Updates & Edits – The Hidden Benefits of 3D Animated Training

In addition to the visual appeal and technical detail delivered through 3D animation and computer graphics, some other hidden benefits really start to show up when edits and updates are required. And edits are more common than most clients expect, in the form of adding, removing, or altering visual elements due to client policy changes, compliance requirements updates, or even evolving brand aesthetics.

For example, a client recently requested an update to a custom training course we produced for them several years ago. They had recently switched to a new type of chemical tote, or bulk liquid container, and they wanted the training to accurately reflect that as well as the procedural changes involved in handling the new equipment. Since we modeled the work environment and visual assets in the training on the client’s warehouse, we were able to model the new type of tote in 3D, put it appropriately into the training, and update the edit for a completely seamless update. Because this client also used our online learning management system, we could republish the new version of the course with no interruption to their intensive training schedule.

In the old days of live-action video training, matching this level of visual and audio continuity would have been nearly impossible. Very likely, the old video would simply become obsolete and the cost of production would have been lost in favor of a completely new production. So by starting with 3D animated training and computer graphics, clients get the benefits of seamless edits, consistent visual quality, and training that has a much longer shelf-life than traditional live-action video.

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Choosing Training Management Software

If you’re in charge of instituting an enterprise-wide computer-based training program at your company, you’ll quickly discover there are a lot of potential choices out there. How do you choose the training software that best fits your company? First off, I’m not going to pretend that this is an unbiased article. Our LMS software, Convergence Server Enterprise, is fantastic and quite frankly I think it’s the only one you will need. In this post I’m going to tell you why.

So let’s get straight to the point. Why should you choose our training management software?

It’s easy for learners to use – With a simple to navigate training home page, our user interface provides an ease-of-use for all levels of learners, including those who may be novices at using a computer. Your learners will get clear instruction on what training they are assigned, how to access their assigned training, and the ability to track their overall training progress.

It’s easy for administrators to use – With a wide range of reporting and administrative options, you have the ability to track and report on your organization’s training program ranging from qualifications, classroom training, and task based events. Our platform allows you to mirror your organization’s structure (locations, regions, sites, departments, job codes, etc.) and assign, track, and report on training throughout your entire organization. This allows you to easily and efficiently assign, track and report at any level of your organization. In addition, training status reports can be scheduled for automatic email delivery to anyone in your organization.

It tracks ALL training – Our LMS was created for the high demands of industrial safety compliance. That means it is set up to be able to track ALL of your training initiatives—not just computer-based training, like some software. With Convergence Server Enterprise, you can assign and track on-the-job (OJT) training, classroom sessions, third-party trainers and contractors. This flexibility reflects the diverse amount of training that goes on at large companies, especially ones that require safety compliance.

It can deliver high-bandwidth training fast – Do you have large training videos that are difficult to access between facilities? Our training system hosts large files locally, so that learners can access these files immediately, with no delays. Because our system was created primarily for large industrial clients who use a lot of high-bandwidth training videos, and because we develop our own multimedia training content, this is an area where we excel.

It lets you create your own training – Our training management system is technically what is known as a learning content management system, which means you can use it to create your own computer-based content and tests. You can import existing SCORM or AICC-compliant training materials, or use popular content authoring tools to convert your PowerPoint presentations or documents into interactive training. You can create quizzes and tests in multiple formats, and upload documents and images to go with these questions.

It gives you many reporting options – A good training management system should give you efficient management tools. Our system lets you create status reports on your training program, and send out those reports in a variety of formats to the people that need to see them. You can set up automated email delivery of these reports to specific recipients so that administrative time is reduced and accountability can be extended to all levels of your organization.

It’s infinitely scalable for your company’s growth – Convergence Server Enterprise was built to be a solution for all businesses, no matter their size. Its scalability means it can be initially installed at just a few sites and then scaled up over time to include the entire organization. It will be a viable solution for your company to better deliver, track, and report of all of your organization’s training now and into the distant future.

Our training management system was created from working alongside large companies that require efficient and reliable training management for their safety compliance record-keeping. When you choose Convergence Server Enterprise, you get the result of this evolutionary design process and can rest assured you’re using a trusted solution.

Call us or email us now to schedule a no-pressure demonstration where you’ll be able to navigate in the program and see first-hand its strengths.

