Changing the Way Stakeholders Get Trained Online

MORE AND MORE ASPECTS of daily life are moving to an online space, and the convenience and practicality of that has borne some beneficial fruit. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this shift towards online workplaces, virtual meetings, and the work-anywhere mentality was being put into practice long before a certain virus came to town.

In 2019, Underground Service Alert partnered with Damage Prevention Academy to develop and implement a comprehensive online training platform for stakeholders in California and Nevada. With damage prevention being their leading goal and mission, and education a big part of that, Underground Service Alert needed an easy way to reach stakeholders spread out over 210,000 square miles. With over 2,700 learners enrolled in statespecific education courses, the online training was a moderate success. The education is extremely thorough, detailed in its comprehension, and designed to keep the learner engaged. The Damage Prevention Academy partners built out an excellent training program… but there was room to grow.

Enter 2020, when “going online” became a way of life rather than a distraction to pass the time. Underground Service Alert recognized the challenges in delivering not only valuable damage prevention training, but physical resources, helpful guides, and education in general to an online world. How do you learn from other professionals in the industry when you can’t interact in the field? How do you deliver meaningful, engaging education material to thousands of “boots on the ground” workers who can’t afford to spend three to four hours in front of a computer? After many discussions and hours of development, 811Pro.com was born.

Once again partnering with Damage Prevention Academy, 811 Pro is more than just a new education course. 811Pro.com offers resources, downloadable content, “Stories from the Field,” and everything someone needs to know about digging safely. But the real power behind 811 Pro, is the Pro Training Course.

Introduced and hosted by Special Forces sniper, personal safety instructor, and TV host Tim Kennedy, the Pro Course puts the learner on the job site. This fully immersive, 360-degree learning environment allows users to move through virtual space, learning important information as they go. The course can be completed in 60-90 minutes on average. All the relevant and important info that working pros need to be successful, safe digging partners is presented in easy-to-understand language, with very little legalese or confusing terminology.

After each module, the learner completes a multiple-choice quiz. After completing all four modules, the learner is awarded a Gold Shovel Standard certificate, valid for one year.

Maintaining the safety of our communities, workers on the job, and underground facilities starts with good education. 811 Pro aims to make that education as accessible and as easy to understand as possible. If at any time during the course a learner wants to dive deeper into the state law, there is a convenient info button for relevant state codes and regulations related to the topic they’re learning about. The interactive experience includes making white pre-marks (or delineations) around a dig site, surveying facility markings onsite, and selecting the right day on a calendar to comply with legal minimum notice. The course is mobile friendly, allowing the learner to move their device and watch the 360-degree environment move with them in real time (although fingers work too).

The Pro Course is the first of its kind, and 811Pro.com is growing, with more modules, add-on courses, and a Spanish language version. 811Pro. com is a one-stop shop for education related to damage prevention professionals in California and Nevada. Online education is here to stay and 811 Pro has helped keep it from getting stale.

Bryan Harris is an Outreach Specialist with Underground Service Alert. Learn more at 811Pro.com.

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