‹ All Episodes

#42: How safety is made

November 6, 2019 | 54 minutes 12 seconds

Podcast series host Jill James speaks with two safety birds of a different feather, Jana and John. Each are Master’s-level instructional designers, with decades of experience developing safety training right on the evolving technology curve. Grabbing and holding attention is an art—anyone who leads training knows this. Often, it is poorly done (raise your hand if you’ve sat through to boring training). There are no two better-qualified individuals to speak about the science of effective audience engagement. John and Jana have developed safety content for every medium and mode of delivery since the 90’s. Listen to this episode to learn all about how memorable safety training experiences are created (it takes a village of really bright people).

Transcript

Jill:

This is the Accidental Safety Pro brought to you by Vivid Learning Systems and the Health and Safety Institute. My name is Jill James, Vivid's chief safety officer and today I'm joined by Jana Humphreys, who is a director of Learning Solutions and John Davis who is a senior instructional designer and project manager. Both Jana and John work at Vivid learning systems. Now, if you think Vivid Learning Systems sounds familiar, it is because I said it just a moment ago. Vivid sponsors this podcast and I work for Vivid as well, which makes Jana and John and I coworkers. So what does that mean? Does that mean that this episode is going to be one long infomercial or a shameless plug for Vivid? Or is an indication that I'm running out of podcast guests? No, neither of those are true so let's get that out of the way right away.

The reason that I asked Jana and John to be guests is because it occurred to me as we've been working together over the last number of years that they too have become accidental safety pros in their work, yet neither one of them could have seen that coming when they set out on their career paths. Safety has indeed become an ancillary part of their day jobs or their first professions.

So if you're not familiar with what Vivid Learning Systems does, one of the things that we provide is compliance based online safety training. And no, that doesn't mean safety videos or video training or other outdated training methods from the 20th century, but we'll let Jana and John explain online learning and instructional design among all of the other things that they do, and how their work in this field at Vivid has turned them into one of our fellow accidental safely pros. So, Jana and John, welcome to the show.

Jana:

Thank you.

John:

Thank you.

Jill:

So Jana, let's start with you, could you share your story? What was your winding career path that led you to safety.

Jana:

Well I started, when I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher, I always did, and I used to play with my friends. I'm sure I was a real fun kid to play with. We would play school and I'd make little pretend math worksheets and I was the teacher, and just always thought I would be a teacher when I was a kid. And when I was in high school I discovered broadcasting and film and radio, television production. I just switched my passions and moved into that field and decided to get my undergraduate degree in broadcast communications. And in the last, I think it was the last semester of getting that degree, I took a course in educational television. I learned about instructional technology and educational technology in that course and I went, "Huh." I always wanted to be a teacher and now I fell in love with broadcasting and film production, I wonder if this might be a way I could merge those two passions that I have and put them together.

So, of course I was basically done getting my undergraduate degree, so it's like well I guess I have to keep going to school and so I researched programs and found a master's in education program that I was interested in. And all of this was taking place in the San Francisco Bay area. I grew up here. My undergraduate was at San Francisco State University and my masters that I ended up getting in education with an emphasis in instructional technology is from San Hose State University.

So I started my career in Silicon Valley, was fortunate to work for most of my career for a consulting company, or actually a couple of consulting companies, where we worked with other companies, most of them in Silicon Valley, to put together training programs. So a lot of what I did in my career was developing a program to help end users use a new system. So, they are going to get some new finance systems so they had to have special training for each of those end users. And although I enjoyed it and was able to use some of that broadcasting background and develop training programs that were effective, it was always about what we called speed to adoption. How fast can these end users learn the system.

I started realizing I just didn't have a lot of passion in that. It's important that people lean a system fast and not be frustrated, but I was starting to, I think, get tired of it. And one of the customers we had was a medical device company and part of the program that we developed for this company made me realize, that this company was developing devices that save lives. I realized I had more passion for that project, and I started thinking, maybe it's time for me to find something new. Maybe there's a medical device company I should work for or there's as lot of biotech here in the Bay Area, maybe I should look into that.

About that time an old colleague reached out to me and said, "Hey, I'm working for Vivid Learning Systems and I'm going to retire pretty soon. I think you should have my job."

Jill:

Wow.

