Abstract

Educating employees on health risks and related behavior has always been a company's challenge. Convincing them to adopt the company's health strategies is long, difficult and culturally sensitive. As some health risks are emerging or re-emerging, such as pandemics, vector borne diseases or HIV, fortunately employee self-education has never been as much a trend as shown by the frantic use of wikis, blogs or Google®. Some companies have understood that new web-based technology allow them to develop tools to raise employees awareness of risk exposure and management.

In the context of a pandemic, a company's ability to limit infections within the workplace would depend on the cooperation of all staff and their adherence to plans. Similarly, employees working in malaria endemic areas would need to understand the rationale for chemoprophylaxis and mosquito bite prevention. This basically all relies upon the understanding of the risk and the personal feeling of responsibility.

We present how Employee Education and Awareness Packages allow companies to meet their duty of care by ensuring that every targeted / exposed group has benefited from the same health education commitments quickly and effectively.

Online Learning Courses are accessible via the web or the company HSE intranet. Some are used as a stand-alone campaign or integrated into a regular schedule of staff training. They usually consist of several lessons, downloadable summaries, and test questions. An online manager can achieve traceability of training through the administration of courses.

The purpose of this paper is to review the effectiveness and the benefits of this promising type of interventions in the field of pandemic preparedness and malaria education. The objective is to see how it can fit into a holistic learning environment among other traditional employee education strategies.

Introduction

Electronic learning or e-learning is a general term used to refer to computer-enhanced learning. It basically refers to the delivery of a learning, training or education program through the use of devices based on computer and communications technology. Since its inception in the late 1980s, early 1990s, the popularity of e-learning among corporations has increased exponentially (1). In recent years online training methods have expanded to include, wikis, blogs, podcasts and the use of search engines (2).

Numerous multinational companies have implemented online learning programs and reported positive results. It appears that the range of activity sectors is wide, from IT companies to food industry or car manufacturing (3).

Many companies implementing online learning have found that it is particularly effective when used for training employees in well defined concepts and practical procedures (as opposed to more theoretical or abstract concepts). This makes it ideal for delivery of health education, which generally consists of well defined concepts, specific facts, and instruction in practical activities for the employee to perform.

Among corporations, one of the first areas covered by e-learning programs is Health, Safety & Environment (HSE). As these programs cover a wide category of employees, topics usually relate to HSE practices and management, and range from Occupational Hygiene to Environmental Management or from Effective Workplace Training to Safety Management.

E-learning on health has been initially intended to healthcare professionals, in order to improve their medical skills or their patient care techniques. Online courses, authored by subject matter experts, traditionally focus on emergency care, specialty medicine or new techniques. Field healthcare staffs are also deemed ideal beneficiaries to receive courses on social medicine or community health. These tools now become particularly popular within organizations such as non-profit organizations or universities, involved in training health care professionals in developing countries, as users can now easily access long-distance learning courses via the Internet.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.