With access to the web so readily available today, many companies use some method of online training.

The difference between computer-based training (CBT) and online training is that while both use the computer, online training uses a computer, the internet and may involve a variety of multimedia elements.

Online training may also be referred to as eLearning or distance learning.

Techniques used for Online Safety Training

Web-based training puts CBT modules onto the Web so that they can be accessed through your company’s intranet or through a vendor’s website.

Telephone or videoconferencing allow safety instructors and participants to be in different locations. It brings human interaction back into your safety training, enabling participants to ask questions or have discussions through the telephone or a webchat feature. Audioconferencing is very similar but the discussions are typically more formal. By that, I mean that Q&As are typically held at the end of a session instead of throughout the discussion

Webinars typically contain audio and visual elements. Attendees dial in to receive live audio training sessions while visual materials are shown on a computer screen. Interaction is typically minimal with things such as questions or polls asked during the session or Q&As held at the end of the session. Oftentimes, these may not be done in your company, but through a third party who is certified to give a particular safety training.

online training
online training videoconference

Advantages of Online Training

Consistency. If you need to make sure your workers receive the same safety training information, online training may be a good option to consider, especially if you have multiple locations. Your message will be consistent from person to person and from location to location.

Flexible, accessible and convenient. It can be hard to take time out to attend a classroom training, even if it is at your own worksite. Online safety training enables workers to learn whenever they want, from wherever they want – in a classroom together or scattered around the country.

Effective for refresher and awareness training. If your workers need to regularly brush up on the basics or have ongoing training requirements, online safety training may make it easier to ensure these requirements are fulfilled.

Cost effective training solution. This can be especially beneficial for organizations that are in remote locations where it can be costly to travel off-site.

Better retention of information. Online training typically provides a richer and more effective learning experience than traditional methods, which may translate to better retention on the job.

Easier to update with new company policies, procedures federal regulations and compliance issues.

Disadvantages of Online Safety Training Methods

No skills performance check outside of asking questions throughout the training. In a classroom environment, an instructor will continually demonstrate the skills or ask participants to practice the skills being taught so participants know how to apply it to their specific situation.

Less interaction or learning from others. It is more difficult to conduct discussions when training is held via the web or tele/audio/videoconferencing and there may not even be any interaction at all (like with CBT modules); thus, no benefit is received from others’ experiences.

While CBT and online training can be trackable, it can also be difficult to prove exactly who took the training. Situations occur and sometimes one employee may ask another to take his or her required safety training.

Online training doesn’t tend to go as in-depth as classroom training.