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    Request for Proposals for the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) Computer-Based Learning Initiative (CETP-WAP)


    Download Request for Proposals for the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) Computer-Based Learning Initiative (CETP-WAP)

    June 25, 2004

     

    General Information
    The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a non-profit 501(c)6 trade organization authorized by the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 (PERA), Public Law 104-284.  PERC was created “to enhance consumer and employee safety and training, to provide for research and development of clean and efficient propane utilization equipment, and to inform and educate the public about safety and other issues associated with the use of propane.”

    PERC is governed by a twenty-one member Board of Directors appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association. PERC program beneficiaries include propane retail marketers, producers, transporters’ and agricultural cooperatives, as well as representatives of allied service and supply industries.

    In 2003, PERC purchased on behalf of the propane industry, the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) and now seeks to offer an alternative delivery method of the program to the industry.

    Proposals to Provide Services Sought
    PERC seeks bids from qualified organizations to develop a computer-based version of CETP certification areas as follows:  Basic Principles & Practices, Delivery Basics, Operating a Bobtail to Deliver Propane, and Operating a Cylinder Delivery Vehicle.  This software will meet the following general goals:

    1. CETP-WAP will advance, improve, and support industry safety training as defined in the provided CETP materials.
    2. CETP-WAP will use rich multimedia, interactive technologies, and demonstrative creative elements that support defined CETP training materials and, moreover, enhance the learning experience of CETP students.
    3. CETP-WAP will provide limited administrator tools for the following:
      • The ability for local safety managers to add supplemental content to the application.
      • Student scoring of module review quizzes and record archiving on the local user’s computer (Note:  completion of the online quiz results in a record of course completion, not “CETP Certification.”)
      • A tool for keeping local records of On-the-Job (OJT) training, including recommended checklists for student evaluation
    4. CETP-WAP will be delivered on CD or DVD and come with a printed installation guide
    5. Due to the fact that this material will become outdated fairly quickly, the need exists for CD/DVD “keys” to expire after a certain date, rendering the training materials, but not student records, inaccessible.  If at that date PERC wishes to issue new keys that would activate a second “time bomb” in the application.  It is expected that within 2-3 years, new CDs/DVDs or a web-integrated system will be introduced.
    6. Any creative or multimedia content will be developed with licensed copies of the following software: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Pro, Macromedia Director MX 2004, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional, Adobe Illustrator  CS, Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe After Effects 6.5, Studio Max 6, and Maya Unlimited. All graphics and source code created to support the application will become the sole property of PERC.    Any programming will be developed with C#, ASP.NET, and the Microsoft .NET framework, and therefore, we require proof of a minimum of two Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MCSD), two Microsoft Certified Software Engineers (MCSE), and license for four MSDN Universal subscriptions. We require that certification and license numbers be included in an appendix to the proposal.  
    7. The success of this project will depend heavily on eLearning systems engineers and technologists working closely with propane industry subject matter experts to ensure the most effective end-product possible.
    8. The core CETP curriculum training objectives must be incorporated in such a way that it matches the instructional design of the printed books.  However, we do wish to upgrade the graphics, make graphics interactive where appropriate, and introduce the concept of simulations as appropriate.

    The developer will have the talent, capability, technology, and experience to quickly define the full scope of the work and requirements of this educational tool including instructional goals, instruction design, entry behaviors, pre-instructional activities, evaluation (include OJT elements), local system additions, and other important processes and procedures. The developer will realize the project in a timely and professional manner and will be available for technical support after launch. The initial installment of the CETP-WAP will be available as a stand-alone DVD or CD series within nine (9) to twelve (12) months of the date on which the contract is awarded.

    Background of the Project
    The Propane Industry seeks assistance to coordinate with PERC and realize a project that will forward and strengthen the industry’s 16-year old, nationally-accepted, and highly training program, CETP.  The rapid and professional development of a CD/DVD-based CETP is now determined to be a top priority and a critical need.   CETP-WAP is greatly anticipated throughout the industry from the small propane marketer to the national marketers and across the nation. CETP-WAP’s success is critical to industry members and consumers.

