The Digital Depot II

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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!

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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 Digital Depot

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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?

Assisted Delivery: Guidance On Implementation

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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?

Assisted Delivery: An Overlooked Training Method?

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As night follows day – people need training.  It’s what helps us to do our jobs safely, secure much sought-after promotions, develop career paths and even just gets us around an unfamiliar worksite unharmed…

But before we sing its praises too heavily, let us also be brutally honest, good (and even bad) training can come at a high cost – both in terms of expense, as well as time spent by the trainer and trainee.

So, what training formats are typically on offer?  We’re all familiar with traditional Face-to-Face learning, it offers the chance for experienced trainers to impart their subject matter expertise to a room full of knowledge hungry students.  In the last 20 years or so we’ve also seen a boom in E-learning, allowing knowledge to be shared with larger audiences at a fraction of the cost and independent of time or location constraints.

More recently, there is the much-touted Blended Learning, which merges traditional face-to-face classroom style teaching with E-learning packages, providing a highly effective means of sharing knowledge in different formats at the convenience of both trainer and trainee.

However, one mechanism is often overlooked: Assisted Delivery.

Assisted Delivery provides a course which ‘self-delivers’ in the same way as an E-learning course – with voice-over, graphics, video segments – but provides the opportunity for the facilitator to jump in, where confident to do so, and lead group interactions around particular video clips, diagrams, or case studies, etc.

We used Assisted Delivery when we developed a rail industry training course on the topic of Safety Critical Communications.  The course needed to address around 40,000 front line staff across multiple rail organisations – and there was no way we could have delivered the training to so many people through a traditional face-to-face course alone.  Yet at the same time, it was critical that we applied industry-wide protocols to often unique local situations.

By using Assisted Delivery we were able to place an in-depth 6-module course into the hands of local company managers who could then deliver the course with confidence at a time and frequency which suited the business.  Each of the individual learning groups were able to discuss the content, benefiting from the associated peer interaction and ‘social learning’, as well as apply the learning to their own specific local circumstances.

Assisted Delivery is not a universal panacea, but it is worth considering as a valuable part of your training portfolio.