George’s Safety Reflections SEE MORE OF GEORGE”S WORK HERE
Implementation of a learning management system
In the early 1990’s XYZ mining company revolutionised their approach to learning. I was heavily involved in this work in my role as Senior Safety Adviser in the Brisbane-based corporate OHS department.
1 Existing learning programs were examined and costed, many millions were being spent and it became obvious much of this money was wasted.
2 An exhaustive learning needs analysis was carried out. This worked formed the basis for the introduction of competency-based learning in the Australian mining industry.
3 Doctor Stephen Billett of Griffith University was engaged to research preferred and effective modes of delivering learning. Not surprisingly learning by doing coached by a content expert was favoured. A lot of people saw classroom learning as largely a waste of time. Carrying out authentic tasks in the workplace was seen as important.
4 External trainers and internal trainers, of which I was one, had to attend a week course with a unit that specialised in advanced learning techniques from the Qld. Department of Education. This emphasised interactive techniques and Action and Experiential learning.
5 Consultants were engaged to prepare self-paced, competency-based modules in many areas. The modules were given to learners and they were assigned a content expert to refer to as needed. Some modules articulated to a National certificate IV . My role was to do the T.N.A., write modules, liaise with the consultants writing the modules, assess learners, coach learners and where necessary facilitate the modules.
6 A system was introduced whereby the supervisor had to engage with the learners to develop an action plan to implement the lessons learnt from a learning experience.
7 A matrix of mandatory and recommended learning for all levels of employees was developed.
8 The performance appraisal process put a high emphasis on learning with the result that individual learning plans were developed for all employees.
9 The organisation truly became a “Learning organisation” and a high value was put on learning.
10 A communications plan was developed to communicate learning processes to employees. Various available media were used to communicate learning change.
11 Development of the learning materials involved many project teams and a philosophy that “When initiating change, People support what they create” was used.
12 Assessors of the self-paced learning modules completed learning and set about assessing learners
13 It was summed up for me when I was sitting in a mine manager’s office that overlooked the coal stockpile and the mine manager said” There was a time when I had evidence the bulldozer operators did not always know what they are doing and the machines were not always well maintained, since this new training I no longer have these concerns”
The precursors to success were the very thorough learning needs analysis and the establishment of the preferred and most effective means of learning.