Business benefits of instructional design

Accelerating time to value for a new tool for methane leak detection


When our utility client needed to implement a critical safety tool in the field, the company needed to quickly train its teams to use it safely and efficiently. See how our team leveraged instructional design expertise to develop custom learning modules, preparing utility organizations to use their new methane leak detection tool with confidence.


Over J Consulting has worked extensively with SoCalGas, a utility company that delivers natural gas to more than 20 million consumers across Los Angeles and Southern California. 

As one of the largest utility companies in the United States, SoCalGas has to prioritize the speed, scale and efficiency of its operations to meet overlapping project deadlines and comply with federal, state and local regulations. 

At the same time, the company is working toward progressing ongoing sustainability initiatives while continually improving services for its residential and business customers. That’s a challenging balance to sustain. So when SoCalGas received and implemented a new methane leak detector in late 2021, the company turned to the Over J team for a modern training solution.

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As part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) STAR program, methane reductions have been a key component of SoCalGas’ commitment to sustainability. In tandem with that effort, the company adopted a new tool for detecting methane gas leaks, the RMLD Complete Solution or RMLD-CS. 

As this tool was already deployed in the field, the department involved needed effective training for quickly upskilling its workforce and preparing them to use and troubleshoot this device in variable, potentially hazardous environments. 

Understanding the context of our clients’ needs is critical to any project. In this case, we took the nature of the tool and the organization's need for highly accurate, reliable training into account. We started the project by establishing a shared goal with the project stakeholders – developing an effective e-learning course to effectively educate employees who would be using the RMLD-CS in the field.

As part of our e-learning consulting process, our lead instructional designer quickly determined that commonly used training methods wouldn’t be sufficient. Rather than relying on traditionally text-based, static guides, our team realized that a more dynamic e-learning solution would yield better training outcomes for the SoCalGas technicians relying on the RMLD-CS device.

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Our consultants took an Agile approach to managing this project, communicating and iterating the project plans as they gathered more information from the SoCalGas team. To achieve the stakeholders’ training goals, the final product needed to be tailored to its intended users. With that in mind, the lead instructional designer conducted multiple user interviews to ensure the e-learning solution was accessible and effective. 

In the end, the Over J team delivered interactive training modules created using the Storyline 360 software. What was previously a one-dimensional text-based manual became a highly accessible and responsive training tool, uploaded to the learning management system, Cornerstone.
The advantages of taking this approach? Employees benefited from an engaging, proactive training experience, facilitated by:
• Creative, scenario-based learning assessments
• Usage and troubleshooting instructions restructured for improved clarity
• Interactive, clickable elements to improve learning retention
• Updated images to better depict real-world scenarios
Accessible training options, designed for use on multiple devices

To achieve this result, our team established consistent feedback loops throughout the process. Because we were able to incorporate feedback from the team at every stage of the project, our instructional design team was able to incorporate a variety of learning styles into the curriculum design, while also ensuring the training scenarios reflected practical compliance requirements and safety challenges that might arise.

What's next?

As happens with many of our projects, our team took the initiative to take the e-learning solution we designed to the next level. 

Not only did we develop a modern, engaging solution to their team’s training challenges, but we also integrated mobile features to enhance usability in the field. Now, SoCalGas technicians can use mobile QR codes to access documentation on tool functionalities and to complete safety checks and sign-ins without a laptop or the hassle of manual paperwork. 

That’s the benefit of working with Over J – our commitment to collaboration and innovation ensures we develop transformative solutions that drive your continued success. 


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