While the traditional methods of in-person or classroom training will always have their place, obstacles related to geographic disparity, the emergence of telecommuting and other factors have added to the challenges faced by employers attempting to implement safety training across their organizations.
Technology, of course, has answered the bell with one concept in particular: the learning management system (LMS).
At its core, an LMS is software used to deliver and track online training. Below are four key considerations to consider when diving into the world of online safety training.
1. Keep an eye on content
Paired with a good content library, an LMS can serve as an efficient and engaging method to train employees on a plethora of safety-related topics. Often available in multiple languages, some of the more popular course topics include blood-borne pathogens, basic first aid, personal protective equipment as well as the ever-relevant topic of slips, trips and falls.
Course content is often developed with specific regulatory requirements in mind. While there is loads of content out there on all sorts of health and safety topics, not all content libraries are created equal.
Before deciding on an e-learning provider, it is important to preview content, which in some instances can be drastically outdated and practically irrelevant. If the coursework features imagery from the 1980s, how does that affect the credibility of the content being presented? How often are courses updated? Does the content offer imagery related to my specific industry or occupation?
These are all worthwhile questions to consider.
2. Ease of use and customer support
If you cannot figure out how to use it, will you use it? The administrative side of an LMS will be the place from which training is assigned, tracked and reported on. Hence, the system’s ease of use is paramount.
Without an intuitive system, an administrator could spend countless hours struggling with how to best populate rosters, assign coursework, build reports and notify trainees of pending assignments. While many companies will provide onboarding support initially, eventually service can stagnate, if not altogether disappear.
And, if the group of employees trained to administer the system leave the company or change roles, another group will have to learn the ins and outs of the system. If the system is not somewhat easy to learn, you will be left with a system that no one knows how to use.
While most LMS companies provide user manuals and other supportive material, it is still important to verify that the prospective provider is committed to excellence in customer support. As with any significant purchase, look for testimonials or seek the candid thoughts of current system users.
3. Some common pitfalls
“We apologize for the technical difficulties.”
Heard this before? Technical problems arise. It is no fun to establish and launch a training curriculum, only to discover that the system-generated email that was supposed to inform employees of a training due date was blocked by a spam filter. Or maybe the notification goes out, but as employees log in to take the training, the login page is undergoing maintenance.
These things happen, and you must be prepared. Additionally, for some organizations, not all employees have adequate internet bandwidth or the minimum technical requirements to support certain systems. Challenges related to browser capability can also surface.
LMS providers typically design content to run optimally on one specific internet browser (e.g., Google Chrome, MS Edge, Safari, etc.); if an organization’s preferred browser is different than that of the LMS, there can be a headache for all users.
4. The future of e-learning
Micro-learning and blended learning are hot topics in the field of e-learning these days. Both are being refined to more effectively train employees across organizations and are worth exploring.
In July 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reiterated that online and video-based training is not enough to satisfy OSHA training obligations. So for now, some mixture of old-fashioned hands-on training still has its place in the business world.
Nevertheless, while training styles evolve, the numerous benefits and uses of digital platforms will continue to provide organizations with a great way to deliver safety training, foster a strong culture of safety and produce more engaged, effective employees.
Matt Hesemann is a senior client services representative at Safety National Casualty. This blog post is reprinted by permission from InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com.
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