IIMS 94 contents
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Developing an interactive multimedia training application for industry

James Burgess
University of Southern Queensland
The University of Southern Queensland and Woodside Offshore Petroleum have recently completed a joint project in the design, development and implementation of self paced, multimedia occupational health and safety training courses for all Woodside production division employees. This paper discusses the development of interactive multimedia training materials, the decisions made in connection with the delivery strategies adopted and the multimedia used. A summary of the components of the interactive multimedia training project, identifies the decisions that need to be made when developing an interactive multimedia application, and indicates possible future directions for training programs for industry using interactive multimedia applications.


Woodside Offshore Petroleum Limited (Woodside) has always had a strong commitment to training, and utilised alternative delivery methods involving computer managed learning, computer aided instruction and apprentice self study training programs in conjunction with face to face delivery methods. Woodside's training management decided that a self paced, multimedia approach to the delivery of training was needed to further enhance their training system. It was planned to incorporate the most up to date self paced, multimedia teaching and learning strategies available for the delivery of an occupational health and safety training program.

The term 'self paced' refers to training that is undertaken by trainees at their own pace, largely independent of the guidance of trainers. Multimedia involves computer based technology that uses a combination of elements or media such as text, audio, video and graphics on a desktop personal computer. In the Woodside context, self paced, interactive multimedia training is provided at on site learning centres established specifically for the occupational health and safety training program and using specially prepared materials. This flexible delivery of training was seen by Woodside to be a means of delivering high quality training to all employees at all work sites within the company's operation while still meeting company training objectives. Woodside believed that the introduction of a comprehensive occupational health and safety training program would lead to an improvement in the performance of employees, decrease the risk of injury and accident resulting in lost time, and ultimately improve productivity.

The context

Woodside's operational centre, for the North West Shelf Gas Project (NWSGP), in Western Australia is located at onshore production and support facilities in the Pilbara region of north west Western Australia near the townships of Karratha and Dampier, and the offshore production facility, North Rankin A, in the Indian Ocean, located 134 km, north west of Dampier. North Rankin A is the largest capacity gas platform in the world. The Goodwyn production facility currently being installed 23 km, south west of North Rankin is due to be brought into service in mid 1994 at a cost of $1.8 billion. Gas produced at North Rankin is piped ashore in the largest diameter deep water gas pipe in the world, and it will also carry the gas from Goodwyn when it comes into production.

The onshore facilities consist of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) treatment plant, LNG storage tanks, domestic gas production and condensate handling facilities. Various support facilities include the King Bay Supply Base which provides warehousing, workshop and wharf facilities for offshore exploration, operations and constructions, marine services, air operations (heliport), communication systems and underwater operations. The Karratha community has received many direct and indirect contributions from the Project including township contributions, community facilities, development and project infrastructure totalling $322 million.

There are seven purpose built LNG ships involved with the delivery of LNG to Japan. Current LNG deliveries are approaching 6 million tonnes annually, and are projected to reach 7 million tonnes per year by 1995. In such a complex industrial environment, safety is of major importance and is given high priority by Woodside Management. In 1990 Woodside received the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association Safety award in recognition of the company's commitment to ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

Factors influencing industrial training at Woodside

The first step in the development of the training program was to review operational procedures, and all staff were invited to provide input. As a result of what became known as the hazards analysis, Woodside's training management put forward a proposal for the development of a comprehensive occupational health and safety training program designed to provide all employees with training that would meet staff, management, and increasingly, Government and legislative objectives.

Woodside's continued commitment to occupational health and safety was reflected in the initiation of the Core Safety training program.

The Core Safety training program

The occupational health and safety training program involved 'Core Specific', 'Job Specific' and 'Area Specific' training courses, and became known as the Core Safety Training Program. Core Specific training was aimed at all staff and contained courses applicable to all personnel and all work sites. More specific training was developed for employees engaged in particular tasks, 'Job Specific' and work areas, 'Area Specific'.

