Peter Sorenson: Increasing Training Awareness

Feb. 5, 2009
Besides being required for compliance with the North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s Critical Infrastructure Protection regulations, web-based training can provide companies with numerous other benefits.

Besides being required for compliance with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection regulations, web-based training can provide companies with numerous other benefits.

“Done right, online training can save companies from legal issues, help streamline production, provide just-in-time assistance to field personnel, even capture behavioral data on employees to help forecast real-life reactions to possible scenarios,” said Peter Sorenson, president of Quizzicle, a creator of custom elearning courses.

In his leadership role as president, Sorenson identifies trends and works with Quizzicle’s developers to create innovative solutions to specific training challenges.

“There are many ways to produce training that respects individual budgets without compromising content needs. I guide a process at Quizzicle that encourages creativity, sound technology, and strong customer service,” he said.

Sorenson and his team have developed a suite of online courses ( addressing national electrical infrastructure sabotage and cyber-security issues that dynamically presents custom content based on the learner’s employer and location. Designing the core instructional skeleton in this way has created fully customizable courses for the price of off-the-shelf courseware.

The online courses help utilities comply with NERC CIP regulations by leveraging this customizable training framework to increase employee awareness about cyber and physical and security issues. Utilities can track employee participation and completion of the courses within this system.
For participants, the instruction is an interactive experience with scenario challenges, knowledge checks and assessed tests. “The program not only affords companies the opportunity to meet training mandates but to truly educate personnel about the importance of their role in everyday procedures that support safety, security and audit compliance,” Sorenson said.

The goal of the NERC standards, which this suite of online courses supports, is a safe and secure electrical infrastructure. “It is a worthwhile goal for all Americans,” Sorenson said. “It is important for employees to adopt compliant behaviors in their job roles and for entities to demonstrate their efforts at protecting the nation’s electric power grid by providing training to all personnel.”

Sorenson said that a big challenge for most trainers is communicating the need and value of education to Senior Management. “Most training coordinators have to beg for funding, especially in today’s economy. Training is looked on as fiscally negative,” he said.

“Learning and Development departments need to present the case that training is fiscally positive and thus worthy of more development dollars”, said Sorenson.

Sorenson has worked on projects for international companies that often have required a core training module with processes (even graphics and languages) unique to different locations. This fostered the idea of developing one framework with hooks for customized content -- such as with Quizzicle’s NERC CIP training suite -- rather than building individual courses for each location. “This design kept the cost down while allowing customized components to be added only where required in the course,” he said.
Sorenson combined his love of problem solving with a programming background and a teaching degree to arrive at his current position as the principle of an instructional software development company. He continued “At 6’0”, the NBA was out of the question, and as my fastball never passed 80 mph, so it seemed more natural to employ my technical skills in a professional career.”

When he tears himself away from the training challenge of the day, Sorenson reads novels of humor or historical and political relevance. He is also a comic-book enthusiast who at one time envisioned a career as a cartoonist. He has also recently become passionate about golf and walley-ball (volleyball in a racquet ball court). He enjoys time at home in the garden and trips to New York to soak in the sights and energy of the city.

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