Friday, March 9, 2012

New Blog Posts From the ASSE Virtual Classroom

One of the great things about blogs is their uniqueness to their individual readers. There are cooking blogs for foodies, fantasy football blogs for armchair quarterbacks and blogs about cats for people who for some odd reason like cats. And of course for Safety Professionals, you have EHS Works – the blog you’re currently reading!

But in a way, safety professionals are like a microcosm of the blogosphere itself. With the sheer diversity of jobs that safety professionals do, you could almost have a blog for every type. In our profession, we have mine safety specialists and risk underwriters. We have people whose job it is to perform safety audits and people whose job it is to design a system so that the stuff the safety auditor happens to find never comes into existence in the first place.

And then we have everyone else. You know, the people whose job responsibilities are to wear many hats and to routinely engage in that last part of their job description, “other duties as assigned.”

For many safety folks, one of those assigned duties often is to oversee the training function. This can take on a variety of meanings. For example, some people may be lucky enough to have broad responsibilities, like making sure that their organization is in compliance with OSHA training requirements or hiring out instructors to come in and conduct a workshop.

Others may have to do it all. One day, they’re instructional designers, figuring out what people in the shop need to learn and writing up a training manual to hand off to a stand-up trainer to deliver it. The next day, they ARE that stand-up trainer. By the end of the week, they’ve become a multimedia developer, creating a video or web resource that employees at their overseas facilities can use to access the learning.

The point is though, most safety professionals aren’t multimedia instructional designers – nor should they be. But yet they still are responsible for communicating to staff those policies, procedures and best practices that will hopefully keep them coming back to work.

Increasingly, that communication is occurring online.

That’s what this blog will be about. To the best of my ability, I’ll try to take you beyond the hype. I won’t toss around a “tweet” or insert a hashtag unless there’s good reason. And while I am a bit (ok, more than a bit) of a geek, this blog won’t be a nerd-fest. Instead, my focus here will be to break down the barriers and leave you with something you can immediately take advantage of.

In upcoming entries, we’ll explore concepts like “gamification” and HTML5. We’ll review tools like Apple’s iBook Author, Storyline and ZebraZapps. And we’ll even take a second look at platforms you’re probably already familiar with (like Google, Facebook and YouTube) to see how you can repurpose them for your own training needs. Through it all though, we’ll try to have some fun too.

So, to wrap this short intro up…

The mission of these blog entries: to explore strange free tools, to seek out new ways to breathe life into online learning, to boldly go where no Tweet has gone before. ..


(Did I mention I may be a geek?)

Dan McNeill

Manager, Education Development
American Society of Safety Engineers
Twitter: VirtualASSE