Guide to Effective EHS Training (Updated for 2016): How to Design, Develop, Deliver, and Evaluate EHS Training

effective-ehs-training-guideSome time ago, we wrote a series of articles about ANSI Z490.1, the national standard for accepted criteria in safety, health, and environmental training.

That series was so popular, we used it as a source to create a free, downloadable Guide to Effective EHS Training.

Then, in 2016, the good people at ANSI and the ASSE updated ANSI Z490.1 (and did a good job, I might add).

And so now, we’ve followed suit, updating our own Guide to Effective EHS Training to keep up to date with the times.

If you’re not familiar with the standard or our free guide, we encourage you to buy a copy of the standard and to download the free guide. If you’re one of the thousands of people who have already downloaded the earlier version of our guide, we think you’ll like this new version even more.

Hope you enjoy it. You can download it now, or you can read the short preview article we’ve prepared for you below and download it from the bottom of this page. Such a life-so many options!

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Training Workers to Use Software Systems with Screen Recording Software Programs

training-workers-to-use-software-systems-w-screen-recording-software-programsComputer software systems are all around us, and we use them a lot.

We use them a lot in our personal lives. For example, Facebook lets us catch up with friends and family. Google lets us find information we need. We watch movies online and we listen to music online. We even go online to do our banking, pay our bills, or shop.

The same is true at work. You’re reading this on a web browser now, obviously. And I wrote it using a blogging platform called WordPress. And if you’re anything like me, today you’ll be using a lot more software, too: Microsoft Office, Excel, and Word, plus maybe PowerPoint depending on how the day goes. I’ll probably be using some image editing software and custom software for logging my time at work, too. Maybe you’ll be doing stuff like that as well.

But it’s not just you and me. It’s all of the people that I work with, and probably all the people you work with, too. And because software is so common at work, it’s important to be able to teach new workers how to use software. Plus you’ve got to train existing employees how to use new software when it’s introduced at work.

And all that software training can burn up a lot of time–yours and theirs–if you do it inefficiently.

But fortunately, there’s a group of products that have the ability to record your computer screen and make little “how-to” videos for software training.  These tools can be very helpful, they can save you a lot of time and money on software training, and they can be used to teach employees software applications more quickly and effectively. So what’s not to like about that?

In this article, we’ll tell you more about these screen recording software applications. Please note that Convergence Training makes none of these products, has no business relationship with any of their makers, and doesn’t endorse any one product. We’re just saying that as a group, they’re a handy product type that can make your life easier at work.

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Writing True/False, Matching, Drag and Drop, and Short-Answer Questions for Workforce Training Tests

Recently we’ve written a series of articles about writing effective test questions for workforce training assessment.

We hope you’ve found the series interesting and helpful. And yep, you guessed it–we mentioned it because this article is another addition to the series.

In this article, we’ll give you a few general tips for writing specific types of questions. We already covered multiple-choice questions, an online workforce assessment workhorse, in a different article, so we won’t address that here. In this article, we’ll consider true/false questions, matching and/or drag and drop questions, and short-answer and/or fill-in-the-blank questions.

If you missed any of the earlier article in the series, we’ve already covered:

Keep your eye on the blog for a future post on creating assessments that evaluate how well employees perform specific job tasks and/or demonstrate job skills. That’s still on the agenda.

And let us know if we’ve missed something you’d like us to write about.
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Comic Books and eLearning: Lessons from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

In an earlier blog post, we took a quick introductory look at some connections between comic books and eLearning.

And in that article, we promised to follow up with a second article that focuses on the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. And we also promised that the second article would focus on some lessons from comic book design that we can apply to the design of eLearning other forms of learning.

This, my friend, is that second article.

Before we get going, let’s take a stop at the “credit where credit is due” department.  Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a classic and is GREAT. If you’ve read it, you can vouch for me. Or maybe you’ve just heard of it and know it’s very well regarded.