Jana:

Yeah. And I'm here in California and she's up there in Washington and I said, "I don't think so. My daughter's about to start high school. I really don't want to uproot her." And she said, "Well, I'm not so sure you have to move. Let's talk about this." So I started exploring a little bit more and I discovered the content that Vivid Learning Systems developed, the safety content. I'm a little embarrassed to say this now but I will tell you, my first reaction was wow, that's really boring.

Jill:

Another version of the financial institutions you were for maybe, in your head, initially right.

Jana:

Yeah, like I'm going to get really tired of this and then it's like, really, people need training on how to use a ladder. I've used ladders all my life. I mean not all my life.

Jill:

Probably, not well Jana up until you started working-

Jana:

Well I didn't have three points of contact, I know that.

Jill:

See you are an accidental safety pro.

Jana:

So there was a moment where I kind of had this, I don't know epiphany sounds a little too dramatic but I just thought, wow, yeah, it is kind of boring and maybe there's something we could do to make the training not so boring, and make it more interesting and huh, maybe this is a job I should pursue. So fast forward eight years later and been with Vivid since then and we're always striving for making that content not so boring and making it as engaging and memorable as possible. Anyway it's been a great path to get here and anyway, I enjoy my job every single day.

Jill:

And did you find that, you said when you were with the medical device company you were doing something finally that sparked something in you that it was making a difference. Did you eventually find that in safety too?

Jana:

Yeah. Because the mission that we have at Vivid and the mission that we have within the team that both John and I are a part of, is to make memorable content, but we know the end goal is to help save lives in high risk work environments. And we really, I mean I believe that we're making a difference in doing that, with the content that we make.

Jill:

Awesome, thank you for sharing your story. So John, what about you, what's your story? How did you accidentally get into this field?

John:

Well I started out with a passion for creating videos back before I went into college and I knew I wanted to do something with video production. I liked telling stories on camera, I liked elements of humor or suspense, everything that was possible and so I thought I would go into that. I got into Broadcast Journalism. In fact, I see a lot of kind of uncanny similarities between Jana and myself and our career paths, because I started in Broadcast Journalism and at the university you would be part of a team that would develop stories, produce stories. We had a little segment that we would run locally where you'd be the news anchor but you'd also edit the story, produce the story, write the script, contact who you were going to interview. You were kind of a very small team with one or two people and as I went through that program I felt like maybe I could shift a little bit.

I didn't really have as much passion for doing news journalism, although it's not a dull moment. But I thought if we could get into maybe more the educational side and not just information, reporting fact and so I found out about this program at my university in instructional technology to get a masters degree. And so, while I was there I had a chance to work in what was then called Distance Ed, where I had a program that was part-time job, and we would produce these videos for people that were remote from the university. You would basically produces video tape and send it to them in the mail and they would watch it and they would then have a weekly session with the professor where they could ask questions.

So that's how I, while I was in the program I had that job, and I knew that the evolution of technology was going to keep going. So I figured with the background in instructional technology, the tools and the technology continue to evolve, they would just continue to go hand in hand. So I had one of the former graduate of the program, one of the alumnis told me about the position here at Vivid and so I thought well that like a... Washington, where's Washington? So I-

Jill:

Where were you at the time?

John:

This was in the inter-mountain west, in Utah.

Jill:

Okay.

John:

So the alumni would try to keep people informed about where there were opportunities. It was just for an internship, so I started and I did what instructional designers did. I had to meet certain criteria, but that was really my introduction here at Vivid, was to start as an intern.

Jill:

And how many years ago was that John?

John:

That's been quite a while. I don't think I can even remember.

Jill:

Thank you for that John, as the senior member of this podcast. And that's not anything to do with the age. So, the people who are listening right now are thinking, "Gosh, where are all these people?" So Jana mentioned she was in the Bay Area and John you are at one of our offices in Washington and as you all can hear from my Midwest accent I'm smack dab in the middle of the country in the Midwest and yet we're all coworkers.

So, I'm curious, you both found the field of instructional design and in similar ways. I'm wondering if, for our audience who maybe hasn't heard the term instructional design before, if maybe you can share what that is, or if there's some basic principles of how you do what it is that you do.

