By Lauren Duensing, Contributing Editor
Capturing knowledge
Technical online courses can increase employees’ overall business comprehension

orkers who have spent their entire careers in manufacturing have amassed a base of experiential knowledge—concepts that aren’t typically taught in school. When they retire, the knowledge goes with them. THORS eLearning Solutions, a developer of online training and assessment tools for materials, manufacturing processes and manufactured products, is capturing this knowledge and making it accessible to the next generation.

“Prior to THORS, an individual had to learn in person from an expert, so there were constraints on the availability of the experts—and they would also have to have the passion, the content and time to teach,” says Senthil Kumar, founder of THORS eLearning Solutions. “THORS solves that problem by digitizing the knowledge from experts so proximity and availability do not matter.”

THORS courses feature engaging graphics
THORS courses feature engaging graphics. This animation of a stamping press is part of the Stamping Fundamentals course.
How and why

Kumar says that many training programs focus on teaching how to do something, but the “what” and “why” are crucial to understanding an entire process. “When you understand what and why you do things, it helps with troubleshooting and finding mistakes before they happen.”

The first thing taught is terminology. “From there, we build an understanding of the process and then cover how to apply the knowledge,” Kumar says.

THORS offers more than 100 courses. The concentration of content across certain industries “helps us put together a curriculum for a particular role. We believe this gives learners a structured approach to mastering the knowledge required to perform their job.”

Courses are available to both companies and individuals. “Each course is about one to two hours and covers specific learning objectives. All courses start with a pre-assessment test, followed by the actual course and assessments at the end of each section,” Kumar explains. “Our courses are graphically rich and combine animations with graphics that are visually pleasing and designed to grab students’ attention and engage them in the learning modules. To complete the course, one needs to complete a post-assessment test.”

One of the newest courses, “Steel Fundamentals,” was developed in partnership with Ovako, a Swedish steel producer. The course covers steel grades and chemistries, strength mechanisms and other properties, microstructures and phases for European and North American standards.

Learning for all

Online courses can be pursued anywhere with a reliable internet connection, making it easy for employees to complete them at their own pace and for companies to begin filling knowledge gaps.

“We have numerous examples of how both students and industry personnel have learned, applied and benefited from the knowledge gained from our courses,” Kumar says. “In a sample size of almost 13,000 users, scores improve (from pre-assessment to post-assessment score) by 58 percent as a whole, 59 percent for procurement, 62 percent for quality, 61 percent for operations, 53 percent for engineering, 71 percent for sales and marketing, 57 percent for supervisors, and 70 percent in education. This tells us that our program is valuable across all company functions and that users are gaining knowledge in each one of those.”

“[I have] 30 years of engineering experience and still walked away with something new,” commented a senior engineer who completed a THORS course.

“The contents are very clean and straightforward. Learning through animation is interesting and fun. It’s a good learning platform,” said a foundry manager.

Once workers understand the terminology outside of their immediate responsibilities and department, they can have more effective conversations and collaboration with coworkers—“because now they understand what’s going on upstream and downstream from what they do,” Kumar says.

“Before THORS, we would get 2,500 pieces that were suspect,” says an operations manager. “We would then have to sort them all. Now, guys tell me they stopped a machine because they detected some noncompliance. And they get that from their THORS training.”

THORS eLearning Solutions,

Medina, Ohio, 330/576-4448,