Initiating the Core Safety Training Program involved three distinct phases, the first being the hazard and training needs analysis conducted by Woodside. The second phase involved the courseware design and development, undertaken by the design and development team from the USQ DEC in consultation with Woodside training staff and content specialists, and the third phase dealt with the implementation of the training program itself, undertaken by the training coordinator at Woodside.

The hazard and needs analysis

The hazard and needs analysis undertaken by Woodside provided a clear indication of the need for training in the area of occupational health and safety. The industry had grown quickly and many of the operational procedures had been learned through on the job training with discrepancies in work practices and procedures between one work site and another being revealed. Woodside developed fifty course profiles from the results of the hazard analysis and consultative process that followed. The profiles contained details of course objectives, module outlines and content requirements, and indicated the Woodside team of content specialists required to work directly with the design team. The development of an acceptable consultancy process and working relationship between Woodside and the University involved the collection of data for courses targeted for development on site at Karratha by the design team. All subsequent design and development work was undertaken at USQ DEC with regular telephone conversations between the course developers and the project coordinator at Woodside.

Courseware design and development model

As part of the Core Safety Training Program consultancy, Woodside management required the University to provide the following services: The initial design process involved the instructional designer working in consultation with content specialists to prepare a course matrix for each course. The matrix served as the blueprint for all subsequent design and development work and comprised three parts. The first design phase included the establishment of the course title, the general aim of the course, details of the target audience, performance objectives and enabling objectives. The second design phase involved the identification of the content for each of the course objectives and a list of graphics and other resources required by the designer and technical writer for the development of courseware (eg. photographs, blank permit forms, tags etc.). The third design phase involved the determination of the delivery and teaching strategies, and the assessment instruments to be used for each objective.

The use of particular teaching and learning strategies varied from one course to another and with the desired outcome. The strategies adopted for these training materials were designed to cater for Woodside employees who had limited formal education. The cognitive domain strategies required the learners to select information, store it and develop retrieval skills so that they could successfully complete course assessment and call their training into use in the workplace. Some courses required the use of video to show actual work situations and procedures, and others used computer based training packages combined with commercially available interactive video disk material. Woodside specified that each module of work had to have computer based training or assessment material in the form of formative and summative assessment and all courses had to be accompanied by a practical field activity. The development of the course material was focused on the study guide which, as the name implies, was designed to lead each trainee through the various components of the multimedia material.

Once each course matrix had been validated by the Core Review Committee (CRC), a group of Woodside employees, supervisors and managers appointed to monitor all courses, the Woodside project coordinator would then authorise USQ DEC to begin the production of the first draft of the course.

Using the matrix as the course blueprint, the technical writer prepared a first draft of the text, video scripts when required, and computer based training and assessment items. When completed the material was sent to Woodside for the first proof to be carried out. The first draft included all text for study material, full video scripts, and all assessment items which were prepared with feedback for correct and incorrect responses. In the case of assessment items the format of each question was specified (eg. multiple choice, multiple answer, true or false etc.), and the actual computer programming would not take place until approval for all items was received from Woodside. The draft material was passed to all members of the course consultancy team to be checked for accuracy and amendment where necessary. The changes were, in most cases, minor. Once validation of all items was received the Woodside project coordinator issued the authorisation for the design and development of the courses to proceed to the next stage and for the computer based assessment and instruction to be programmed. The design and development process (Figure 1) provided a systematic and efficient mechanism for the production of training material. Much of the preparatory work for each course was undertaken in Karratha during the design team's visit. All work sent to Woodside for proofing was transmitted via modem enabling even the most complex of computer based material to be transferred quickly between the two work locations.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Core Safety training program courseware development model

Course components

The study packages

The Core Safety Training Program training materials were designed to be easy to use during training, and portable enough to enable trainees to make use of them after the completion of training as a resource when at work. All employees are given a course binder and a printed study guide for each training course they undertake before completing a study schedule in consultation with his/her supervisor. The completed study schedule is then registered in the computerised Student Management System (SMS). In the case of new employees, a study schedule is designed to meet their immediate needs on arrival at Woodside and include Core Specific courses designed to bring them into a productive role as soon as possible after commencing employment. All other courses are added through discussion with their supervisors.