Jana:

Sure. There are several very common principles for instructional design and the ones that comes to mind, top of mind, one is mainly just thinking about what your outcomes are going to be. I thinking of, to borrow a phrase from Stephen Covey, I just use the phrase, begin with the end in mind, of what you want people to be able to do, or how you want them to behave. And with training, and especially with safety training there's different layers of how you analyze that and figure out what you want to have happen. So with safety training there's a behavioral outcome that you want, that's that you want them to get home safely, every single day.

In order to do that, they need to perform in a certain way, so you start thinking about performance objectives, and you want them to perform by working safely and not injuring themselves. Then you go down another level and you're like, "So, how are we going to make that happen?" Well, they need to know things. And they need to remember things that they're taught, and they need to comprehend the risks. And those become the learning objectives.

So if we roll that all up, we might teach someone about the importance of machine guards and how that we teach it in a way that's memorable and then from a performance perspective, when they're on the job, they remember, "Oh, I better put that guard on." And from a behavior perspective it's because they performed safely and they got home safely and the end of that day.

Jill:

Really the science of that behavior.

Jana:

Exactly.

Jill:

That you're trying to do. Great thank you. What else Jana?

Jana:

You're also trying to figure out how you're going to measure that. So, if we want these outcomes, how are we going to prove that they can do those things. Depending on what layer you're at, or what type of training you're developing, this could be practice exercises in an e-learning program or if it's in a classroom program it could be questions and answers or even a live demonstration that you can do something that you've been taught to do.

Jill:

That knowledge transfer piece right, okay.

Jana:

And one that I think is always top of mind and probably where a lot of my passion comes from is having what you call a student centered approach. Always keeping the student top of mind, making content that grabs their attention, that's relevant to them, that they can relate to. They've got some context, it's not just a fact, there's some context to how this relates to their job and that their able to have some control of their learning, that they can explore content, have a moment to digest content. All of that has to do with having a student centered approach.

Jill:

Yeah, go ahead. We're you finishing a thought?

Jana:

I was going to say that all of these systems, all of these thoughts come together in what we call a systematic approach. Almost all instructional design is going to follow some sort of systematic step by step process for how you're going to get through determining what those objectives are. And they've morphed and changed over the decades and some of the labels have changed, but the end goal is that you're always trying to make a program that will change behaviors in the most exciting and engaging way.

Jill:

So you just mentioned something interesting, you said decades, like decades people have been doing instructional design, and maybe before meeting you both, I didn't really know what an instructional designer was and you've just mentioned that this is not necessarily a new field. What does that mean? Decades. Where else would have people seen instructional designers or what is that? How long has it been around?

Jana:

Well it actually goes back to military, from World War Two, there was so many military personnel that needed to be trained, and they needed to prove that they were ready to go out. So they developed a systematic way to do training, and when the military training was so successful, psychologist sort of paid attention and said, "Hmm, I think there's a way that we can systematically design training so that we assure that learning occurs." So a bunch of learning theorists came out of that. I think that's when programs started coming together in universities. You know, John was joking about the many years ago but these programs, the one I went to was in the early, I graduated in the early '90s. It's been around [inaudible] the programs.

Jill:

Yeah. Interesting. I'm interested to hear feedback from listeners, if any safety pros out there also are instructional designers. If that was maybe something else they had in their background, because so many safety professionals do training, and I'm wondering if as people are listening if they're thinking, "Oh, I do that one thing." Or, "I do this thing." Or, "I didn't know that I was incorporating some of that stuff." Or, "Oh, crap, maybe I needed to." So earlier you had mentioned that you used a systematic approach. How do you both go about designing a course? What are the steps you take? John maybe this is one that you'd like to answer.

John:

Sure. So you have a basis for why you are creating this training, this outcome you are trying to achieve. In a lot of our cases we have a regulatory agency that is making a requirement of people in whatever the industry might be, general industry, or whatever that might be, you have to do something. You have to train workers. They have to work in a safe environment. So there's a number of regulatory requirements that are produced with the goal of keeping people safe, but just publishing a document does not automatically achieve that outcome.

We feel like we can produce this training that makes it a lot more relatable. So you have, okay, so here's our requirement. It might be a regulator standard or requirement and so now we're going to try to dive a little deeper and determine what is it really relevant for our audience. So it might only be parts of that. It might be all of it. That's really where you do some analysis at the beginning and then you are going to create some objectives.