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The Power of YouTube…

At this point, there should be no doubt about the reach of videos published to YouTube. To that point, our growing audience includes Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC), whose Senior Manager very politely contacted us for permission to post our Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety clip on their iWSH Portal. Permission granted.

Display it in good health, WSHC, and we wish you great success promoting safety in Singapore.

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New 2010 MSHA Rules on Miner Exposure to Coal Dust

Coal mine dust that is able to be breathed causes a range of diseases that are known collectively as black lung. Black lung can lead to lung impairment, permanent disability, and even death. While considerable progress has been made in reducing miners exposure to respirable coal mine dust, miners continue to develop these diseases. There has even been a rise in serious cases of these diseases occurring in younger and younger miners.

MSHA has a new rule, published in October of this year, called “Lowering Miner’s Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors”. Some major parts of the rule include:

  • lowering the existing concentration limits of breathable coal dust
  • requiring the use of a personal dust monitor
  • addressing extended work shifts
  • and expanding medical surveillance of workers
  • lowering the existing concentration limits of breathable coal dust

A very good synopsis of the rule can be seen here.

There will be six public hearings on the new rules over the next couple months. Members of the public will be able to make oral presentations and weigh in with their thoughts on the rules. Click here for the public hearing schedule.

Convergence Training will be updating our MSHA safety training videos after the respirable coal dust public hearings are finished. That way we’ll be sure to understand all of the implications of the new rules for our mining customers. If you’re currently a Convergence Training customer (or if you might be one day), follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on our MSHA- and OSHA-aligned product releases and news.

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Don’t Get Burned: Prepare for National Fire Safety Month in October

October is National Fire Safety Month. Get prepared by making sure your collection of fire safety training materials is complete. Convergence Training has two CBT fire safety training modules to help keep the flames at bay: Fire Safety, a 23-minute module focused on 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L, and Fire Extinguisher Safety, a 14-minute module focused on 29 CFR 191.157.

See a clip from our Fire Safety training video on YouTube.

Both CBT (computer-based training) modules are SCORM compliant and feature the state-of-the-art 3D animation that has made Convergence Training the industry leader. Visit www.buybettertraining.com to view samples and purchase copies.

From the “Did-You-Know?” Department:

Fire safety isn’t just important—it’s historically interesting, too. Convergence Training’s crack research department has dug up two fire-related historical factoids for you.

National Fire Safety Month has its roots in the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Read more about the Great Chicago Fire here.

The fire is represented by one of the four stars on the flag of the city of Chicago – read more about the flag here.

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OSHA “Virtual Stakeholders” Combustible Dust Chat Recap

In case you missed it, the folks at OSHA recently held a “virtual stakeholders” web chat to discuss issues related to upcoming combustible dust regulations with concerned industry members.

OSHA began the chat by identifying these key items for discussion, with a goal of eliciting industry thoughts and opinions:

  • Definition of combustible dust and use of Kst values
  • Use of performance-based and specification-based approaches towards regulations
  • Special considerations for grain handling facilities and grain dust
  • Costs and benefits of proposed regulations

In responding to questions posed during the chat, OSHA also addressed the following:

  • Explosibility testing facilities (likely to remain private)
  • Increased hazards during plant clean-ups (they’re looking for input on engineering and administrative controls)
  • Role that NFPA standards on combustible dust will play in OSHA regulations (they may influence OSHA’s thinking)
  • Outreach training (OSHA plans to develop and provide it)
  • Employee participation in testing (OSHA seeks input)
  • Hazard communication issues regarding combustible dust (OSHA is currently revising its standard for hazard communication and will seek to make the revised hazard communication standard and new combustible dust standard be consistent)
  • Combustible dust regulation in areas without containment (they would still apply, as deflagration and flash fire risk still exist)

In the chat, OSHA explains that their “next step is to initiate the review under the small business regulatory enforcement fairness act (SBREFA) in April 2011.” Until then, check the chat history at http://www.dol.gov/dol/chat/chat-osha-20100628.htm, view the follow-up questions on the Department of Labor’s new blog at http://social.dol.gov/blog/ (try searching for “combustible dust” at that page), and stay tuned for more from OSHA in April, 2011.

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Training Will Address New OSHA Crane Regulations

The new OSHA regulations on crane operation and certification just came out last week. Understandably, there are a lot of people interested in how this will affect them. In OSHA’s words, “approximately 267,000 construction, crane rental, and crane certification establishments employing about 4.8 million workers will be affected by this rule.” It’s one of OSHA’s biggest regulation overhauls in decades.