If you haven’t heard of the book or read it yet, I highly recommend it. If you read it, you’ll learn a lot on a wide variety of topics. And even better, it’s written in the form of a comic book, so you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re reading, too.

But even though I suggest you check the book out and promise you’ll like it, you won’t have to read the book to begin drawing some lessons from it. Because that’s the whole point of this article. And of the comments section at the bottom, too–please share all your own ideas.

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Effective Workforce Safety Training: 6 Adult Learning Principles for Safety Training

adult-learning-principiles-for-safety-trainingBefore you read any further, let’s do a quick check.

Are you in safety/EHS and do your responsibilities include safety/EHS training?

If so, that’s a good sign that you’ll find this article relevant.

Next, take a moment to think about the people you provide safety/EHS training to. Are they adults?

If so, things are looking very promising for you and this article.

Because in this article, we’re going to take a look at something called adult learning principles and see how keeping them in mind when you design, develop, and deliver safety/EHS training can make your training more effective. Which of course means your training will create a healthier, safer work environment.

We’ll even give you some tips and examples of how to apply adult learning principles, and try to clear up some confusion about the multiple different lists of adult learning principles you’ll find if you do a Google search for the term.

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Workforce Tests That Match Your Learning Objectives: The Issue of Fidelity

 

workforce-tests-match-learning-objectives-issues-of-fidelityA lot of you write test questions for online training (or even for paper-based training).

Maybe you’re doing it with an e-learning authoring tool, such as the ones from Articulate, Adobe, or Lectora. Or maybe you’re doing it with quizmaking tool built into your learning management system (LMS). Or maybe with pencil and paper. Probably not with chisel and cuneiform, though 🙂

However you’re doing it, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for writing standard question types. (By the way, instructional designers often use the wonky phrase “assessment items” for this kind of thing–an assessment “item” is a question).

In this article, we’re going to give you tips about something related to test creation that learning experts call fidelity (no, not THAT fidelity–this is not a notably juice blog post despite the wedding ring image above). In training talk, fidelity is the extent to which your test or test question mirrors the real task your workers will have to perform on the job.

In describing fidelity and test questions, we’ll cover a few other best practices, too. Hope this helps you with your question writin’.

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Training that Sticks: Six Tips from “Made to Stick”

Want some easy tips to follow to make training that sticks? To create training workers will remember and apply on the job? To help you attain the business goals you’re trying to reach?

Although inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point and written for a popular reading audience instead of exclusively for training professions, the book Made to Stick (more details about the book will come below, don’t worry) is a great source of information about current research into evidence-based “brain science” that makes things memorable and causes people to act on that training. And that, of course, means making training effective. It’s even a book you will notice a lot of training professionals referring to.

Interested in learning some of the tips from Made to Stick? If so, start by taking a little time to read the two selections below. As you read, ask yourself which you’re more likely to remember later–one or two days later, but even an hour or fifteen minutes later, too.

When you’re done we’ll cycle back and explain how this all relates to effective training.

“A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let’s call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink.

He’d just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks-one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered.

Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice.

He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note:

DON’T MOVE. DIAL 911.

A cellphone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, “Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?”

Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube.

The operator said, “Sir, don’t panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There’s a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don’t move until they arrive.” [Source: see note 1]

Now, the second:

“Comprehensive community building naturally lends itself to a return-on-investment rationale that can be modeled, drawing on existing practice,” it begins, going on to argue that “[a] factor constraining the flow of resources to CCIs is that funders must often resort to targeting or categorical requirements in grant making to ensure accountability.” [Source: see note 2]

OK, now that you’ve read them both, which are you more likely to remember? Why?

And how can you apply this to the training you create? Read on to learn how.

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Writing Better Tests for Job Training: The Issues of Reliability and Validity

writing-test-questions-for-online-training-activitiesIt’s often, if not always, a good idea to provide some form of test or assessment after providing job training to employees.

In some cases, this may be a written test scored in a pass/fail manner, and in others, it may be a performance test that requires the workers to demonstrate a skill or the ability to perform a procedure in a satisfactory manner.