    PERC has successfully focused and realized industry goals and objectives in recent years, especially the industry’s safety and training goals. PERC has also helped the industry grow new skills and knowledge using technology. With the support of the industry, PERC and the members of its advisory committees continue to provide needed leadership and guidance to the industry by envisioning, co-developing, and managing affordable, rapid, and intelligent development of industry technology projects such as CETP-WAP.

    CETP is the Propane Industry’s employee training and skills assessment program. CETP certification requirements include the candidate’s passing a Certification Area Examination and completion of a documented Performance-Based Skills Evaluation (skill assessment), an on-the-job (OJT) training and skills performance evaluation. CETP is widely used in the propane industry. CETP is also the basis for state jurisdictional licensure programs in Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, and Vermont.

    The CETP e-Learning Subcommittee is comprised of John Kamps (chair), Cliff Slisz, Don Singleton, Jerry Lucas. Mike Walters, Ron Stover, Thomas Petru, Walter Cressman, Ed Miller, and Sue Spear.

    After reviewing CETP and its success as an industry-initiative, expert-led discussions on eLearning concluded with an outline of the overall learning and eLearning goals of CETP-WAP.  In this case, e-Learning is not a replacement for classroom training or on-the-job skills assessment but rather an alternative delivery method that shares and enhances the same training objectives as those provided for in the text version of the same program; namely preparing employees for the certification examination and documenting hands-on understanding of key concepts.  CETP-WAP was conceived of as an educational tool that could provide affordable, important, and wide outreach and training support to propane marketers across the country. Making safety training more affordable, more accessible, and more vivid to the CETP candidate are the priorities of CETP-WAP.

    Continuing development of CETP-WAP into an enterprise-class hybrid type eLearning system is expected and is likely to follow upon the demonstrated successes of the CD/DVD-based version of CETP and lessons learned from development, outreach, launch, use, results, and performance evaluation.

    Scope of Project

    Architecture:

    The initial phase will be a computer-based program that is responsive to both the needs of CETP certification candidates and the safety goals of the industry. CETP-WAP will be highly effective in achieving the certification of CETP candidates by offering (1) greater accessibility/”on demand” training with CD/DVD-based training media, (2) greater efficiency and lower cost to candidates and companies within the propane industry, and (3) vivid and alternative content that addresses the different learning strengths of CETP certification candidates. Integration with Propane Web Services (PWS), PERC’s Master Contacts database, and other current or future applications licensed or owned by PERC is anticipated. Developer understands that the work is likely to involve collaborative efforts with SMEs and other developers.

    The initial installment of CETP-WAP will provide coverage of the following subject matter:

