April 14, 2020 – Index AR Solutions, a creator of digital workforce training, has today announced the completion of a strategic initiative to convert MidAmerican Energy’s gas apprenticeship program to digital platforms.
The project included streamlining and replacing legacy training materials with a multi-modal digital curriculum of eBooks and augmented reality mobile apps that boost engagement, knowledge retention and worker safety.
The digital curriculum components are available now for purchase by other utilities, with pricing and terms based on a co-marketing agreement.
MidAmerican is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy that serves 791,000 electric and 771,000 natural gas customers in the USA across Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. As the cornerstone of a project to combine two time-based apprenticeship programs into a single, competency-based hybrid program, MidAmerican’s new digital curriculum is now being used to train all its gas technician apprentices.
Index AR Solutions worked side-by-side with MidAmerican trainers during the modernization effort, pairing AR and eBook learning tools to create an experiential learning platform with visual, auditory and tactile elements. Company operating standards and safety rules are also included for reference and contextually embedded into step-by-step procedures.
The curriculum is divided into four six-month phases built around interactive eBook multimedia learning experiences that are loaded on each apprentice’s work tablet for use during instructor-led classroom training, remote self-study and field work. Visual augmentations, 3D animations and detailed schematics teach apprentices how to identify key parts or complete common tasks. The augmentations also walk the apprentice through what PPE and tools are needed for each step and overlay critical information on to the area they are working.
Instructional videos are also embedded into the eBook modules, each one featuring MidAmerican’s own represented workforce. The videos emphasize the importance of safety and commitment to customer service – with seasoned workers who share wisdom and real-world stories from the field.
“Backed by the AR apps, videos and other rich content, the eBooks have become a valuable repository of our workforce’s knowledge, while also training and developing our future journeymen,” said Mike Hoff, Director of Business Optimization and Innovation at MidAmerican Energy Company.
MidAmerican expects to also benefit from the portability of the digital curriculum. Since content is downloaded to their company-issued Apple iPads, apprentices engage the material for training or field reference immediately. Training initiatives now take place consistently across geographically distributed teams, even in the event of business disruptions.
“Index is proud to work with innovative companies like MidAmerican who are using technology to chart the future of workforce education, and we look forward to partnering with other forward-thinking utilities who wish to augment their own workers – from the classroom to the field,” said Dan Arczynski, CEO, Index AR Solutions.
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Image credit: Index AR Solutions
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.