This blog post is by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.
If you followed the Chilean mine incident last year, or other harrowing miner stories like it, you know that safety is serious business in the mining industry.
The mine safety professionals of the Center for Business and Industry at South Central College in Southern Minnesota know this, too. And they also know that if training comes in the form of dated videos or boring, poorly-designed slideshows, workers are a lot less likely to engage with the content or remember critical skills — skills which can make the difference between life or death.
So, with the help of Andy Lundquist (media communication specialist and co-founder of the newly formed Sunstone Creative Group), they set out to create a new, flexible online training system that would not only support compliance with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), but would also give mine workers a meaningful, memorable, interactive learning experience. MSHA supported their vision and awarded them a grant to fund the new training project.
Andy and his team relied on Articulate Studio ’09 to build a Hazard Communication lesson for the project. Check out the amazing result they came up with:
Grand Prize Winner at the TRAM (Training Resources Applied to Mining) Conference
The project was so well-received that earlier this month MSHA gave it the grand prize award at the national TRAM (Training Resources Applied to Mining) conference.
“The course is generating strong interest within the training departments of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System and the mining community at large,” Andy noted. “Everyone is eager to see how this project continues to unfold. This HazCom course will fit into a broader curriculum that includes a range of safety topics relevant to the mining industry. Other courses currently in development include Electrical Safety, Machine Guarding, and Mobile Equipment & Transportation Controls.”
Andy’s Creative Course-Building Tips
In a recent discussion in the E-Learning Heroes forums, folks in the Articulate community loved Andy’s course, and they were quick to notice his effective use of an SME host. Here’s what Andy had to say about the approach he used:
I’ve always liked the technique of using a host or instructor to put a human face on my training presentations. Also, I come from a video production background, so I tend to create presentations that are rich with video and animation. Because of its flexibility, Articulate Studio allows me to leverage my existing skills to create resources that can be easily integrated into my presentations.
By shooting my subject matter expert on a solid color background that was later removed digitally, I was able to insert him creatively into the learning environment. This technique is called chroma keying, and there are a great many tutorials on this effect to be found online. Properly lighting the scene is often the most important factor in achieving a good result. I made use of Final Cut Pro and After Effects for my editing and effects, but these days, most entry-level video editing software has the ability to chroma key. These videos were exported as .flv files that were imported into my presentation using the Insert Flash Movie function in Articulate Presenter.
Andy also got resourceful with the way he leveraged a wide-screen video for the intro and the wrap-up slide. By adding a 980×560-pixel video and using the No Sidebar view mode, he caused the video to consume the entire width of the player area. For the navigation buttons on the launch screen, he used simple PowerPoint hyperlinks, placed over the video on the slide. Here, Andy shows how he did it:
A Rewarding Finished Product
Andy acknowledges that building an engaging and interactive course can sometimes take a little more thought and planning than a more static learning experience. “But it’s definitely rewarding to see the quality of the finished product,” he explains. “It’s also gratifying to know that given the subject matter, my efforts to keep these presentations engaging and effective could actually help protect someone from serious harm.”
Congratulations on building a great course, Andy — and for winning the prestigious TRAM award! We’re excited to know that Articulate is playing a part in making the mining industry a safer place.
You can follow Andy Lundquist on Twitter (@IgnitionAndy), or connect with him through Sunstone Creative Group, a marketing company offering branding, web development, social media, video production, and training.