The Digital Depot II

internal depot

A few months back we blogged about the headway we, as well as the likes of Zonegreen and Alcumus Sypol, are making in the area of digitising the train depot… Our online worksite safety induction solution Site Sentinel allows depot visitors to complete an induction before they arrive on site, meaning they arrive equipped and ready for work.  What better way to optimise the digital technology available to us?

However, what if visitors first language isn’t English?  To date, we’ve always run Site Sentinel in English, however, more and more site visitors need the worksite induction in their native language to ensure safety critical details are not ‘lost in translation’.

This development is unsurprising, the range of skills required in a train depot is vast… there are train engineers, construction workers, electricians, safety managers and administrative staff, not to mention a whole heap of specialist rail contractors and visitors who enter the depot each day.  We can’t expect each one of these people to have a high standard of English literacy – but neither can we afford for them to misunderstand or misinterpret the safety induction briefing.

So, what do we do?  Well if you decide to translate your induction, you’ll need technical language support and a good deal of technical proofreading.  Google Translate – albeit a great way to quickly and cheaply translate big pieces of text – won’t suffice – it could lead to unintelligible or, worse still, misleading statements.  The devil is in the detail and technical accuracy is key.

Once you’ve had the site induction translated, a little user testing wouldn’t go amiss either… the text may make sense to you, but it needs to be trialled with different people to ensure the testing is sufficiently robust.

But… once this is all in place, there’s no reason why Site Sentinel can’t be rolled out in a whole variety of different languages.  You could even give people the choice to read it in more than one language – just for good measure!

Have you translated safety materials into different languages?  What challenges have you faced?

Record number of Site Sentinel online worksite safety inductions for 2019!

IMG_4045

We’re excited to announce we’ve beaten last year’s safety induction record – delivering almost 24,000 online worksite safety inductions across 20 separate sites for six different rail industry clients.  One of the sites executed an astonishing 5,000 worksite safety inductions using our Site Sentinel online platform – an incredible figure for just one year!

These numbers show a 20% increase compared with last year’s – where we successfully delivered just over 20,000 online inductions.

Founder of Lucid Communications, Paul Townsend said “We’re thrilled with the high number of inductions completed this year… we’ve surpassed our own expectations and it demonstrates how the rail industry really is starting to appreciate the power of digitising the induction process.  What a fantastic start to 2020.”

The SiteSentinel platform provides an online induction, test and administration interface.  The system is designed to consistently deliver relevant, up to date, high quality information using text, photos, video and illustrations.

SiteSentinel ensures an easily accessible audit trail of worksite safety inductions for all staff, visitors and contractors.

So, what’s all the fuss about Non-technical Skills (NTS)?

telephone

The term ‘Non-technical skills’ has become such common parlance in the rail industry that people just talk of ‘NTS’ now, without even giving a second thought to whether people know what the acronym means.  So, what are NTS and why are they so important?

Non-technical skills (NTS) are the interpersonal or ‘soft’ skills like collaboration, communication, leadership, decision making, situational awareness and teamwork that we all use every day, but in a work situation are critical to getting a job done safely and efficiently.

In contrast, technical skills are those which enable us, for example, to make something, operate a machine, fix an engine or carry out a technical task.

Because we use NTS in our daily lives, and historically haven’t received training on how to develop them, NTS haven’t always been given the same status or kudos as their technical counterparts.  However, most industries are waking up to how critical NTS are to overall system safety and efficient and effective business operations.

Let’s consider an example… at short notice a rail track signaller needs to change a green light to red.  The signaller is technically adept and makes the physical change in light status without error.  However, the signaller also needs to warn the train driver that the signal has changed using a radio call.  This conversation between the signaller and driver has become safety critical.

The signaller needs to communicate – lucidly and concisely – that a light on the drivers’ route has unexpectedly changed.  It requires audible clear speech, as well as words that the driver understands; it should also involve a simple check that the driver has understood before finishing the call.  If the communication is inadequate then it creates a real risk that the driver is unsure or unaware of the imminent red signal, giving them less time to brake and possibly causing them to pass a signal at danger.

