Thu, Sep 01, 2022
Online training, or eLearning, has many implications when it comes to training workers how to optimize safety in their work environments. But is it the best way to train workers – primarily contractors in many industries such as mining, constructions, and energy/utilities – who work primarily in the field in often dangerous positions? In other words, is online training adequate for their needs?
According to an IBM study, every dollar invested in online training yields $30 in productivity because workers spend less time away from their responsibilities. However, many industries, particularly in the industrial skills and construction areas, are slow to adopt because they perceive classroom training as “more effective.” When evaluating online training, it’s important to look at the different types of training workers need and determine the best blend of classroom and online for your workforce.
The Conventional Classroom
We’re all familiar with the traditional classroom method – a teacher presenting in front of a room of students. Maybe you leverage internal employees who are experts in a particular system or program. Or you bring in subject matter experts (SMEs) or send your workers to off-site training facilities.
According to HSI and its “Case for Online Safety Training” white paper, the latter two options are not only expensive, but intrusive on the workers’ schedules. Imagine how challenging it would be for your construction project to stop to a standstill – because some key contractors were in classroom training. It also involves setting specific training schedules, coordinating logistics, and accounting for multiple training sessions because your company can’t afford to stop production for an entire day. If you send a crew to the classroom for eight hours, you must account for the associated lost time and productivity.
Another fallback of classroom training is the amount of administrative time it takes to schedule facilities, speakers, send reminders to attendees, and perform testing and follow up. Keeping track of “who’s compliant and who’s not,” and “who’s taken the training and who hasn’t,” with manual data entry and Excel spreadsheets is time intensive.
The Online Advantage
Online safety training can be delivered in less time than classroom training. It can also be broken up into chunks that mean less disruption and getting workers back on the job quicker. It also lets workers take their required training at any time – at their preferred location – and its flexibility is one of the top advantages.
Two reasons workplace health and safety professionals are moving to online training are its accountability and measurable data. If you want to move your organization’s safety culture forward, begin with easier access to data and the ability to better analyze it. When combined with a training system, online courses can provide attendance verification and competence (test results), allowing you to instantly audit for safety knowledge.
Besides its flexibility, online safety training is a repeatable, consistent experience for all attendees. For example, with classroom training, the speakers could be different, or the audience atmosphere might vary, and all variable factors could make for completely different experiences and outcomes. With online training, there is a consistent and equitable user experience across all trained workers and maximizes the potential for positive learning outcomes. This standardization reduces confusion for your workers and trainers and lowers risk.
Another major advantage of online safety training is that it’s relatively inexpensive to produce. If content changes (for example, legislative or regulatory mandates), it’s fast and easy to update with the latest information.
In short, online training puts the worker in control of his or her training experience at the appropriate individual pace. They can revisit material when necessary and earn knowledge proficiency through testing and exploring course content.
Finding the Right Balance
While there are so advantages to online training, what if you need to teach certain workers a new skill or how to safely operate a new piece of equipment? A hybrid blend of online training to set the stage and provide background information – bolstered with hands-on onsite field training combines the best of both worlds. If a worker needs to revert back to review an online demo after the initial field training, he or she has that reference within the online training course and can use that as a helpful reminder.
Many benefits of online learning are found in training created by experts, not just company SME’s or employees who were delegated the responsibility for training. Instructional designers who are experts in learning design and educational technology bring a new level of expertise and professionalism to your online training program. Engaging, quality content really matters, especially if you’re trying to hold a worker’s attention.
At Damstra Technology, our eLearning module lets you customize the digital learning experience by worker level, skills training, and even geography. For the most up-to-date content, our team of instructional designers builds best training practices into all our safety training modules that lets your workers learn on the job or receive training at home on any device.