What is TWI and How to Apply it to Video Job Instruction?
Training Within Industry, or TWI, is a training program developed during WWII that enables companies to hire and train workforces of incredible numbers of people.
The original TWI has evolved and become a cornerstone of some of the most successful organizations across the globe.
Definition of TWI?
TWI is an acronym for “Training Within Industry.” In order to understand what TWI is, it’s imperative to understand its origins. So first, let’s take a look at the history of TWI and where it is today.
History of TWI
TWI was developed by the United States Department of War during WWII, and it ran from 1940 to 1945.
Simply put, TWI is a system of training programs that could enable companies to hire and train the mass amounts of workers it needed in order to replace those who left to serve in the war.
Interestingly, the US quickly forgot the bold leaps forward and prosperity that TWI created. The concept was largely abandoned while the US flourished economically in the years after the war.
At the same time, Japanese companies took note and largely adopted TWI. Toyota is famous today for still leveraging TWI as their main training tool. Standard Oil brought TWI to Europe, and even went so far as to translate training manuals into local European languages.
What is TWI
TWI consisted of three primary training programs. Each of the programs was rigorous and were presented in 10-hour long sessions. Known altogether as “J” programs, they consisted of:
Job Instruction (JI)
Job Methods (JM)
Job Relations (JR)
Job Instruction (JI)
Job instruction taught supervisors, trainers, and experienced worker how to train inexperienced workers more quickly. The goal was less defects, reduced scrap and rework, less damage to equipment and tools, and, of course, fewer accidents.
To do this, instructors were taught to train others by breaking down procedures into well-defined steps, demonstrate procedures, explain key points and their importance, and coach and work with the student directly.
An important philosophy of Job Instruction is "If the worker hasn't learned, the instructor hasn't taught."
Some industries that have shown increased interest and benefit from Job Instruction include hospitals, offices, and farms.
Job Methods (JM)
Job Methods focused on the front line workers and teaching them to methodically make the best use of equipment, materials, time, and people. Workers are encouraged to evaluate processes and suggest improvements.
The goal for organizations to leverage the full potential of their workforce with minimal investment. This, in turn, will boost productivity, improve reliability, and deliver better services and products.
Job Relations (JR)
The credo for Job Relations was “People must be treated as individuals.” Therefore, it emphasized handling “people problems” equitably and effectively by gathering facts, analyzing the situation, making a decision, and taking action.
Importantly, Job Relations trains supervisors how to prevent problems between people from occurring in the first place.
Job Relations also demonstrates the value of teamwork within the organization in order to work safely, cost effectively, and to achieve goals.
Effectiveness of TWI
According to Dozuki, during WWII, 600 companies were monitored “86% of those 600 companies increased production by 25%. One hundred percent of those businesses reduced training time by at least 25%.”
TWI and Complexity
TWI allows instructors to break down the most complex processes into digestible chunks. This is not to be confused with simplicity. It’s about taking an incomprehensibly large project - building a jet plane - and breaking it down into smaller and smaller components.
How to Apply TWI to Video Instruction
TWI has the ability to capture tribal knowledge, subject matter expertise, and know-how of those who are leaving in order to share it with the incoming workforce. That’s the core of TWI. Video is the perfect medium for this type of training and instruction.
Video TWI can replace the old standard of on-the-job shadowing. Shadowing creates a number of problems. Workers are on the job for shorter periods of time than ever, so you may have a relatively fresh worker teaching another brand new worker skills.
Instead of taking a fresh worker and overwhelming them with A to Z knowledge about an incredible process, you can simply start with the first video and take it step by step from there. It’s a much less intimidating onboarding and training process.
TWI, or Training Within Industry, is a rigorous training program designed by the US government in WWII to hire and train mass amounts of workers. Since its inception many countries have adopted and iterated TWI, making it one of the most important, effective, legacy systems to ever exist.
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