I work with a lot of busy safety managers who are trying to improve their safety training programs. They’re typically looking for ways to use their time more efficiently while creating better training programs that have a real effect on their employees’ behaviors.
Using an LMS and e-learning courses can save you time and also let you provide better safety training. But how? Well, some of the way are probably pretty obvious to you, and others may be things you haven’t thought of. Let’s break it down and consider some reasons.
How an LMS Can Save You Time and Make You More Efficient
A learning management system (LMS) can save you a ton of time by automating clerical and scheduling chores. This includes:
- Coordinating and scheduling training assignments
- Creating records of completed training
- Storing those records
- Finding those records later for audit purposes
- Informing department managers of employees’ training status
- Changing training assignments when workers change jobs
- Running reports
- Notifying workers of their training obligations
Having an LMS do all this for you lets you do other things that are more useful with your own time. Wouldn’t you rather be leading instructor-led training on safety topics? Holding safety meetings? Walking around and observing the work place? Performing job hazard analyses (JHAs)? Talking with employees? Or do you really want to spend hours creating formulas in Excel spreadsheets and searching down paper-based documents in manila envelopes stored in metal file cabinets in the office on the other side of the plant?
How an LMS Can Help You Deliver Better Safety Training
Efficient is nice, but effective is even better. After all, you want to cut down on safety incidents and near-misses. So how can an LMS make your safety training more effective? With an LMS, you can:
- Reduce the amount of time you’re performing clerical work, so you can spend more time leading safety training sessions and/or performing other critical safety tasks
- Use a variety training materials, so you can take advantage of the different features of each–for example, the sophisticated visuals and built-in testing that e-learning safety courses can provide
- Ensure that all new employees receive their initial safety training
- Help you manage refresher or annual training requirements so safety topics stay fresh in your employees’ minds
If you currently feel like you’re swimming upstream to make your safety training program more efficient and effective, some of the items listed above should really hit home.
Now, let’s turn our attention to some of the benefits of using e-learning safety courses in your safety training program. We recommend using e-learning courses, instructor-led training, and other types of training as part of a blended learning solution for safety training. And our LMS will help you do that. Although we’ll focus on e-learning courses below, check this article on OJT and an LMS, and this article on in-the-field skill demonstrations, for additional thoughts about other types of training. Even better, we’ve included a downloadable guide to blended learning at the bottom of this article.
How e-Learning Courses Can Save You Time
You’ve got a limited number of hours in each day, so you’ll want to use them as wisely as possible. Using e-learning courses as part of your safety training program can help you maximize your time in many ways, including:
- Explaining basic, foundational training information that is conveyed just as effectively online as it is in person (or maybe even more so)
- Providing training in two parts, using e-learning courses to deliver information to workers and then holding an instructor-led session to take questions or explain finer details
- Providing periodic refresher training after a safety topic has been covered initially in an instructor-led format
- Easing assessment issues to determine if employees understand safety basics through the use of automated online testing (may you never again have to grade a paper-based test)
Given the tight budgets and staffing issues that training departments face, why not take advantage of the time-saving features of e-learning courses?
How e-Learning Courses Can Make Your Safety Training Better
Learning and development professionals will tell you that there is NO single type of training that’s always better than the others. That means that instructor-led classroom training isn’t always better than e-learning or written materials. And likewise, it means that e-learning isn’t always better than instructor-led training. In fact, research backed with studies and evidence shows that training of different types can be equally effective.
Once you know that, you’re wise to pick and choose from a variety of training methods for each individual need. This practice is known as “blended learning.”
When using a blended learning solution, pick and choosing the best type of training to suit each particular training need. Here are some of the ways that e-learning can make your safety training better:
- Teach concepts and ideas with sophisticated visuals that can’t be explained visually, in simple drawings on a white board, or even viewed out in the field (for example, an “interior” view of a closed machine)
- Allow employees to advance through training at their own pace instead of the “default” pace chosen by the instructor in a classroom setting
- Provide feedback to employees who might be too shy to ask specific questions in front of coworkers
- Provide practice questions so the employee can judge his or her own level of understanding
- Allow workers to review training on their own days, weeks, or even months after they viewed it initially
- Allow safety trainers to reserve their face-to-face training time with employees for the opportunities when it provides the most value (as discussed in the section above)
- Provide the same, standard, consistent training message every time to every employee
Why not use e-learning to add these benefits to your existing training? As an analogy, consider your toolbox at home. Sure, maybe your hammer works great for a lot of things. But just imagine what you can do if you add a new tool, such as a screwdriver, to your toolbox. The same is true with training. Sure, instructor-led training is great, but adding e-learning safety courses to your training toolbox will make things that much better.
Who doesn’t want their safety training programs to be more efficient and more effective? I’m sure you do. And that’s why so many safety trainers I work with are excited when they begin using an LMS and e-learning courses as part of a blended learning solution.
To learn more, watch our brief Enterprise LMS overview video (below) and/or download our free guide (below that).
Here’s that free guide!
Benefits of Online Safety Training
Wondering if you should make the plunge with online safety training? This guide gives 10 reasons why, each based on experiences at real companies like yours.