My Experience at ASSE Safety 2017


The American Society of Safety Engineers [ASSE] conducted their 56th annual conference, Safety 2017 from 19-22 June at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The conference had over 650 exhibitors from across the globe.  5,000 safety professionals, health and safety leaders, key decision makers, safety consultants from 40 countries came together to share their expertise in risk management, industrial safety, industrial hygiene, and more.  With over 300 speaker sessions and events, the conference was a unique opportunity for professionals in the safety domain.

There were various types of organizations exhibiting at the conference; which could be categorized as:

  1. PPE Products – This category included organizations providing safety glasses, safety footwear, hard hats, clothing, glasses and gloves.
  2. Health and Safety Products – Organizations providing fall protection devices, safety ropes manufacturers, chemical safety devices.
  3. Universities, Publishers and Associations – Organizations across the USA who provide accreditation programs on health and safety.
  4. Training organizations – These included eLearning catalog companies, onsite training providers and training marketplaces.

I attended the conference on behalf of the Harbinger Interactive Learning team, and tried to understand the role online learning plays in health and safety training. Here are my key observations from the conference:

  1. Popularity of Onsite Training – Though there are many successful online training catalog providers in the health and safety space, onsite training is still the most popular method to deliver training.
  2. Learning on Handheld Devices – Many of the training catalog providers have their training content in Adobe Flash or PDF formats, however, they seem to be warming up to the idea of providing training through handheld devices like tablets and smart-phones.
  3. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Health and Safety – Virtual and augmented reality seem to be the next big thing in the health and safety training domain.

Safety 2017 provided me with the opportunity to interact with various health and safety training providers and also gave me an insight into the evolution of safety training over the last few years. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this conference and came back better-informed on the role training plays in the health and safety domain. Did you attend this conference? What were your key takeaways? Share through comments below.

Can Authoring Tools Become Your Differentiator?

When working in a custom eLearning development company and interacting with prospects, one often faces this curious question, “What is your differentiator?”


The answer to this is usually framed around the following points:

  1. Years of experience
  2. Design innovation
  3. Domain knowledge
  4. Instructional design capability
  5. Cost effectiveness

Development technologies, specifically authoring tools, usually don’t appear in the differentiator list. But the way authoring tools have evolved over the last couple of years, I feel they definitely deserve a place in the list. However, it is only possible if you know how to use these tools creatively and customize the output to make it unique.  Here are some quick ways of looking at it:

  1. Challenge the tool – Don’t just be happy with the basic features that the tool offers; explore the tool and discover ways to create unique solutions. Every tool has a strong developer community to help you with your discoveries.
  2. Tool limitation is just an excuse – Most of the times stating that the authoring tools have limitations is just an excuse. There could be few “not so obvious” solutions; however, there are workarounds to almost everything.
  3. Look for creativity – You cannot make the most of the tool if you are concentrating only on the tool functionalities. Look at it not just as a development tool but as a design aid as well.
  4. Select the tool wisely – Select the most appropriate tool based on your requirements; not every tool is fit for every situation.

Modern day authoring tools are not just for rapid development, but they can provide creative, unique, and cost-effective solutions. So go ahead, make them the differentiators for you.

What do you think? Share your comments.

Why does eLearning fail?

As an eLearning professional for the last 10 years, I have been a part of many successful eLearning courseware development projects. However, there have been many occasions when the eLearning solution does not live up to the expectations.

Undoubtedly, eLearning as a medium is very powerful. Then why do the eLearning initiatives fail? There can be numerous reasons why an eLearning project fails. Here are some reasons I have commonly seen.


  1. Ignored end users – When the idea, requirements and approach is driven by only the sponsors and not the end users of eLearning, there is a RED FLAG right at the start. You cannot ignore the end users. Here are some guidelines to refer to understand the end user requirement:
    1. What do the consumers want?
    2. What is their comfort zone?
    3. How do they enjoy learning?
    4. What motivates them?
    5. How can eLearning add value to their learning experience?
  1. When design takes over content – Not every eLearning course needs to be highly interactive or requires a lot of graphics and imagery. Sometimes content effectiveness is lost in the efforts of making the eLearning design heavy and visually attractive. Content is the KING and it should always get the first priority. Content presented in a simple style, properly chunked and with the right design can also make a great impact.
  1. Not creating a marketing buzz – Most of the time focus is on the development of the courseware, which is where it should be; however, similar efforts should go into creating a buzz around the release. It is important to attract the consumers and get them excited about the new courseware. Just putting the course on the LMS doesn’t help. It’s almost like releasing a new motion picture. Just a good story, some gripping acting and scenic locales is not enough. The audience needs to feel compelled to go to cinema halls. The release plan must include:
    1. Plan to create a buzz and attract consumers
    2. Plan to provide technical support during and after the release for a smooth experience
    3. Plan to update the content
    4. Plan to capture consumers’ feedback

There could be many more reasons for eLearning implementation failures like quality of content, technical limitation of the delivery environment, lack of alignment of content with the business goal.

Have you ever experienced such a situation of eLearning failure? How did you resolve it?

Please share your thoughts below.