Engineering is awash with high-tech computer technology, so it seems strange that educational software developed five years ago for children should be the basis of an industrial training tool. But this is what is at the heart of an interactive multimedia learning product made by Huntingdon-based Engineering Adventures.
The one-man company, founded by Gary Molton, produces computer-based training programmes on CD-Roms. Packages range from sales and marketing and training videos, to multimedia models of hydraulic valves.
Molton says that despite the age of the software, increases in memory size and processor speed mean it now easily runs on most computers. `If you need to train employees on a new piece of equipment, you can go onto the shopfloor, video it, then store it in the library system of the CD-Rom. If new staff need training, you can simply play them the video clip,’ says Molton.
Engineering Adventures produces a standard program format which allows buyers to customise the package to suit their own requirements. The customer provides the text and video files to be included and Engineering Adventures puts the elements together.
`The most important thing is the content. We build a structure into which you can add your own information,’ says Molton. As part of the service, Engineering Adventures also supplies an electronic library to store multimedia files.
A criticism often aimed at computer-based training is that it is hard to monitor how much staff learn. Molton says that basing his packages on children’s software, and including quizzes and question-and-answer sessions, will enable users to test their progress.
Compared to some training systems, Molton’s is child’s play, but although it is cheaper than some packages, it doesn’t cost pocket money – the bigger programs average out at £15,000 to £20,000 overall, or £2,000 per screen.