In early September mining technology company Runge Limited announced the launch of its Smartminer mining course.
In something a little out of the ordinary, the training course was aimed not at miners themselves, but the professionals that regularly interact with them.
An often technical and jargon-riddled operation, the mining industry can sometimes appear detached from the work of staff in main offices away from site.
But for those not working on-site, a greater understanding of the equipment and methods used in mining can help staff better interact with their colleagues.
It also helps them to network and communicate better with others in the mining industry, regardless of their job description.
Runge group training specialist Garry Gibson said the mining industry’s perception of employee training had progressively changed over the years.
He said resources companies no longer saw training as an isolated activity focused on a single site.
Training and learning was instead increasingly being seen as something to deliver on a company-wide basis.
The amount of computer based training packages on offer for heavy industries such as mining and construction has rapidly proliferated over the past few years.
Gibson said one of the advantages of Runge’s offering was its interactivity. The number one complaint from most users who have completed computer-based training courses in the past is their dullness.
While training isn’t necessarily supposed to be fun, it does need to actively engage its participants and keep their attention.
Gibson told Australian Mining this concern had driven part of the program’s development.
"There’s a lot to click on, watch, and listen to," he said.
"And once users have taken-on the information they are free to keep moving through the course, they don’t have to wait."
On the technical side, Runge’s approach blends traditional instructor-led learning methods, like lectures and discussions, with online delivery, email, and discussion boards.
But just how much staff can learn about mining by sitting on a computer in an office off-site is a difficult question to answer.
Runge managing director David Meldrum told Australian Mining the program was not intended as a complete solution to mine knowledge.
"It’s not designed to make competent miners.
"It’s designed so that other people in the company will be able to speak to workers and know what they’re talking about."