Re: When Video Training Goes Bad - was Video Icon Placement LONG
written_by -at- juno -dot- com
"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Fri, 16 Jul 2004 18:43:30 -0600
>>>Is there anyone out there who has documented procedures that include
video clips? If so, any feedback from those out there with this
experience on the preferred placement of the video icon would be much
This reply is rather long and explains my adventures with video
procedures. It is rather angry and rambles a tad, so feel free to skip it
altogether. What we did was clearly not the way to approach the
production and implementation of video training procedures.
I can't help with the icon placement, but I am quite bitter when it comes
to training videos. I would put the icon somewhere prominent and label it
so the reader knows what to do. I used Visual Basic to make a simple
I remember when our training department was forced at gunpoint into
deciding that video training was the only way to go. The suggestion came
from a team of incompetent managers and supervisors who hated
supervisoring and managering and had visions of becoming the next CB
DeMille. It was more like Ed Wood.
LOL... this was the same group of people who decided it was better to
have a rework technician defuse a bomb that was found in a locker rather
than call the police bomb squad or evacuate the building. The RT wisely
decided to move the item outside. No one knows what happened to it. But
that is another story.
At one time, we built modems, NIC cards, and OEM products for almost
every major computer manufacturer. You can blame me if your Gateway modem
failed out of the box. I am truly sorry: >)
These managers decided that using video to teach product assembly was the
best way to go as far as training was concerned. All self paced, hands
off, no human contact training. The managers pitched the idea to our HR
department and they got their way. Sadly, those who pitched this scheme
had very little experience with our products and they did not want the
training department involved. This attitude meshed quite nicely with a
training department that knew nothing about making training videos and
did not want incompetent people involved.
We lost, they won. So I became a reluctant producer of video training. Do
not get me started on CBT production; equally useless, tragic and
I was destined for termination so I looked forward to only being involved
with my bike and my dog. Eventually, I was merely drifting along, not
caring what the heck happens. I agree, a terrible attitude. I guess it
was a hate-hate / win-win all around when I left.
The supervisors and managers wanted to go to Florida for a month to learn
video production, so production of video training became a high priority
for our division. One manager wanted to take his crew to the Las Vegas
CES to find better equipment than we had just bought. Not us, just them.
They wanted to replace our (old) new equipment they never looked at and
we hardly ever used, with even better equipment we would probably never
use. So at least they were trying to help us out.
The thinking was that perhaps we could eliminate all hands on assembly
training, thus eliminating all trainers. I did not want video used
because at the time, our procedures changed almost daily. I also did not
like the training manuals we wrote. I wrote more than 40 assembly manuals
and they represented wasted effort and were really quite worthless.
You do not give a self-paced workbook written in English to a non-English
speaker, and have that be their only official training, do you? I
actually wanted the training department disbanded because we added zero
value to the company.
Hands on training is what worked for us, not videos or books the target
audience cannot possibly read or understand. The use of video was yet
another example of a bad idea that helped us produce 'Mount Rework' and a
growing RMA department. We ended up hiring almost as many rework
technicians as assembly workers. Some poor rework tech is probably still
working the pile of 14,400 baud modems, trying to clear away the mountain
and find the way out.
We had untrained people running our BGA chip rework stations. Sure, they
saw a 15 minute "training" video, as did the new SMT operators. These
were people who had no clue about electronics, but they did see a video
tape. Those in power thought this was good enough.
Because of our deplorable training, we had several rooms filled with
rework. Many of these products were long discontinued, but still being
worked on. Products went from rework to trash, because we were trying to
fix products we had no intention of selling. Eventually, we ran out of
space, so we used rooms in our old building for storage. Hundreds of
thousands of units passed from the end of the production line, to rework,
then into storage for later reworking and finally the trash.
When we started making a certain brand of portable MP3 player, something
like 80% of all production units failed and went to rework. Tens of
thousands of units. We planned a tape that would show people how to
properly apply a sticker to the PCB, but nothing was done to solve a
slightly bigger issue, like how to make something that actually works. I
am told this is an important feature.
We had a video to show how the documentation and install software is to
be placed inside the box. When we discovered that the video training tape
was wrong, we had to pull thousands of units out of shipping, remove the
shrink wrap, unseal the box, and turn the little plastic bags around. I
suggested that we just forget it, because of the costs involved. Perhaps
ask the customer before we delay shipping and increase their costs.
Video was what would eliminate the problem of excessive rework, or so we
were told. Routinely, 25-40% of a shift's production ended up in rework,
across all production lines, routinely, week in and week out, year after
year. Due to limited availability of components like chip sets, the loss
of one product often meant that another one couldn't be built because
there were no parts.
