Using eLearning for Procedure Training?

Jul 31, 2013

Good Morning, can some body please help, we have a number of detailed process procedures that I have been asked to train people on using eLearning self training, with a verification on completion.  When I read these procedures they are basically; Step 1: Do This! Step 2: Do This! No explanation of why or how, which I think is necessary. Does anybody have any suggestions or examples that could help. These procedures are critical, in that any mistakes could cause fires or injury! Thank you for your help.

7 Replies
Cary Glenn

This is a great opportunity to use scenario-based training. Read some of the articles and books that Ruth Colvin Clark has written. You will have to find out the different things that can go wrong when the procedure isn't followed and build these issues into the training. 

For example if they are supposed to do X,Y,Z in that order and instead they do X, Z, Y. Show the resulting condition. Let's say that they then injure a co-worker, you could then show how that has affected the co-workers life and the lives of his family.

Getting people to understand the criticality of the situation is important and then getting them to practice the scenarios.

Another ideas is to start the course with a story about how someone is injured and explain that it happened because of someone not following procedures. Then have them go through scenarios and see if they can prevent it from happening. Think of as a choose-your-own-adventure book.

Paul S.

Cary's advise is good. I am currently building a course for my process job where there will be two parts:

  • A Training Manual with Step One: Do this! Step Two: Do this!
  • A module much as Cary suggested that interactively walks you through the process until you learn it.

The first part (Training Manual) can be used as a quick reference for operators in the field and is invaluable in my experience. The second part (Interactive Module) is  more of a simulation of the process. This is great for teaching operators in all aspects of the job and gives them the big picture of how one process affects the next. All of the processes are interrelated and interdependent.  

Skip Hagan

Wow! You guys hit me where I live. I am a simulator and operator instructor in the electrical generation industry. Dealing with OSHA, NERC, SERC, the EPA, and all manner of regulatory agencies is a huge part of my world. Safety (hazardous chemicals, Lock Out-Tag Out., etc.) require continuous training and refresher courses.

Paul and Cary are definitely on the right track. Procedure training needs to be "made real" and relavant to the students. We could spend a LOT of space, here, discussing options for training; most of which you probably already know. The bottom line is what I keep telling clients and managers at every opportunity:

"Without a procedure, you are just one more person with an opinion. Safe, efficient, and reliable plant operation are ALWAYS procedure driven."

The lack of procedures, and a management commitment to ensure procedures are consistently implemented and utilized, results in poor performance in every area of the plant.

Some things you might want:

  • Collect articles/examples of consequences (lessons learned) from your own facility and anything you may be able to gleen from the net.
  • Lots of graphics (illustrations, photos, videos, UTube links, etc) in your bag of supporting material. Again, the net has more than you'll likely be able to use.
  • Photos of specific equipment or areas of concern at your facility.
  • Photos of equipment damage that may have been taken of a local event.
  • "War stories" that relate to your area of interest and can be documented.

There are many ways to develop and format procedures. It always amazes me, after nearly a dozen new unit startups, how much time is spent "re-inventing the wheel." There are few examples of "new technology" that require doing business in a different way. Site specific  variations will always be a consideration, but processes seldom change a great deal.

The most rigorous, procedure driven, environments I can think of are aerospace and nuclear power (perhaps, pharmaceuticals). You may find examples of suitable procedure formats on the net. Depending upon your industry, you may be able to network with others who share your challenges. For me, one of the best forums is WUTAB (Western Utilities Training Advisory Board), though there are others. Finding what will work and be accepted in your environment is critical.

Procedures, by their nature, are linear. Your training isn't so constrained. Branching to examples/cases from your plant or the industry can "spice up" your training and gain the attention of students and acceptance of your material.

Skip Hagan

You're welcome, Paul.

As you can probably discern, I tend to jump up on my soap box when this topic comes up. I am passionate about training and procedures. Both are essential components of a safe and efficient work environment. This is especially true in a process industry. There are just too many opportunities for nasty things to happen, not to place a high priority on training and procedures.

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