. this file is FrogOJTexpertise2004 on FastRendererG3 (C) 2004 Richard Katz

. also FrogOJTexpertise2004.html with a letter to Parker/Veriflo


Training; or the Acquisition and Management of Expertise


Expertise is an input into any manufacturing or service operation. It is little appreciated; evidence of this is that firms, generally, do not inventory the expertise of their employees, in the manner in which they keep a marked to market accounting of their assets in land, buildings, equipment, and negotiable instruments.


Firms instead rely upon credentials held by workers, elevating estimates of expertise by level of education to the status of statistics on skillsets, with footnotes about seniority.


What we propose is a novel system for acquisition of expertise by employees of a firm, and the management of the acquired or incumbent expertise by management, through the medium of short unadorned digital videos accompanied by searchable, synchronized Quicktime text tracks. The words of the text tracks form an index of the skills and knowledge, both tacit and explicit, that are depicted in the video and audio tracks of Quicktime movies. The corpus of movies constitute an inventory of the firm's expertise; the records of each employee's familiarity with a subset of these movies constitute that worker's individual updated human capital; and the perusal of reports of these records allow for management of expertise across any stratum of the firm. Employees acquire expertise by watching the movies, absorbing the information in the text tracks, video tracks, and audio tracks.


Movie Production for the Acquisition and Management of Expertise


Solid performers incumbent in the workforce of the firm constitute the beginning reservoir of expertise held by the firm. Referring to the accompanying graphic (the file unspooled_movie_film5.jpg) we see that the Director (Training Director or Managing Director or Vice President of Education or Manufacturing Manager; the Person in Charge [not to be confused with movie director]) initially instructs the Videographer on what physical tasks to shoot. The Videographer deconstructs the steps that constitute the tasks into sequences of a minute and a half or less [preliminary measurements with EEG apparatus have indicated that video viewers fall into a state of inner inattention after roughly two minutes].


NOTE: A "sequence" in film lexicon is action taking place in one place at one time, continuously. The POV or camera angle can change, but time rolls on.


The sequences of tasks are shot with a digital still camera capable of taking Quicktime movies with sound. The files created by the camera are capable of being immediately uploaded to a computer network. The quality of such movies, including their monaural sound, is quite sufficient. Such a camera sells in the $500 range in 2004; flash memory cards, in 2004, are inexpensive.


The Videographer's sequences are edited only for length. No titles, credits, or other adornments are necessary or desirable.


Note that at this point, we have recreated the method of motion pictures of approximately one hundred years ago, when the Lumiere brothers filmed a railway train rolling into a Paris train station: The Lumiere's accidental Discovery, which we wish to seize upon, was that when the footage was screened by paying audiences, many in the audience leaped from their chairs and scattered to the side of the room or took refuge behind their seats. This is the level of attention-paying that we want to maintain for workers learning to perform their tasks. This is why the method (for which we have applied to the United States Patents and Trademarks Office) beats any other method. By any other method (long form video; classroom; one on one; CBT) one simply cannot correct the deficiency of persons not paying attention, and the other person not holding their attention.)


The accompanying graphic (unspooled_movie_film5.jpg) shows the subsequent steps in postproduction of short unadorned digital video sequences with Quicktime text tracks. A Descriptionist screens each sequence and dictates or types the salient points of action appearing in the video; a Transcriptionist type-edits and times the phrases to the timepoints of the video, thus creating text track samples; and a Subject Matter Expert (or Jargonist) superintends the usage of words in these samples of text to prevailing standards in the shop. Note that colloquialism is always an issue; multilingualism is an issue (easily addressed by alternate text tracks); and depiction of non-approved work practices is the biggest issue of all. The camera doesn't lie; and this genre of moviemaking is not at all about "telling the story", it is entirely about telling the truth. It is worthy of note that the inspection by Management of the short unadorned digital video sequences produced in the above manner, readily allows for the correction of any nonstandard operating procedures or nomenclature that have, one way or another, become de facto standards on the floor.


