Here is a great blog post from Toby Roberts from our HSE content partner, Safety Media.
Health and Safety training is part and parcel of any business, big or small and it is essential for employers to provide this training for their employees. However, like much in life, the most important tasks are annoyingly often the ones we consider the most boring.
When it comes to learning, there has been much advancement over the years, from early CD Roms, video tapes and DVDs, through to e-learning and a more recent trend towards mobile learning.
Despite technological advances in the delivery of this type of training, is still considered by many as boring. Perhaps it’s due to its mandatory nature or the generic, long winded content that’s not always relevant to our own working environment or the duties that form part of our individual roles. It is therefore no surprise that people switch off at the mere mention of ‘online off-the-shelf training’ never mind ‘health and safety’- put these together and you’ve lost their attention completely.
However, we are all aware that Health & Safety in the workplace is more important than ever before, so why should generic off-the-shelf content be considered ‘boring’ and ‘outdated’ when its message and purpose is so vital? Let explore how to change that perception:-
5 tips to engage learners
The development team from one of our off-the-shelf content partners, Safety Media have provided five top tips on how to truly engage users and change perceptions on Health and Safety off-the-shelf content:-
- Make it challenging and equally engaging
- Break courses down so they are more digestible
- Show real life situations, consequences and benefits to gain emotion & attention
- Don’t bombard the user with a myriad of facts – less is more
- Get straight to the core of the matter and avoid irrelevant ‘cheesy’ extras
Choosing the right supplier
It is also worth keeping in mind that learning through abstract, generic methods doesn’t necessarily work for those who question the relevancy of what they study. For example, consider context; a manual handling course set in a warehouse won’t necessarily apply to the manual handling tasks of someone who works in an office. The lifting techniques and concepts are the same but because the learner can’t relate to the environment, interest can be lost.
In order for the vital information to sink in, contextual training is one of the best ways for the concepts to be understood, allowing the learner to apply and relate these concepts to their workplace and society. As featured in the top tips from the Safety Media development team, relating knowledge to personal experiences increases engagement. They explain that by showing real life situations, benefits and consequences then content connects emotionally and therefore retention of the material is greater which could result in the prevention of a workplace accident.
How to customise ‘off-the-shelf’ content
Off-the-shelf content can be customised in the sense that it can be made more contextually relevant to your particular working environment. In order to provide relevant off-the-shelf content, a variety of different workplace environments are used in Safety Media courses. For example, Display Screen Equipment is set in an office, Food Hygiene in a kitchen etc. There is even a library dedicated to the healthcare sector so the majority of industries and organisations can relate to the training courses available to them. Titles should be refreshed by the provider regularly to ensure content in the courses is kept relevant, for example the technology used in a Display Screen Equipment course should be modern and relevant, not from the 80s!
Opting for a solution with a wide variety of courses will ensure that you can find the right course for your needs. As part of this, ‘refresher courses’ should be made available so that the same content doesn’t have to be repeated and re-sat by the same person; “I’m sure I watched this last year”, is a regular complaint from staff, so it is vital to keep it new, to the point and snappy.
The best way for off-the-shelf courses to be customised is through a content delivery network (CDN). This ensures the rapid delivery of content to multiple locations, globally. Once courses are renewed the content is refreshed within the CDN so you can be certain that all users are taking the most up-to-date courses at all times.
There are many organisations providing health and safety software and e-learning so it can be extremely difficult and quite exhausting trawling through the list of recommended suppliers. The important thing is to establish is whether what they provide gives learners the quality experience they demand and deserve. The vast choice of online course titles today is incredible but there is often a decision to make on whether to opt for a bespoke course or off-the-shelf. Bespoke will not always assume generic practices, however, with off-the-shelf content the number of ways it can be customised is growing rapidly providing increased workplace relevancy, overall engagement and elimination of those ‘mundane’ perceptions, often at no ongoing additional cost.
Whatever solution you choose, make sure it works for you and gives you the flexibility to provide the best possible training for your employees.
Toby Roberts, Safety Media.
Click here for more information on Lumesse’s off-the-shelf learning solutions.