In a world where Google is seen by many as the first port of call for acquiring new knowledge and the economic realities of the day demand that the time employees and contractors spend away from the front line is a minimum, those in organisations who are responsible for providing information and training are under increasing pressure to be more versatile in how they ply their trade. This is as true for health and safety professionals as it is for others.
For many practitioners, the statutory duty to provide information, instruction and training to ensure the safety of people at work and the notion that this duty can be exercised electronically, have been uneasy bed-fellows.
There’s a comfort in sitting people in a classroom and reading to them from a power-point slide that some practitioners are loath to surrender, despite all the difficulties associated with shift-work and travel and attendance.
For certain, some training has to be face-to-face and only through practical demonstration can understanding be truly verified, but the versatility of electronic training supplementary to more traditional methods is compelling.
So what are the benefits? Well, employees learning at a time to suit themselves and at their own pace for one, which in turn leads to high course completion rates without the difficulty of chasing attendance. Fully customisable course content so that company-specific policies and procedures can be included alongside more generic information. And the sort of detailed analysis that enables training performance to be measured and managed.
For me, two case studies illustrate the potential of electronic training for organisations both large and small. For one client, a small company in the North West, I arranged high-quality, display screen equipment training and assessment for less than £10 per head.
For a much larger client in the Midlands whose safety resource was overly stretched – partly due to its daily commitment to contractor inductions – I wrote an electronic induction which enables contractors to be inducted before they arrive to site i.e. from any pc on the planet.
There have to be safeguards of course – and some of the safeguards are built into the learning management system – but the potential is clear and difficult to ignore.