Technology was transforming the training landscape long before COVID19 struck. The pandemic did, however, push service providers to new levels of inventiveness. In fact, it’s proved that online learning is going to be the future of health and safety training.
To explain further, Peter Watson, Director of Watson and Watson Health and Safety Consultants shares his experience on how the industry has had to evolve.
Online Training Is Trackable
A lot of basic-level health and safety training can actually be undertaken on the basis of self-study/guided learning. In an offline world, however, this approach presents two challenges.
Firstly, you have to make sure that busy people actually make the time to study what they should when they should. Secondly, you have to find a way to check that they’ve absorbed the course content.
Online training is trackable and thus solves both of these problems. Firstly, you can check an employee’s progress on the course. This means that you can quickly respond if their learning appears to have stalled. Secondly, you can incorporate exercises, quizzes and tests into the training to confirm whether or not they have understood it.
Online Training Is Easily Repeatable
With self-study/guided learning, trainees can usually repeat all or part of the course as often as they feel necessary. It’s also often possible for them to return to a course at a later date if they want a refresher.
With tutor-led courses, the trainee and the trainer have to connect at the same time, but they don’t have to be in the same place. This generally makes it significantly easier for extra sessions to be arranged if they are needed.
Online Training Is Time-Effective
In many companies, the biggest barrier to training isn’t the upfront cost, it’s the time involved. The more employees need to be trained, the more the training impacts on the company’s regular work.
On-site courses are generally only practical if an employer can manage to release a group of employees at the same time. Off-site courses, however, are run to the provider’s schedule, not the employers. They also involve some degree of travel. This means that the employer is losing the employee not just for the duration of the course, but also for the travelling time.
With online health and safety training, providers may be able to offer courses more frequently because they don’t have to worry about organizing a physical venue. Even if they can’t, everyone is spared the need to travel to a training location. Both trainers and employees can just log on from their desks wherever they happen to be.
Online Training Is Cost-Effective
Having just said that, time is often more of an issue than monetary cost, it does have to be recognized that cost is a factor for most businesses. Running training courses in the real world means paying for associated costs like the venue and the travel. This is acceptable if being in a real-world environment adds value to the course content, but in reality, this is rarely the case.
In fact, these days, it’s often more valuable to be in an online environment where trainers have total control over what happens. This allows traditional face-to-face learning to be combined with the sort of possibilities only technology can offer (at the sort of costs the average business can afford).
Online Training Can be Easily Gamified
You can send employees on training courses, but you can’t make them learn. You can, however, encourage them to learn by making the course engaging. That means immersive and preferably fun. In other words, you need to respect the fact that adults prefer to learn through play in the same way as children.
Online, you can set adults challenges in a way that is just not possible in the real world. You can take them anywhere in time or in space and face them with any challenge you can imagine. This is simply invaluable in areas such as health and safety training.
Written By Peter Watson
Peter Watson, Director at Watson & Watson Health and Safety Consultants. Watson & Watson are experienced health and safety consultants, providing health, safety and risk management solutions throughout the UK.