    1. Instructor/Skill Evaluator Training
      • PowerPoint Presentation Slides for use in classroom training for Certification Areas 1.0-4.0 (delivered on CD)
        • Target Audience: Propane Industry and affiliated trades and industries employees in training to obtain CETP certifications
        • User Groups: CETP instructors and propane marketer in-house trainers
        • Presentation Deliverables
          1. A PowerPoint presentation must be developed for each module for the following CETP courses of study: (Refer to the Module Maps at the end of this section.)
            • 1.0 Basic Principles & Practices
            • 2.1 Delivery Basics
            • 2.2 Operating a Bobtail to Deliver Propane
            • 2.3 Operating a Transport to Deliver Propane
            • 2.4 Operating a Cylinder Delivery Vehicle
            • 2.5 Operating a Truck, Tank Trailer or Tractor/Trailer to Deliver or Relocate ASME Tanks
            • 3.0 Basic Plant Operations, comprised of:
              • 3.1 Maintaining ASME Tanks
              • 3.2 Maintaining DOT Cylinders
              • 3.3 Operating Dispensing Equipment to Fill Cylinders
              • 3.4 Maintaining Bulk Plant Equipment
            • 3.5 Performing Cargo Tank Product Transfers
            • 3.6 Performing Railcar Product Transfers
            • 3.7 Maintaining DOT Intermodal (IM) Tanks
            • 4.1 Layout Design & Selection of a Vapor Distribution System
            • 4.2 Preparing & Installing Vapor Distribution System Components
          2. Required Presentation Components (the contractor awarded the project will be supplied the Instructor Guide version of each module for reference and preliminary content material.  Note:  It is anticipated that most or all graphics will need to be recreated or repurposed for stylistic consistency.):
            • Title Slide including:
              • CETP Logo
              • Module Number and Module Title
              • Visual presentation appropriate to the task named in the Module Title
              • Other graphics (logos etc.) as specified by PERC
            • Program Disclaimer Slide (as provided by PERC)
            • Module Introduction Slide (from the module Instructor Guide)
            • Module Objectives Slide (from the module Instructor Guide)
            • Instructional Slides
              • At minimum, the slides must present each knowledge objective (performance criteria) for the module as given in the Instructor Guide.
              • Text and graphics should present the major concepts, objectives, and steps for performing the task presented in the module.  Animated graphics should faithfully convey the concept, operation, or process depicted.
            • Review Slide(s) should direct the learners and instructors to the module review(s) found in the module.
          3. Skills Evaluator Training to improve the quality of skills evaluation and on-the-job training (OJT) for candidates for CETP certification during the application of skills evaluation checklists.
            • Target Audience: Propane marketers, their managers and supervisors, and third-party skills evaluators (including some CETP Instructors) who administer the CETP Skills Assessments in an on-the-job training setting
            • User Groups: as shown in Target Audience above
            • Instructional Content:
              • Identifying the role of the Skills Evaluator and considerations for designation and training of Skills Evaluators
                • Identifying suggested pre-requisite qualifications for Skills Evaluators
                • Identifying important attributes for an effective Skills Evaluator
              • Conducting On-the-Job Training Using CETP Skills Assessment Checklists
                • Identifying proper use of CETP Skill Assessments
                  • Identifying the role of skills evaluation and OJT in documenting employee qualification to perform propane operations related tasks
                  • Identifying the proper use of the Instructions sections that apply to the skills evaluator and the person seeking CETP certification
                • Identifying methods for effective OJT in the course of skill evaluation, including
                  •  Incorporating leading questions to elicit employee verbalization of critical knowledge objectives related to the performance of the skill
                  • Posing scenarios with abnormal operating conditions that challenge the person seeking CETP certification to verbalize and demonstrate how to recognize and react to unusual or abnormal conditions
                  • Effective methods for pointing out and correcting improper employee behaviors during the performance of a skill
                  • Methods for incorporating company-specific policies, procedures and safety directives in the OJT and skills evaluation process
                  • Identifying methods for applying the Skills Assessment Checklists while the candidate for certification performs the specified task as set out in the checklists by means of:
                    1. Actual task performance
                    2. Demonstration and explanation
                    3. Simulation
                  • Development and incorporation of audio/video clip examples for the criteria for this section b are required.
                • Identifying documentation requirements for OJT and skills evaluation, and completion and submission of the CETP Performance Evaluation pages for CETP certification.
    2. Basic Principles and Practices eLearning program
    3. Propane Delivery Basics eLearning program
    4. Operating a Bobtail to Deliver Propane eLearning program
    5. Operating a Cylinder Vehicle to Deliver Propane eLearning program

    Access to CETP-WAP will be provided only to registered users and administrators using a user name and password in order to both facilitate candidate profiles and records and evaluation process and procedures.

    Knowledge of users, their tasks, and their environments will be critical to the successful design of the user and administrative interfaces. Through user profiling and usability guidelines, the developer will design CETP-WAP interfaces that are usable; the interfaces will allow users and administrators to accomplish their goals and tasks effectively and efficiently. CETP-WAP interfaces will be designed with the following characteristics:

    • Reflect workflows that are familiar and comfortable
    • Support different learning styles
    • Encompass a design concept that is familiar to the users
    • Reflect consistency of presentation (layout, icons, interactions)
    • Use language and illustrations that are familiar to the users

    Content:

    Content will derive from CETP materials approved for such use by PERC and provide the same training objectives as those currently provided via the text version of CETP.  Content is to be understood as any and all manner of text, graphics, user-related features and functionalities, interactive elements, creative elements, etc. Some content currently exists in a variety of online and non-digital formats such as print publications, photography, creative elements, and other materials. Other content remains to be developed. PERC anticipates the digitization of relevant text, video and other content (creative and otherwise) as well as original development of content.

