E-Learning Expert Urges EHS Managers to Take Risks

You must move aggressively and be a major risk taker at your organization, lead the charge, Dr. Brandon Hall, noted expert on e-learning, counseled 300 people attending the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Safety Training Symposium & Expo.

"E-learning is anytime, any place and better, faster and cheaper," he added.

As occupational environmental health and safety professionals continue to identify ways to increase workplace safety, they have found that much of their success lies in training. Utilizing e-learning is one way they have found to further improve safety performance, increase outreach to employees, better engage the learner, customize the training, be interactive, save time and reduce costs.

"What we have today are educational on-line learning programs that are very interactive, visual, and provide real-time, hands-on training," Hall said. "Most effective e-learning programs allow people to experience real-life occurrences through visuals, viewing equipment and examples of what works and what doesn't."

Training is emerging as a competitive advantage for organizations, and the need is great to reduce costs, while serving larger audiences, in more locations and on more topics.

In addition to innovative e-learning programs, seminar attendees were offered information on how to perform a needs assessment to determine the safety training objectives for an organization's workforce; determine when training is the most appropriate solution for the reduction of loss from workplace injury and health exposures; build management support for training by communicating need, return on investment for training; recognize how to train the adult learner; and provide training to a multi-lingual, multi-cultural workforce.

"For children," Hall said, "E-learning is commonplace, and I think now it is becoming the same way in the workplace, especially in the area of workplace safety. For instance a friend of mine just started a job at a medical clinic as an administrative assistant. On the first day of the job, she took an e-learning course on bloodborne pathogens. This shows how widespread E-learning is and the need for it."

Hall noted that for a program to work, one must focus on crucial topics, train only when necessary, allow the users to ask questions of the program and have the answers there on the program. "They will be more apt to ask the questions, interact with the program and embrace the information" if the program contains those elements, he said.

Hall noted many companies have learning management systems whereby employers can offer employees an online catalogue and schedule of courses, measure competencies and skills improvement and much more. However, for any E-learning program to be successful, Hall said, people need to learn and get buy in.

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