Education has value for everyone, especially when it concerns safety issues on a high-risk work site. Teaching from a textbook works for some learners, but a theoretical or academic approach doesn’t fit everyone. Just as progressive schools and universities embrace innovative and diverse teaching techniques, modern companies also need to develop their training methods and materials to reach a wider audience.
The Difference in Distance Learning
Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, specifically high-speed internet and media sharing tools, the gap between distance and in-class learning has narrowed significantly. This means companies in the energy industry can reliably train new staff members and developing existing ones without bringing them to a facility or transporting the trainer to them.
Remote learning can be a huge boon for employers as it allows them to maximize the valuable time of professional trainers and connect with learners from different locations all at once. However, there are still some unique challenges persistent in a long-distance teaching relationship compared to a conventional training environment.
Potential Challenges in Remote Training:
- Must Have Basic Computer Skills
- Less Oversight of Learners
- Limited Practical Education
Perhaps the most obvious obstacle to distance learning is a lack of computer skills for the learner. Since employees have a wide range of computer literacy levels, employers and trainers have to make sure their employees know how to use the equipment and digital interface.
Remote training also suffers from a lack of direct oversight of each learner’s activities. Instead, this kind of observation is limited to video sessions, testing and learner feedback. This means trainers have to take steps to ensure all their learners are covering the necessary material and not just skimming through or neglecting their work.
Since most distance learning takes place on a computer, it is usually limited to pictures, videos, live streams and text. While these channels present plenty of opportunities for detailed and engaging education, they also lack some of the tactical experience that comes with actual practice. Remote learners also need an opportunity to practice critical procedures with their own hands under the supervision of experienced staff.
Strategies to Engage Distance Learners
Since most remote training material is stored and accessed digitally, educators have an unparalleled opportunity to customize and modernize their curriculum. Educators can update presentations, texts and lectures with the latest information about safety regulations, company policies and other safety issues. There are also a few other ways to maximize the value of remote training for those willing to expand and adapt their curriculum.
Structure and Prioritize Lessons
Maintaining a safe work environment is all about setting priorities, and the same is true for safety experts training employees. Teaching sessions should be broken up into manageable chunks that revolve around a single priority, whether it’s proper personal conduct in a hazardous environment or how to operate a certain piece of machinery.
Information Access and Briefs
Training presented in text should be formatted to provide a digestible overview with bullets or a summary of critical details. Some learners face difficulty with lengthy passages, which can discourage them from engaging with the content. Reading material should also include diagrams, pictures and other media to help students actually visualize and retain a practical understanding of the topic.
Catering to the Individual
When possible, trainers should limit the number of learners they work with so they can dedicate more time to each one. People learn at different speeds and grasp some concepts much easier than others, so there is a lot of benefit in tailoring programs to fit the individual. Educators should take the time to learn about their students and encourage questions, feedback and discussion to keep them engaged.
Make the Most of Remote Learning
Catering to different types of learners takes being committed to providing a culture of safety—and requires an effective, unique approach that is based on continuous improvement and effective safety programs. As an established provider of logistics and personnel services, EPS maintains a strong safety training program based around key principles that promote accountability and open communication. We routinely leverage our industry expertise and innovative technology to develop staff members at various levels of seniority, encouraging a proactive approach to safety throughout each and every one of our projects. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help implement your own culture of safety.