Acknowledging the importance of NTS, we’ve developed a programme for Network Rail to train their signallers in eight key NTS that they need to do their jobs safely.  We’ve also created a suite of training modules for RSSB on safety critical communications for the whole rail industry to benefit from.

So, what are the key NTS in your job or industry?  Which ones are the most critical to safety?  How does your company ensure everyone has those skills?

The Digital Depot

digital depot pic

The media is awash with stories of the ‘Digital Railway’ – from digital asset management to smart ticketing for passengers – the railway industry is embracing the digital revolution with both hands.  However, walk into most train maintenance depots and you’ll get a different picture entirely – paper piles, noticeboards, bursting filing cabinets – the rail back office hasn’t yet joined the revolution with such vigour!

Yet with thousands of rail workers passing through depot doors every year – this is an area that equally warrants the efficiencies that ‘going digital’ can offer.  So, we’ve been conducting our very own little revolution – starting with digitising worksite safety inductions…

Typically, worksite inductions at depots involve lengthy face-to-face sessions where local managers spend lots of time sharing information and describing the risks.  This can be labour intensive and, depending on the manager, the quality of the training delivery can vary.  The induction also often happens the moment a visitor sets foot on site – expecting them to digest a lot of new material in a short space of time.  Hardly conducive to effective learning.

This is why we’ve developed SiteSentinel – a unique online worksite safety induction solution allowing depot visitors to complete an induction before they even arrive on site, ensuring they arrive equipped and ready for work with the necessary competency certificates and worksite awareness.

The added bonus is that the whole induction process is captured and stored online, giving depots an easily accessible audit trail.  They can quickly confirm who has been inducted at the site and when.  A short online test at the end also gives depot managers the necessary assurances that visitors understand the safety issues before they even arrive on site.

And we’re not the only ones helping to build a ‘Digital Depot’ – we’re proud to be joined in our back office revolution by the likes of Zonegreen (depot protection through intelligent technology) and Alcumus Sypol (COSHH online management system).

So, how long will it take for the rest of the rail industry to wake up to the benefits of digitising the back office?

Why Use Voiceover, Graphics and Text Content in E-learning?

text on shelf
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

At Lucid HQ we often find ourselves creating e-learning content combining graphical, auditory and text-based content – and please let’s bust any myths right here and right now – doing it this way isn’t straightforward!

We certainly don’t do it to ‘pad out’ the learning material or reduce the time spent writing technical text.  In fact, it makes the process of content creation more complex as we gather information from different sources and in different formats.  This is time consuming, and can also be costly, so it’s not something we would readily opt for!

However, recently a big customer asked us “Can we remove the voiceover and graphics from our e-learning and just stick with the text?”.  In responding to the client, it made us carefully consider exactly why we do this…

You might be familiar with the “cognitive load” concept… we’ve certainly highlighted it in other blogs because it’s key in the world of training.  It’s the notion that when we learn new information it must be stored in our working memories until it’s fully processed and passes into our long-term memory.  However, our working memory is a crowded place, and if too much information is presented we run the risk of losing it altogether.

However, there’s a little trick termed the “modality effect” – which means if information is presented in different formats or ‘modes’, then our working memory can hold on to more – because it reserves a separate space for processing visual data and another space for auditory data.  So, by using both visual and auditory stimuli in e-learning packages, we improve the trainee’s chance of avoiding cognitive overload and embedding new learning.

Building on the scientific basis, let’s face it, people also just have different learning preferences and by presenting information using a variety of mediums it keeps people’s interest throughout.

And finally, we live in a fast-paced world.  With around 40% of consumers not willing to wait more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site, societal patience levels are at an all time low.  But rushing can cause people to miss critical information.  This is the last thing we want in a training scenario.  So, delivering e-learning using a range of formats forces people to slow down and take the time to steadily digest all the new information.

So, can you see why we take the harder path when developing e-learning content for our customers?!  It may be a longer process for us – but ultimately it helps to improve the learning outcomes for our clients.