The accompanying graphic also shows that any movie constructed by the above method will find its way back to the Office of the Director -- The Boss, or the Boss's minions -- to make sure that everybody is on track with the firm's vision and mission, in a most practical sort of way.


Viewing the movies constructed by this method is the means by which employees acquire expertise. Incumbents who are already provisioned with a wealth of expertise in any given depiction will be amongst the Users who provide the essential detailed factchecking that would derail the utility of the corpus of movies through unintended lapses in authenticity.


On the Use of Quicktime Text Tracks for the Indexing and Management of Expertise


A database of movies is constructed, each record having fields for movie filename, other file metadata, and all of the movie's text track samples (the nomenclature here "text track sample" is the usage of LiveStagePro, a Quicktime compositing program that describes a Quicktime movie in valid XML; and is the usage of other similar programs for the compositing of Quicktime movies, including Adobe GoLive; and note that most video editing programs have no facility for editing or even simple databasing of text.) The fields held by text track samples become an index of the firm's expertise. One can look up any action, or step, or part number, or machining operation, or stock, or any other piece of information that has been entered by the Desciptionist or by the Subject Matter Expert; and this database will display the very frames of the movie wherein the words apply. Note that this places a heavy burden of accuracy and perspicacity on the Descriptionist and SME; but, note further, that nothing in the above method proscribes the refinement by iteration of the completeness and appropriateness of the text track.


For instructional purposes, the value of this is evident: One can simply type in a relevant phrase, and the appropriate teaching materials will appear. No doubt there will be, as in any search procedure, a problem with irrelevant materials also appearing; such is the ambiguity of our language. And this is where the Trainer becomes the Mentor: Knowing how to structiure the query, knowing what you want the Trainee to watch and read, being familiar with the culture of the company, becomes the gift of good teaching.


Management of expertise can now be done by the numbers: A related database is kept of employe_ id's and movies_watched. That is all that's needed, at a minimum; one doesn't even need to keep track of movies_watched_when. Further development will yield an enhancement, wherein the viewer's mouseclicks can be interpreted in an intelligent fashion, as in CRM, so as to yield up the insight into whether the viewer watched the movie with more than a passing or perfunctory interest. Generally, there will be more words in the text track than can be comprehended at the speed one watches the video track; this is especially the case where high tech manufacturng is being done, while decidedly less so for the preparation of, say, fast food. Examples of this disproportionation are available (bobjonesnet.mov, wherein are set forth, elegantly, all the steps of a proper golf swing, in the space of four and a half seconds; whopper.mov, whereas the words that accompany a burger being prepared are laconic to an extreme ["four pickles"; "three tomatoes" et seq over a running time of 32 seconds.) But immediately, there will be an accounting of who watched what, and thus to a first approximation who knows what; and this accounting will be the first accounting, ever, to constitute an inventory of available skills on hand.


On the Refinement of the System for Acquisition of Expertise


The Author of this proposal was trained as a biophysicist, a scientist who measures biological phenomena by physical means. For example, a simple biophysical assay of attention-paying by humans is to note, in the notebook, how many pairs of eyes are on the screen or on the presenter. A biophysical assay would NOT be to ask them if they watched. A more sophisticated assay might be to measure the subjects' mental activity by hooking each and every one of them up to an electroencephalography apparatus, or EEG machine, and getting a readout of their brainwaves. At the very least (and perhaps also at the most), this would estimate the subjects' response to the stimulus of viewing the projected or presented material. This is just by way of example; but we surely do, at some point, need to inquire into whether we can quantitate the learning experience other than by a post-instructional quiz or self-reported assessment, or a proficiency examination.


Preliminary experiments have already been undertaken in the biophysics labs of the University of Pennsylvania to assay cognition whilst watching our short unadorned digital video sequences of the genre described in this proposal. The preliminary results indicate that cognition, as estimated by increased flow and volume of oxygenated hemoglobin to the prefrontal cortex [measured noninvasively and in real time by near infrared differential spectroscopy using ordinary light and a pulsed array detector in a headset hooked up to a laptop], is indeed augmented in response to viewing a HowTo movie of the genre described supra. Proficiency tests in the depicted task [HowTo Tie the Bowline] indicated that learning, by the usual criteria of success, had taiken place. (One could do a similar estimation using functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI], but it is harder to believe that the brain is sufficiently mobilizing its resources for cognition to be taking place whilst the person is strapped to a table being magnetized.)


