September 9, 2020

Vestas, MVOW and SSE enter digital training debate

Personalising learning process could be key benefit of digital training say wind energy employers

Digital platforms offer significant potential upsides for personalisation, efficiency and flexibility in the learning process, but training providers should avoid making a one-to-one comparison, experts said today.

In the first edition of the GWO Expert Series Webinars on Digitalisation and Training, a panel of leaders from member companies joined over 100 guests online to discuss the possibilities offered by digital platforms as part of the standardised safety and technical training mix for wind energy workers.

Neil Pickthall, Vice Chair of the GWO Training Committee/Renewable Operations Staff Competency and Development Team Manager at SSE told the panel  that a more efficient and flexible learning environment was “very important” at his organisation because of the demands on their staff in relation to operational commitments.

Brian Smedegaard Pedersen, Training Development Specialist at Vestas, added: “Personalised training stands out as an important factor for Vestas. The ability to learn at your own pace increases quality rather than always asking people to learn at the same speed in a classroom”

Case Study

The webinar featured a case study from the market’s first blended learning solution for Basic Safety Training Refresher courses, the Safety ‘n’ Mind application developed by MHI Vestas. Elisabeth Mygind, Member of GWO Training Committee and Head of Technical and Safety Training, Operations at MHI Vestas explained: “We chose a distributed learning methodology when we developed Safety 'N’ Mind. It allows participants to learn at their own pace and introduces a gamification element to keep the learning fun and relevant. Above all, we focused on ensuring that learning objectives are met, while the app gives us a unique way to ensure participants’ existing skill levels are recognised from the start. This is helpful given the variation in experience that people have when they enter a refresher course.”

Practical tips

GWO’s intention with the Expert Series has been to bring the training provider network closer to our work. Since releasing new requirements for digital learning in April 2020, 36 training providers have certified to provide GWO modules using a digital delivery method.

With around 60% of the webinar audience comprising GWO training providers, instructors and business owners, Jakob Bjørn Nielsen, Director of Training and Operations at GWO offered some practical tips on how to take the next steps: “Good training has to be relevant so you can do a task efficiently and safely.

“One of the key things is to avoid doing a one to one transfer in which you expect to digitalise all practical delivery. Ask yourself, what is the effect you want to have? Choose a tool you want to deliver that effect. A good example is firefighters trained in augmented reality scenarios where they have suits which increase in temperature as the participant approaches a virtual flame.

“Fire departments invested in this technology by carrying out a fidelity analysis; asking themselves, how lifelike does the training need to be to make it transferable? The answer is clear and provided the learning objectives are defined within the lesson the training is relevant.

“For a GWO training provider, your next step may be DIF Analysis (Difficulty, Importance, Frequency). How difficult is the task, how important is the task and how frequently is the task carried out? That will establish how much weight and time you should apply to decision making in digital delivery.”