[ IIMS 94 contents ]
Safety, behaviour management and interactive multimedia
J Ian Jamieson
The features of Interactive Multimedia Computer Based Training (MMCBT) are discussed in relation to the applicability to specific safety training requirements. Developing people's knowledge about managing human behaviour can in some circumstances be best done on multimedia particularly in the safety area.
MMCBT involves the presentation of video, text, photographs, graphics and audio on a Visual Display Unit (VDU) in a computer managed environment. Depending on the design the students can determine their own pace and time and the computer can be set up in a variety of ways to manage the students progress through interactive feedback and to assure competency.
Advantages of MMCBT
- Learning can be self paced. The computer stands ready at any time and within queuing constraints the student can choose the time and period of training.
- Similarly delivery is flexible. Trainer availability is less of a factor.
- Feedback is regular and can be instant.
- Delivery quality is consistent. In other mediums course material can change over time as different opinions are brought to bear on course content.
- MMCBT ensures the same material is presented each and every time in the same way.
- Assurance of competency. For similar reasons competency is more consistent and reliable.
- The machine has infinite patience. In today's world many people, particularly the more senior of us in traditional jobs are having to be retrained in modem technology and management techniques. MMCBT provides opportunities for iterations of training material to be presented in a non threatening way that is otherwise difficult to achieve.
- Training can be more relevant. When integrated with the job transfer of learning problems are minimised. MMCBT provides opportunities to integrate training at the local level.
- Interactive learning takes place while minimising risks associated with group case study and role play learning methods. (Smith, 1987)
- MMCBT programs can be expensive to improve/update. Most programs would seem to be limited to a maximum of seven years if only because of technology change although costs can be minimised by good program design.
- Tailoring content to individual needs is limited. "Up front" trainers can react to individual needs as these become apparent. MMCBT is either designed to cater for all needs with the resulting increased training time or delivery is constrained to priorities which limits the range of possible students. This is offset to some degree, depending on program design by the students being able to self pace the content.
- However, the reality of the emotional side of human to human interaction is not present and the actual hands on experience is not available for most industrial situations.
- MMCBT usually incurs a high up front program investment. The delivery platform also requires a significant up front capital cost where as training using a presenter is normally pay as you go.
- Hardware and program difficulties can frustrate learning and alienate students and their supervisors.
These features determine the ideal MMCBT usage criteria which includes:
- Large numbers of individuals who require the same training on an individualised schedule. Induction is a good example. It is a big ask of a trainer to present the same material over and over again perhaps hundreds of times without variation in quality or content and with the required enthusiasm.
- Isolated small work groups. Examples are shift workers, geographically remote workers or technically remote workers.
- Simulation is required due to either the actual trial being dangerous or expensive. Plant malfunction trials is an example.
- The training content is complex and qualified trainers are not reliably available. This particularly applies where the training content is not expected to change significantly over time and/or it can be spread across several cost centres.
Training in behavioural management techniques
The application of MMCBT to teaching behaviour management techniques is supported by the following:
- Stable content requirements. Human behaviour science is still developing and cultures change over time but for the life of a program the basic science can be taken to be constant.
- Personnel who require training in human behaviour management tend to be personnel whose time is expensive and availability is individualised. For example supervisors or above. In addition the training is best given at the start of an assignment as the damage caused by lack of skills of supervisory/ management staff can be significant, expensive to fix and quickly done.
- Human behaviour skills involve complex concepts and particularly in remote sites in WA trainers are either not available or are expensive. While direct experience of particularly the emotional side of managing human behaviour is difficult to gain from MMCBT the underlying requirements can be effectively taught in the non threatening and confidential environment of the computer screen. This knowledge can be than reinforced on the job by experience and superiors.
Figure 1 depicts a model in which the student is presented with a choice of two behavioural responses to a given interpersonal situation - one correct and one less productive. The computer provides a typical third party response to either the correct or the incorrect try and from the feedback (immediate) the student can develop some knowledge of the variable through trial of response choices. Practical experience with this model has indicated people do like to "play" with this sort of response tree further exploring the possible situations indicating it is a very useful mechanism for people to use in learning. The process is similar to a case study but the outcomes are more controlled (Interactive Logic 1992, unpublished).