This abovedescribed next frontier in training is purely optional for the users of the System. Results obtained from firm-sponsored investigation into any augmented cognition would, if judiciously interpreted and applied, be of value to the firm, whether by way of publication (confirming that very short Quicktime movies with text tracks are an exogenous substrate for the normal metabolic activity of the brain); or by way of profits accruing from proprietary closely held positive results.


Mode of Deployment of a System for Acquisition and Management of Expertise


No planning for deployment is necessary at the outset; the system harvests the extant expertise of the firm in whatever area the Director wishes to start; repackages it; and redeploys it in situ. The need for judicious strategic planning arises when procedures or specifications change, or need to be changed. This is when mockup movies of the new moves really show the value of neatly packaged expertise; just when management needs to lead the way, the Managers can have a new canon of expertise trained on the target and ready to go.


September 2004 Richard Katz FrogOJTexpertise2004


Lisa Greenawalt

Veriflo div of Parker Hannifin

250 Canal Boulevard

Richmond CA 94804



Dear Ms Greenawalt:


Thanks for taking the time to talk about the future, and the past, of short unadorned digital video sequences with Quickitme text tracks for Veriflo div of Parker.


We first proposed the use of such movies at Veriflo some years ago.* I had telephoned Mr Lamar Cole, and he had screened a good sample of the exemplar movies that demonstrated the concept. Mr Cole and I toured the plant, and had tentatively planned to make a set of HowTo's depicting several of the critical steps in manufacture of high pressure valves, from stock. Interestingly, when we went back to Step One, the first station, and took a closer look at washing the stock, it was glaringly apparent to me (as a biochemist) and to Mr Cole (as a former worker at the washing station), that something was amiss. The "dirty" racks were being blown dry whilst sitting on the clean racks. I thought we had the job. Later that turned out to not be the case.


Our technique for moviemaking was known then as Rapid Skill Acquisition Technology. We've improved on it and amplified it since then. A short statement of what it consists of is attached, entitled Training, or the Acquisition and Management of Expertise. Rapid Skill Acquisition Technology developed into a system of indexed expertise.


The simplest way to acquaint yourself, and your Manufacturing Manager, with what we propose, is to screen the sample videos on the GetSkilz Inc website. Go to www.getskilz.com; click on the link "DARPA videos" on the left side of the screen; click through the NDA; and select from the sample videos. All of them are relevant enough, but none happen to be from the world of manufacturing. Allow me to come over to the plant and show you some that are. What we Propose, simply, is to make a series of short unadorned digital video sequences of steps comprising the tasks that comprise the jobs at the plant, and incorporate the didactic information that goes with those steps into Quicktime text tracks, to accompany the procedural information depicted in the video and audio tracks. It's a novel approach that will work just fine for Parker-Hannifin.


One last thing: I'm a great admirer of Parker-Hannifin. A long time ago, I took a detour from biophysics to go into the trucking business. I had plenty of opportunities to observe, in the air fittings and other paraphernalia, how amazing Parker products are. Never had a bad piece, new or used. If we have this opportunity to do some work with Parker, I know what the standards are: Best in the world. That sounds like mere fawning, but believe me, driving down the boulevard with eighty thousand plus, you just think, once or twice, about those fittings and you get a certain feeling for them. The competitors' stuff isn't bad, either, of course, but if you don't want to have any worries at all, you look for Parker on the box; especially for hose.





Richard Katz


*I was surprised to see that the intro letters were addressed to Lamar Cole at "Veriflo division of Parker-Hannifin"; my faulty memory was that I had met with Mr Cole prior to Parker taking over. But the computer doesn't lie (usually), and the date of creation of the letters was solidly in 1999. Tempus fugit. I am indeed curious why I thought this morning that I had been in contact with Veriflo before the Parker era.