The study guide

The study guide, as the name implies, has been designed to be the central delivery component of the Core Safety Training Program. The trainee is provided with all the information needed to successfully complete the course of training. The use of icons to denote the different media makes the location of the various teaching components easy. The application of different learning theories creates a balanced learning package, designed to meet the needs of adult learners. The application of a systematic approach to the design of instructional strategies utilised instructional events and aimed at meeting the individual needs and differences of trainees (Gagne and Briggs, 1974). The training materials are designed to enable trainees to learn at their own pace with immediate, positive and regular feedback to self assessment items in each training module. The courses involve the presentation of simple information which is elaborated by means of text, video and computer based training until the objectives of the course of instruction are achieved (Reigeluth, 1983). The use of information mapping further enhanced the training material when the arrangement and sequencing of information necessitated a consistent format, functional uniform headings and marginal information to identify information in each block (Horn, 1973; Romiszowski, 1986). The maps are used to present procedural information and to classify equipment. The presentation of exercises, and self assessment items in each course provides trainees with the opportunity to test their learning at regular points during their training, and positive feedback provides an immediate indication as to their performance and provides encouragement to proceed to the next segment of the training.

Accepting that adults learn in different ways and that many Woodside employee have received only the minimum requirement of formal education, care had to be taken to present the courses in a clear, flexible and effective way. The ideas and principles behind the design of the courses are derived from the works of Horn, 1973; Gagne and Briggs; 1974; Reigeluth, 1983 and Romiszowski, 1986. The course objectives are stated clearly in advance, and trainees are provided with regular opportunities to demonstrate the desired behaviour.

Using regular and positive feedback in the computer based formative assessment, learners are kept active by means of a balanced use of different media. A combination of learning theories and the use of adult learning concepts helps to provide training programs that cater for the needs of both employee and employer. The development of a study profile allows employees to select courses, beyond the obligatory Core courses, that are relevant to their work situation, in consultation with their supervisor who represents the company input, reflecting the company's need as well.

The computer based assessment was incorporated into the training programs to provide an immediate indication of trainee performance throughout each training module. The use of computerised assessment also removed the need for test marking and subsequent manual record keeping and administration. Each interaction undertaken by the trainee is recorded and monitored in the Student Management System (SMS).

Computer based training

The computer based training material was developed using Authorware Professional, icon authoring system. Woodside had already decided to use an Apple Macintosh platform for the delivery of the training to keep it in line with the company information and communication network, and because the system was considered to meet Woodside's need in terms of courseware development and training delivery.

Computer based training material provides the trainee with a variety of experiences. Simulations show how to moor an LNG tanker, make and unmake flanges and gaskets or operate specialist equipment. The computer based training provides the trainee with realistic training without the risks associated with doing the real thing. In procedural training the learner, through interactions with the computer based material, can gain experience that would not otherwise be possible. Each CBT course starts with a course map an example of which is shown in Figure 2 below [Editorial note: Figure 2 was missing from the original]. The course map contains details of each module within the course and the Challenge Test. Except in courses where sequence of training is essential, trainees may study the modules in any order they wish. Where sequence is important trainees are locked out of later modules until preceding ones have been completed. Trainees can exit the programs at any time. The CBT makes use of graphics and real photographs of plant and equipment throughout the production facility, and incorporates a formative assessment component.

Computer based assessment

The computer based assessment was incorporated into the training programs to provide an immediate indication of trainee performance throughout each training module. Questions involve items requiring the trainee to identify the correct answer in single response, multiple choice, multiple answer and true or false questions. Some questions utilise photographs in which the trainee is required to identify correct items within the picture displayed. Where procedural items are tested, the trainee is required to move listed items into their correct order in a matrix or into the correct position in a photograph. The use of computerised assessment also removed the need for test markers and subsequent manual record keeping and administration. Each interaction undertaken by the trainee is recorded and monitored in the Student Management System (SMS) and forms part of the formative assessment.