Figure 1: Behavioural response tree
(Each node represents a situation and student's choice of 2 responses)
Application to safety training
A significant difficulty with safety training is to assure validity of content. On the surface managing safety is a simple process of people refraining from doing unsafe actions. Overlay this intuitively accepted model with the "general attribution error" (Wagenar et al, 1990) and resulting managers', workers' and trainers' (and some safety "professionals") "certainty" that individuals are the key factor in their own demise creates fertile ground for valid training content to be modified to fit the local and/or presenters' erroneous paradigms. First hand experience confirms these preconceived ideas are the most significant factors in the prevention of achieving a safe work place. Our blame culture in road safety further cements the paradigm.
In reality successful safety management and performance requires the understanding and application of complex behavioural principles using management systems that run counter to particularly the Australian "seat of the pants approach" (Ruthven, 1993) to business.
MMCBT provides certain advantages in this situation. Delivery of the required knowledge to supervisors and managers can be achieved on the individuals appointment to the position instead of the usually delayed training due to schedules and/or lack of numbers. Using MMCBT the credibility of the presentation to managers can be enhanced by the package being tailored to the organisation and supported by a video of the chief executive explaining the company policy, impossible in an up front training situation except through straight video presented in house. This tends to be qualified by the trainer's acumen and standing in the organisation. In large mining and oil companies where managers tend to be transferred across state and international boundaries, safety management information delivered through MMCBT may offer significant opportunities.
Accident investigation training involves the teaching of complex causation models. Even with one on one coaching and hands on trials well educated, experienced, senior people have difficulty grasping the concepts incorporated in models such as MORT and Tripod. The capacity for MMCBT to force iterations until the required concepts have being fully grasped offers significant opportunities for use of MMCBT in this subject. While there are good training providers available for some models the quality of delivery and content in WA varies greatly. Pressures for undesirable change to existing erroneous paradigms can operate here too.
Complex safety techniques such as HAZOP and HAZAN are other subjects for which, in WA training is not generally available. Periodically eastern states and overseas trainers are brought over by individual firms, an expensive exercise. As these are iterative, systematic types of safety analysis normally presented to higher salaried professional employees and the content is unlikely to significantly change there would appear opportunities for the use of MMCBT in these subjects. This applies particularly to HAZOP as outcomes are largely determined by the leaders knowledge and skill in applying group management techniques.
Legislation is another subject that may lend itself to MMCBT training particularly in a state like WA. It seems the general duty of care provision is cemented in safety legislation Australia wide and as this is a concept many have difficulty with. It is managers who need to understand the duty of care requirements more than anyone and a good MMCBT package would seem to have a market. The use of video and photographs of realistic examples in a competency forcing package would seem to have several advantages over the chalk and talk approach that managers resist attending. For example the reality of a court room could be a powerful simulation only possible in MMCBT. In any case most chalk and talk presentations seem to put many asleep when presented with legislative type subjects.
A number of safety subjects lend themselves to MMCBT due to the features of the medium particularly in an isolated state such as WA as well as in our more isolated regions. MMCBT can make available valid training in complex issues including behavioural safety management concepts and process simulation. Management and other highly paid employees can, through patient iteration by the computer be forced to competency in a private and credible environment in which the skills and corporate standing of the trainer is not an issue. MMCBT also reduces the risk of trainers and others interposing intuitively seemingly correct, commonly held but erroneous behavioural accident causation paradigms, a risk common in case study, role play and other safety training methods.
Ruthven, P. (1993). A licence to do business. The Australian Financial Review, p17, Monday Nov 1.
Smith, B. J. & Delahaye, B. L. (1987). How to be an effective trainer: Skills for managers and new trainers. 2nd Ed. Canada: John Wiley and Sons.
Wagenar, A. W., Hudson, P. T. W. & Reason, L. T. (1990). Cognitive failures and accidents. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 4, 273-294.
|Author: Ian Jamieson, Private Tel: 09 386 5002
Please cite as: Jamieson, J. I. (1994). Safety, behaviour management and interactive multimedia. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 214-216. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions.
[ IIMS 94 contents ]
[ IIMS Main ]
[ ASET home ]
This URL: http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/hj/jamieson.html
© 1994 Promaco Conventions. Reproduced by permission. Last revision: 5 Feb 2004. Editor: Roger Atkinson
Previous URL 26 May 2000 to 30 Sep 2002: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/gen/aset/confs/iims/94/hj/jamieson.html