Picture this: you begin your day like any other. The sun rises. You roll out of bed, prepare for the day, and get to work. You arrive with the full knowledge that all of your peers are as prepared and able to take on the day’s tasks as you are. Each one of you is fully informed and aware of the role they play. The strategy is clear. Not only do you know that each player can complete their part, but you believe that you can trust all those around you to do so safely and thoroughly. Whenever an obstacle is placed in the path of your group’s success, you can communicate to each other peacefully and overcome as a team. If you or one of your teammates finds the solution to a problem, you are able to lead everyone else to the answer and give other groups the chance to succeed as well. By the end of the day, your to-do list has been checked off, the goal has been accomplished, and you all live to see the next sunrise.
Does this sound like your ideal work environment? I know it would be mine! If you’re itching to vamp up your resume and find the next available position at this utopia of a workplace, then do I have news for you. All you must do is sprout two more limbs, grow antennae, shrink nearly 1700 times smaller than you are now, and enjoy sugary messes. Because you, my friend, want to be part of an ant colony.
However, the dream of that ant colony workplace is not as far away as you may think. Since the dawn of the concept of a corporation, the necessity of cohesion and efficiency has been apparent. Being fully educated and prepared for the job you need to complete is a struggle all of us have felt. Corporate training is the solution to this ever-increasing problem of workplace education. From the humble classroom to the 24 hr accessible web, training has grown to be a vital life source for success. Wearing many masks through its evolution, there has been no other time that training and education has been more effective than with the rise of modern technology.
A brief history
All of us are begrudgingly familiar with the concept of workplace training. Whether it be through endless hours of lectures, or mindless mouse clicks to the final exam, we’ve sat bleary-eyed and thought, ‘why am I here?’. Surely you’ve heard this speech before. You’ve had this concept drilled into your head. You’ve answered question 6 as C for as long as you can remember. But that’s just it; can you remember? Do you know exactly where reciprocating compressors must be lubricated or how many trays are in the second tower in an amine unit? Can you name the aspects of a good listener or identify the benefits of ergonomic design? If we were ants we’d simply communicate through pheromones that would trigger instincts and reactions, but as humans, our need for repetition and understanding are more paramount. The benefits of learning and education through training create a safer work environment, increase job satisfaction as well as productivity, and the list goes on.
Now, bringing training into the modern workplace is easier than ever. Learning Management System (LMS) software provides the perfect combination of information and engagement that can give companies the ability to fully educate their employees.
The rise of the LMS began in 1960 with the introduction of Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations (PLATO) by the University of Illinois. PLATO allowed users, authors, and instructors to interact with and create course material that students would then be allowed to complete online. The year 1970 brought about personal computer systems from Hewlett-Packard and made widespread e-learning a possibility. Once TCP/IP gave birth to the World Wide Web, in 1982, the CBT market grew into the e-learning market. Throughout the 1990s, people were pumping out new and innovative LMS software. In 1995, OverNite Software released one of the first online-based LMSs in the US. By the 2000s, cloud-based software was taking over the virtual corporate education industry. Today, we are looking at the bright and shiny ‘tomorrowland’ of possibilities with virtual training.
How LMS software benefits LNG
Taking a closer look at the benefits that virtual training can deliver to the LNG industry, I spoke with industry representatives from Freeport LNG and Golden Pass LNG about their experiences with virtual learning environments. Both terminals are located on the Texas Gulf Coast, US.
Since 2008, Mike Quilty CSP, the HSSE Manager/FSO of Freeport LNG Development, L.P., has relied on ExxTend™ Learning LMS software from OverNite Software, Inc. for Freeport LNG's training needs, as well as training courses from OverNite Software’s libraries.
Quilty says that throughout the years, it has been evident that this virtual training environment has been crucial to the efficiency and productivity of their company.
For 15 years, Cody Hogden, the Competency Assurance Training Coordinator of Golden Pass LNG, has also utilised the ExxTend Learning LMS.
The OverNite Software LNG library along with the Operator Qualification (eWebOQ), General Safety, and HR libraries, Hogden says, is a system that has provided a number of benefits. For instance, having everything in the system, as opposed to keeping documents in large file rooms, was advantageous.
Bringing together the cohesive benefits of employee training and the efficiency of LMS record keeping has provided these companies with the opportunity to cut out time and energy that normal paperwork and classroom management would consume. It is possible for LNG companies, such as Golden Pass LNG and Freeport LNG, to plan the entire year of training and education ahead of time and be prepared for auditing and competency checks by using LMS software. This gives the entirety of each organisation the ability to ensure economic viability and encourage future growth within the LNG industry.
To infinity and beyond
Now this may all be old news. Web-based LMS software has been available since the 1990s and cloud-based learning management systems are currently providing the smoothest and most convenient access to training we’ve ever seen. So where is the future of training headed? J.R. Mook of Freeport LNG says that we need to move into the 3D age, whilst Mike Quilty says that simulations and gaming style training will be the future of learning. These terms – gamification, 3D, and simulations – are the hot buzzwords flowing from training experts’ mouths these days.
But what exactly does that mean? I can tell you from first-hand experience that the effectiveness of virtual reality and 3D environments for training purposes is beyond expectation. Without any previous knowledge of an offshore oil rig, I’ve been able to walk through the safety steps and put out a fire using a system called Oculus Rift®. Connecting the goggle tech to an Xbox® and standing on a pressure pad instantly transported me to a rig platform where I had to check temperature gauges, alert proper authorities, and put out a small fire — all of which took place in a matter of minutes and in a 3 ft2 area. UC-Denver Business School conducted an analysis of those that used learning games in training and found that 11% showed higher factual knowledge, 14% had higher skill-based knowledge, and 9% had a higher retention rate than those who were learning by other methods. What’s even more exciting is that they found that ‘players’, as opposed to just ‘learners’, believed that they could achieve their goals at a 20% higher rate. In an industry where every bit of margin counts, those numbers can be a huge impact on overall company success.
And this is where the two areas of training meet. Virtual reality combines the convenience of digital e-learning courses and the interactivity of stand-up classrooms. Hogden warns that people can fall into a trap of relying solely on the computer-based training experience, and it can become simply a compliance tool vs a tool to educate people. That is where the possibility of virtual reality can bridge the gap.
I see a future where we will be able to learn and do something as grand as build cities to other tasks as simple as fixing a bolt on a pump valve, and all within the virtual reality world. Right now, however, using classroom training to enhance the CBT courses is the most robust approach to employee education you can achieve. Until we’re all walking around with Google Glass on our faces, harnessing the current cultural phenomenon, social media and digital communities, to your training advantage is called E-learning 2.0. The term became popular within the training industry in 2005 and its definition has expanded over the past 10 years. Now that blogs, social platforms, forums, and feeds are deeply ingrained into our lives, the familiarity of those types of virtual worlds are second nature to a learner. Using these tools as a classroom replacement or enhancement to create a complete digital space for employees to be fully educated gets us that much closer to operating with the ease and efficiency of the ant colony.
Written by Laurin Moore, OverNite Software, Inc.
Edited by David Rowlands
Read the article online at: https://www.lngindustry.com/special-reports/18042016/the-future-of-training-2303/