An inexpensive and quick way to develop training courses

Eastman, the international chemical giant, produces chemical building blocks at its site in the port of Ghent that are used in safety glass, among other things, such as for the Ghelamco Arena. Of course, there are strict safety regulations in a chemical production company.

‘A lot of knowledge needs to be transferred, not only about our site and its operation, but there are also legally required safety training courses,’ says Gunther Van Acker, Training coordinator at Eastman in Ghent. ‘The fact that we work in shifts doesn’t make it easy to get a group of people together in a classroom.’ That’s why Eastman has been working with online courses for some time now. ‘The creation of those courses was completely outsourced,’ Gunther continues. ‘That had some disadvantages. First of all, the long turnaround time, because the external partner had to acquire our professional knowledge so that they could implement it in the online environment. In addition, the price was not to be underestimated, either.’ Eastman started looking for an alternative that was faster and less costly and came across FLOWSPARKS.

Always up to date on every device

Gunther is very satisfied with the many possibilities that FLOWSPARKS offers. ‘There are a lot of templates, each with their own didactic principles, in which you can very easily add your content and give it an attractive form. It is as if you put your knowledge into FLOWSPARKS, and the output is a very successful e-Learning course suitable for a large audience.’ Eastman proves very convincingly that you don’t have to be a computer expert. ‘There are eight FLOWSPARKS developers on our site. Half of them have not even had any training for it and can still work with it perfectly because it’s so intuitive,’ says Gunther. ‘The WYSIWYG approach (editor’s note: What You See Is What You Get) is very useful to teach yourself how to work with FLOWSPARKS.’

Gunther finds the responsiveness of FLOWSPARKS very useful: ‘The e-Learning course looks good on any mobile device. People in our plant who scan a QR code with their tablet at a certain type of pump, immediately receive training in FLOWSPARKS about that specific pump. And because you can also easily adjust the training in real time, you can be sure that you are always viewing the most recent version. When we wanted to change a training course in the past, we had to take it offline, change it and upload it. That was rather cumbersome.’

Everyone a trainer

At Eastman, anyone, including people who are not trainers, can develop an e-Learning course on their own initiative. The only condition is that you first present your idea to your supervisor and get his or her approval. For example, Sofie, an R&D lab assistant, set up an e-Learning course on the use of emergency switches in the R&D lab. Process operator Jurgen had no experience whatsoever with teaching or developing training courses. But with just a few hours of FLOWSPARKS training, he was up and running. He set up a training on cleaning filters with a few quizzes for the participants, for example. In this module, Jurgen explains his approach and documents it with links to fact sheets on hazardous products.

‘Who better to explain such things to operators than an operator himself or herself? People really like it,’ Gunther says. ‘I haven’t heard of anyone in our department who doesn’t like working with FLOWSPARKS. Moreover, it motivates operators when they notice that colleagues and supervisors appreciate their e-Learning modules. Before we worked with FLOWSPARKS, it would have been a safety manager who made a PowerPoint presentation in his or her ‘ivory tower’ to then distribute it by letting it cascade down (with somewhat less ‘connection’ with the team). It is quite different now that people in the field are developing the courses.’

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Anyone can create e-Learning because it's so intuitive

There are eight FLOWSPARKS developers on our site. Half of them have not even had any training for it and can still work with it perfectly because it’s so intuitive.

Quality control

‘Of course, the immediate supervisor and the manager of the department must approve all projects, and I am the only one who can place the modules on the system,’ he says. The manager validates the content of a course and indicates which people have to follow the course and within what time frame this has to be done. At Eastman, it is also possible to add a questionnaire to the e-Learning course. The results are sent to the person who developed the course and are evaluated every month. In this way, the quality of the course and the relevance of the content are monitored.

‘Working with FLOWSPARKS is very simple, and you can teach yourself and others very quickly,’ Gunther concludes. ‘An e-Learning session of fifteen minutes, which is actually pretty long, is quickly created with FLOWSPARKS. While with just a few hours of training and some experimenting, people are soon ready to use the tool.’