CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

Getting More Done with Less: The Human Element (Keynote Address)

Presenter: Jim Cathcart

Representing: FOCUS

Synopsis

This presentation will focus on: Relationships between players throughout the system and communications up, down and laterally. How to gain credibility with people in different disciplines. How to overcome resistance and connect in more productive ways with others. How to apply the “Promise” mindset to achieve; faster, better, with less use of resources in multiple contexts. How to increase your own “Relationship Intelligence®” to achieve greater results with everyone you deal with.



Micro Learning Objects

Presenter: April Patterson

Representing: Bruce Power

Synopsis

At Bruce Power we had an opportunity to provide just-in-time training in a format that addressed discrete needs at or near the point of that need. We turned to video based microlearnings to fulfill this. In this session we will explore where we've been; lessons learned, where we are (with examples), and where we're going with microlearning.”



Be the Amazon of Training: Storing and Delivering Multimedia Learning Content

Presenter: Jose Martin and Mike Cadden

Representing: Tecnatom and Accelerant Solutions

Synopsis

If your training content was stored in a warehouse, what would the warehouse would look like? Is it organized? Is the content easy to find? Can you easily create objective based content packages? Is the content easy to deliver? Or is the content spread around on multiple hard-drives, difficult to find and not inventoried? In this presentation we are going to take some inspiration from the Amazon warehouses and introduce a three-step plan to: 1) Get your warehouse content organized and upgraded to the newest technologies 2) Automate the creation of objective based learning packages and 3) Deliver the content using blended learning methodologies. To accomplish this plan, at Tecnatom, we created a new platform called PLANT™. PLANT™ greatly simplifies the creation and use of engaging, interactive training material while combining multimedia content, including Virtual Reality. With this platform, we are able to create objective centered “content Packages” and deliver it to a new generation of learners in a way that they expect and understand.

https://youtu.be/cLVCGEmkJs0



The Journey to Content Development in VISION

Presenter: David Huff

Representing: Exelon

Synopsis

More than a decade ago, Nine Mile Nuclear Station (NMP) began using the Content Management function of Vision Developer to design and maintain all lesson plan material for their site. As one of the first Focus Learning customers to fully implement this feature, we were considered trailblazers in our industry. With the expertise from an external contract group, a strong vision from our training management, and lots of funds from our shareholders, we tackled this almost insurmountable task of transforming our organization of static, dry, and disconnected training material to one with dynamic, engaging, and fully associated lesson plans. Well, I almost got through writing the above paragraph without cracking a smile. Trailblazing? To be honest, in the early years sometimes it felt that instead of blazing trails, we were just wandering around setting brush fires. I have certainly laughed over the years as people casually name-dropped NMP and their content management accomplishments. We became almost legendary in our industry for using Vision Developer “as it was supposed to be used”. In truth, the NMP training organization was proud of this reputation and we would delightfully demonstrate Vision’s full content management capabilities to a steady stream of auditors, industry assessors, and visitors from other sites. Taking an objective view (no pun intended), NMP truly did deserve this reputation as trailblazers as after all, no other site in our industry at the time could claim full content management functionality except NMP. However, is this the whole story? Everyone has heard of our successes, but did we ever fail? How did we manage this truly transformational journey of content management? If you are at all interested in the answers to these questions, please join me as I present an unvarnished view of one organization’s passage through the trenches of Content Management in Vision Developer.

David Huff is the Corporate Training Technology Manager for Exelon Nuclear and had previously worked as a Principal Operations Instructor at NMPNS. During his time at NMP, David gained extensive experience in the use of Vision Developer both in managing the hierarchies for Analysis, Design, and Development within the Operations discipline as well as managing lesson plan content using the content management features.



