Amplifying Best Practices: A Case Study and Reflection on Radio Training

Man using walkie talkie in his workplace

Several years ago, I had the chance to work on an intriguing project at Rio Tinto for radio etiquette training. The training department identified frequent miscommunication problems among workers using 2-way radios. The primary goal was clear: get staff to repeat back messages, ensuring clarity and understanding.

Image of a poster mock-up with the Rio Tinto Alcan Radio Etiquette poster

The request was simple — design a poster to serve as a reminder. However, in retrospect, I never got to gauge the effectiveness of those posters. Without clear evaluation, we couldn’t measure the campaign’s ROI. This oversight underscores the importance of assessing a solution’s impact, a lesson I’ve internalised in later projects.

Given another chance, and with the knowledge I’ve gained, here’s how I’d approach it:

Diversifying the Media Approach

I’d still create posters but would complement this with:

  • Digital desktop wallpapers on computers and TVs.
  • Stickers on radios and charging stations — aligning with the golden principle of…

Teach them what they want, when they want, and how they want.

A Refresher Course

Leveraging the site’s Learning Management System (LMS), I’d dispatch a concise, mobile-friendly micro-course to staff. The benefits? Providing analytical data for deciding content for out next steps, evaluating campaign efficiency and fulfilling compliance requirements. Furthermore, integrating the same imagery across new-starter inductions and safety refresher tests would boost consistency and recognition.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Garnering Management Buy-in

To emphasize the campaign’s importance, securing the endorsement of upper management is vital. I’d approach the CEO to pen a few words or even record a brief video, explaining the campaign’s significance. This endorsement would help legitimise and give weight to the training.

Humour & Radio Advertisements

Capitalising on humour, I’d collaborate with the local high school radio station. This station is sponsored by the mine, and most importantly, it is listened to on the shift change busses. Crafting a series of contextual radio skits, the metrics from the micro-course would guide the scripts, directly addressing common misunderstandings. All while giving the high-school students authentic learning experiences at the same time, which can be hard to achieve in a small remote town.

The local school students gain an authentic experience from this project as well.

An Induction Enhancement

Any new worker’s initiation to the site should include comprehensive radio training. Instead of merely informing them, make it hands-on: real-time radio conversations where new staff must relay intricate messages or directions to a counterpart doing the task. An engaging game could time participants on relaying instructions to their partners, and if they fail to repeat the directions, there would be a light penalty, making the learning process interactive and memorable.

Evaluating the Campaign’s Impact

This point becomes even more pivotal considering my earlier oversight. Any campaign’s success lies in its measurable impact. Evaluating and collating data from the LMS with feedback from the safety reporting systems would provide invaluable insights into the campaign’s effectiveness, ensuring we don’t repeat past mistakes.


In retrospect, this project opened my eyes to the myriad possibilities in designing authentic learning experiences. While my initial approach was a start, our ever-evolving world of instructional design allows us to continuously rethink, re-imagine, and redesign for better outcomes. And, crucially, it’s taught me the undeniable importance of not just doing the work, but validating its worth.