Training is fundamental to ensuring your people work safely and in compliance with a broad set of regulations, standards and policies. As teams grow in complexity and diversity, many employers are searching for more effective training methods to meet the realities and expectations of the modern workforce.

Working with thousands of companies across industries like manufacturing, food & beverage, and chemicals, we’re seeing a major shift in the safety training model away from traditional, one-sided “preach and teach” lessons of the past towards a greater emphasis on engagement and learning. Certainly, while the applicability and accuracy of course content is still important, companies are looking beyond the message to focus more carefully on what is being absorbed by the trainee. In short, what matters is not what you communicate to your employees, but the knowledge and skills your employees acquire and their ability to put it to use. Results count, and when it comes to learning, results equal behavior change to ultimately reduce risk and increase compliance. 

OSHA calls this effective training — the ability of your employees to take their learning and put it into use. This isn’t a new concept, but it is more important and more achievable than ever thanks to the evolution of training technologies.

So many changes have happened in the workplace over the last year, now is a great time to reevaluate how you deploy training and to look for ways to improve its effectiveness. Advances in safety training software give employers greater control of what employees are being trained on, and how courses are administered — all for a lower cost and greater ROI than many traditional classroom style training programs. By leaning into training methods that focus on learning, companies are seeing better employee training engagement and improved safety performance.

Interactive formats & content

At the core of an effective learning experience is immersive and engaging training content. The growing popularity of Learning Management Systems (LMSs) among employers for implementing employee training ties directly to the benefits it provides. With an LMS, your people have access to an extensive library of online training courses available in languages they understand. You can also integrate your own homegrown courses to further streamline course learning. The best LMS options available provide versatile tools that allow you to instantly convert your content into a fully interactive eLearning course complete with built-in multimedia, quizzes and knowledge-checks.

Today’s workforce is going through a transformation with Millennials leading the way and Generation Z beginning to enter the workforce at an increased rate. These groups benefit from—and more importantly have also come to expect — more interactive and integrated approaches to learning. Two methods proving successful with this audience are the use of mobile to deploy training in the flow of work and increasing engagement using newer technologies such as gamification, interactive videos and augmented reality (AR)/ virtual reality (VR).      

As technology continues to drive change in the learning landscape, the speed and the amount at which training is consumed will continue at an accelerated pace requiring EHS professionals to source effective training that leverages these technologies and keeps learners interested. 

Flexible learning environment 

We’re so used to having information at our fingertips and finding the answers we seek within minutes. This immediacy has dramatically changed people's expectations of workplace training as employees challenge traditional training methods and demand more control of their learning experience. Training becomes far more relevant and useful when it’s acquired at the point-of-need and allows your people to retain and utilize the new information straight away. By supporting employees in the workflow, you provide much more value by addressing performance and knowledge gaps in real time. 

This is most easily achieved through the use of mobile, which gives workers access to vital safety training in flow of work.  As a result, trainees are better equipped to retain the information they are learning because they are consuming it at the point that it will be used while performing that task. The best LMSs available are mobile enabled to provide you with the same functionality you have on your desktop delivered directly into the palm of your hand.

This is another area where we’re seeing the emergence of AR/VR, which allows the learner to be in the virtual environment learning critical skills without the risks associated in a live work setting. However, while AR/VR has its advantages, the technology hasn’t quite caught up to the need.

Performance & accountability

Today’s LMSs not only provide learners with greater control and flexibility, but they also make things easier on the people tasked with managing the learning. Too much time is wasted in businesses, large and small, on managing the logistics of training; trying to get a clear picture of which employees have already been trained on what, and then managing the recordkeeping of it all.

An advanced and intuitive LMS centralizes training performance data across your organization with detailed control of enrollments, requirements, recordkeeping and reporting. The best solutions automate the process of scheduling, tracking and notifying employees about when individual courses need to be completed. Automated user notifications simplify the training process for both learners and managers. Specifically, they keep everyone on the same page and the process moving forward in an orderly way, while reducing the amount of busy work related to the writing and sending of emails and the tracking of calendar invites. This steady and reliable stream of communication keeps learners engaged and connected to your training program, which is critical in today’s work environments, given the number of things competing for your employees’ attention.

Instead of trying to track and manage this through paper-based systems or having information entered into complex spreadsheets, training management software provides a single centralized source of information that allows you to drill down on the individual employee level, or see trends aggregated from across your organization. Better still, that information can be shared and accessed by anyone with the proper permissions throughout the organization from front-line management to facility management to the executive suite. With better tools for creating and delivering engaging training content to the right workers at the right time, you’re able to implement and maintain a blended learning strategy that meets today’s training needs and sets the stage for future training success.

By taking advantage of today’s training and learning best practices, you’ll not only know that your people have been trained, but that the training was effective, and your people closed a skill gap. Better still, you’ll be able to prove it. 

As workplaces continue to evolve, the demand for more versatile training methods has also grown. With easier ways to create and deliver engaging training content to the right workers at the right time, today’s LMS options put a greater emphasis on learning and set the stage for future training success.