Tag Archives: elearning


Digital Training Delivered Digitally!

According to Network Rail, the mid-2030s will see an extra one billion journeys made on the railway. How can digital training and cutting-edge immersive technologies help the rail industry keep on track?

The Digital Railway programme touches nearly all aspects of the railway, and at PAULEY, we know that the railway’s key focus must be on its people. Changes to the way the workforce go about their daily jobs needs careful consideration and planning, and it’s essential that people must be trained effectively and efficiently, as and when they need it.

Towards a Digital Railway Academy?

In the rail sector and in every other industry, there is a pressing need for a greater volume of staff with higher-level skills. Upskilling the rail workforce is both essential and urgent. Hence, the idea of a Digital Railway Academy is one that the industry is getting serious about. The key to success? The method of delivering digital training, not the location. Forget shiny new buildings. What’s needed is a fully ‘virtual’ academy using a hub and spoke model, utilising existing facilities (Signals, Control Systems, Traction & Rolling Stock etc), with money invested in great kit (computers, mixed reality, other software) and even more importantly, great teachers. This approach is being pioneered at the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), using our bespoke digital learning technologies.

The Digital Railway programme touches almost every job within the industry, and the premise of a Digital Rail Academy is that the digital training can be developed and deployed centrally, using common and standardised materials, delivered at a time and a location that suits the learner. Training would be available online, when and where learners need it. The potential is vast. Why stop at technical and engineering subject areas?


The benefits of training through immersive technologies

Conventional classroom-based learning is best-suited to only a small percentage of people, and evidence shows that learning by rote is not an effective way to ingrain new knowledge. Immersive learning is an excellent way for the rail industry to meet demand.

A recent Harvard Business Review reported that immersive technologies and mixed reality will “reshape the way employees work and make them more productive by enabling them to work across physical and digital boundaries and to interact with digital content in new ways.” Their survey found that more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents believe mixed reality is important to achieving their companies’ strategic goals in the next 18 months, with training and educating employees topping of the list of uses.

Training with immersive technologies:

  • Utilises interactivity to boost engagement and consolidate learning.
  • Encourages a personalised, more relevant experience for each learner and puts users in control of their training to increase levels of participation.
  • Merges digital and physical environments and tools for a more fulfilling learning experience.
  • Puts information into context and make data easily accessible and transferrable.
  • Offers ways to train workers for hard to reach, dangerous or costly real-life situations.
  • Drive a knock-on increase in digital skills by learning with digital and cutting-edge technologies.


Putting people first

Upskilling rail workers now could also avoid implementing automation – an expensive endeavour and a growing fear for employees. Younger workers are more concerned about automation than any other group, with just under half of workers aged between 16 and 35 fearing for their jobs in the next 10 years. Anxieties about automation are heavily focused in London, where 46% of workers worry about robots – more than anywhere else in the UK.

An article in the Independent on 10th April 2018 stated: “UK employers are failing to prepare their staff for the impact automation will have in the workplace. A third of workers feel that their job will be automated within the next decade, while one in 10 fear they will lose their jobs to automation within two years, according to payroll firm ADP. Half of those who feel they are at risk because of automation say their employer has yet to reskill them.”

“Automation may seem like an issue for future generations, but our findings show that machines could replace thousands of employees in as few as five years,” says Jeff Phipps, managing director at ADP UK. “But by starting to upskill and retrain workers now, employers can ensure they and their employees are as ready as possible to work side-by-side with the machines.”

Digital signalling follows suit

Digitisation is also soaring in importance beyond the sphere of learning and training. It’s widely accepted that as a nation, we will never be able to build enough tracks and platforms to meet the growing capacity challenge in the traditional way. Although the 10% increase in train services over the next two years will help – by 2021 there will be 6,400 new train services across the country – digitisation is vital.

The Digital Railway programme is investing in digital signalling alongside traditional upgrades. This will allow more trains to run, enhance safety, and improve performance and reliability. In addition, new digital technology will enhance safety through automatic train protection (emergency brakes) and better traffic management on selected routes.


Training digitally

PAULEY has long since recognised the need to do two key things:

  • train people in digital technology
  • train them in a digital way.

Whether using hardware or software, we can help the rail industry become world leading in the way we educate and train our workforce, using digital methods that stimulate and involve.

Get in touch today to arrange a free demonstration and consultation!


Bridging the Rail Industry’s Skills Shortage with Innovation

There is a growing skills shortage across the UK within the various fields of engineering, science and manufacturing. Nowhere is this more evident than the rail industry. Cutting edge training technology using virtual and augmented reality can help to recruit new workers into the rail industry, get them up to speed rapidly and encourage them to remain within that organisation for the duration of their career.

The truth about the skills shortage

In NSARE’s Traction & Rolling Stock (T&RS) Skills Forecasting report 2015, issues such as an ageing workforce, low numbers of graduate workers and apprenticeships, and lack of gender diversity were flagged as major concerns for the future of this part of the rail industry.

