The mining sector is increasingly opting for elearning solutions rather than traditional facilitator-led classroom learning and it’s not COVID-19 that inspired this change.

No in fact, it’s cost savings that have led to the increased interest in digital education solutions.

“Never before have mining companies been under as much pressure as they are now to cut costs and increase productivity to remain viable, let alone operate profitably,” says Mike Hanley, managing director at New Leaf Technologies, a learning software and solutions company that specialises in the mining sector.

But this is just part of the reason mining is pursuing digital learning solutions. Another part is that the industry is increasingly digitalising operations and new equipment and technologies require miners to be trained to use this technology.

What generally ends up happening is that trainees are required to travel to these training sessions. While COVID-19 made this difficult, travelling and accommodation is expensive.

Digital learning solutions then make sense, especially for mining firms with operations scattered across South Africa.

What’s more is that there is consistency in the training owing to everybody getting material from a central portal.

As regards the material, New Leaf Technologies recognises something rather important about learning – everybody does it differently.

For that reason courses take on a multifaceted instructional approach. Courses incorporate graphics, text, animation, VR, AR and more in a bid to capture the attention of trainees.

“Courseware needs to grab attention, but also must be aligned with the company’s needs. It must stimulate prior knowledge and build on current skills levels. It needs to present information in a storytelling format, which may often involve gameification and interactive video. And it should be guiding in nature too, providing support to learners who may grapple with difficult concepts. To break the monotony, allowing learners to provide feedback is also a great way to retain their interest, and measure effectiveness,” explains Hanley.

We’re actually quite taken aback by this approach as many schools and tertiary education institutions aren’t taking such a customised approach to learning while still trying to cater to as many learners as possible.

Granted, New Leaf isn’t dealing in foundational education but the concepts are worth exploring, especially at a primary and secondary school level.

We would be doing a disservice to not unpack other areas where the mining sector is facing problems.

Data from Stats SA reveals that production in the sector is down 1.3 percent year on year, production shrank by 73.1 percent and things are not looking good.

A new approach to training then might help to improve efficiencies in the sector but its clear that elearning is not a magic wand. It is a tool that should be used with others to improve not only the sector but the lives of those within it.

To find out more about New Leaf Technologies’ elearning solutions, we recommend heading to the official website.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]