As someone who’s taken many courses, attended many classes (in person and online) and tried as hard as I can to listen to speakers at conferences, I’m self-qualifying myself as knowledgable in the area of learning. That being said, below are my common sense suggestions for you in regards to safety training. Value them if you wish.
Just because you take a course doesn’t always mean you understand or remember the subject matter. Knowing the theory of a subject inside and out doesn’t always mean you’re qualified to put that knowledge into practice. That’s why we have apprenticeships, internships, and mentors for many careers.
When it comes to safety training and OHS (occupational health and safety) the risk of not understanding, not remembering is far more impactful than other courses you may take. Obviously, there’s an expectation that you will learn and will remember but in the real world, that’s often not the case. Once you’ve agreed that you need to learn something and have decided to apply yourself (important tip), you need to ask are there any external factors that can help me learn?
Here are 3 key factors that can make a world of difference in you or your employees learning and retaining what they need to know in regards to safety training.
- Take it live. Get taught by a person, not a computer. Join a classroom of other people learning the same thing. Online learning presents several challenges. It’s easier for you to be distracted with things going on around you that have nothing to do with the course. Children, pets, chores, and TV are a few examples. Not having the instructor and fellow students in the room makes it hard to interact, ask immediate questions and get involved in discussions. You may be saying, some courses online allow you to see the instructor via webcam and a chat program allows you to interact. Although that is true it’s not the same. Humans are social. Examples given by the teacher may need a physical demonstration. Chat rooms don’t really allow for specific group interactions the same way a real conversation does. And let’s not forget body language. It plays a key role in human communications. Then there’s our memory. We tend to remember things that are different than the norm. You probably sit at your computer many times per day so the setting isn’t different. The sites, the smells are the same. The chance to go outside, go for lunch or meet up after class to discuss the day just doesn’t happen online the same way it does in person.
- Sharing theory is great. Sharing practical application stories or examples is better. If I told you that if you mix chemical A with chemical B there would be a violent reaction you probably wouldn’t remember. If I showed you the process and you witnessed the loud bang and saw the smoke, the same information would now be engraved into your memory. That’s also how it is with real life stories. When an instructor can offer some real life application, or a story about the lack there of, concerning a safety application, you the student are far more likely to remember and associate the training with the story. Just as we link smell with memory we also link emotions with memory. An instructor that can explain a safety need or application via a story will do so much more in aiding you in remembering the theory you need. These stories usually make you smile and laugh, or a cough in disgust or even draw back in disbelief. Regardless of the emotion, you have now tagged an import piece of safety training with a story told by someone you now feel connected with. ( Note: It’s important that the instructor has credibility in recounting any stories.)
- An instructor that can connect with your needs and your world will make a huge difference in your ability to remember and apply the new found knowledge. Dave Rogers, the senior instructor at BCHAZMAT Management Ltd, has years of practical life experiences and application of safety theory. He can tell you when a theory needs to be focused on as is or perhaps adjusted slightly depending on a situation he’s lived through. Dave often takes a group and not only teaches them the key knowledge they need but compassionately shares his thoughts and ideas on how they can or should apply the training to their real life and real careers. This only happens when you have an instructor like Dave, who takes the time to learn about the students in the course and understands the challenges or hurdles they may come across in the application. The title safety training says it all. Courses under that banner are meant, are needed, to keep you and your friends and colleagues safe.
Mistakes regarding safety can and often make a big difference in the real world. From someone who cares, don’t just get the certificate or diploma, take the time to research the course and hows it’s taught so that when the time comes, you’ll remember what is most needed.
I’m not saying you can’t learn other ways. Sometimes the online method may be the only one available but given the choice, I’ll stick with my 3 key factors for a good safety training course.
Be safe out there.
Director of Marketing and Communications
BCHAZMAT Management Ltd.