Sorry for the digression in the last post, but I wanted to attempt to explain why the “1.0 Scope, 2.0 Applicability, etc.” format gets in the way of a procedure achieving its purpose. So back to the procedure structure.
The introduction does little more than get the learner’s feet wet. The boundaries of the procedure (task covered, activities described) are set. So, now one of two things will take place next.
The first is a review of process safety. In the case of equipment operating procedures, and equipment operating manuals, this is essential. In most corporations, particularly in manufacturing, a strong emphasis is placed on worker and process safety. Inasmuch as this structure closely follows the procedure elements of Process Safety Management (PSM), a well-organized discussion of safety issues and potential hazards is integral to learning. The learner must be made aware that learning to operate the equipment safely is a key element of operating the equipment productively.
Now, if the procedure were along the lines of preparing and distributing a production schedule, safety would not be a key concern. This part of the discussion may focus on quality issues, or other “this will be the bad result if the procedure is not followed” words of warning.
We have now moved our learner about ankle deep into the pond (assuming we haven’t scared them away). Next, we will move into a functional discussion of the process or the equipment. Equipment is best handled by describing components in a linear fashion, one that follows the process path. In my current employment, I write manuals for laser processing equipment. So it is natural to have the discussion begin where the light is created, move sequentially through all of the optical components, and finish at the application location (where the light acts on the material).
In this part of the procedure, we establish the vocabulary the learner needs to know. This is what components are called, this is what the component does, etc. At this point we have not discussed a single step-by-step activity. That is okay, because we are teaching the language that will be used when the step-by-step activities are described. We now have our learner about knee-deep in the process.
In the next post, we will look at the discussion of equipment controls. Thank you for reading!