    Assessment of the interactive, creative, multimedia, and technical content to be developed in the initial application will be no easy task.  The contractor will work closely with PERC’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to determine special and complex requirements and the priority of such content within each area of CETP that is to be provided by CETP-WAP.  The developer will need to make accurate estimations of the development costs for interactive, creative, multimedia, and technical content for which all rights will be acquired by PERC for the majority of such works. The developer will also exercise good judgment and certain accounting proficiency when considering the costs of special content in relation to the total and final cost of CETP-WAP.

    Technology:

    The software deliverable should not exceed the following client hardware specifications:

    • Windows 2000/ME, XP, or higher
    • 256k ram or higher minimum, 512 recommended
    • Pentium IV or AMD Opteron processor
    • 64 mb or beter video card
    • 6 GB free hard drive space
    • DVD and CD drive

     

    Scope of Work
    The contractor will closely work with PERC and others to accomplish this project. A monthly report will be provided to PERC detailing the evolution of the project according to the following administrative specifications:

    1.  The contractor will provide a detailed project timeline.

    2.  The contractor will submit a proposed budget covering the entire project period on a separate budget page(s).  The proposed budget will provide a cost breakdown in sufficient detail by the following cost categories, where applicable.  Due to our hope to award this contract as quickly as possible, please structure your budget for the entire project as outlined below with “bottom line numbers (hours and rate)”, please use footnotes for further explanation if needed:

    • Design Documentation Development
    • Content Management System/ability for local safety managers to supplement content
    • Student Record Management tool
    • 2D graphic design
    • 3D graphic design
    • Other graphic design
    • General programming/Learning Management System
    • Video editing and engineering
    • Sound editing and engineering
    • Script writing and editing
    • Voiceover talent
    • Acting talent for simulations
    • Travel and travel-related expenses
    • Project Management
    • eLearning Subject Matter experts
    • Propane/CETP Subject Matter experts
    • Adult education experts
    • Focus Groups
    • Production of Installation Guide (writing, editing, layout only)
    • Administrative Needs
    • Other

    3.  The contractor will include a description of the background and qualifications of all experts and individuals that would be performing the work.

    4.  The contractor will provide a client list and/or completed project list.  (Please do not send work samples/demos at this time, they will be requested at a later date if needed.)

    5.  Please indicate that you have a minimum of two Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MSCD) and two Microsoft Certified Software Engineers (MSCE) available for this project.  Certifications will be checked.

    6.  Please provide the MSDN Universal Development licenses numbers for each developer you plan to have working on this project.

     

    Qualifications
    The contractor must demonstrate and describe its abilities to anticipate, coordinate, and carry out all aspects of the project, including its in-depth familiarity with adult-oriented Computer Based Training (CBT), ISD, interactive and technical design, multimedia and corporate communications production, software development, and enterprise solutions. Knowledge of the propane industry, adult eLearning environments, and relevant methodologies and technologies that are required for this project is necessary and should include 5 years or more experience with Microsoft operating systems, design tools, and server technologies in general and relevant experience with current Microsoft Dot Net, Server, and C# technologies in order to understand where this project may go in the future.  The contractor should also possess capability and ability to travel, communicate, and explain technology solutions to any non-IT personnel.

     

    Additional Information
    For any questions regarding this Request for Proposals, please contact Stuart Flatow [stuart.flatow@propanecouncil.org] or Meg Guegan [meg.guegan@propanecouncil.org] of the Propane Education and Research Council at 202-261-2202.

    For copies of the following Council documents, please visit our web site at www.propanecouncil.org:

    • Propane Education and Research Act
    • Fact Sheets
    • Press Releases
    • Propane Safety & Training Roadmap
    • CETP content is available for review on request.
       

    Submitting Proposals

    Proposals must be sent in electronic PDF or Microsoft Word format to BOTH stuart.flatow@propanecouncil.org or [meg.guegan@propanecouncil.org] and are due at PERC’s office no later 3:00 p.m. July 5, 2004. 

    Stuart Flatow, Vice President, Safety & Training
    Propane Education & Research Council
    1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1075
    Washington, DC 20036
    Telephone: (202) 452-8975
    Fax: (202) 452-9054

    General questions about this proposal should be directed to Stuart Flatow at (202) 452-8975 and technical questions should be directed to Meg Guegan at 202-261-2209.