Training, reading, learning by feedback

Training, reading, learning by feedback

 01 FEB 2019
Training, reading, learning by feedback
What is in store for us this year? Can we predict what will happen? Yes we can, and no we can’t would be the right answer.
As I wrote some columns ago, when we want to predict the future, we become Cassandras. She was able to foresee what would be happening merely by looking at all the facts, the circumstances, information, capabilities and intentions – but she was inevitably ignored.
Our industry can also foresee that its operations and manufacturing systems can be maximally controlled by using ‘all’ information, i.e. by feedback.
Training and education is what I do. I have always been very interested in companies and their employees who are somehow unwilling to read and therefore also unwilling to learn. They are making the same errors over and over, because facts are easily forgotten, overlooked or purposefully ignored because they hinder a pre-set goal.
Training and constant learning are therefore requisites for any organisation or person. Norbert Wiener, the founder of the science of cybernetics, put it this way: “Feedback is a method of controlling a system (your organisation, but also yourself) by re-inserting into it the results of its past performance. We then have a process which we may call ‘learning’.”
Those of you who have been reading my columns and blog will know that all I want to show and prove is that, by learning, one can become adaptive to all new situations. There is a saying, “a wise man comes prepared”. A wise man or woman, who is open to new things and new situations and who is willing to listen, will always have an advantage as he or she will know more and have more information by which to govern themselves or their organisation.
When I train people I tell them that human beings, as living systems, are innate learners. But no one will ever know everything – that is impossible in a creative, self-learning, self-maintaining and ever-evolving universe. I tell them that their bodies and minds are always learning from their environment, through interactions and by conversation, because if they did not they would not be sitting in my class.
I teach by learning from them, rather than telling them how things are done. I ask them: how would they do those things? I don’t teach them as students or pupils but as learners, and explain that we are all just trainees, learning how to live and how to stay alive. I compare the one who reads the manual for safe operations with the one who has not read it.
So, I do tell them: please read the manuals, guidelines, instructions. Collect all information before you start working with complex equipment or perform risky operations.
I have trained hundreds of loading masters to date, but what I have noticed is that few have read the manuals, because no one told them to do so – or maybe they just weren’t listening.

This is the latest in a series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at Those interested in responding personally can contact him directly at


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