Types of Online Safety Training: 2 Main Options for Employers


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If your company is thinking of getting some online safety training, it would be logical to want to know more about it before you plunk down a bunch of money.

This is the first article in a series that will help you answer some common questions and help you find the type of online safety training system that's best for your company.

In this article, we'll look at two common types of online safety training: on-demand online safety training and online safety training that's administered using learning management systems (LMSs).

Once you're done with this article, you may also be interested in a second article, Pros and Cons of Different Types of Online Safety Training Solutions.

You might also find a LOT of stuff interesting and helpful on your online safety training search in the guide below.

Types of Online Safety Training: On-Demand and Learning Management Systems

Although different online safety training providers may use different terms for these ideas, some common methods of online safety training include:

  • On-demand
  • Learning management system (LMS)

We'll explain each in brief below. As you read about each, ask yourself if that seems like a good or bad fit for what your company needs.

And remember that each system is different and that the explanations below are generalizations. These generalizations will help you wrap your head about the types of options that are out there at the beginning of your search. You can then learn more details about each specific system you check out during your evaluation process.


On-Demand Online Safety Training

If you're familiar with services like Netflix (for streaming videos) and Pandora (for streaming music), you already understand a lot of what on-demand online safety training is all about.

The basic idea with online safety training is you go to a website, enter into some form of payment agreement, and get access one or more safety and health online courses. In almost all of these systems, when a person completes a course, that person should be able to print or receive via email or traditional mail a completion certificate or card.

In many on-demand online safety training systems, that's pretty much everything. However, some systems may include additional features that allow the safety training manger at a company to administer and manage the online safety training program. By administering and managing, we mean:

  • Making customized safety training assignments to different workers at the company
  • Notifying those workers or their managers of their safety training assignments
  • Providing tools to help import, create, and update safety training materials (which are then assigned to the workers)
  • Creating and storing digital records of completed training
  • Keeping track of recurrent safety training assignments that workers must complete and then complete again a year, two years, and/or three years later when the original completion "expires"
  • Generating and running reports on training status and data
  • Emailing those reports to coworkers
  • Automatically generating and emailing those reports to a selected recipient on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis

Finally, although this probably isn't common, some of these on-demand online safety training systems may even provide tools to help the safety training manager at a company manage the "traditional," in-person safety training in addition to online safety training. This would include things like safety meetings, tailgate talks, instructor-led classroom-style training, field-based OJT training, OJT mentoring programs, and more.

Because all on-demand online safety training system are different, you'll find they vary in the following ways that you'll want to investigate once you get down to evaluating specific solutions:

  • Price (obviously)
  • Payment options (including one-time, monthly and/or yearly subscriptions, etc.)
  • Course access (may include a certain number of course launches or access to any number of courses for a given period of time)
  • Number of employees that can access courses (may range from just one, to a given number, such as 10, 20, or 500, to unlimited)
  • Number of unique logins with different login username/password combos and different user records (may range from 0, 1, to a specific number such as 10, 20, or 50, to unlimited)
  • Inclusion of any administrative and management features and extent of those features
  • Ability to manage traditional face-to-face training in addition to online safety training from the same tool

Learning Management Systems for Online Safety Training

A learning management system, also known as an LMS, is a web-based software application for safety training.

Deliver. Report. Manage. Convergence Training EHS Course Library

The LMS includes two basic components:

  • Online safety and health training courses from the training provider
  • Tools to help you administer and manage safety training in the same ways we discussed above when explaining on-demand online safety training

So the basic difference between using an on-demand online safety training solution and using a learning management system safety training solution is that while on-demand solutions MAY include some form of administrative tools to help you manage safety training at your workplace, learning management systems include those same tools pretty much by default.

Of course, no learning management system is just like all the others. And the primary difference is going to be how many administrative features each one provides. A secondary, but equally important difference is exactly how the LMS allows you to perform those features and how easy or complicated it is.

To simplify, some are more powerful and have more features, which others are less powerful and have fewer features. To continue to talk in somewhat general terms, the most powerful LMSs will give you almost every administrative power you'd like, and maybe even some you haven't yet thought of. And on the other hand, some of the least powerful LMSs are more correctly described as "safety trackers" as they include little more than the ability to assign only the safety training that comes with the system, to allow employees to complete those online courses, to automatically create completion records, and to allow safety training managers very limited reporting capabilities to see which employees have completed a course and which haven't.

If you'd like to learn a little more about administrative and management capabilities provided by an LMS, watch the short video below.

Another interesting distinction between different learning management systems is where they're hosted (this means which computer server they operate from). The four basic options are:

  • Your company's own computer server
  • The online safety training providers server
  • The "distributed cloud," meaning it's hosted on a number of servers all connected through high-tech wizardry on the Internet
  • Your choice of the above options

This is another thing worth considering to see if it's important to you, what your preference is, and what each online system does or doesn't do.

Still want to know more about using an LMS for online safety training management? Read this article for a more complete explanation of how you can use a learning management system (LMS) to administer your safety training at work.

Some Pros and Cons about The Different Types of Online Safety Training

We've given you some useful general information here about the two types. To try to help you determine which is best for you, check out our Pros and Cons of Different Types of Online Safety Training article.

Review: 2 Main Types of Online Safety Training

There's no one safety training solution that's right for every company out there.

Instead, there are a number of options. Some are better fits for you, some are worse fits. Which is nice, because it lets you choose the system that's best for your company.

But along with that choice comes a little additional homework of determining which kind of online safety training system is best for you. We hope this article has helped you zero in on the type of system you may want to use.

Stay tuned for future articles that will provide more help in making this important choice. And please let us know if you've got any questions. There's a comments section below just for that.

And feel free to download the effective EHS training guide, below.

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