The study identified that:

- Of the current workforce, 3% are apprentices and less than 1% are engineers under the age of 25.

- Women make up 4% of the existing workforce.

- Around 35% of workers are set to retire between 2015 and 2025.

In the T&RS sector alone, the report forecasts that 8,000 new workers are needed over the next decade. So how can the rail industry find these people, recruit them and train them effectively? At PAULEY, we’re taking on that challenge.

Engaging new employees using innovation & interactive technology

Our bespoke and award-winning immersive courses and virtual reality suite at the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton have already modernised and converted over 4,000 pages of traditional paper based courses into engaging learning experiences.

Now, learners can physically experience the pitch and roll of vehicle dynamics, and reach inside an engine to identify individual nuts, bolts and bearings in a safe, fully digital environment. As a result, training costs and speed to competency have been reduced while consistency and quality have been enhanced. Learners now have on-demand access to training whenever they need it, on a variety of devices.

“It was essential for us to adopt this kind of innovative technology,” says Simon Rennie, General Manager at NTAR. “It provides not only the impact factor required for a flagship training organisation, but also delivers highly portable content that can be delivered consistently and at high quality at multiple locations. The approach has allowed us to invest predominantly in content (as opposed to hardware) and it has been a pleasure working with PAULEY who have provided intuitive and hugely engaging learning material.”

For each traditionally classroom-based training course that’s digitised and brought online, £10,000-£25,000 will be saved by avoiding cross-country travel, automating course content and reducing the need for depot-based use of trains and machinery.

We’re also keen to help convert people from the automotive and aerospace industries, and to find new ways of working with the Armed Forces to encourage highly qualified personnel leaving the military to consider—and suitably train for—a career in rail.


 Only the best for new recruits

The poaching of staff is an enduring issue, and proof that rail organisations need to stay ahead of the game. Cutting-edge training technology will help keep your staff engaged and committed to your organisation. Plus, being seen as innovative and forward thinking by outsiders will make any organisation more desirable to young people planning to enter the industry.

And once those new recruits are captured, accelerating their induction (especially for apprentices and new entrants to the rail industry) is an easy way to save costs and effectively plug the skills gap.

New entrant effectiveness can take over 18 months, but a mix of online and hands-on training can transform the way recruits are engaged from the very first moment they enter the rail industry. A gamified approach makes learning fun and, as a result, more memorable. Times are changing, and endless hours in the classroom wading through folders of printed manuals are no longer an effective way to motivate or teach tech-savvy trainees from the “gaming generation”.

For rail organisations investing in new training technology, value-for-money is paramount. But at the same time, the quality of learning experience is vital to the success of the project.

A gamified approach to even the most theoretical subject matter will make any experience immersive, enjoyable, memorable, and drive trainees to take charge of their own learning.

If this is something your organisation is considering, get in touch for a chat or to arrange to see a demonstration of what we can do. You can also check out our brand new AR & VR Resource Centre for the latest applications related to STEM subjects. We look forward to hearing from you!


PAULEY Showcases 3D E-Learning at Space Situational Awareness Conference

  • PAULEY sponsors first Space Situational Awareness Conference
  • Collective efforts to ‘clean up’ Low Earth Orbits is essential
  • Virtual 3D environments could help tackle the problem

PAULEY were delighted to sponsor the inaugural Space Situational Awareness Conference 2013. 

We were invited to showcase our virtual reality visualisation of space using our Oculus Rift developer kit. The 80 international delegates, from research laboratories to government departments and private companies, were queuing up at our stand throughout the two days to take the immersive trip into space.

We garnered some great feedback over the two days of the conference. But why might accurate visualisation of space be such an important asset in the years to come? And how could we help?

Situational space awareness gains urgency


As Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity wins plaudits for its portrayal of astronauts fighting for survival after a devastating mid-space collision, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the complex machinery orbiting beyond our atmosphere.

The central plot of the film – in which debris from a destroyed satellite sweeps catastrophically around Earth – isn’t that preposterous. While the movie may portray spacecraft to be much closer than they are in reality, we are launching new objects into orbit all the time.

And collisions do happen. In 2009, the satellite Iridium 33 collided with an out-of-service Russian satellite, creating thousands of pieces of debris. While most of that debris is now thought to have burnt up in the atmosphere, the ISS had to perform an avoidance manoeuvre two years after the event.

“Situational space awareness can no longer afford to be ignored,” says our founder, Phil Pauley. “It’s essential that R&D, industry and military organisations continue to join forces.”

Out of sight, out of mind?


In this modern, interconnected world, so much of what we do depends upon space satellites, from communications to weather forecasting, navigation and defence. There are around 1,000 active satellites in orbit today, with a net worth of €100 billion. They must be protected.