The student management system

The Student Management System (SMS) was designed specifically for Woodside and is used to monitor the progress and performance of trainees. Information in the SMS can only he accessed by employees using their own Personal Identification Number (PIN) and personal password or by management for the monitoring and evaluation of the program and the employee's progress.

Course assessment

A field activity is designed in a way that permits the supervisor some autonomy in the assessment of trainees. Assessment items within each field activity were specified during the design and development process as the basic requirements for inclusion in the practical test and were approved by supervisors. The field activity provides trainees with an opportunity to display their knowledge and skill in a practical situation. Supervisors can verify that employees have understood, and can apply, what they have learned in the training courses, in the performance of their daily job. The training programs provide the learner with a variety of learning experiences and instruction to enable the course objectives to be achieved. The use of practical exercises and field activities ensures the trainee is able to gain insights and develop perceptions within the actual work environment. The summative computer based assessment, known as the "Challenge Test" is placed in every course and must be taken by all trainees.

Challenge test

All current Woodside employees are able to demonstrate their prior learning by taking the Challenge Test. Achieving a pass in the test is recorded in their training profile, and no further training is required for that course. Failure of the test requires that the employee takes the full training course. All employees, regardless of their length of service or success in the Challenge Test, must complete the practical Field Activity before they can be regarded as acceptably trained or able to meet the competency levels set by the company. No feedback is provided to responses to Challenge Test question, but trainees are given information on the number of questions in the test and their results are automatically recorded in the Student Management System. The components of the courses described have been designed for easy access and use but all employees undergo a Core Safety Training Program induction session before commencing courses.

Training support

To ensure that employees are provided with every assistance and support with their training, Woodside has established ten fully equipped learning centres each with an Apple Macintosh computer, video player, telephone and resource material. The learning centres are located throughout the Woodside operation and are readily accessible by employees at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Study time for trainees is made available during rostered shifts and normal working hours.

Of the fifty courses (Appendix A) targeted for development, 44 have been completed at the time of writing and the implementation of the Core Safety Training Program has commenced. Six courses were combined with other courses for development.

Some of the basic principles used to develop the Core Safety Training Program material included the need for the materials to be comprehensive, relevant, reliable, and internally consistent. Each course was designed to cover all aspects of the topic and it had to be relevant to the Woodside operation in general and to specific work sites within the Production Division. The course content had to be valid and accurate and delivered consistently to all trainees at all work sites. The training material developed had to cater for all personnel with different educational and academic backgrounds, enabling them to access the different course components easily and to use them effectively.

The use of particular teaching and learning strategies varied from one course to another and with the desired outcome. Some courses required the use of video to show actual work situations and procedures, and others used computer based training packages combined with commercially available interactive video disk material. Woodside specified that each module of work had to have computer based training or assessment material in the form of formative and summative assessment and all courses had to be accompanied by a field activity. The development of the course material was focused on the study guide which, as the name implies, was designed to lead each trainee through the various components of the multimedia material.

Some of the results of the evaluation study recently undertaken by the author have indicated that the training programs have been well received by all Woodside employees and the initial test results demonstrate a high level of achievement by trainees. The cost of the self paced multimedia delivery is 17% less than that of face to face delivery over a two year period and 67% less over a four year period, the anticipated shelf life of the training material.


