Choosing an online course, so employees can take it at their own pace can be vital to retaining the knowledge long-term. They will need to build on their knowledge; otherwise it is limiting their potential. An online course should make every single machinist an expert in their trade. Every machinist should have a basic knowledge of the machine tools in the industry, the cutters, holders, CAM software, etc. so they can build their skills on that knowledge.

The online courses should be available on a secure learning management system (one that manages the administration, documentation, training content, etc. of the course) that can be accessed online with a high-speed internet connection.

Users also should receive a grade of 100 percent on a section before they would advance to the next section. This is key. You don’t get a mold 70 or 80 percent correct. If you did, you’d never see that customer again. You have to score 100 percent on all sections.

Taking an online course over a one-day seminar allows your employees to slowly absorb—and retain—the information versus cramming knowledge into their brains at too fast a pace.

With the coming shortage of qualified workers, companies need to start viewing training as a controlled process, start recognizing the difference between working knowledge and skills and consciously put systems in place that enhance both of them. The business that starts planning their strategic workforce development today will be poised for success in the future.