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Developing Tower Crane Training

It’s Time to Evaluate Training Programs


Training for tower crane operation is critical for ensuring the safety and efficiency of construction sites. However, not all training programs are created equal, and it’s essential to evaluate the competence of the training facility and instructors.

A skilled and properly trained workforce is one of the most important ways to ensure a safe workforce.

Simply sending an employee to a training class does not guarantee the employee has gained the knowledge or skills to solve problems or perform certain tasks.

Know and understand the training your employees receive, and evaluate the knowledge and skills acquired.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key considerations in developing effective tower crane training, focusing on who conducts the training, the qualifications of trainers, presentation methods, training locations, knowledge retention and the use of instructional design models like ADDIE.

Who’s Training Your People?

It’s crucial to never assume that the training facility you’re sending employees to is competent. Glossy brochures and flashy websites can be misleading, and it’s recommended to attend a class yourself or to send a senior representative to evaluate the programs, facility and instructors. Additionally, training should emphasize the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and include life-saving techniques regardless of the size of the company.

Who or How Is the Training Conducted?

No Trainer: In some cases, training may be conducted without a designated trainer. This could involve self-paced learning through manuals, instructional videos or written materials. However, this approach may lack personalized guidance and interaction.

E-training or Online Modules:  With advancements in technology, many training programs are now delivered online. These e-training modules offer flexibility and accessibility, allowing employees to learn at their own pace from anywhere with an internet connection. Interactive modules, videos, quizzes and simulations may be utilized to enhance engagement and understanding.

Senior Employee: Occasionally, training may be led by a senior employee who possesses extensive experience and knowledge in the subject matter. While senior employees can provide valuable insights and real-world examples, they may not have formal instructional skills or the ability to effectively convey information to learners.

On-the-Job Training (OJT) and Mentoring: OJT involves learning directly within the workplace under the guidance of experienced mentors. This hands-on approach allows trainees to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, fostering skill development and confidence. Mentors provide personalized guidance, feedback, and support tailored to the individual learner’s needs.

Skilled Teacher: A skilled teacher or instructor with expertise in the subject matter delivers formal training sessions. These professionals may have backgrounds in education, instructional design or specialized knowledge related to the training topic. They employ effective teaching strategies, engage learners through various activities, and ensure that training objectives are met.

Formal Classroom Training: Traditional classroom training involves face-to-face instruction in a dedicated training facility or classroom setting. This method allows for direct interaction between the trainer and learners, facilitating dynamic discussions, group activities and hands-on exercises. Trainers may utilize multimedia presentations, demonstrations and practical exercises to reinforcelearning outcomes.

Each method of conducting training has its advantages and considerations, and the choice depends on factors such as the nature of the subject matter, the preferences of the learners, available resources and organizational goals.

3 Important Questions to Ask About the Trainer

  1. Industry Experience: Trainers should possess extensive field experience in tower crane operation, management roles within the construction industry, instructional expertise and classroom management skills.
  2. Certifications and Qualifications: Trainers should hold industry certifications, formal education in relevant fields, completed train-the-trainer program, or teaching credentials to ensure they are well-equipped to impart knowledge effectively.
  3. Presentation Methods: Effective trainers utilize a variety of presentation methods such as formal lectures, video clips, interactive exercises, hands-on modules, simulator technology, quizzes and evaluations to cater to diverse learning styles and enhance knowledge retention.

How and Where Is the Training Being Conducted?

The training environment plays a significant role in the effectiveness of the program. Formal training centers equipped with the latest equipment and technology offer an optimal learning environment. Some of these training centers have modern simulators that allow for a complete hands-on experience.

However, for some organizations, conducting training on-site or at a job site may be more practical, provided it can be done in compliance with job site safety rules, offers accessibility to the equipment for training and creates an environment conducive to learning. Quite often we see conference rooms in worksite offices used, which leads to frequent interruptions or excessive distractions.

Hotel conference rooms can also provide an option but, while being free of distractions, they will not usually be equipped with training aids and equipment, which provides the hands-on training experience that promotes the best training and retention.

What Are Your Training Objectives?

  • Meet compliance requirements: Obtain necessary paperwork to fulfill regulatory or organizational requirements.
  • Introduce new equipment or policies: Familiarize employees with new equipment, procedure or policies implemented in the workplace.
  • Improve equipment usage knowledge: Enhance employees’ understanding of how to operate equipment effectively and safely.
  • Enhance employee skills: Develop and refine employees’ skill sets to increase productivity and effectiveness in their roles.
  • Provide continuing education: Offer opportunities for ongoing employee development or preparation for testing and certifications.

Does Your Training Promote Knowledge Retention?

Effective training programs prioritize knowledge retention by employing various learning methods and reinforcement strategies. Research suggests that active participation through hands-on training is the most effective learning method, followed by visual demonstrations, reading from textbooks and collaborative learning. Employing strategies, such as repetition (one time for short-term memory, three to seven times for long-term memory), spaced learning, and reinforcement over time can help solidify learning and transform it into habit.

Developing Effective Training

The ADDIE model (analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation) provides a structured framework for developing effective training programs. Analysis involves identifying audience demographics, learning objectives and existing knowledge. Design entails outlining learning objectives, assessment methods and content delivery mechanisms. Development involves building the program, while implementation encompasses various delivery methods tailored to organizational needs. Evaluation assesses the program’s effectiveness and informs future iterations.

Training Outline

A comprehensive tower crane training program typically follows a structured outline:

  1. Pre-Training: Introduction to the course objectives and expectations.
  2. Basic Theory: Understanding training principles and techniques.
  3. Pre-Assessment: Assessing trainees’ baseline knowledge.
  4. Instructor-Led Knowledge Review: Covering manufacturers’ instructions, erection/dismantling procedures, inspection, maintenance, operational techniques, fall protection and safety protocols.
  5. Hands-On Skill Review: Practical sessions focusing on tower crane operation, tools, and rigging practices.
  6. Post-Assessment: Evaluating trainees’ comprehension and proficiency.
  7. Evaluation of Training & Trainee:  Soliciting feedback to improve the training program.


Developing tower crane training programs requires meticulous planning, evaluation and implementation. By scrutinizing training facilities, trainers and methodologies, organizations can ensure that their employees receive quality training that enhances safety, efficiency and productivity. Embracing structured models like the ADDIE framework facilitates the development of effective training programs tailored to specific organizational needs. Continuous evaluation and refinement ensure that training programs remain relevant and impactful in evolving work environments.

Accredited certification ensures that employees have the basic skills and knowledge required to safely operate and signal a crane, rig loads and understand codes and regulations.

Article written by Chris Smith


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.