1423 Powhatan St., Suite 1
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Phone (703) 836-6727
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Email: asnehq@navalengineers.org

Title: Visual-Based Communication for Engineers

Author(s): Michael A. Leigh, Job Performance Associates and Dale Hirschman, CNRMC


In response to today's performance-driven requirements (human performance) leading organizations are seeking to improve upon traditional approaches to communicating highly technical information across a wide variety of organizational levels. This requires proven methods and tools that both offer better results and are flexible enough to keep pace with increasing change. While a great deal of focus in the past has been placed on traditional written technical instructions and training, attention now is being placed on visual-based communication that can be produced and updated quickly, and in many cases is delivered at the point of need.

Over the past 13 years, Job Performance Associates has teamed with the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Logistics Agency, and many large commercial manufacturers to address information-sharing challenges through the use of job performance aids (JPAs). JPAs are multimedia tools that represent the crucial link between the engineering community and the systems and organizations they support. Rather than trying to author or update written instructions that allow for wide margins of misinterpretation by users, engineers now have a way to bridge the communication gap, since JPAs allow users to see jobs performed correctly, or have difficult concepts explained visually.

Through the use of video, narration, animation and other dynamic elements, the complexities inherent in most jobs are visualized for users – inside the technical instructions they are required to use. The measurable result has been cost savings that measure in the millions of dollars (due to a return on investment that is a minimum of 5 to 1 the first year of use), as well as drastic improvements to equipment operational readiness and safety. In addition, JPAs are being used as an effective method for knowledge transfer – providing a way for time-saving techniques and other helpful advice to be preserved, shared and easily understood.

In our presentation, we will discuss the process for identifying knowledge deficiencies (especially those unique to naval engineers within the Navy’s NAVAIR and NAVSEA organizations), what is involved in developing an effective JPA, the operational impacts that are being realized by the DoD and large commercial manufacturers, and how these tools can prove to be a game-changing communication medium for the engineering community as a whole. JPA demonstrations will be a part of the presentation, and will help illustrate to conference attendees the applicability of this information-sharing approach across all of the topic tracks at this year’s event.