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The Core Safety Training Project: A networked, multimedia, competency based training program

James Burgess
University of Southern Queensland

Greg Colgrave
Woodside Offshore Petroleum

Since June 1990, Woodside Offshore Petroleum Limited and the University of Southern Queensland have been involved in the design and development of courseware to meet the needs of the Core safety Training Project. The program was initiated by the Woodside training department in answer to a number of issues affecting the efficient and effective safety training of Woodside Production Division employees working in the Pilbara region of Western Australia at the Onshore Gas Plant, Heliport, the Supply Base, Town Office and on the North West Shelf offshore drilling and production facilities. The nature of the Woodside operation and the fact that employees were located at a variety of worksites led the company to consider self paced multimedia learning and the development of training programs containing consistently accurate and up to date information over time. The training program had to cater for differing abilities and enable individuals to take training courses at any time during the year. Traditional training techniques did not fit the bill as they did not provide the flexibility desired.

Twenty one of the fifty courses targeted for development have been finished and implementation of the completed courses has commenced. With 40% of the courseware developed, it is planned to complete the design and development of the remaining programs by the end of this year. This paper summarises the scope of the Core Safety Training project, its components, the establishment and operation of the consultancy, courseware design and development and the process of course implementation.

The development of self paced multimedia training programs promises to provide a flexible, effective and efficient method of training Woodside production division employees. The benefits include both quality training and cost effectiveness that makes the self paced approach to training attractive to industry. The University is using Authorware Professional software for the development of computer based training and assessment packages. The print based material is desktop published using PageMaker software and at the print ready stage it is electronically mailed to Perth for printing. Communication between the University and Woodside is via a Quick Mail computer link.

The self paced, multimedia courses enable trainees to work at their own pace at any one of ten learning centres established specifically for the program. Learning is presented through a combination of print, video and computer managed learning and computer based training. The training programs are designed in such a way that the trainees become aware of how the material can be learnt. In addition it enables the trainee to acquire the skills for learning how to learn, opening the way for lifelong learning skills and motivation beyond what is currently being learned.

The scope of the Core Safety Training Project

The Core Safety Project was conceived to meet company needs to provide occupational safety, health and welfare training courses for Woodside employees, contractors and visitors working on the North West Shelf and Pilbara region production and logistics facilities. The program is relevant to over 700 employees, and will include visitors, contractors, and Head Office personnel.

The project was initiated to answer a number of issues affecting the efficient and effective safety training of Woodside Production Division employees and to satisfy the demand for Woodside to discharge its responsibility to provide quality safety training to all employees.

Most industries recognise the need for safety training to be responsive to business and individual needs, to carry consistently accurate information over time, within an 'auditable' training program. The problem facing Woodside was how to deliver quality training efficiently to new employees, who may join in small numbers, and have specific needs depending on their job at Woodside and the particular area in which they work. There were similar problems with internal transfers of employees between jobs and work areas where safety requirements differed. If Woodside was to discharge its responsibility for the provision of high quality safety training to all employees, in a timely and effective manner, 'traditional, face to face' classroom techniques appeared to be too cumbersome and inefficient to remain a realistic training option. To teach one topic required as many as three subject matter 'experts' to be drawn together to make classroom presentations to one or two new employees, and where different experts were used, consistency of information and checking of learning varied depending on the approach of particular presenters. In order to solve these problems it was decided to adopt a multimedia, independent learning style of safety training presentation which included classroom training where necessary as part of mixed mode presentation.

Working relationship

Rather than installing the entire courseware production infrastructure at Karratha, it was decided to obtain external support for design, writing, and computer based training (CBT) development. Institutional and private providers of these services were interviewed across five states, resulting in a contract being awarded to the University of Southern Queensland on the basis of competitive tender across a range of strict criteria. This phase was established by July, 1990.

The Woodside Offshore Petroleum and University of Southern Queensland consultancy was developed over a period of time and reflects the need for constant consultation in the development of both course material and a harmonious working relationship. During the development of the consultancy process difficulties were encountered with the development of course matrices and some aspects of content where policy decisions had to be made. A very flexible approach was needed to overcome the problems in the early stage of the project and through a process of constant review the current consultancy, design and development model was established [Appendix B].

The consultancy is, as the name implies, a process of consultation in which both parties work closely together in an effort to produce the best end result. The process consultation model developed for this project involves the client owning the problem and the consultant providing the specialist advice, help and skills necessary.

The Woodside project coordinator and instructional design consultant work together over periods of two weeks to develop performance and enabling objectives, content and learning strategies which form the course matrix or blue print. Once the matrix has been approved, the cost estimates for the development and production of the courseware are determined and sent to Woodside for service orders to be raised.

Components of the Core Safety Training Project

Hazards analysis

To begin development of the Core Safety Training project, an analysis of Job and Area safety hazards was performed, with an emphasis on the importance of the hazard communication to new employees, contractors, or visitors. Large representative groups of Production Division staff contributed to this analysis phase. Related hazards were grouped into 'families', and these families of hazards formed the basis of the project courses (around 50), and subsequent curriculum development. The detailed curriculum content was derived using small teams of line staff with experience of particular hazard recognition and neutralisation. Employee involvement has been an ongoing feature of Core Project development and implementation in order to ensure credibility and line 'ownership'.

Program specifications

Tasks included in the establishment of the program included:

Course design and development

The initial design process occurs at the Woodside training centre at Karratha in Western Australia, with the project coordinator, instructional design consultant and content specialists who determine the learning objectives for each course targeted for development.

Each training course is designed to incorporate a multimedia mode of delivery involving print, video and computer based training. The courses are designed to involve the trainee as much as possible through interaction with the different media.

