Sunday, October 15, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know, part II

Thursday evening, my team returned from West Virginia, inundated with information on mining, miners, and mine safety. The TRAM conference was very successful in providing us with a lot of terrific information as well as pointing out areas for improvement on our current prototype. Things are starting to fall together, and now that the team has had the weekend to process everything, I think we'll be ready to dive in head first tomorrow. Several of the sessions at TRAM far exceeded my expectations - I really enjoyed "Effective Training" and "Innovative Training Tools." The speakers for both of the sessions quickly captured the attention of the audiences using humor and media. During ITT, the speaker passed out glasses which were either scratched or blacked out to emphasize the imminent dangers that could possibly lurk underground if one isn't paying attention. To emphasize the risk of fire if materials aren't put away properly and levels of various gases in the air aren't at the proper levels, he also lit the lid of a red can on fire -- if someone wasn't paying attention, there eyes were glued to the front of the room after that! In ET, I learned that when speaking, you have 90 seconds to capture the attention of the average adult. I found that very interesting, and can easily see that principle spilling over into books, media, and even our project. If a miner is partaking in the training and s/he does not find it interesting, or has difficulty using the problem, then s/he may get discouraged and cast it aside, which makes me want to work that much harder to make sure our training is a hit from the start.

So in addition to technical details about mining, I learned attention grabbing techniques as well, and made some terrific contacts. All of the SME's and people we met were extremely open, supportive, and willing to help us out. Next mission: sorting through all of this new material!


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