Toronto – CSA Standards , a leading standards-based solutions organization, today announces the launch of a suite of interactive solutions that harness the power of eLearning gaming technology  to teach emergency preparedness, safety and a variety of essential skills that could mean the difference between life and death on the job for many Canadian employees.
Canada alone experiences as many as 315,000 reported time-loss injuries and 1,055 workplace fatalities in a year . CSA’s new tools for business are designed to enhance the abilities of employers, employees, students and consumers to prepare for threats and emergencies of all sizes, by giving them the ability to experience them in realistic virtual scenarios – before they happen in real life.
“To reduce injuries, workplace training must teach best safety practices and change behaviour,” says Suzanne Kiraly, President, CSA Standards. “These new interactive modules go well beyond the simple transfer of knowledge and engage users in making decisions in the workplace that are linked to real-world standards and safety guidelines. From handling hazardous materials to assessing risks to prevent major disasters, preparing workforces with safety and emergency response skills in a virtual environment could mean the difference between life and death on the job.”
CSA Standards recently purchased the assets and intellectual property created by Ottawa-based Distil Interactive, an award-winning developer of eLearning products. This expansion of its interactive online portfolio of offerings, as well as the hiring of new development staff, will drive CSA’s transition to the next level in fully interactive online learning environments. The purchase represents a significant milestone for CSA and a commitment to utilizing technology and developing products to ensure that standards for safety, health and the environment are understood and applied.
The worldwide market for eLearning services is projected to exceed $52.6-billion by 2010 . During the last two years, CSA has produced four new eLearning products for release in 2009 and is committed to developing several new eLearning projects annually in order to meet the growing demand for training solutions. Advancements in this form of training are critical to improving the health and safety of workplace environments in Canada.
While adoption rates are higher across the country among students, as little as 15 per cent of Canadian workplaces use eLearning tools for training purposes .
CSA Standards’ new eLearning interactive modules provide dynamic, entertaining and educational learning experiences, which are designed to increase an employee’s ability to understand, retain and apply standards, codes, guidelines and policies in the workplace. Several CSA Standards eLearning solutions focus on health and safety at work, testing a learner’s ability to assess risks, take appropriate action, and improve decision-making and problem-solving skills in settings where the risk for safety hazards can be very high. The eLearning interactive modules can be self-directed or paired with a classroom experience allowing students to learn at an appropriate pace. They can include life-like scenarios to help trainees understand the impact decisions can have on the job, providing a more dynamic learning environment than traditional text-based training.
One such solution, Response Ready, challenges a trainee to avoid a dangerous explosion at a gas station and other emergency scenarios such as a toxic train derailment or a factory chemical spill. Based on CSA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response standard, Z731, Response Ready allows learners to safely test reactions to these and other similar situations. By being “response ready,” communities can prepare for large-scale emergencies or catastrophic events, such as industrial explosions or severe weather, including tornadoes.
CSA Standards can tailor eLearning solutions for organizations across a wide variety of sectors well beyond emergency planning or health and safety. For example, CSA Standards is currently working with Dr. Linda Manning who has developed a training model for Leveraging Immigrant Talent, a project funded in part by Workplace Skills Initiative Division of Human Resources and Social Development Canada and hosted at the University of Ottawa. CSA Standards is implementing a social networking game called TalentNet: Leveraging Immigrant Talent. TalentNet is an interactive, eLearning computer game designed to help managers learn how to keep pace with the changing demographics of Canada’s workforce by maximizing the skills and talents of their employees, and better identifying future business leaders. It will be officially launched in October 2009.