Emerson creates interactive plant environment to better train employees
- At a cost of $10 million, Emerson has opened an Interactive Plant Environment (IPE) inside a Minnesota manufacturing facility to provide hands-on training courses. In addition to a classroom experience, trainees will be able to put on protective gear and visit a real plant to apply their knowledge.
- The classroom is adjacent to a two-story plant that features tanks, controllers, actuators, motors, valves, mixers, lighting, software and more. Students will be able to see exactly how their knowledge applies in a real plant environment.
- Emerson said it believes that an immersive approach to learning enhances retention.
Emerson believes they will recoup their investment of the IPE by serving a variety of audiences; that includes showcasing their technology to buyers, providing classroom experiences and more. The plant itself includes almost every type of technology the company uses, giving employees an immediate hands-on experience for a number of tasks. Numerous studies have shown the importance and impact of training that aligns with real-world work experiences.
The IPE appears to do just that: students are given work orders that instruct them to check a measurement point due to non-performance, for example. The training also includes completing safety protocols, including lock out/tag out — one of the most common violations on OSHA's top safety violations list.
As digital technology quickly displaces workers in many traditional roles, employers are looking for new ways to train workers for the future. In addition to general knowledge, training that gives workers more ownership over their work and lead to better retention down the line.