We already know well how e-learning keeps the workforce educated by providing just-in-time skills training and knowledge. Did you know that it can also keep employees safe and healthy? With e-learning — especially courseware that leverages augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) — you can safely immerse learners in stimulating environments that reflect the “real world.” With this technology, they can practice site-specific scenarios without risk to themselves or property.

Beyond immersive training, e-learning boasts opportunities to safeguard the wellness of all employees, from their physical health to their mental health, by meeting learners exactly where they are, at their exact moments of need, to deliver exactly what they need.

To cover all health and safety bases, e-learning must be able to help both before and after issues arise — but how? Enter predictive and prescriptive e-learning. Predictive e-learning works with employees to preemptively educate them before they attempt job tasks, while prescriptive e-learning addresses issues that have already arisen in an effort to prevent future problems.

Predictive Health and Safety

Unsurprisingly, different employees have different learning needs. According to a LinkedIn Learning report, 68% of employees prefer to learn at work, 58% prefer to learn at their own pace and 49% prefer to learn at their point of need. Sometimes, relying on a single platform or solution doesn’t cut it.

Predictive learning takes health and safety to the next level. Users don’t have to actively seek information out but, through an integrated learning management system (LMS), receive exactly what they need — before they may realize they need it. Advanced LMSs can collect and analyze learner data and then use algorithms to provide personalized online health and safety training.

Prescriptive Health and Safety

Responsive or prescriptive e-learning, on the other hand, serves to alleviate any friction or frustration that an employee may feel when trying to tackle an unfamiliar task after acquiring the relevant skills and knowledge. Imagine, for example, an electrician who has a history of accidents. Based on this history, the LMS can deliver prescriptive, responsive e-learning in the areas that may be responsible for the recurring accidents.

This approach is also known as a “nudge,” or a way to help learners “take small steps that can make big differences,” as Susan Dynarski, a professor at the University of Michigan, writes. A nudge could be an intervention(s) based on analysis of habits, routines and biases in decision-making; an email or text; or a gentle “steering,” as Psychology Today columnist David Berreby describes it. Using prescriptive e-learning, organizations can “nudge” employees to make safer, more informed decisions with real-time reminders to prevent incidents or injuries.

Improving Health and Safety Using E-Learning

As organizations strive to educate and develop their workforces through health and safety training, both predictive and prescriptive e-learning models provide critical support, giving employees the actionable, applicable knowledge and skills they need. Organizations are increasingly recognizing that a robust and thriving e-learning culture results in fewer incidents, and fewer incidents help administrators save time, money and — most importantly — lives.