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.
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?
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.
There’s an old adage in training: “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you’ve told them.”
Sound a little odd? Well there’s a sound educational basis for the one-liner – most of us need time to assimilate new knowledge and getting to grips with new concepts requires time. There is only a certain amount of information that our working memory can absorb in any one training session – in psychology circles this is known as the “cognitive load” – the limited mental capacity that we have for processing new material.
So, why do companies still insist on waiting for contractors to turn up to their worksite, ‘hosepipe’ information at them, walk them around unfamiliar surroundings pointing at things, and then let them loose on site, expecting they’ve fully comprehended everything that’s been said?
The best approach to site induction is to deliver detailed information BEFORE visitors arrive on site, using text, photos, diagrams etc. Of particular importance is the provision of a site schematic – an overview of the ‘shape’ of the site. People new to the site will need this to make sense of any site walk-around. They need a context into which they can place the physical experience of a site visit.
There is also certain information that visitors and contractors might need beforehand, such as: Where is the site? Which entrance should I use? How do I get in? What are the relevant telephone numbers? What equipment should I bring? Etc.
Lastly, think of visitors and contractors from outside of high hazard industries like rail. For example, are they aware of the strict ultra-low alcohol level required by the rail industry? Would you really expect a contractor, upon arriving at site and being told of the level, to throw their hand in the air and say, “Oops, sorry, I went out drinking last night – I can’t come on site…” Highly unlikely!
So, we suggest the best worksite induction looks something like this:
Step 1 – Online briefing and test before arrival;
Step 2 – Quick verbal test and correction of any incorrect test results;
Step 3 – Site walk-around to reinforce and embed information.
In our last blog we discussed the advantages of Assisted Delivery as a training format that ‘self-delivers’ in the same way as E-learning – but is structured in a way that allows a facilitator to dip in and get involved, either leading on particular topics or convening group interactions to encourage social learning and deeply embed new knowledge.
So, what are our top tips for successfully implementing Assisted Delivery?
1. Choose your facilitators wisely
As with traditional face-to-face training, the skills and experience of the trainer is key. However, unlike traditional training, leading Assisted Delivery training does not necessarily require subject specific knowledge. Instead, the person running the course requires facilitation skills rather than subject matter expertise. Therefore, a strong team leader or line manager with basic presentation and facilitation skills could comfortably deliver an Assisted Delivery course. The course materials themselves will cover the subject specifics in depth, with the facilitator’s role being to guide the trainees in their group discussions, enabling them to benefit from social interaction within a learning group.
2. Carefully structure the course
To allow facilitators to get an ‘aerial view’ of the course and understand where the opportunities for class discussions are stored, Assisted Delivery works best with a tightly controlled course structure and content. Be clear on the topics you want to cover, at what point in the programme you want to cover them, and where trainees might pause for group discussion.
We recently used Assisted Delivery for an international sales programme. A particular aim of the programme was the implementation of a globally-consistent approach to sales. However, it was recognised that some practices must be attenuated for specific markets and local cultures. Assisted Delivery allowed the sales managers to apply local emphasis at particular points in the course whilst also ensuring that the core content was delivered in an accurate and timely manner.
3. Support your facilitators
Although one of the key benefits of Assisted Delivery is that your trainers do not need in-depth subject specific knowledge; they still need support. Developing and providing detailed delivery notes for facilitators is therefore crucial to success. Furthermore, peer support outside of the classroom can also provide a much-needed chance to ask questions and refine the approach. For one project we found setting up a discussion forum for the facilitators was useful. They actively used it for sharing experiences and FAQs.
4. Encourage feedback from trainees
OK, so we’re not advising anything revolutionary here…but we are highly recommending you seek feedback from training delegates to see what they thought of the Assisted Delivery training: Did everything link together well?; Was the overall structure easy to follow?; Did you benefit from group interaction?; What would be useful next time?