Why and How we Broke our Content Down to Individual Learning Objects

Presenter: David Jesse

Representing: American Transmission Company

Synopsis

Following the blackout of 2003, the bulk electric industry adopted PER-005 which requires a systematic approach to training be used in the training programs of our real-time system operators. To help us meet this mandate, our company invested in VISION. One of our instructors had previously implemented VISION at another utility and has been instrumental in guiding our implementation. From the beginning, part of our long-term plan has been to use VISION to help us reconstruct our training material so we could realize the benefits of using ILOs. This requires that we take all existing course materials and break them down into portions that align with the learning objectives in each course. We recently accomplished this for all courses in one job position. The process involved analyzing the material compared to the objectives to develop an initial alignment, re-writing objectives and material to “true-up” the alignment, and consulting with SMEs as needed to better understand the material, address gaps, and discard unnecessary material. In our presentation, we would like to share:
  • Our planning process
  • Our approach
  • The time invested
  • Lessons learned
  • Benefits
  • Next steps




Moving from Objectives, to Learning Objects, to On-demand Performance Support

Presenter: Paul Lorenz

Representing: FOCUS Learning Corporation

Synopsis

Learning technologies have come a long way since the mid 1970’s when the VISION system found its early roots. From its modest start in the late 80’s as a JTA support and exam generation tool, VISION has evolved to embrace the full ADDIE spectrum. As an industry together, we are moving beyond “well written” objectives to specific strategies for developing, customizing, and delivering our objective content. Some users have graduated from dutifully sorting objectives into lesson plans to re-creating their objectives as true “independent learning objects.” Many have moved toward some form of blended training approaches. A few are investigating the idea of providing additional just-in-time performance support, and tapping the depths of the VISION database. In so many ways, the community of VISION users continues to push the limits of how and where the software can be used to increase our impact and productivity as training professionals. In this presentation, we will re-trace the path that brought us to where we are today—and discover some clues to doing more with the information we already have waiting at our fingertips in the VISION database. We will also catch a glimpse of where the VISION system plans to go in the future—as it continues to meet the needs of Learners, Trainers, Training Managers and other Executives across our organizations.



Bridging the Training Gap; Leveraging Generational Differences with VISION

Presenter: Paul Lorenz and Clayton Crabtree

Representing: FOCUS Learning Corporation

Synopsis

Much has been said about irreconcilable differences between the Boomers and the Millennials. You can’t read popular psychology or attend any training conference without hearing something frightening about this impending generational battlefront. Yes, it’s clear that important differences do exist. But, when examined closely, these differences may not be as overwhelming as they seem. Whether this generational gap is significant or not, we face an unrelenting challenge. Our boomer-dominated workforces are dwindling, and they must be replaced with new talent. Much of that very capable talent is coming from the millennial generation. As always, our HR departments are committed to hiring the finest job applicants---and we training professionals will continue to help develop them into effective and responsible workers. In this presentation, we will identify some key differences between the Boomers and the Millennials. But, beyond merely identifying the differences, we will discuss ways to leverage those differences into strengths. We will see how the VISION system encourages adaptive strategies across the generational gap.



The Standardized Task Evaluation (STE) program: a Way to Trim Cost

Presenter: Chuck Lease

Representing: EPRI

Synopsis

Given the need to increase workforce efficiency, the Standardized Task Evaluation (STE) Program offered through the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is a means to track worker proficiency for applications across the entire energy and utilities sector. The STE Program has standardized nearly 100 industry tasks allowing workers to complete knowledge and skill components for applicable tasks and tracks these completions through a registry available to program members for proof of competency. Each task is developed using the Systematic Approach to Training (SAT) method and includes a task analysis, knowledge examination, and performance evaluation. Using the STE program, members have realized increased ability for workers to go directly to work, improved work quality and consistency during task performance, and significant reductions in training and in-processing costs. This presentation provides a program overview including tools and attributes supporting the program objectives and results.



Using VISION with the new DIF process and the power of the Program Hierarchy

Presenter: Pam Scarber

Representing: Entergy

Synopsis

This presentation has two main themes: (1) a review and results of a project to upgrade the SAT foundation in VISION; and (2) the power of a well-planned program structure.