The Core Safety Training Program has provided the opportunity for an industrial organisation and an academic institution to work together to produce a comprehensive range of interactive multimedia occupational health and safety training courses. The expert team approach to training materials design leads to the explicit delineation of the form and content of training to a degree not commonly identified in face to face training. Associated with this is a high level of consistency of training input, irrespective of time and place, which markedly exceeds that achieved in face to face training delivery where the quality of trainers and of their interactions with trainees is variable. From a teaching-learning perspective, the quality of text materials produced by the expert team according to well established instructional design principles is almost certainly more efficacious than the typically hastily written notes taken down by a trainee during conventional group based classroom instruction. This level of documentation and delivery of training input is entirely consistent with the emerging competency based training approach to the national training agenda. The expertise applied in the design and development of all aspects of the courseware also provides portability since the materials can be applied outside the immediate context for which training was initially designed. The materials developed are being used throughout the Woodside Production Division, and the current performance of trainees would indicate that Woodside's training objectives are being met. The courses have been accepted well by employees, and the delivery method has shown itself to be cost effective. Further Woodside management's commitment to flexible training is manifested in their current plan to introduce a totally electronic Performance Support System (PSS). PSS will provide an electronic database, information and multimedia based training system that further demonstrates Woodside's on going commitment to the development of technology based, cost effective training systems.


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Appendix A. Woodside Offshore Petroleum Core Safety training program courses

CORE SPECIFICSAFE000288Flanges Gaskets and Bolting Techniques (NRA)
SAFE000000First CourseSAFE000289Portable Gas Monitors (NRA)
SAFE000250Working in the Pilbara with WoodsideSAFE000302Portable Gas Analysers
SAFE000251Working in the North West with Woodside (NRA)SAFE000291Spring Operated and Rotating Equipment
SAFE000252Personal Health in the PilbaraSAFE000292Materials Handling
SAFE000253Safety Everybody's BusinessSAFE000293Personal Gas Monitors
SAFE000262Unsafe Act Auditing
SAFE000263HousekeepingAREA SPECIFIC
SAFE000264Accident Reporting TechniquesSAFE000254Permit to Work System (Plant)
SAFE000265Accident Reporting Techniques (NRA)SAFE000255Permit to Work System (Supply Base)
SAFE000266Basic Life SupportSAFE000273Permit to Work System (NRA)
SAFE000267Protect Your BodySAFE000257Site and Emergency Overview (Town Office)
SAFE000282Continuity of Supply and Safety AgreementSAFE000258Site and Emergency Overview (Heliport)
SAFE000272VehiclesSAFE000259Site and Emergency Overview (Plant)
SAFE000283Hearing ConservationSAFE000260Site and Emergency Overview (Supply Base)
SAFE000284Eye ProtectionSAFE000261Site and Emergency Overview (NRA)
SAFE000285Personal Protective EquipmentSAFE000268Radio Communication Procedures

SAFE000269Radio Communication Procedures
SAFE000270Hazardous Area ClassificationSAFE000300Working on the Jetty (Ops\Maint)
SAFE000271Working at HeightsSAFE000301Working on the Jetty (GSO)
SAFE000274Electrical Isolations (IO)SAFE000304Casing Handling Techniques
SAFE000275Electrical Isolations (SIO)SAFE000305Cargo Handling Procedures
SAFE000276Electrical Isolations (ESO)SAFE000306Use of Steam Cleaners
SAFE000277Electrical Isolations (SESO)SAFE000308Hydrotesting Facility
SAFE000278Explosion Proof TechniquesSAFE000309Subsurface Safety Valve - N2 Test Facility
SAFE000279Chemical Hazards
SAFE000280Process SamplingSAFE000311Introduction to Offshore Wireline Operation
SAFE000290Process Isolations
SAFE000281Asbestos and MMF Handling
SAFE000286Portable Gas Analysers (NRA)
SAFE000287Flanges Gaskets and Bolting Techniques

Author: James Burgess is currently a lecturer in Further Education and Training in the Faculty of Education, The University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba Queensland 4350. Tel: (076) 312371 Fax: (076) 31 2828, and Managing Director of Flexible Training Systems, 98 Hume Street, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350. Tel: (076) 32 2216.

Please cite as: Burgess, J. (1994). Developing an interactive multimedia training application for industry. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 49-55. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/bc/burgess.html

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