The new regulations only affect work having to do with construction. General industry work is not affected and will remain governed by the current standard. It’s important to understand the nature of what constitutes “construction work” by OSHA standards. If you are not familiar with these distinctions, I’d recommend reading this OSHA document on construction vs. maintenance/service work.

The major changes in the new regulations include:

• Federal requirements for the certification of crane operators
• Requirements for third-party crane operator certifiers
• Increased crane inspection requirements
• Requirements for working near electricity
• More rules for assembling/disassembling cranes
• New requirements for inspecting ground conditions prior to a lift
• Qualifications for riggers and signalpersons
• New requirements for using synthetic slings

You can read the full OSHA regulations by clicking here. If you’re very interested, you can read more about how the new regulations were agreed upon and how the specific changes were made by clicking here. Also, there’s a really good question and answer session OSHA held recently that’s very informative.

We’ve ramped up our production schedule to get out our new crane training modules out as soon as we can. We’re currently working on getting the storyboards aligned with the new rules. Two of our planned modules are entitled “Overhead Crane Training” and “Mobile Crane Training”. We’re also considering modules specifically about working around electricity and assembling/disassembling booms, because those are the two leading causes of death in crane-related incidents. We also might add a general module about rigging and slings.

Overhead cranes aren’t affected too much by the new OSHA regulations, just because the new regs only apply to construction work, and not to general industry. Mobile cranes and tower cranes will of course be greatly impacted.

All regulations related to crane maintenance, crane operation, and qualifications for signalpersons and riggers will take effect November 8, 2010. Crane operators will have up to four years to meet the new certification requirements.

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An Online LMS for Way Less Than a Trip to the Emergency Room

Convergence Training is bringing safety training tools to just about any business. Soon, pretty much any company will be able to train, track, report, and get important notifications anywhere at any time for way less than a trip to the ER.

Convergence WebExpress is our new Internet-based training delivery and management system. It’s an online learning management system, or LMS, without the expensive servers or sophisticated software. Keep reading to find out more.

Old School LMS
As veterans of complex technical LMS installations, we’ve known for years that a company’s fundamental training needs don’t change as they grow. They just get bigger. They just need more people trained more times in more places with reports sent to more people.

And while just about any organization could benefit from the features provided by many LMSs, the costs of these systems fall astronomically beyond the budgets of most small to medium sized enterprises. So in the past, you had to be big enough to justify the hardware and software investment.

We’re changing all that.

New School Web Tools – Convergence WebExpress
For less than 10% of the cost of the average emergency room visit, any company will be able to access our entire library of courses to train an employee for a full year. That’s all 28 Environmental, Health and Safety courses and our complete set of 27 Surface Miner Training topics.

You’ll get a scalable solution and cost structure that fits your budget with a versatile set of courses and centralized training management tools.

24/7 Training
Administer required training anytime, anywhere via the Internet. Since it’s online, we can update or add training content at any time. No more 80’s VHS tapes or scratched DVDs to deal with. No in-house IT resource costs. Just relevant, affordable, accessible, and effective training.

Call Us For A Demo
Give us a call or send us an email to get a free demo account set up. Kick the tires and make sure it’s right for your business. No strings attached.

1.888.634.7346 – Toll Free
info@thinkconvergence.com

View a WebExpress Training Plan

 

See the Administrative Interface

 


Check out a Compliance Report

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Driver and Vehicle Safety Images Now in Course Catalog

The course catalog inside of Convergence Training Viewer has been updated with a preview of our driver safety series courses (Defensive Driving, Seatbelt Safety, and Vehicle Preparedness). While these courses are still under development, we wanted to include them in our catalog to show everyone what is in the works.

Below, check out a screen shot of the catalog page in CTV:

Did you know that Convergence Training Viewer is a free mini-LMS for your desktop?
It can import courses, track results, and even track non-computer training events – and its FREE! Check it out or give us a call today. We would love to get your feedback.

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My Five Favorite E-Learning Resources

Just last week, I was asked for a list of the top blogs/learning resources that I follow/frequent. Here is a list of the 5 sites that I have found helpful and full of great information. I subscribe to these via RSS which will deliver updates directly to Outlook and my phone.

Here is my list:

What are some of your favorite eLearning or training sites? Drop me an email or comment and let me know what I’m missing out on!

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