In the instructional design field, or learning design, you need to be able to articulate what it is you're actually trying to accomplish. If it's too fuzzy then your design is going to suffer as a result. Or if it's too narrow, you might be missing part of the picture. So that's really important at the beginning, that you really define what it is you're trying to accomplish. Your learners may not even realize that's what you're doing but as instructional designers you need to have something you can measure against. That's what we call these learning objective.

You might have what was called a terminal objective, or instructional goal that says this is our big goal right here. And the end of this training you can do these things. And then you have smaller objectives, more specific that are sometimes called enabling objectives that are along the way you're hoping to do these things that will lead to this outcome at the end. So once you've got those defined you're on a really good start, then you need to decide how are we going to present, or design the content into something that really flows, that's logical, that is going to make sense?

Again, like Jana was saying, we want to put ourselves in the shoes of our learners. If this is something I'm just learning about, as an instructional designer, does this make sense to me? Do I have holes in what I'm trying to communicate? A lot of times you'll start with, in the safety world, can you recognize the hazards of whatever the particular topic is and how do you respond? How do you protect? What are the controls in place? There's a lot of similarities in the process but not everyone is identical of course. It's not just going to be cookie cutter every time.

Another technique that we have found a lot of power in and to really make our training effective, is the use of storytelling. We want to have a lot of scenarios where you have an environment that our learners really can relate to and people pay good money to go to movies and to be entertained and they follow these stories and they want to know what happens. That's just inherent with storytelling. So when we can intertwine those into training, you start with a beginning, what we call a hook or a grabber, where people are like, "Oo I want to know what's going to happen? Is he going to spill that chemical?" Or, "Is she going to totally forget to put on gloves?" Whatever it might be, to try to really pull people in, and then they hopefully are going to see how doing something or not doing something is going to impact the characters in this story.

Jill:

Interesting. Interesting. So you were talking about objectives, kind of in the beginning, the terminal objective or the main goal and then the enabling ones. So, you tell me if I'm getting this right, so would a terminal objective could it be that we want people to know how to wear the respirator properly, like the goal is you know how to put in on properly and along the way it would be like, you have to have the right fit and you have to do these fit tests and you have to adjust it in this manner. Would those be kind of enabling objectives along the way to the main goal? Would that be an example?

John:

That could be a good example, if you're looking at respirator use, you would have, again depending on, is this a two week course? Is this a twenty minute course? Are you going to be able to have your instructional goal at the end, maybe it's just how to properly wear or how to don it. If you're going to be spending the entire course on just how to don a mask then that would be your terminal objective and then the enabling would be even smaller about, facial hair, or how you... You can dive as deep as you need to, and that's really where your analysis will tell you that to succeed, to measure this outcome properly, learners have to... And that's really where you're working with a subject matter expert, which we'll get into here shortly, to define, what is it that we're trying to accomplish here?

If you're going to be an airline pilot, then twenty minutes will not be adequate to learn your skill, but if you've already had a lot of experience and this is just refresher training then maybe you can spend a shorter amount of time on whatever that topic might be. Or, if you've never donned a respirator maybe you need a little more time to learn all the elements. You've got to know what a cartridge is. You need to know the various aspects, just to be introduces to them.

Jill:

So, I mean, this is comprehensive and I'm guessing that it's not just one instructional designer, just one member of a team that does all of this. So, John, can you explain like who makes up a team to be able to produce a course. You mentioned the word subject matter expert a little bit ago, but who would be on a team?

John:

Sure. We have the instructional design project manager, that's my title, then you have a instructional designer, you have a subject matter expert, which is the acronym SME, or sometimes they're called smees. Then we have, on our development team a producer. So we have various disciplines, so within our development team at Vivid, the instructional design project manager, the instructional designer and then a producer, which is really a media specialist. The titles can vary from location or company, but they're really the wizards that are good with graphics and audio and animations.

John:

All this team together, once we've done this analysis, we are creating the first milestone in our process, which is called a blueprint. It's not just one person on the team saying, "This is what I think we should do." It's really a collaborative approach. And the subject matter experts are very important in that approach.

Jill:

Fascinating. So Jana, John, both you and John have mentioned instructional design project managers and instructional designers. How do you go about finding an instructional designer? Or what sorts of industries are people going to find people like you and John in and like what are their backgrounds?