The design process has been divided into three distinct stages.

The three design phases are combined to produce a course matrix which, once approved by Woodside, acts as the blueprint for all design and development work thereafter. Notes about references and resources required by the design team are recorded on this document [Appendix A].

Once the three design phases have been completed cost estimates are produced and sent to Woodside for approval. The development of courses does not proceed until approval has been received from Woodside. An example of the courseware development process is shown in [Appendix B].

As soon as approval to proceed with courseware development has been received by the University project manager, a GANTT chart is produced to identify the production schedule, the personnel, resources and time needed to develop each program.

The preparation of all components of the training course are carried out at the Distance Education Centre at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. The technical writer produces all written material for the study guides, CBT programs and all assessment items. When rough drafts have been completed the design team at the University comprising a graphic artist computer programmer and desktop publisher meet and produce the material to the clients' specification as agreed in the matrix.

Course piloting

Two separate pilot programs were undertaken:

Systems piloting. This process, involving Karratha based target group personnel, was used to verify the user friendliness of the media packages and navigation within courses.

Clinical piloting. This process involved Perth based non-target group personnel. It's purpose, on a course by course basis, was to determine the teaching effectiveness of each course.

Course components

Print - each trainee is presented with a course manual containing printed information and instruction. The study guide is designed to direct the trainee to each component of the training program and the different presentation media used.

Video - the video scripts are prepared by the University and actual filming and editing carried out on site at Woodside.

Computer Based Training - interactive formative and summative assessment is presented through a variety of questioning and presentation techniques using Authorware professional.

Student Management System

The student management system used to monitor the progress and performance of all trainees and, linked to the computer based training provides a quick and accurate assessment profile for the student and management.

Profiling - All employees are profiled for selected courses (up to 30), according to their job/location. Profiles are managed by the Student Management System (SMS), where employee groups, profiles, and targeted courses are created. Profile updates due to job/location changes are automated via links to the Personnel database.

Enrolling - Once an employee is profiled for a course, that information appears to the employee in the SMS under " Refresher Courses". An employee can then electronically enrol in the course, and see the results in the SMS under "Enrolled Courses".

Courses - Courses use Multimedia, which may contain: text (Study Guides), video, CBT, Interactive Video Instruction (IVI), practical field activities, or classroom sessions. The study guide is the navigational medium for courses. The list of courses is shown in [Appendix C].

Training History - Employees can see past course activity in the SMS under "History". Employee history is recorded on the Training REGISTRAR database.

Commencing Training - To commence training, an employee undertakes the following process:

  1. Completes a Study Schedule with their Supervisor to determine priorities and completion schedules for profiled courses. This schedule then becomes a one to one contract between an employee and their immediate Supervisor.

  2. Requests initial training packages (Study Guides) from the Training Centre, usually 2 or 3 of their profiled courses.

  3. At times convenient to the employee and Supervisor, commences training at a Learning Centre.

  4. Employees will typically complete the "First Course", before undertaking other courses. This course explains the Study Guides, and introduces the employee to the SMS, CBT courseware, and CML assessment.

  5. To access the SMS, Employees enter their PN and password. The first time they enter the SMS, they are given a guided tour via a CBT program.

  6. Employees then have the opportunity to complete CBT lessons, Self Assessment questions for course modules, or challenge the final CML assessment of a course


Implementation of the project was overseen by a Core Review Committee (CRC), comprising Superintendent level personnel representing different Departments. The process involves the following phases
Phase 1: Selected courses undertaken by Staff level personnel.

Phase 2: Selected courses undertaken by award personnel.

Phase 3: Full course profiles available to all employees.

Management Guidelines - Due to the cultural change in allocation of training time this type of training imparts on an organisation, Supervisory personnel at all levels required guidelines for the management of study time. This was issued via the CRC prior to award personnel beginning training.

OHSE Representation - Before phase 2 began, Occupational Health Safety and Environmental representatives were inducted into the program. This familiarity by safety representatives allowed a smoother transition to award personnel.

Authors: James Burgess, Distance Education Consultant, University of Southern Queensland, PO Box Darling Heights, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350. He is an instructional designer at the University of Southern Queensland Distance Education centre. Enrolled in the Master of Education program specialising in Distance Education. At present working as the operational project manager, instructional designer and technical writer for the Woodside Core Safety Training Project. Previous experience as an instructional designer for the Queensland Open Learning Project Tourism and Hotel Management in 1990. Prior to joining the Distance Education Centre, experience involved commissioned service in the British Army as a training officer, art teaching, instructional design and duties as an education officer for the Queensland Department of Education. Business experience includes the development and operation of a teaching aid business involving the design, development, production and marketing of material used in early childhood development for the Queensland Government and private education providers in Australia.

Greg Colgrave. Project Coordinator, Woodside Offshore Petroleum Limited (Training Centre) PO Box 517, Karratha WA 6714. He is the Training Project Coordinator for Woodside Offshore Petroleum, having completed trade, engineering and educational qualifications. Currently full time employed on the Core Safety Training Project, previously employed as Instrument/Electrical training officer for Woodside. Prior to joining Woodside, gained education/industry liaison experience as Coordinator Instrument/Electrical studies at College level, involved in the development of a skills extension program. Distance and remote education experience was gained in establishing post trade courses throughout the Pilbara region of WA. Previous experiences include industrial maintenance, UWA environmental research, and business proprietor.

Please cite as: Burgess, J. and Colgrave, G. (1992). The Core Safety Training Project: A networked, multimedia, competency based training program. In J. G. Hedberg and J. Steele (eds), Educational Technology for the Clever Country: Selected papers from EdTech'92, 79-92. Canberra: AJET Publications.

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