Many companies are interested in adding an online component to their current safety/EHS training.
It makes sense. We already do so many things online, and we know that putting stuff online can make things easier, more efficient, less costly, more convenient, and more effective.
Why can’t the same be true with safety training? Well, it can be and it is, my friend.
Not only is it possible, by now we all probably have at least some familiarity with online safety training. Maybe you’ve seen and have been impressed by an online safety training course. Or maybe you’ve seen how online systems can keep track of and automate training assignments that workers must complete recurrently (such as every year for HazCom training). Or maybe you know how efficiently and effortlessly online training systems can create and store records of completed training and even auto-generate reports on that training and deliver them to your email inbox automatically.
So in this article, we’ll take a look at one tool you can use in an online safety training solution: the learning management system, or LMS. If you already know what an LMS is and how it relates to online safety training, you may learn some new stuff here. If you’re not aware of what an LMS is or how it’s related to online safety training, this may be really eye-opening and very welcome news.
“Online safety training” can mean lots of different things.
For example, it can mean going to a website, entering your credit card number, and paying to watch a single course. A pay-per-view option, if you will.
Or it can mean having a subscription to online safety courses that you can view on a website for a time period such as a year. Kind of like how you watch movies on Netflix.
There’s nothing wrong with either of those solutions, and in some cases, it may be just what you’re looking for. By the way, we offer both of those online safety training options here.
But in other cases, you may be looking for something more robust, powerful, and flexible to meet the needs of your workplace. In particular, with issues like training management, training material creation, reporting, and more.
If that’s the case, you may find that a learning management system (LMS) is just what the doctor ordered. A learning management system is a software system you can access through the Internet. It can be used to administer training of all types. This includes online training courses and other training activities your workers can complete online, such as videos and written materials like PowerPoint Presentations and PDFs, but it also includes instructor-led training and task-based training in the field.
And when we say “administer,” we mean a lot more than just make assignments and deliver the training online. The LMS provides you all the power you need to administer every aspect of your safety training exactly as you want it. And even better, it includes many features to automate the process, so once you’ve set it the way you want it, you can walk away and take care of other parts of your work life while the LMS handles the tedious and challenging clerical aspects of safety training administration.
This short two-minute video overview may help set the scene:
We’ll show you exactly what we mean in more detail below. And we think you’ll like it. But feel free to read this article on Online EHS Training, And What It Means, too.
Now that you know a little about what an LMS is, you might wonder what you can use one for.
Well, you can use an LMS to:
It’s important to remember that you can use the LMS to administer many aspects of training that occurs in a face-to-face setting, such as instructor-led classroom training, OJT job mentoring/shadowing programs, and field-based training. So an LMS isn’t just for training that your workers complete online–it’s the whole training enchilada. We’ll touch on this again, but feel free to read this article about 12 Ways to Use an LMS for Instructor-Led Classroom Style Training.
It’s also nice to know that your LMS can be installed on your own local network servers or hosted by your LMS provider “in the cloud.” Having your LMS in the cloud means it’s on the Internet, and you and the employees at your workplace can access it 24/7 by going to your unique URL address and logging in using your secure username and password. The big advantage of this, beyond not having to have a VPN to access the LMS remotely, is that the LMS provider does all the work of maintaining your LMS for you. Check in with your IT people–this may make them very happy.
Let’s look at some examples of an LMS to make it even easier to understand how you’d use one for safety training.
Below is an image of the screen your employees would see when they get online and log in. It’s a list of the training that’s been assigned to them.
They can see a list of all assigned training, and they can also see their current completion status and assignment due dates (the due dates may be different for the different activities).
Employees can also launch, view, and complete some training online (such as online courses and online quizzes) or click to learn more about other assigned training (for example, to discover what room an instructor-led course is being held in).
An LMS will also provide tools that make it easy to import your own training materials (see the red circle, below).
What kind of training materials might you import into your LMS? How about:
Your LMS should also let you create some of your own training materials directly inside the LMS.
This may include online quizzes, as shown below…
Online checklists, as shown below….
And even scheduling tools for instructor-led, classroom-style training, as shown below.
All of your training materials will be stored in the LMS as “activities.” As noted earlier, this includes online courses, but also includes instructor-led training sessions, field-based training, written documents, videos, websites, and more.
Conveniently, the LMS becomes the single, centralized repository for all your training materials, essentially consolidating your entire training library. This makes it easy to assign, administer, credit, and report on all training from one tool (say goodbye to training stored or recorded in multiple spreadsheets, databases, and software applications!).
See the image below for a sample list of training activities of different types.
Cool tip: we didn’t mention this earlier, but once you’ve got an activity in the LMS, it’s easy to update it as well. That comes in handy if you change a safety procedure or a safety regulation rules.
For example, think back to the recent change from HazCom to the GHS-aligned HazCom 2012. The image below shows you how easy it is to update your training to match the new regulation–just click a button and point to the new file (red circle, below), and create a new version (blue circle, below).
The LMS stores all versions, keeps track of who has completed which version and when, and even gives you the option of forcing all employees who are currently considered complete back to incomplete, so they have to complete the new version again, or it allows currently complete employees to stay in the complete status despite the change (green circle, below).
Once you’ve got you activities in the LMS, it’s an easy 3-step process to assign training to employees. First, just:
And then just set a few dates. First, the due date,
and then any settings for recurrent assignment information (for training people have to complete every year, for example).
You can assign training to one person or a handful of people. Or, you can assign to teams, departments, sites, regions, and entire organization, or even custom-created training groups (such as Forklift Operators or Hot Work Permit Issuers).
A major benefit of an LMS is that it creates and stores completion records when employees finish training.
In some cases, such as with online training courses, the LMS does that automatically, which is a great time saver. But an LMS will also provide tools that allow you to manually give employees credit for completed training of any type–instructor-led, field-based, a shadowing program that lasted several weeks, whatever you need (red circle, below).
You can even have workers swipe their card when they enter an instructor-led classroom training session and have the LMS automatically create the completion record.
Of course, an LMS will come with a large number of reports to that let you find whatever safety training data you’re looking for.
Of course, you’ll want to generate reports on training, such as the one below, which shows employees who are currently complete or incomplete on assigned training.
That’s all we’ve got for you for now. Hopefully, this article has given you a good general idea of what an LMS is and how you’d use one for safety training.
For additional information about LMSs and using an LMS for safety training, check out any of the articles linked below:
And here are some additional articles about LMSs that you may find helpful:
And of course, let us know if you have any other questions about LMSs and online safety training!
So there are some thoughts about using an LMS as part of an online health and safety training program. We hope we’ve given you some ideas you can work with.
If you’d like to learn more about how to find the LMS that’s right for your company, you may find our article How to Buy an LMS: Getting it Right The First Time helpful.
And don’t forget to check out our library of off-the-shelf online safety training courses.
And before you go, why not download our free Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist?
Learn how to evaluate different online safety training solutions to find one that best fits your company’s needs with our FREE informative guide and checklist.