These days, employee safety training sessions come in many formats, with the two most popular being in-person and online. What are the merits and disadvantages of each?
Much of the value of in-person training depends on whether training sessions are held in a room apart from the main areas of operations or right there on the work floor.
In classroom-style training sessions, workers learn in a quiet area and still receive the benefits of group interaction. The downside is they may lack hands-on time with the equipment the session is reviewing. Training within the actual work space encourages a learning-by-doing philosophy, but a noisy environment may not be conducive to workers who have difficulty hearing or focusing.
There is also one glaring problem with both styles of in-person learning: Have you ever tried to get everyone at a company in a room at the same time? It's not easy. Moreover, doing so would inevitably lead to costly downtime certain businesses may not be able to afford.
Online safety training videos connect learners with digital tools in a structured, consistent manner. Employees can complete courses on their own time, taking time to pause and look up confusing concepts as needed. The interactive components of online video training ensures employees stay engaged and tests their knowledge.
Younger generations were raised on digital media, so it makes sense training videos will resonate better with such an audience. Training experts are already looking to the new format of microlearning for training the Millennial generation. But fair warning: Not everyone takes to microlearning the way Millennials might.
Furthermore, the wrong safety training software will deprive managers of valuable insights. How will they know who finished which sessions? How will they let their employees know which courses are mandatory for their role? How will they remind those who haven't started their training courses to finish up soon? These are important questions to ask when shopping for safety training software.
The right safety training software will compile such data for managers to easily review. This can be in the form of charts and graphs on a dashboard, or within reports that can be scheduled to automatically be sent out to supervisors and managers. The best training software can even set up automatic email reminders to complete training courses or send notifications when training is overdue.
Why not blend the two?
When it comes to training, it's best to utilize both styles of safety training, otherwise known as a blended learning approach. That way, managers get the best of both worlds and limit the negative aspects of each.
Blended learning combines tactile education with technology that enhances how learners understand the subject matter. For training that requires focus and background information, find a quiet space for some online training. When it's time to test training in real-world conditions, move to an area where equipment can be used.
Using multiple training styles increases the effectiveness of the training by mitigating the limitations of using only one style. For example, interactive online courses and training videos can be used in conjunction with in-person groups by serving as an introduction to the material or a tool for the trainer. When the in-person session meets, time can be used for discussion, review, and live demonstrations.
Online training videos and interactive courses can also be utilized when training would normally result in company-wide downtime, while other small-scale topics can remain in-person. Another popular blend of online and in-person training is to conduct in-person training, and have the online training videos available for review when needed.
However your organization chooses to distribute training, it is important to know what tools are available to streamline the process. IndustrySafe training software includes a full catalog of safety courses, puts valuable participation data in the hands of training organizers, and alerts employees when it's time to complete their training.