Rockwell limited how many chips we could purchase, as did the supplier of
the LCD digitizers we used on the Palm Pilot. Someone made a video to
show how to take apart the LCD and rebuild it by removing an unbroken
digitizer top glass and use it to replace a broken glass on another bad
unit, then applying masking tape to provide a factory fresh seal. Anyone
who knows anything about LCD fabrication knows that this is an operation
that must be performed in a clean room, not a dirty work table.
Chip set replacement was the typical fix for every failed unit. This was
because supervisors believed that when you replaced the chip set on a
unit that failed and it starts to work, this proves that it was a bad
chip set to begin with. Not the unsoldered pins one would often see if
you actually did a good visual inspection.
All training at the time advised that replacing the chip set is the first
thing you must try. If that fails, try a visual inspection.
Our audience for video training were French, German, Korean, Vietnamese,
Spanish, Russian and other people with no English language skills
whatsoever. No problem, we will simply create different sound tracks to
After we invested tens of thousands of dollars in a Video Toaster system
and other editing equipment, we gave up using any of it. The thinking was
that we could simply shoot everything in one long take and use magical
software to find each section of the tape, and re shoot the tape when the
I eventually bought the entire VT system for a hundred bucks or so.
Thirty grand flushed.
I remember when our entire training group wasted three full workdays
photographing these silly cardboard trays. Trays were used to transfer
components from the parts rack to each technician. The project took three
days of effort on the part of 5 trainers, one manager, two supervisors,
and a line technician to narrate the video.
A supervisor's Vietnamese wife was selected as the narrator, but you
could not understand a word she said. I guess the idea was that a trainee
who can't speak English could more easily understand broken English
spoken with a Vietnamese accent than proper English spoken by me. I
helped develop the product that I apparently did not understand, as
proclaimed by a supervisor. He had never seen the product he was
developing training for.
The supervisor reasoned that if the internal frames and plastic parts
were arranged differently in the tray, production speed would increase
and there would be less parts damage due to scratches. Scratches on
internal parts that will never be seen by the customer, and are already
scratched. So we made perhaps 30 different versions of a tape just to
show how plastic internals are supposed to fit in a silly little box.
The video was not needed and never used because the supervisor who
thought that video was a good idea, did not want his people taking time
away from the line to view it. So... he produced special printed
procedures just for his line that went against procedures for the other
lines that built the same products. ISO be dammed, few documents were
Then we got rid of the trays, and switched to ESD unsafe containers for
the PC Boards, which were often restacked in a big pile on the ungrounded
worktables. We created a video to show how to "properly" stack PC boards
in an unsafe manner, rather than use the ESD safe containers designed for
the boards. The excuse was a good one. Since the technicians did not
follow the procedures or training we did manage to do, lets show them how
to do it incorrectly, but in a slightly safer manner.
We produced tapes to show how to fix the PCB routers; a job only the
manufacturing services people were to attempt. Tapes about reprogramming
testers, aimed at the new test technician who might need to select a test
program they had no clue about, when the authorized test supervisors were
unavailable. Not their job, but still ok, according to the line wonks who
made the films. One entire shift's output was reflashed with the wrong
ROM code because of this, and shipped.
"We" also decided that the video should be available on every production
floor terminal. These computers were 8088 and 386 computers with no hard
drives. Many of the video cards were good old Hercules cards. No memory
to speak of. These videos were to be delivered through the network, but
our IS department only allotted us 40 MB of space to hold the 500 odd
videos we envisioned we would eventually have. No NIC cards because the
computers would not accept them.
I mentioned that we needed to upgrade the computers or the video will not
run. So we bought a kiosk, it crashed daily and no one used it. They
typed in their employee number (Their SSN) and learned how to advance to
the end, thus "certifying" them.
We still proceeded to develop videos, but there was no budget available
to upgrade the computers. When we sold the last video production
computer, all of our work was simply deleted.
Not one of the videotapes or digital files were ever used for training.
All we did was waste a year or two of our time, and a huge pile of the
corporation's money. Sorry, all of you stockholders :>)
That was my experience with video training procedures. I would love to
hear stories about the successful use of video to teach high tech
assembly -especially if it worked better than hands on training. Is a
self-paced training more efficient than a one on one, hands on training
of assembly techniques? Perhaps people simply assume that video is always
great for training just because it is in video form.
I did write a VB front end to launch the videos. I used a still shot of
the procedure on each button, but I never had the chance to implement it.
Someone else wrote an Access database to manage video selection and
The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
ROBOHELP X5: Featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author
support, PDF and XML support and much more!
TRY IT TODAY at http://www.macromedia.com/go/techwrl
WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.
Previous by Author:
Re: Denver Contracting
Next by Author: The STC and me
Previous by Thread: Re: STC Evaluations (was Video Icon Placement)
Next by Thread: Cheap RoboHelp vs. Expensive RoboHelp (cross-posted)
Visit TechWhirl's Other Sites