Jana:

Instructional designers are pretty much in every field. I think what it is, is that our titles aren't necessarily consistent so what one organization may call it, a different organization might call it something different. We hear the words instructional design, lot of times learning design, training. I've hear people referred to as performance consultants when they're instructional designers, educational consultants, educational technology, John mentioned multimedia before so you can put that word in front of specialists or designers. Learning scientists sometimes is used. It's a pretty large community. There's lots of LinkedIn groups there's lots of organizations that focus in training and development with job boards and ways to find instructional designers if they're not readily available. But most, maybe not some of the smaller companies are going to have them, but of the larger companies are going to have someone that's responsible and has been trained in how to develop instruction.

Jill:

Interesting, and that's a good tip for our listeners as well, especially if you're working in a larger organization and you heard some of those job titles and you're thinking, "Hey, we've got somebody with that job title here. I didn't know that that's what they did, or what their background is and maybe this is someone I'd want to get to know, that could help me with my job as a safety professional." So thank you for sharing that.

John, after you've got these objectives and you know what your topic is, how do you go about writing a course then? What's involved in that?

Once we have got the analysis has been completed and we know what we're trying to accomplish, and we've created this initial document called the blueprint that really is setting our outline for what we're going, how we're going to approach things, how we're going to sequence the content. From there we go in to what we call a storyboard. That could mean different things to different organizations but here at Vivid, that really is a document that contains everything that will be a part of the course. That's a narration script. That's going to be the screen text that will appear. It's a description of visuals. It's a description of interactions and practice activities. It's the test, or the assessment, the post assessment. All of those elements are included in the document. And then we... Go ahead.

Jill:

No I, that it's so many details, I find this fascinating, please continue.

John:

So all of these elements are going to come together and then it needs to, we have reviews, we have people that are going to be checking that yes this is accurate, one of those as I've mentioned is the subject matter expert. They are going to be, not just reading text, they're going to be seeing some visuals and they see descriptions of how things are going to flow and how they're going to work. And then we have technical reviews to make sure that everything is not only accurate but also there's no typos misspellings, it's ready to be published at the end.

Jill:

So is there an average amount of time it takes to produce a course, or does that completely depend on the length of course and the details in it and some of those other things that you talked about?

John:

Yes. It is heavily dependent. You can come up with some averages with the runtime of a course, it really matters on is this going to be very media rich? Is it going to be heavily immersive? Is this going to be what we call page turners, which are not very exciting and don't have a lot of visual appeal. So that is going to really depend, the less visual appeal you have the less time has been put into it. Those are not going to take as long to produce. They won't be as memorable either-

Jill:

Yeah. Makes sense.

John:

... and they're generally not going to be as effective for the end user.

Jana:

I always laugh that in e-learning or in online training, we don't want page turners. But when you're reading a book, you want a page turner right?

Jill:

Right and different instructional design in a book version right John?

John:

That's right. If you're just clicking you're not getting engaged, so that's not what we're going for.

Jill:

Interesting. So now you both mentioned your formal education in instructional design and education. But how did you learn that safety piece? How did that work for you both? John, maybe you start.

John:

Sure. When I started with the company, it was immediately this is some of the projects that we have going on right now with, I believe it was teaching employees about the various radiological hazards that they might encounter at aa facility. And they were facility specific from what I recall. So like, "Okay I need to kind of get into this." As an instructional designer any topic that you're taking on you really start to internalize because you're living and breathing this topic for however long the project might go.

Yeah, you have to know it in order to teach it. That's a pretty fair assumption I think you can make of any teacher in any medium. You're exposed I think if you don't know what you're talking about pretty fast. SO you have to get into the regulations. You have to try to get some practical experience from talking with others that have been in that environment, like our subject matter experts.

I can recall a time when learning about bloodborne pathogens, I believe it was, and reading through it and OSHA had a number that you could call, and I'm sure this is still the case, if you wanted to ask questions. So, I'm not an employer, I'm an instructional designer hoping to have some questions answered so I can be accurate. That was really kind of the beginning where we're forging these partnerships with subject matter experts. So now I don't call OSHA we work with our subject matter experts because they already know that.

Jill:

But did it work when you called OSHA?

John:

Well, the person on the other end of the line was very polite but he must have asked, "Are you just starting this job? Is this your first day on the job because I don't feel like you really have a handle on this yet." And I'm like, "I don't that's why I'm calling you. And yes I am an intern, thank you for asking."

