By: Priscilla Jones, Talent Acquisition Specialist, PSC Biotech Corporation  

What is Read and Understanding Training? 

Anyone who has worked in a procedure governed organization is very familiar with “read and understand” training. “Read and understand” training typically involve reading a document and then signing an acknowledgement statement to document understanding. For many years, this was good enough to show training records as evidence of trained employees. Then regulatory inspectors started asking about the effectiveness of these training programs, so sometimes quizzes were added at the end as a way to measure knowledge retention and comprehension of the information. But the quiz is still no guarantee that the employee retained the information and turned it into a skill that can be performed on the job.  

Why is it Problematic? 

This technique can provide organizations with a quick and inexpensive way to share information with their employees, but it can also be problematic because many employees don’t recall the information accurately. This lack of recall can be due to various factors including: 

  • Employees are not actually reading the document 
  • Employees are just scanning the document, rather than thoroughly reading it 
  • There are issues with the document itself and the key information is not apparent to employees 
  • This technique does not necessarily give employees the means to feel confident completing tasks in the documents on the job 

What is the Solution? 

Read and understand courses may not be the ideal method for training employees, but many organizations rely on them in some form to train their employees. So how can those who create read and understand courses make them more effective and help ensure employees remember the information they just read? The solution: enhancement and engagement from the employeeCreating and incorporating interactive content into a read and understand course can provide organizations with more effective training. 

An interactive summary will enhance the read and understand course, as well as recall and retention, by walking the employees through the content and technique before they sign off on the document. An interactive quiz can be even more effective, as this allows the employee to recall the information and apply the knowledge based on the training content.  

That will help with recall and retention of the information, but is this technique effective in training employees? As a means of accessing information, yes. But reading a procedure is not the same thing as training on an SOP. Training is gaining the knowledge and skill of a technique, putting them together with practice, and applying both on the job. Training can be considered effective and successful when these procedures or techniques can be accurately performed on the job without coaching.