Updated: Jan 23
For over 13 years I have been a trainer in various environmental and occupational health and safety programs. I started out in 2007 solely approved to teach the New York State's Asbestos Handler certification hands-on training. Today I am approved, accredited or proficient as a trainer in over 30 different certification-level health and safety training disciplines.
The Pace of Training
By 2007 fresh out of an asbestos abatement gig and into the trainer role I immediately got swept up in this heightened rush of activity around instructing. By this time YouTube was slowly beginning to work it's way into the training rooms. Only the purist of the three ring binder and VHS training tomes were slow to come around. Then two seemingly unrelated events would put into motion a breakthrough of sorts, for trainers. The first was smartphones hitting the market Second, was Google. Although around since 1998 in 2007 Google's Universal Search provided all types of content, not just text in search results. In just five years Google would become an actual verb for 'Look it up'. Today Health and Safety instructors can access a level of multi-media information and training resources never before imagined. With unprecedented abilities to access this information on most student's mobile devices health and safety training has taken some pretty interesting directions.
The Pandora's Box?
The downside, oh yes we knew there would be one, is with the influx of so much readily available information how does today's Health and Safety trainer strike a balance? With all this seemingly on-demand content development, classroom access to countless resources, and all those cool YouTube clips a trainer must be diligently cognizant of their learning objectives. A 2016 article in Texas A&M Today reminds us that readily available access can hinder a student meeting expected learning objectives.
"Now that all of those tasks are solved by technology. We need no longer learn the intricate details when the programmers do it for us. Technology has made us individually dumber and individually smarter. Technology has made us able to do more while understanding less about what we are doing,"
The un-intended consequence of leaning heavily on the endless amount of today's available content, can be a type of information overload. It’s clear that the practice of bombarding students with limitless information isn’t the best means of improving understanding and performance. When faced with vast amounts of information to learn in a relatively short space of time, learners cope by ‘tuning out’ what they perceive to be less important information. Often, training includes extraneous information which doesn’t impact or benefit learners. By trying to understand and memorize all of the information presented to them, learners fail to see the ‘bigger picture’ and the most vital parts of the course are missed or forgotten, due to the amount of information being processed at that one time.
Health and safety instructors can drastically ease the sea of information that the learner is struggling to sift through, by tailoring information specifically to the outcome of the training. By focusing only on critical content, this ensures that learners concentrate on what really matters. So with all these new innovations and resources that have made their way into today's training classrooms, trainers should always strive to meet their intended learning and terminal objectives over compelling convenience and accessibility.
It has been an amazing experience to be a trainer over the past couple of years, and as Cornerstone's Training Institute Online manager I am continuously looking to advance the delivery of quality, value added training. Join our CTI blog to learn more about our innovations in training, and get the latest on what's going on.