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How did Liebherr come to look the topic of electronic learning for crane operators?
Karl Stöhr: As is so often the case with product developments, the initiative came from the users. We were asked directly by customers to provide them with support for training and regular statutory guidance procedures. The request was for a modern, manufacturer-independent training instrument which would not just be for Liebherr.
I would also like to mention the personal initiative of Dr. Saller, who, like us, took up the cause of accident prevention during the operation of mobile cranes. He’s the author of the training segment entitled “Legal principles”.
Dieter Walz: The aim of everybody concerned was to make working with mobile cranes on sites around the world safer by means of preventative measures. Since the basic and advanced training for crane operators is primarily the responsibility of the crane contractors themselves, we wanted to provide them with an instrument which would support our customers’ training activities. E-learning provides the knowledge in compressed form and supplements practical training on the machine.
Sascha Brenner: As a leading crane manufacturer, we are very interested in not leaving our customers to their own devices in the basic and advanced training of the personnel. Furthermore, Liebherr itself has been providing high quality courses and training for many years using extremely experienced trainers at the training centre in Ehingen.
What are the options open to crane contractors today for training their operators?
Dieter Walz: First of all, I would like to point out that the industry currently has a major problem – there are simply too few crane operators and the prospects are actually getting worse. Additional training packages are absolutely essential. Since there is no training standard in Europe and in Germany, for example, there is also no statutory training pathway for mobile crane operators, we therefore have to take a different route. In addition to classic learning-by-doing and the exchange of experience from crane operator to crane operator, there is a whole range of training providers. However, the training market is far from clear and the quality of the courses differs widely.
What do you think makes the e-learning attractive?
Sascha Brenner: These days most people can handle digital media very well. The main benefit of our e-learning tool is that crane contractors can provide their employees with annual guidance and advanced training as well as professional qualifications at any time.
Armed with his personal access code, the mobile crane operator can study the training modules he wants in his own time, repeat them if necessary and complete them. The system has a progress indicator to make things easier.
What is new about the e-learning training package for mobile crane operators?
Sascha Brenner: In terms of the content, in principle we take the same approach as we do with our courses here in Ehingen. Our proximity to our customers all over the world provides us with all the ideas we need to and keep everything up to date. Images, graphics, texts and language and even videos ensures that the content is presented in an entertaining and varied way. In learning mode, users can display the correct answer and, if necessary, switch to the appropriate training content. In test mode, the system poses an arbitrary sequence of test questions. After the final test has been passed, the learner receives a certificate which can be confirmed by the employer.
The e-learning package for mobile crane operators is only available online around the world and saves the progress by the various learners. In addition to the entire course, various topic and even individual modules can be booked for up to 6 months. These are particularly suitable for annual recurring safety training. In addition to a personal single station licence, it is also possible to book a so-called “annual corporate flat rate” package for a specific country – regardless of the number of learners.
What is the content concept behind the idea?
Karl Stöhr: The e-learning package is structured in a similar way to the typical procedure for a crane job in practice. What needs to be considered in advance during the planning phase? What needs to be known for operating the crane at the site or place of use? What needs to be done at the end of the job?
In detail, there are topics such as legal principles, crane technology, crane physics, load chart tables, selecting the crane position, safety equipment, setting up, special conditions of use, attaching to loads, load handling equipment, crane inspections, what to do in the event of faults and much more.
Have you had any initial feedback from users?
Dieter Walz: Yes. The feedback has all been extremely positive. The customers regard the content and structure as very good. Large crane contractors have already included the e-learning tool in their existing training systems.
Other crane contractors have been using it to train both beginners and experienced operators in all crane classes. Individual modules are also being used to train dispatchers and external sales personnel.