After several notices that you are overdue for your company’s required safety training, you resign yourself to plodding through the course while you eat lunch at your desk. Technically, you’ve checked the box and completed the requirement, but how much of it will you remember, and will you be able to apply it during a crisis?
This experience is familiar to many learners, but safety training should not be an event or a single moment in time. Rather, it should be a journey that is crafted by learners’ needs and interests. Unfortunately, most safety training is a mandatory course offered once each year to meet a compliance requirement.
Recently, a company wanted to change the game for its team with a focus on electrical safety. Its previous solution was an instructor-led session and a one-hour online module, and it created a new safety journey that learners can participate in all year.
The following key components of the solution ensure that this important training program transitioned from a one-time event into a journey that would be interactive and engaging and reinforce crucial concepts.
1. Design the Journey
Start by breaking up your content into discrete sections, and create a goal for learners of completing per month. This way, learners will be able to learn smaller bits of information and find time to focus on safety each month. Create a pre-test for each section that enables learners to personalize their experience by opting out of the content and moving straight to the post-test if they pass it. This approach will save time for your more tenured team members.
Looking at what you need to create can be daunting, but a “Buy, Borrow, Build, Bend” methodology can help. For example you can buy off-the-shelf modules for a topic, borrow or adapt (bend) existing content from other programs, or build new content. Vary the learner experience with different types of content (e.g., e-learning, videos, job aids and infographics), but achieve more miles out of your training dollars by leveraging existing content instead of building everything new.
2. Create the Learning Elements
As you create your learning elements, ensure that you haven’t missed the technical needs in the new solution. Hands-on experience is critical to safety, so map out how learners can complete that practice, perhaps in shorter, quarterly segments that summarize the previous three months of learning. Instead of a full day of instruction, schedule several classes, and maximize learner attention and facilitator time.
Next, create a post-test for each section. This post-test will sit in your learning management system, where you can track it for audit purposes. It is difficult to track where knowledge gaps are in a single test; however, by adding a post-test for each topic, you will be able to use the data as a part of your continuous improvement process.
With many learning platforms, you can add elements like forums. Instead of sending out a “smile sheet” at the end of the program, you can capture questions in real time and provide feedback and answers. This approach also enables you to capture training needs for continuous improvement. An example is seeing patterns, such as recurring questions, that will point to training that you need to add to or augment in the future.
3. Deploy and Maintain
At this point, you have a series of learning elements that you need to wrap up in a nice, neat package for your learner. Leveraging a learning platform to deploy your content will give your learners easy access to content and enable you to incorporate features like badges and leaderboards to motivate them.
Within your learning platform, you can easily release a new topic each month. Using a moderator who can deploy the content, monitor the forums and provide user support is critical during deployment. The learning will be spread out over the course of a year, enhancing learning retention and transfer to real-life application.
However, don’t stop there — monitor the results of your assessments and the comments in the forums to continuously improve the experience, adding and revising content each year. Your data is now in bite-size chunks, too; use it to improve the program and increase the return on your investment.
It’s All About Results
When you are finished with these three steps, you will have a sustainable safety training program that will support employees for years to come. The modularized content will enable you to easily improve and update the content over time, and you will be able to leverage data to drive your improvement process. In the end, learners will have time to focus on safety, which will drive the results you are looking for: They will be able to work safely and return home to their families each night.