Jill:

That's awesome. But they did take your call.

John:

They did take the call. They did answer the question, but he could not restrain his commentary.

Jill:

So there you heard it from someone who's tried. OSHA is helpful but apparently some of it comes with a little color commentary. That's great. Jana how about you? How did you learn safety?

Jana:

Well since John had already navigated OSHA, by the time I got here.

Jill:

You knew you weren't going to do that.

Jana:

Well I have to say he paved a lot of the way from me. When I got here, we already had a library of courses. We wanted to improve upon them but we had a library, so I was able to learn a lot from going through our courses and then once I realized, "Oh, there's this osha.gov" and I started exploring the regulations and understanding, oh that's why we train that, I understand. So I started making that connection.

Jana:

I remember the day you did a presentation for the company and you pulled out your big 1910 book and it had all these post-it flags on it and you showed it to us on screen, and the 1926 book next to it and I went, "I wish someone had helped me make that connection a few years ago." Because it was just one of those, I just didn't quite, it didn't click at first, and I understood it at some point before you did that but it was-

Jill:

Trust me it takes a while for it to click with many of us. You're not alone.

Jana:

It's probably one, not that John didn't tell me this. He probably did. It just didn't click. So I always tease it through osmosis, but it's a lot of going through what we had in place and then John mentioned our subject matter experts. They're amazing. And just like you talk about, we get you and we tell you one thing and you've got stories to tell of some incident, some very sad story, oftentimes, and our subject matter experts have them as well. So you learn a lot just talking to them. It's fascinating sometimes, where you just get into these early conversations about, we're going to develop a course. We're trying to look for a story. We need some examples. We need some relevance. It's sometimes hard to stop them. We don't need that many. Those were some really great stories. But you learn a lot just talking to them.

Jill:

Right. Right. So how do SMEs or subject matter experts, do they need training to help you develop an online safety training course? Or what makes a good subject matter expert? If any of the safety professionals who are listening right now are thinking, "Hey, this sounds like something I'd like to do." What makes a good one? And I probably should disclose, I am not an SME for our company. We all work together but I have other responsibilities within our company, so you guys have your own bevy of SMEs. What makes a good one?

Jana:

Well, I think one of the keys is that they're still working in the field. And so if they were a subject matter expert that we had here on staff that would be, they would be a valuable person to have, but their daily getting new stories and new experiences and things to tell us to help us make our content relevant. So I think that's a fantastic component of our subject matter experts that they actually are still out in the field.

But in terms of training, if we don't explain what we're looking for, we're not going to get what we're looking for and John mentioned it's more than them looking at the words that we're going to have on the screen, or the words that the narrator is going to speak. They're helping us at story development to make sure that what we're going to have in the story, makes sense, it's relevant. The piece of equipment we're considering having in the scene makes sense. We've got the guard in the right place. We'll give them little images before we start animating things to make sure that the way we have the scene set up and staged is accurate.

When you first start working with a subject matter expert they tend to be more focused on the words and the narration and it takes a little training to say, "No. No. I need you to really carefully look at that image." I remember one of the courses when I was pretty early on here and we thought it was perfect and we heard soon after putting it out there that our trucks didn't have the chocks on the truck and it should have. And it like one of things like, "Wow, we thought we'd thought of everything. We've got the goggles. We've got the vest. We've got everything perfect." We were focused on the character, I guess, more than on the equipment.

So it's a learning experience, it was for us as well. We need to make sure that's part of the checklist. You've looked at every piece of equipment. Everything is accurate. Every PPE element is correct and wearing it the right way. And even it could be some drawn character, a 3D or 2D character but we're trying to make sure it's as accurate as it possibly could be. So it takes some training back and forth of us understanding the words they're telling us and them trusting us that we're going to present the content in a way that students can digest it. So we sort of, we bow to their expertise and then they bow to our instructional design expertise and it makes a really wonderful partnership.

Jill:

Wonderful. So what about the safety professionals who are listening and are thinking they want to develop their own online training. Is that something they can do?

Jana:

Yeah, certainly. There's a lot of tools that are out there for developing online learning. I'd really suggest you stay away from just life the slide show presenter kind of programs that are out there because-

Jill:

The page turners?

