In the mood for modules

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This is especially true when it comes to safety: how can we improve our safety culture in the best possible way? The Safety Training section thinks the solution lies in better safety courses, so CERN's e-learning package is being redesigned. Future e-learning courses will be smaller but more efficient, covering all the specific risks present at the Laboratory.


The new Safety at CERN course available on SIR, featuring the new colour palette.

Being able to communicate safety messages efficiently is crucial in order to have a safe work environment, especially here at CERN. This is not always an easy task and therefore a more educational approach is required. With this idea in mind, the Safety Training section is currently redesigning its e-learning courses to include a series of smaller risk-specific modules.

“Currently, some risks, such as chemical- or electricity-related risks, are included in various courses,” explains Christoph Balle, Safety Training section leader. “The problem is that this creates redundancy and overlapping of content.” The new collection of shorter courses will cover one specific risk at a time, and will serve as a prerequisite to other e-learning courses that give users access to the different installations and experiments, and to advanced classroom courses.

“We received a large amount of feedback from the users about this content redundancy,” continues Christoph. “Therefore, last year, we started to consider redesigning our e-learning offer and taking a modular approach. In addition to making it easier for us to design new courses and updates and to plan maintenance, the single modules allow us to work with one Subject Matter expert at a time, supported by the corresponding HSE expert.”

“We also understood the importance of nice visuals and a consistent look and feel, to motivate the learners to follow the course, as they will retain more information through a pleasant experience,” says Christoph. This includes improved graphics, sound and possibly the use of interactivity. Working in collaboration with DG-CO’s graphic designers and a new Safety Training fellow, the section has also created a course template to finally get away from the “bullet-point list” look of previous courses.

“The courses available will certainly increase in number but they will be smaller than the current ones in terms of content,” concludes Christoph. “If users need to access different facilities that present the same risks, they will have to follow these modules only once and then, according to the access they need, they will take the online and/or classroom courses specific to the facilities.” The Safety Training team is currently working on redesigning the electrical safety awareness course as well as the first e-learning course on cryogenics-related risks which, in the past, was only covered in some of the installation and experiment courses. While the cryogenics course will soon be in the beta-testing phase, a new “Safety at CERN” course is already available on SIR for the whole CERN community and it will soon be mandatory for every newcomer arriving at the Laboratory.

by Rosaria Marraffino