The SAT Foundation Project Recently Entergy (ANO site) embarked on a project to review and upgrade its SAT foundation data in VISION. This entailed a careful assessment of the job analysis (task lists), DIF process, objectives and program, and a rework of the data to meet solid SAT design standards. This presentation will first review the goals and scope of the project, the project plan and assessment technique. The status of VISION use and the SAT foundation data prior to the project will be described, highlighting specific concerns to be addressed as part of the project. Key challenges encountered will be described, along with how they were overcome. For example, deriving a revised task list was a significant challenge of unexpected proportions. Here the presentation will explain how the new D-I-F process was implemented on the revised task list with successful results compared to results using the old process on the same list. Examples of the original task list compared to the new task list will be provided. Overall, lessons learned and benefits achieved by completing the SAT Foundation Project will be shared. The Power of the Program Structure In addition, an important observation was made concerning the use of VISION not only at ANO, but at other sites as well. That is; there appears to be an industry-wide missed opportunity to leverage the power of the program structure in VISION. The presentation will explain how, with a properly structured SAT foundation and program structure, VISION gathers groups of objectives and therefore the associated tasks and questions, providing the connections needed to produce essential documents quickly and in fidelity with the SAT process. The presentation will show for example how, If VISION data is organized to match program documents, vital outcomes such as the TPD can be produced, saving time and resources. Custom reports from FOCUS that leverage the program structure will also be shown to illustrate power of a solid SAT foundation and well- planned program structure.



Putting the “System” into the Systematic Approach to Training

Presenter: Gary Sprague

Representing: FOCUS Learning Corporation

Synopsis

Over the past year, FOCUS worked with representatives of 12 utilities to “benchmark” the implementation of SAT with VISION. Part of the process involved running a special VISION audit report to gain a numerical “snapshot” to sample one training program (Chemistry) at each participating site, and then compare the data. The results showed striking differences in the results of key SAT activities across the sites, particularly in the analysis and design phases. Results also suggested that in some instances a significant amount of time and human resources went into key activities that appear to have been poorly utilized or not utilized at all. As the industries using SAT and VISION attempt to be more efficient in training (“do more with less”) without sacrifice to instructional quality, it seems reasonable to conclude that the underlying design basis and associated methods should be improved first. But how can that be done at this point with so much data already in place? An idea for how to promote iterative improvements to the SAT/VISION data structures over time will be proposed. The idea will center on the use of an instructional design “template” for how a program should look based on use of a numerical and proportional data model. Such an approach could provide a basis to anticipate an expected data structure for a program, and translated to time and cost projections at the onset. This would provide a framework for measuring important project parameters as it evolves. During the project, accumulated analysis and design data for the program can be monitored by new VISION audit reports and compared against the model. This would enable the project team to make corrections to the methods during the activities, while providing a platform for incorporating continual improvements to the model, which could then be shared across sites and even utilities to promote more consistent methods. This amounts to an immediate feedback loop, which is one way to make the systematic approach more like the system it should be.



An Update on our Maturing Customer-centric Support and Product Development Process

Presenter: John Martin and John Pietsch

Representing: FOCUS Learning Corporation and PrimeForce Solutions

Synopsis

At our 2016 Conference, we provided a presentation on the benefits of establishing VISION customer groups to “Share the Load”, reduce costs, and drive improvement in customer training programs. One aspect described in that presentation was leveraging these groups to provide input on VISION product enhancement requests. Since 2016, we have expanded that area by establishing the VISION Product Roadmap Users Group (VPRUG) in coordination with internal improvements we are making to our product development processes. The VPRUG has been meeting consistently on a monthly basis to receive progress reports on our development efforts, hear about other development activities (such as expedited custom features or reports), provide real-time input on the requirements for features our development team is working on, and vet, define, and prioritize feature requests for future releases. This process is designed to increase the likelihood that what we add and improve in VISION going forward is tied to and meets customer needs individually and as a community. The community aspect is highlighted because the requirements development process benefits from robust discussion while also allowing customers to consider the various ways new features can be used. As significantly, the process is also designed to get customer “eyes-on” the features early in the development life-cycle to help us avoid unforeseen issues or gaps in the requirements we define or in our solution design. This is a work in progress and our presentation will be in the form of a status report and request for input. We plan to discuss:
  • Our system development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Improvements in supporting technology (Axosoft)
  • Improvements in requirements gathering and tracking and release management
  • Improvements in our testing approach
  • Improvements in our deployment process (more systematic with alpha, beta, and full releases)
  • The VPRUG process
  • How the VPRUG integrates with the FLC SDLC
  • Next steps





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