You want safety training that will engage your participants. One of the ways to do that is by using interactive methods. These are methods that can be combined in training such as instructor-led or be held on their own merits, such as a Q&A session.

Interactive training involves all participants. That means that everybody should be doing something at the same time!

A Few Definitions to Get Us Started

Interactive teaching is where the trainer actively involves the participants in the learning process through techniques such as the ones listed below.

Interactive learning is a hands-on approach that helps participants become more engaged and, ultimately, retain more of the training.

Interactive instruction relies heavily on discussion and sharing among participants, encouraging learning from each other, not just the trainer.

Techniques in Interactive Learning

Quizzes are a great way to break up long, complicated (aka, dry) training. You can stop every so often and ask a brief question or two on what has been presented to that point. It’s a great way to really drive home specific points you want your participants to get.

Another way to include quizzes in your training is to ask a question before you address the material – see how many already know the right answer; then ask after you’ve completed the material. Try motivating participants by offering an incentive to the one with the most improved score. You should see improved scores!

Small group discussions. I really like to include these in the face-to-face training I do. Small group discussions give participants a chance to learn from others in the group. You can even use case studies or a little role play, too.

Case studies give participants a real-world problem that they need to come up with a workable solution for. It enables them to learn what others have done in similar situations and how different jobs and operations work together.

Q&A sessions. You might consider using this method when you have small groups to train or you are updating skills rather than teaching new skills. For instance, some changes in departmental safety procedures might easily be handled by a short explanation followed by a Q&A.

Games are typically a fun and effective way to teach safety training concepts.

Question cards or sticky notes. Give participants a chance to write questions on index cards or sticky notes. These can be used for small group discussions or Q&A sessions.

Job aids are tools that can cover safety processes or procedures to help participants effectively and safely perform their job.

These are just a few of the interactive training techniques that you could use. You can find more in:

101 Interactive Training Techniques

What are the advantages of Interactive Learning?

  • Keeps participants attentive and engaged in the training making them more receptive to new information (and are two prerequisites for effective learning).
  • Makes training more fun and enjoyable than sitting in a lecture-based training.
  • Provides ways for seasoned employees to pass on knowledge and experience to newer, less experienced employees.
  • Provides in-session feedback to trainers on how well participants are learning.

What are the disadvantages of Interactive Learning?

  • Training can take longer because activities such as quizzes or breaking into small groups are more time consuming.
  • Some methods can be less structured and trainers will need to make sure that all necessary info is covered
  • Not everyone chooses to get involved in interactive learning and some methods are better than others. For instance, Q&A sessions don't necessarily have everyone doing something at the same time.