Over the past fifty years there has been an explosion of growth in mandatory training. In the service industry, for example, there are mandatory course like Intervention Procedures by Servers of Alcohol. In addition, there are a number of courses like WHMIS, TDG, H2S, CSTS, Fall Protection and Ground Disturbance that are mandatory to work on specific job sites. The list of required training for employees is not only exhausting but it is also growing!
There is no doubt that these mandatory training courses are of immense value to employees and their employers, but the challenge to employers is the increased burden of costs associated with constant training especially if you consider the paid time away for employees to complete these courses. There are also challenges for employees who have limited time for productive work. Online training is the best answer, but there are obstacles that need to be resolved in order for online training to become the most effective solution. These challenges include:
How to verify mandatory course have been completed using online training? What backup systems are available confirm all online courses have been completed by the right person? How do you deal with courses that require practicum training as well as theory using an online training system? What are ways to verify competency using online training systems?
Over the last few years there have been many advances in online training systems to deal with these obstacles and challenges. New technology featured on a few online training systems include proctoring functionality which locks courses down and only allows authorized managers to unlock the courses for their employees in order to verify they have completed them at work and that they are the person who took the course. Some organizations even go as far as requiring an online signature from the authorized manager in an agreement stating that they swear that they personally watched these individual employees complete their training.
In addition, some of the exciting new changes in online training systems include competency validation. In 2011 BIS is launching an advanced online version of this in their proprietary online training system BIStrainer. This new feature will provide a training module to an end-user, upon successful completion of this online training course the onsite authorized manager will receive an email notification from the system with an attached printable assessment. Using this assessment form the manager will work with the end user to test their competency levels for each of the topics covered in the online training. Using a standard ten-point rating system the authorized manager can rank the end user for speed, competency, fluidness, adaptability and innovation in action while completing the necessary tasks. This information is then added by the manager into the system and transferred to the end user’s final test results using a simply “pass/fail mark” evaluation based on the combined score of the online and the practicum part of the training. This evolution of competency validation in online training system will open many new doors to field testing by supervisors that can be used in online training or blended training that uses class-room based learning, online theory and competency evaluation. All of this information can combine into a reporting summary for senior executives to quickly indicate what regions, divisions and individual locations are up to date on training initiatives by percentage or by unit number. Imagine looking at a reporting dashboard that shows 98.5% of your organization has competed and passed the supervisor basic training program include theory, classroom and competency evaluation. In addition, a few clicks can provide a list of individuals including their location who still need to complete the training.
The question remains, where do you find training systems like these? The best solution is to look for unconventional companies that design solutions based on user preferences and business needs instead of the ones that follow a standard format developed in the early seventies using academic theory and hypothesis.
Over the ensuing years hundreds of new companies will enter the online training market. Beware of the ones that say they can do it and make promises, but have no experience in delivering online courses. Also, stay away from any online training companies that do not have built in feedback systems that work to capture all end-user feedback. Many of these companies will not survive. On the other hand, the ones that offer competitive pricing and constant innovation will flourish over the coming years while providing outstanding service and customer support.