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7 Strategies for Effective Training with a 3D Work Instruction App

Used correctly, a 3D work instruction app can be a game changer. Follow these training strategies for boosting your technicians' know-how.

In today’s competitive work environment, efficiency is the key to success. Spanning anything from installation to repairs of simple to complex equipment, your technicians need to know how to quickly accomplish required tasks to get the job done—and done right. The ideal work instruction app can help you get there, opening up new repair and maintenance training possibilities while reducing frustration for your workers.

Currently, the field service industry is in a talent crisis, with some experts now predicting more than 2 million unfilled manufacturing roles by 2028 in the United States alone. Finding ways to make your technicians’ jobs more successful and less frustrating is a crucial component of recruiting and attracting the best talent and skill sets.

Finding the right technology is part of getting to that solution. However, finding ways in which that technology can be helpful to your teams in the field matters even more. That means not just understanding the benefits of a work instruction app over traditional paper-based instruction manuals but also implementing actionable training strategies to leverage the app for greater worker efficiency and success.

The Advantages of a 3D Work Instruction App Over Traditional Paper Manuals

As any technician with at least some field experience knows, paper instructions can be a significant impediment to productivity. Too often, they slow down the work, requiring even seasoned professionals to rethink processes or reframe the issue specifically to fit the linear means in which the instructions are laid out.

By contrast, a work instruction app that transforms instruction processes with the benefit of technology can boast some key advantages over its paper predecessors. For example:

  • All information is stored within the app, requiring the technician to carry less paper and making instructions of any kind easier to find.
  • Navigation is simplified, thanks to the ability to quickly locate specific steps or equipment components rather than having to manually search through an entire instruction manual.
  • Instruction apps are inherently visual, enabling workers to more easily compare what they see in the environment to the steps needed per the instructions.
  • Updates can be dynamic and in near real-time, eliminating the likelihood of carrying outdated instructions and potentially taking the wrong steps as a result.
  • Multisensory engagement allows workers to see the instructions from any perspective with pinch and rotate maneuvers, allowing them to view a task from the precise angle they need to keep moving forward.

Related: 5 Ways Cutting-Edge 3D Digital Work Instruction Software Improves Field Service Work

Just as importantly, work instruction apps are successful because they align with modern technician expectations. Today’s workers are more accustomed to modern tools for learning and finding information. Therefore, they’ll respond favorably to a more interactive and dynamic way to learn and execute repairs based on instructions. They’re also increasingly visual learners who may not have the patience for paper-based, text-driven instruction manuals.

Of course, it’s always been the case that better, clearer instructions lead to less frustrated workers who can more easily learn their tasks and get the job done. That’s the core value proposition of a work instruction app—if you can find the right ways to train your field technicians with it.

7 Training Strategies to Leverage With your 3D Work Instruction App

The right 3D instruction app can go a long way toward building more effective training mechanisms. These key strategies can help to put those mechanisms into place, ensuring a more prepared, efficient, and satisfied workforce within your field operations. 

Strategy #1: Train New Employees on Existing Equipment

First, and perhaps most obviously, advanced 3D instructions can help more effectively train new employees who are just entering field operations within your functional area. These new employees can use the multisensory capabilities of a 3D instruction app to easily familiarize themselves with the steps needed to maintain and repair equipment or products—well before going on the job.

Crucially, effective training no longer needs to be place-bound either. An advanced 3D work instruction platform enables new employees to train remotely with their existing mobile technology—technology that they already keep within reach.

For this training strategy, being intentional is critical. Rather than building specific steps that confine your workers to a preset learning path, let new employees explore on their own with 3D instructions they can manipulate and replay as many times as needed. The right platform will offer immersive, interactive visuals along with voice instructions and animations to guide workers. 

Strategy #2: Train Your Current Field Technicians on New Equipment

Of course, digital work instructions are not just beneficial for new technicians to be onboarded. With the right training strategy, they can be just as useful when your existing workforce needs to learn about new pieces of equipment they will handle in the field in the near future.

This audience is likely already familiar with the instruction app, which can enable more advanced and focused training strategies. Dig directly into the nuances that the new equipment will require for operations, using interactive screens that enable technicians to zoom, rotate, and dig deep into the details and individual parts. 

Strategy #3: Roll Out Equipment or Training Manual Updates

Similar to the previous strategy, you can also use the same advanced app to more easily roll out updated instructions for processes your field techs are already familiar with. This becomes especially relevant when the equipment has either received an upgrade or there have been new insights into how to best repair and maintain an existing piece of equipment or product.

In these scenarios, you can use the instruction app to pinpoint the exact changes at which the current version of the training manual has deviated from its predecessor. Clear notations of updates through both visual elements and text can create shortcuts for technicians who just need to know these differences, while also creating an easy reference point after the initial training. 

Strategy #4: Complete On-the-Job Training in Real-World Environments

The first three training strategies can be completed anywhere and at any time. But the benefits of a work instruction app also include carrying the instructions directly to the job site, which opens up another training opportunity: the ability to train professionals in the real-world environment, even as they work on the piece of equipment in question.

Related: 4 Ways BILT Improves Job Training—From Apprentices to Certified Pros

This type of on-the-job training becomes invaluable in more complex situations. Guided instructions allow professionals to follow along as they consider their current job, without losing the ability to look at the broader picture as needed. That not only builds knowledge and confidence over time but also helps your field operations team to get the job done faster and with a higher success rate.

Strategy #5: Create Reference Guides for Ongoing Service Improvement

Especially in scenarios where field technicians need to keep a broad overview of many types of jobs, instructions become an ongoing need. No professional knows everything about every job they work on. That’s why another training strategy with the potential for immense success revolves around building more general reference guides.

For example, you can upload instructions and guides that cross different pieces of equipment, all on the same app. This eliminates the need to carry around multiple booklets or search through dozens of PDF files for the right information. At its best, your instruction app turns into a comprehensive knowledge base that gives your teams everything they need to get any job done right every time.

Strategy #6: Review Best Practices Using the 3D Instruction App

Sometimes, the most important component of training includes allowing your employees to practice and refresh their skills when it’s convenient for them. With a 3D instruction app, your workers can hone their skills and review specific equipment on the clock or at home. Learning by trial and error isn’t typically the best solution when it comes to manufacturing and fieldwork.

Instead, your team of technicians can brush up on their techniques and review their own knowledge by accessing the app whenever they need clarification or want to make personal improvements. The interactive and multisensory environment provides an immersive experience that is the next best thing to practicing on the job. Since all of your workers have access to the same digital instructions, you can rest assured that they’re up to date on the latest safety measures and industry best practices.

Strategy #7: Create a Feedback Loop to Improve Instructions and Training Over Time

Finally, you can use your work instruction app to create feedback loops that come directly from your workforce. The virtual nature of the instructions enables users and management teams to pinpoint exactly where a set of instructions may cause field workers to struggle and where improvements may be needed in the future.

With that feedback in hand, you can build better training strategies over time. Just as importantly, you can also improve the instructions themselves. And because updating instructions—not to mention training your team on the new instructions—is straightforward, implementing updates is much simpler than it would be using legacy means of training. 

Build a Better Field Technician Training Environment with the Right App

Of course, not all of the above strategies are relevant to every environment. Find strategies that best fit your employees and instruction needs in order to ensure that you can invest in your workers’ training, growth, and success.

No matter which training strategies you implement, it starts with the right app. Contact us today to learn how BILT’s animated 3D instruction guides can help your workers more effectively and efficiently complete the jobs needed to help your business succeed.

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