Take a look at the title. What do we mean by “better”? And why do we need to include the affirmative “does impact”?
Let’s take the second question first. Formal, mandatory safety training for general industry has existed for at least 40+ years, since the creation of OSHA in 1970. Ever since, some employers – and employees and supervisors – have claimed safety training is a waste of time, and money.
The quality of training instructors has been uneven, with classroom courses sometimes taught by in-house staff with little or no knowledge in how to instruct effectively.
Uneven Quality of Presentations
Many employers, not wanting to spend more than they must on safety training, have not been selective in purchasing or renting Online Safety Training, generic safety films, abundantly available in the early days of OSHA-required training. Films gave way to DVDs and DVDs are giving way to online computer courses. Throughout this evolution, the quality of the content of safety training products has been as uneven as the instruction.
Scheduling required safety training has been an impediment for many employers. Time in the classroom is in effect downtime. It can break up a day. It can detract from productivity. The result: safety training is sometimes rushed. The instructor checks his or her watch, closes the classroom door, flicks the light switch, turns on the video, settles back, flicks the lights back on when the video is complete, asks “Are there any questions?” in a tone and suggesting he or she really does not want any, and then says, “Class dismissed. Back to work.”
Thanks to the technological advancements in online safety training, safety training does make a positive contribution to your safety culture and to your organization’s overall competitiveness. Employees no longer need to learn in a dark classroom where they might doze. Training time on computers, laptops, and now mobile devices, is more flexible – and accessible. It helps keep employees more alert through an interactive learning process.
Subject Matter Experts for Quality Control
Most training content providers now have subject matter experts (SMEs) on staff or under agreement. These are veteran safety and health professionals, with years or decades of real-world experience, and they often carry credentials such as Certified Safety Professional and/or Certified Industrial Hygienist. SMEs ensure content accuracy.
Experienced Instructional Designers for Learning Engagement
Only some training content providers have an experienced in-house instructional design team. Instructional designers are trained professionals in the learning process and methodology. They design learning experiences that engage employees. They create games, simulations, storytelling, and other engaging teaching tools to help employees retain information and check their knowledge. Sensory stimulation at the right time can help learners retain information for longer periods of time. Sound instructional design helps convey core-learning topics in a consistent method. It provides the learner with the right amount of information and the right learning experience to make information memorable. Experienced instructional designers create products in a way that employs a consistent architecture: the desired training outcome; the means to enable students to achieve that outcome; and the means to evaluate and examine if outcomes have been achieved.
Changing the Conversation
Technology and online training are changing the conversation about safety training. More businesses “get it” – they understand that investing in sound instructional design provides quality training, and online delivery eliminates out of pocket expenses, and lost time due to travel and obstacles to productivity. Most importantly, it can help save lives.
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