I just returned from the American Society of Safety Professional’s (ASSP) annual conference in New Orleans. It was a massive event with over 5,000 people in attendance. The conference included a great exhibit hall with 200+ exhibitors from around the globe. The speakers and breakout sessions were great, which brings me to the reason for this blog post.
After going to these events for quite some time (over 25 years), it gets difficult to find new, interesting topics, but I found a couple of great ones. These particular topics cover the latest innovations on how to think about online safety training.
Workplace safety training is typically an event-oriented activity in which we go to a classroom and listen to a facilitator, or we sit in front of a computer, listening to a talking head (with 1980s-esque video footage) for 30-60 minutes a session. This type of training takes employees away from doing our jobs. Depending on the size of your company, the cost of this type of training could be tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity each year.
Studies have shown that people forget 80% of what they learned within four weeks of training, and this percentage increases depending on the length of the training class.
Micro-learning provides a different approach to deal with lost productivity and the tendency of employees to forget workplace training content. Course topics are about three to five minutes long, the optimal length for memory retention. It takes four to six micro sessions to cover a topic in full. Some of the most popular topics to cover in micro-learning sessions include:
Forklift safety, etc.
I want to mention that this type of training is typically only completed as a value-added educational component to your required workplace training. As an employer, you must still provide hands-on training where OSHA rules require it. However, those rules that say the person shall be “provided information” or “educated” can be handled with this learning method.
Micro-learning courses can be taken on any device, but they are specifically designed to also be delivered to a smart phone. This is a great benefit to your employees because they can control when and where they complete their training.
The second training topic that stood out to me during the conference was “Adaptive Learning.” People get frustrated taking the same course year after year. As someone who has had to conduct the same workplace safety training class to the same individuals year after year, I can say it’s just as frustrating for the instructor.
Adaptive Learning can be a successful training method when you have a number of safety topics or OSHA regulations that need to be covered over a period of time. There are two types of Adaptive Learning that can be used.
1. “Prescriptive” learning
In Prescriptive Learning, tests are used to find out what a person already knows. Then, based on answers, it can be demonstrated that the person knows enough to either test out of the topic or require re-training. Therefore, the training curriculum for that individual only covers what is not adequately known.
2. “Postscriptive” Learning
Postscriptive learning is used when someone has failed an online course. Instead of having to retake the entire course, it is reconfigured to only contain the information that the person had trouble with. This gives them the opportunity to focus on the areas where they need the most help in order to pass their courses.
There is a lot of interest in these relatively new approaches to safety training, especially given there are substantial advantages for both employers and their employees. Many industry professionals believe these training concepts have the potential to quickly take root in businesses across the nation. As a business owner, employee safety training should be a tool in your risk management tool kit. However, despite your best efforts, workplace accidents and injuries are not 100% avoidable. Make sure your business is properly insured with a comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance plan to provide your organization and your employees with the medical-expense coverage and lost wages coverage you need.
Visit swbc.com/workers-compensation to learn more.