This past weekend I was at a family event, sitting around the table with cousins, friends and their spouses, some of whom I was meeting for the first time. Many of the introductions, as they often do, started with, “and what do you do?”
I listened as one cousin talked about being a hospice nurse, another talked about controlling emergency switching stations for a large telephone and communications company to ensure emergency communications were always online, and another talked about their role in the insurance field helping families recover from disasters. As the discussion wound its way toward me and I thought about how important each of these folks’ jobs were, I fought the urge to say, “What I do, design online and in-person training, isn’t as important as what you all do, that’s for sure.”
But that’s not true. What I do, and what all the folks at Kick Learning do, IS important. Right now I am especially proud that Kick is working with the National Fire Protection Association, a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards, on several learning initiatives.
Confined Spaces Interactive CourseOne in particular is especially exciting – an interactive course we are building to teach workers who must enter confined spaces (think of boiler rooms, crawl spaces, sewers, manholes, ship hulls, wind turbines, grain silos, and even manure pits) how to identify physical or atmospheric hazards that may exist in the space BEFORE they enter. I didn’t know this before taking this project on, but statistics show there is about one fatality every four days in a permit-required confined space.
For the confined spaces course, we are building immersive scenarios in which the learner assesses a space for potential hazards and then identifies them as physical and/or atmospheric. For atmospheric hazards, the learners are asked to read various measurements on the screen of an atmospheric measuring device they have lowered into a confined space and determine, based on the readings, if it is safe to enter the space. This is how learners learn: by doing. We can’t put the learner in the space, but we can do the next best thing – simulate it.
The courses we are creating with NFPA are saving lives. We are teaching employers and workers about the hazards in these spaces (and other hazards via other courses) and giving them the tools and knowledge to prevent injury and death so they can return home to their families at the end of each day. That to me, folks, is pretty darned important.