Online vs. Conventional Safety Training Approaches
- H. E. Trey Greene (SafetySkills) | Cheryl L. Marcham (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- January 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 26 - 31
- 2019. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 22 since 2007
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- While ample published research establishes that online education courses can be effective, the intended purpose and expected outcomes of safety training are different than for academic educational courses.
- With safety training, it is not enough to simply provide the employee with training; the employer must also show that employees can demonstrate competency by transferring the knowledge and skills acquired in training and performing the job safely.
- In many cases, online safety courses can be more efficient, consistent and cost effective. However, OSH professionals should selectively apply e-learning and understand when face-to-face training provides a better option.
As access to high-speed internet has become ubiquitous and the possibilities presented by rapid advancement in the development of interactive, game-based courseware increase, even the most traditionally minded safety managers are considering including online safety training, or e-learning, in their OSH programs. As part of that consideration, safety managers may question whether taking safety training online is a valid alternative to their instructor-led efforts or if it is simply a cheaper, check-the-box option with less than favorable results.
To begin the analysis of whether online safety training is a valid alternative to in-person training, a typical literature search reveals many comparative analyses on the merits or weaknesses of e-learning versus conventional learning approaches. In fact, a meta-analysis of multiple studies comparing classroom lessons with electronic distance learning lessons reported that no major differences exist in learning between the two styles of presentation (Bernard, Abrami, Lou, et al., 2004). However, most of the literature comparing online e-learning to conventional instructor-led classroom training focuses on academic education settings, although some isolated comparisons of online training versus in-person training have been reported in specialized corporate situations (Esch, 2003; Jordan, 2016; Schmeeckle, 2000), online CPR training (Braun, 2002; Rogers, 2013; Teague & Riley, 2006), and industrial safety and health training for a relatively small, multinational company (Rozar, Ibrahim & Razik, 2011).
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