But there are threats to this status quo, in the form of naturally occurring space weather (predominantly solar flares and cosmic rays), asteroids and comets, and man-made space debris.

The debris issue is a growing problem. Causing most problems in low Earth orbits, debris is found where the majority of satellites used for observations, communications and military surveillance operate.

20,000 items of ‘space junk’ larger than a mobile phone are being tracked, and half a million smaller fragments are circling our planet. Travelling at speeds of 5 miles a second, they can do a lot more harm than you might think.

Just because we can’t see space debris from Earth, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Tools such as ours could help accurately visualise the extent of the situation, make it real, and create ways to address the problem and help find solutions.

This month’s conference was recognition of the fact that something must be done. Despite political, military and international boundaries, it seems that those invested in space must start working together to take collective responsibility for debris.

Moving towards collective responsibility

Suggested approaches include launching ‘clean-up’ missions to collect large, disused and hazardous objects. Rockets armed with harpoons, robotic arms or nets could collect space junk and then either launch it out into a less crowded orbit or swing it back into the Earth’s atmosphere to burn up.

How PAULEY could help

Screenshot_2013-11-15-09-14-24The UK and international space industry is growing rapidly, and our reliance on the information gathered and distributed by spacecrafts and satellites is booming. There are plenty of challenges and opportunities ahead.

Much discussion at the conference centred on finding ways of incentivising a consistent process of cleaning up. Do we look at implementing a kind of global space traffic control, perhaps, using our technology to allow us to see what’s happening remotely?

Industry, government and business, some of whom we met at the SSA 2013 Conference, are keen to find new ways of training those involved in the industry, to visualise crafts in space, and to begin astronaut preparation in immersive e-learning environments on Earth.


E-learning Gets Friendly – Incentivising with Interactivity

  • Interactivity boosts engagement & consolidates learning
  • Tailor e-learning to focus on desired outcomes
  • Place interactivity appropriately for maximum impact

Interactivity. It’s a word that we’re supposed to immediately associate with futuristic endeavours, positivity and fun. At PAULEY, we truly believe in the value of making e-learning as interactive as possible. But what does the word ‘interactivity’ really mean? And why should your company make use of it?

Chances are, your workplace currently implements some kind of e-learning – three-quarters of all businesses are said to do so. And so they should. Once created, it’s a manageable, sustainable and low-cost way to boost skills and deliver business-specific training.

But we think that e-learning can – and should – offer much more than a series of computerised tick boxes on workplace health and safety: an exercise which will have bored most of us to tears at some point, and what most commonly comes to mind when we talk of e-learning. But include interactivity and the experience can be so much more.

We love interactivity

By taking a linear, passive presentation of information – often paper-based policies – and converting it into something more interactive, engagement shoots up. Interactive e-learning:

  • Encourages a personalised, more relevant experience for the user
  • Leads to increased focus on the content by making users stop and think
  • Puts users in control of their training, increasing levels of participation
  • Does not require the presence of a trainer and is available 24/7
  • Records responses to ensure that concepts have been understood
  • Gathers user feedback as a catalyst for improving your e-learning offer

Interactions can be as simple as filling in text fields, or as complex as responsive animations, 3D simulations, and scenario-based branching logic, which lead the user into a journey dependent upon their responses.

How to do interactivity…

Most importantly, you need to look at what kind of interaction you want to get from your users. Would it be most beneficial for them to reflect on the content, react to it, or to make decisions?

Depending on the purpose of the e-learning, interactivity can be vital: for testing competencies and monitoring performance – such as health and safety or engineering knowledge – gathering responses is often a legal requirement.

Motivation – above and beyond the user ‘having’ to complete the e-learning module – is another important factor to get right. Our last blog, for example, looked at how ‘gamification’ can be used to drive motivation and enhance learning.

Lastly, always remember there’s a fine line between software that’s simple enough to be useful and that which is complex enough to be relevant.

And how not to do it

A common misconception is that interactivity in e-learning tools has to be an elaborate, high-tech add-on. But it’s the quality of the experience that counts, not the flash-bang-whizz of some shiny, new-age kit or sophisticated visuals. It is creativity and originality of ideas that are most important.

Always keep the desired outcome in mind. It’s important to choose a platform at the start of your e-learning project. Whether it’s delivered on smartphones, tablets, computers or all three, don’t assume that software designed for a laptop will necessarily work on an iPad.

And only use interactivity when appropriate. Too many requests for interaction – especially when the user feels it to be unnecessary – may actually become distracting.

Find out more

It has been suggested that just 25% interactive learning time as part of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) can change the overall focus from passive teaching to active learning. Interactive e-learning is proven to increase efficiency, engage and motivate staff, and from a budget perspective, offers a fast and measurable return on investment.

Interested in interactive e-learning for your business? Get in touch and we’d be happy to chat.