Golf game an active way to review technical procedures at Commonwealth Edison

Bob Anderson of ComEd's Zion Nuclear Plant has invented an active golf review game that can be used when training virtually anything.

It's been a big challenge to teach nuclear procedures because the information is typically tedious and boring, Bob says. This game helps make the procedures stick because learners get enthused about reviewing them.

On Monday morning of a week-long refresher training for nuclear technicians, Bob gives learners a copy of the procedures. He asks learners to study and write questions about them. After he collects the questions, he ranks them into three levels of difficulty, designating each question between 100 and 300 yards.

On Thursday, Bob divides the class into two teams (the game works with three or more teams as well). He tells them they're going to play five holes of golf. Using an overhead projector, Bob projects a bird's eye colored diagram of the first hole on a whiteboard.

They flip to see which team tees off first. This team selects their desired difficulty of question. Bob reads them the question, and if they get it right, they advance the specified number of yards.

But to make things more interesting, teams have to first pick a card from a deck to see whether their ball lands on the fairway, or in one of the various traps on the course. The card might just say Fairway, or it might say Water, Rough, or Sand Trap, all of which add one stroke to the team's score.

After a team has its turn, they mark their spot on the whiteboard course with a colored marker or magnet. Each hole has yardage markers already on it.

Teams take turns answering questions until their ball lands on the green. At that point, Bob asks them to draw a card from another deck. These cards specify how far their ball is from the holeó between one and ten feet. Using a putting green set up in the room, a team member has to putt their ball into the hole, adding the number of strokes to the team's total score. When both teams have sunk the ball into the cup, they move on to the next hole. Bob then projects the next golf hole transparency.

The winning team, of course, is the one with the lowest score after they've made it through all five holes. Bob says each team answers between 15 to 20 questions in the course of a game.

The next day, learners are tested on the procedures through both written and hands-on evaluations. He says that the game has had 'tremendous results' because test scores are so much better than before they used the game. 'They're forced to read the procedures to get ready for the golf game, and they come away really knowing them.'

Not only that. Learners have a blast. He says the comments have been 'nothing but positive.' Learners really get into the fun competition. When someone is putting, for instance, the other team hoots and hollers, trying to distract the putter. Bob says that some games actually are won or lost in the putting, keeping everyone in suspense until the end.

(March/April 1998 issue)