorporated into an individual’s work. Including on-demand training within an engineer’s workweek dramatically increases knowledge retention. The most effective way to retain new skills is to learn them while solving daily engineering challenges.

On-the-Go Training

One way to maximize productivity is to provide mobile, on-demand training and development. This method allows engineers to learn new skills that increase the quality of their work in addition to improving productivity. Employers should create a training program that increases user adoption by synchronizing with the lifestyle of employees.

The average American spends more than four hours a day on their mobile phones, mostly when they are away from their desks. Therefore, it is important for employers to create a training program that is mobile-friendly. A mobile program will allow engineers to access training anytime and anywhere.

As attention spans continue to decrease, it is also important to create a training program with concise lessons. People retain more information when they are presented material in small chunks. Short, mobile lessons are essential for engineers who are always on the go.

Training Global Teams

Engineering companies are becoming increasingly multinational, with global teams needing resources to train, collaborate and manage projects in the cloud. Engineering managers find it challenging to develop their teams when members are scattered around the world. With cloud-based training platforms, managers can assess their team members’ skill levels in different areas, provide assignments to standardize engineering skills and track progress from anywhere in the world, in any time zone.

Managing a remote engineering team can be daunting, but with cloud-based solutions, managers can be a resource for developing their employees no matter what country they’re in. In addition, online assessments allow managers to measure how much their team is learning and quantitatively track improvement. Measuring progress is essential to making sure a training program is effective.

Ongoing learning in engineering and design is the only solution for keeping up-to-date with rapidly evolving technology in the emerging knowledge economy. Smart investment in ongoing training is the hallmark of successful engineers and high-growth companies.