In either case, it’s important for that test to be a good one. By that we mean that it provides you withuseful, actionable information about whether or not the employee has truly benefited from the training and is ready and able to successfully apply the new information or perform the new skill on the job.

There are a number of characteristics that “good tests” like this share. Learning & development experts know the two that we’ll talk about in this article as validity and reliability.

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Helping Workers Develop Problem-Solving Skills: How to Do It Well and Do It Quickly

fishboneWork is easier when everything goes perfectly and there are no problems.

But as you probably know, “perfect” is a rare state. Problems pop up from time to time and workers need to solve them.

As a result, it’s important that workers be effective problem solvers. Having a workforce with well-developed problem-solving skills is a significant competitive advantage for a company.

Obviously, that’s true with your maintenance workers. But those aren’t the only workers who benefit from strong problem-solving skills. For example, we have a customer who led a training system upgrade for a major, multi-site manufacturing company in the United States (they make common household products and odds are very good you’ve used their products). He would often tell me that he wanted to “help his machine operators become machine engineers.” (Hello to you, Steve, if you happen to be reading this.)

What our customer Steve meant by that was, at least in part, that he wanted workers to have problem-solving skills so they could address problems on their own at work to decrease downtime, increase efficiency, and maximize production.

But those problem-solving skills don’t come “built-in” to every person. And even those with a natural knack for it can always get better, or learn to apply those skills more effectively in a given work circumstance. And as a result, it’s a good idea to provide resources to help workers develop and use problem-solving skills at work. That’s what this article will focus on.
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The 70/20/10 Model for Workforce L&D: How Your LMS Can Support On-Demand Learning & Performance Support

70-20-10-graphicHave you heard of the 70/20/10 model as it’s used in workforce learning & development?

Quite a few of you probably have–it’s a buzzword in L&D these days–but it’s possible that others haven’t.

In this post, we’ll briefly explain what the 70/20/10 model is, and we’ll give you some tips of how you can use your learning management system (LMS) to facilitate the model.

We’re also curious to hear your own experiences and thoughts (as always), so don’t forget to leave your comments below.
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How to Write Better Smile Sheets: What’s Wrong With Traditional Training Evaluation Forms and How to Make Them Better

smile-sheet-post-graphicIf you’re in training, you’re probably familiar with the sheets that trainers pass out to learners after a training session, asking the learners to evaluate the training session and the trainer.

These are known by a variety of names. Maybe you call them training-evaluation forms, or student-response forms, or trainee-reaction forms. But they’re also commonly–maybe most commonly–known as smile sheets.

Why smile sheets? Because it’s common for the learners attending training to give the training/trainer high scores that make everyone smile. But the common assumption is that the trainees do that politely, kindly, quickly, uncritically, and without giving any great thought. And so the term smile sheet is generally used somewhat dismissively, with the assumption that the information they contain doesn’t really provide a lot of value.

And yet, quite a few trainers continue to use smile sheets, and many of those trainers do nothing to improve them. Maybe they’ve never even thought of improving their smile sheets. It’s all become a bit of a habit to them, one they don’t think about because there’s so much else to think about, worry about, and to do.

I recently read a very good book called Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form by Dr. Will Thalheimer. The book explains some of the common problems with smile sheets, but also gives some very helpful tips to help make them better. We definitely suggest that you buy and read the book, and we’ve included a bunch of information to help you do that at the bottom of this article.

But for now, let’s look at some of the general points Thalheimer makes in his book and see what we can learn from them.
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Helping Workers Acquire Basic Job Skills and Perform Standard Procedures

pyramid-basic

In every job, there’s a set of basic skills and simple procedures that a worker filling that job has to learn to perform.

For an organization to perform at peak efficiency, it’s important that the workers in each job role know how to perform each of these skills and procedures.

But how does a company go about teaching those basic skills and procedures? And how does the company know if the workers can perform those procedures? That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.
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