Going for Gold

Nov. 19, 2020

Network Rail Training picks up top Learning Technologies award


Caption: Learning Technologies Awards

Last night, Network Rail scooped the gold award for ‘Best Use of Simulations or Virtual Environments for Learning’ at the annual Learning Technologies Awards virtual gala – an event that celebrates the use of technology to innovate and enhance the learning experience in the workplace.

The international scheme has been recognising outstanding learning technologies for 16 years, showcasing some of the most recognisable, memorable, and life-changing learning technologies and eLearning around the world. This year, 489 entries were received across 34 different countries. 

Facing competition from organisations like GlaxoSmithKline and the Institute of Technical Education, (Singpore), Network Rail won the award for the introduction of virtual reality (VR) into the new Controller of Site Safety (COSS) course that launched in July 2019. To support Network Rail’s safety vision and create a more engaging learning solution, Network Rail Training developed a series of immersive track safety scenarios, enabling colleagues to explore the virtual track and test their knowledge in a safe environment. The technology is designed to help embed the skills, knowledge and behaviours that Network Rail’s 13,000 COSS colleagues need to keep their teams safe on site.

Judges were “impressed by the quality and authenticity of the VR solution simulating the changing on-track conditions” and said, “With strong, well presented data meeting all the criteria this submission warranted the top award despite a very strong field of contenders in the category this year.”

The course has featured in Front Line Focus, where previous delegates have shared their thoughts on how the new technology has enhanced their learning experience.

Guy Wilmshurst-Smith, head of Network Rail Training, said: “What a great achievement it is to receive a gold award in this category. I’m incredibly proud of the team for the hard work they put into developing and delivering the new VR COSS training. The safety of our colleagues is paramount and to receive industry recognition for our use of technology to improve safety on the network is fantastic.

“We’ve received great feedback and are continuing to explore the use of innovative and immersive technology as an engagement tool for other learning opportunities. The road ahead is exciting and with the Network Rail Training team at the helm, I’m confident that it couldn’t be in better hands.” 

Network Rail was also recognised in the shortlist for ‘Excellence in the Design of Learning Content’ for the new COSS training and ‘Best UK Digital Transformation of a Training Programme in Response to COVID-19’ for a project accelerated during the pandemic to develop Contingent Incident Response Training.