Jana:

Yeah we were talking about those before. But there are some e-learning software programs that are out there that, some of them are pretty easy to use. The one caution I have with them is that there is and expectation that there's some thought some analysis, some instructional design going on behind the scenes and that you know a little bit about how to group content in a way that will make sense.

I always make a joke that just because I have Microsoft Word on my computer, doesn't make a novelist. So, I've seen some really good programs done by subject matter experts I have. I've also seen some really bad ones. And some people have the skills to do it and some people don't. So, I say definitely try it. Try it.

Jill:

And if you happen to have and instructional designer in your workplace, work with them. Yeah. So, you've talked about off the shelf course development software and you've used the term online learning. I imagine that things have changed quite a bit over the courses of both of your careers because when you started neither one of you, online learning probably wasn't even in the vernacular. So I'm wondering could may, John, could you take us on a little tour of what training technology has been like, maybe a little bit of a timeline journey for us?

John:

Sure. It is really intriguing to see how some technologies have been around a long time, they have just changed in how they presented. The concept is still the same. What I'm thinking of is projectors. So you have from the 1950's, 1960's you have a projector that is projecting this image on a screen, with an instructor who's walking through the, whatever's being taught at the moment. That's been around for quite some time and that was what the small slides and the beep in between. That's evolved quite a bit since then, but going back through the timeline we have a lot of paper, that's been reduced quite a bit, in the 1970's and by the way, OSHA came to be in 1970.

Then as the march continued we had in the early 1980's the advent of VHS. So before you might have had a film, and actual slides. Now you've got a VHS tape you can pop in and a lot more portable. And so that technology was around throughout the 1980's and you saw in 1983, the mid '80s really, personal computers coming into the market. Being adapted by businesses in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

One big event, this is not necessarily a plug for Microsoft, but PowerPoint debuted in 1990 and so that instantly made a lot of presenters and is still widely used today. 1994 was when CD-ROMs really became available. They were used as training mediums. Vivid had its first course, or suite of courses, on CD-ROM and so that really kind of gave rise to, or replaced by DVDs as a medium, but still a disk that has to go into a computer tray or into a, if you're showing a video on a large screen, a DVD player.

You also have, really starting to see computerized records from the mid '90s in to the early 2000s the acronym LMS, learning management system, that did not use to be a thing prior to about, something around 2000, we saw something called course management system. And then the early 2000s, getting a little bit closer to this current century, we now had the rise of online learning, e-learning, several terms that were coined. What do we call this thing that is now on the internet? And it's not just cat videos and it's not just movie reviews. It's actually educational. It's something that can be tracked. And so you see, in late 2000's, 2008, 2009 where the rise of social media, and people can post about what they're learning or they can look at smaller pieces of instruction. They can share what they're learning.

You see now cloud based software, cloud based LMS, and then you see smartphones and mobi;le devices really multiplying. If you can imagine life without your smartphone, that was prior to about 2005 or 2010. And now it really has just become synonymous with online learning. People are going to want to know, "Can I take this on my tablet? Can I take this on my phone?" And so we're seeing in the last five to six years where we're migrating to mobile devices more and more.

There's a few trends I can mention too, while I'm on the subject is-

Jill:

Sure.

John:

You've got the latest trends are really gravitating toward exciting technology like virtual reality, augmented reality. VR and AR are their acronyms. We see their use because you can put someone in an environment by just putting something over their eyes. And now all or a sudden they think they're in the top of building, or their driving a vehicle or their in this other environment and it's becoming more and more wide spread, and really is very exciting to see how companies can adapt that.

Jill:

Right. Right. So people who are listening, I'd invite you to think about what decade is your company in right now with training. Sometimes the answer might be 1990, or '95 or some of the places that John has been talking about. Thanks for sharing what the trends are with virtual reality and augmented reality as well. I know just a week ago Jana and I had an opportunity to experience virtual reality and be able to trial some training and see what that was like. And as we're keeping our finger on the pulse of trends and moving ahead that was really interesting too.

So, John, regardless of these different methods for training and what's evolved over the decades, safety professionals still have to combat that question from their employees, "Why do we have to do this again? Not this again? Safety again?" And all of those things that all of us safety professionals get tired of hearing. So how does your work combat that for safety professionals? How does it help get around that frustration?

