The importance of safety training can’t be understated. With so much at stake, it’s important to keep the training engaging and relevant to employees. In today’s Advisor, we examine four specific strategies you can employ to give your training efforts a boost.
If there is a constant in safety and health, it’s training. When training is done right, employees understand what you want them to understand, and they take actions that reflect what they’ve learned. Rote repetition of the lesson is not the goal. You want employees who understand and identify hazards and respond thoughtfully.
Here are four training approaches you can use in your program to achieve such understanding and ability to act appropriately:
1. Blended learning is the combination of two or more forms of information delivery, such as a mix of classroom instruction and an independent, self-paced online course. The goal is to make your training more effective by accommodating different learning styles. Blended learning can also speed up the training process by helping you move through the material more quickly.
2. Case studies. Illustrating your safety message with a real-life example can help make the content stick. A true case study goes beyond retelling an incident. It should provide opportunities for trainees to test and apply their knowledge of the subject. The audience should participate directly by answering questions and discussing possible alternatives while you encourage them to reach the right conclusions, with you as a guide. Be careful not to dwell on the negative. Case studies can demonstrate positive outcomes as well as accidents and injuries.
3. Computer-based training. Computer-based training (CBT) can be valuable but only when you leverage its strengths and avoid its weaknesses. The major plus of CBT is that it is self-paced. Learners can move quickly through material they already know and can review content that is difficult or unfamiliar without slowing down the group. CBT does not offer face-to-face interaction, hands-on demos, answers to questions outside the program content, or insights into your company’s safety culture. For that reason, you probably wouldn’t want to rely on it exclusively, especially for new hires.
4. Fresh approaches. Good training keeps things fresh and relevant. Find new ways to approach a familiar topic. Audit your materials for content and relevance, as well as for visual appeal. If your handouts look like copies of copies with washed-out, distorted print, you need to redo them. Consider adding color or graphics to heighten interest. Other ways to change things up include:
- Reorder the outline of your presentation.
- Give a brief quiz at the beginning of the session. This helps reveal what your audience knows and doesn’t know about the subject, which enables you to tailor your presentation.
- Ask questions before you begin the session. For example, ask a trainee for three things he or she hopes to get out of the training and use this in your presentation.
- Find an item in the news or popular culture that relates to the material you’re presenting. This can be a good icebreaker and an effective way to draw people in.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll focus more attention on using blended learning in your safety training program.