- No viable solution for safe in person training found at this time.
- A vaccine will be required before 1:1 in person classes can restart.
- Online training is being developed, though the process is methodical.
- Elements of training will enter a Quality Assurance phase by July.
- Training will include, text, picture, sound, and interactive training activities.
Alternative Solutions Explored:
During the past two months I have tested several potential solutions for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that would be sufficient. Many problems were found logistically and with execution. First affordability, many solutions are being placed at a premium price almost up to $100 per user, and even when these options are within price range the delivery time is approximately 2+ months.
Cloth masks do not prevent infection, they only mitigate risk of virus shedding into the environment by those already infected. I was able to acquire a 3M respirator + P100 cartridges, and after testing, there is concern that the seal to the face from the respirator could be broken nullifying the protection provided. Additionally, air flow is restricted during activities that require elevated heart rate and breathing, airflow would be too greatly reduced to reasonably allow for training to maintain quality.
Classes will be postponed until a vaccine is available.
The Long Road:
Despite public desire to re-open large sections of industry it is important to understand and adapt to the new normal. This will not be a challenge limited to the next three months, six months, or even year. As people continue to resist best practice for limiting spread we will continue to see an unstable and more difficult approach to recovery long term. Understanding this dynamic, an abrupt strategic shift has been taking place on my end for training.
This pandemic has prematurely accelerated plans that were already in place to be fully operational by 2025 with online training. It was intended that the www.skill.training would be implemented in phases. Unfortunately the options to have the training first be supplementary is no longer viable. It is now the primary method for distribution of the conceptual portion of the training until a vaccine can be produced.
Research & Development:
The new normal means the requirements have just become incredibly steep, switching from a supplementary training to a primary training methodology. Courses will be released first as micro-courses, then as full courses, this approach allows for proper project scope control.
Text: The text based portion of the courses is likely the easiest element as the curriculum has matured greatly since 2013.
Picture: This element is moderately challenging as everything needs to be produced in uniform style, and this is time consuming and meticulous.
Sound: Recording quality, and overall audio aesthetics are a concern due to experience, the balance is that most audio segments will be narration of text.
Interactive Training Modules: This will be the most challenging portion, however, I feel is very important to help aid in understanding of the concepts. While the technology is sound and has been tested, there is a massive workload required in order to produce this portion of the content.
14-20 hour days every day for two months.
That has been the work schedule at the moment. The current strategy is to use my background in developing graphic assets for training simulators to produce the interactive training modules mentioned above. The bottle neck for progress is my proficiency in C# programming, which increases every day. I lack the budget to hire on someone, and have tried to hire programmers before with disappointing results, so I am taking on the task myself ( as I have invested 2 years learning this skill. )
Additionally, application for government aid to cover the gap of income has been a very time consuming and frustrating process that is still in progress.
I am currently working to release a game July 7th titled “ICONIC“.
The game is a by product of project to develop training simulators from 2020-2030 that would eventually be integrated into the online courses. Breaking this effort down into a minimum viable product, I wanted to do something that potentially helped ease income loss, while also starts building a community that will provide valuable feedback and data that will improve the quality of the training simulators to be embedded in the online training for www.skill.training.
All current students will receive a copy of this once it releases on Steam Early Access. Understand that early access is still a development phase of the project. From July 2020 – January 2021 ( 6 months), development will continue in parallel to the online courses being built. I anticipate if all goes well, optimistically you could start seeing interactive training components in the courses within the next 12 months using WebGL.
Gratitude for your Patience:
As a professional there is the matter of ethics in what is referred to “scope of practice”. I have encountered a lot of tough situations in life, several even life or death. However, I never learned nor was I trained to combat an invisible enemy you can’t throat punch. I have to admit, I haven’t felt this helpless in years.
I hope I am meeting your expectations during this pandemic. I feel some stress and guilt for not knowing better how to help you. I can only imagine many of you are navigating this time with a similar feeling as I have. I can promise you that classes will eventually return once it is safe for both you as the student and myself as the instructor, I cannot promise when that will be.
Until then the best I feel I can do is make adaptations, and this takes time, a lot of time, and I wish I could make it go faster. I also don’t want to cut corners, as the topics are based on your personal safety and well being, I could imagine no greater reason to advance slowly and do this as well as possible.
If you didn’t see the last update I posted there may be some valuable information in there as well, and as always please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Update 4.1.2020: https://defense.education/defense-education-operations-during-coronavirus