John:

Sure. I think that the key is to engage the learners and help them see how this is important, how it's meaningful, how it really can make a difference. I think the attitude is, I mean look at the science of instructional design, that is, if you don't have their buy-in at the begging, it's very tough if you don't have their buy-in to reach them. They're not going to internalize anything. They're not going to say, "Yeah, that is important to me." Because they've already tuned you out. And that's true of classroom instruction. That's true of talking to a family member. If it's like this is important, I need to listen up. So that's how you try to use creativity. You try to really, in a creative way, remind them, if they already know it... And that's another thing. I know this. I can't possibly learn anything. Well, there could be something they actually did not know that they thought they know. Or maybe it's approached from a different angle.

John:

The medium I think is important but really good design is important. The technology is very helpful. It's very important, but really good design, they have to go together to really get somebody involved right at the beginning.

Jill:

Right. Right. Interesting. And keep it fresh.

John:

Exactly. If you see the same thing, even if it's really good, after you've seen it a number of times you like, "okay wait a minute I have seen this before." Keeping it fresh, yeah.

Jill:

Right. Right. So question for each of you. When you go about your daily normal home lives does safety jump out at you, like the rest of us safety professionals, now? Has it infiltrated how you live your lives and interact with your families?

John:

Well it's definitely-

Jana:

Yeah, it's kind of hard not to. My husband used to be a chef and I always think about it when we go out to dinner. It's really hard for him to turn it off. It's like, "Honey, could you just enjoy the dinner?" And I do the same thing to him. So, yeah, we're driving around and I might see a construction site and I'm looking at the sign to see what the PPE requirements are. I saw sone people up on a scissor lift at the airport one day and I was kind of checking to see if they were doing it right. I don't pretend to know I know all of the things that their supposed to do, but I'm checking to make sure. So yeah, it's pretty hard to turn it off.

Jill:

And your eyes are just observing people's work too, and what's going on around you. John, what about you?

John:

Oh, yes. I feel like we've succeeded when I remember something whether I'm thinking about it per se or not. One of the videos in our bloodborne pathogens training was showing a person pushing down this garbage in this container and a needle was in there and they get a needle stick and that's just so memorable, I just cannot ever push garbage down with my hand. I can't. I won't. So I'm like, "Hey. We succeeded." At least for me. We don't want anyone to do that. Our objective was to avoid needle sticks. Another objective, know how bloodborne pathogens are transmitted. Well here in one short clip, it's memorable and so I cannot push my hand into a garbage can because I don't want a need stick, even if there's no chance of a needle being in there.

I also, when I driving, there's some construction and I'm asking myself, "Are those cones properly placed apart, is their sign up soon enough so you can slow down." That's just one of countless examples.

Jill:

Right, right, right and you've done some food safety courses as well right?

John:

Yes. Right. I've found myself thinking about how long that particular food has been above 41 degrees. And how long that food has been in the refrigerator, because there are requirements that mandate how long, because you don't want a foodborne illness. Yeah, I've got a lot of modules I've developed that are still top of mind.

Jill:

Stuck in your head? They were memorable.

John:

Again I feel like, "Hey I've succeeded." I'm going to put on these safety glasses. I'm not going to take a shortcut here. I'm going to wear these earmuffs. I'm going to have three points of contact on this ladder. It has, a lot of it has stuck.

Jill:

Well, welcome to the family of safety, to both of you. We're happy to have you here and with us. Welcome to the inside of most of our heads. We really appreciate it. Yeah. And thank you both so much for sharing the science of your work. And I suspect that many of the people listening and thinking, "Gosh, if I could only have one of these two with me the next time I try to deliver some training, how much easier this might be." So really, really appreciate you sharing your stories and thank you for what you do.

Jana:

Thank you for having us.

Jill:

We appreciate it.

Jana:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) and thank you for spending your time listening today and more importantly thank you for your contribution, making sure your workers, including your temporary workers make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, follow our page and join the accidental safety pro community group on Facebook. If aren't subscribed and you want to hear past or future episodes you can subscribe in iTunes, the apple podcast app, or any podcast player that you'd like. You can also find all of our episodes at vividlearningsystems.com/podcast. We would love it if you could leave a rating and review us in iTunes. It really helps us connect the show with more and more safely professionals like you and I. And if you have a suggestion for a guest, including if it's yourself, please contact me at social@vividlearningsystems.com. Special thanks to Will Moss, our podcast producer. Until next time, thanks for listening.