Is e-learning the answer the construction industry has been looking for to help revolutionise safety and awareness training? Jeremy Melhuish looks into it.
This type of training is becoming more common in the United States, but the United Kingdom is still lagging behind.
According to recent statistics, the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous workplaces in the UK.
According to the most recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, the construction industry accounts for only 5% of the UK workforce but accounts for 22% of workplace fatalities. In the UK construction industry alone, 49 workers were killed in 2013, with over 2230 minor injuries reported. These troubling statistics show that there is a greater need than ever for improved safety standards in our construction industry.
Over the last year, we’ve seen industry officials take steps to improve consistency and regulation across the board. The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) toughened the criteria for obtaining a construction work green card, which demonstrates the ability to perform basic construction site skills, in July of this year.
Individuals were previously required to pass a multiple-choice test and provide a reference from their employer in order to qualify for a green card. Individuals are now required to complete more than 40 hours of learning, which includes much more extensive, construction-specific safety training.
However, much more must be done to raise the bar. Consistency in training is a real challenge in an industry where the number of casual workers has more than doubled in the last two decades. Online training has the potential to fill a critical gap in the sector by providing a solution for accessible and consistent training at a fraction of the cost and management time.
That is why we created the WaterWise Training Foundation Course; we believe that e-learning is the solution that our construction industry requires right now.
The WWT Foundation Course is the first e-learning course of its kind, focusing on improving competency in this increasingly populated environment. It is aimed at people and businesses who work near water. It takes advantage of the flexibility, efficiency, and consistency that online training provides, with the goal of bridging the gap between theory and practise in an often overlooked work environment.
One of the most common misconceptions about e-learning is that it is passive and only benefits one type of learner. This is completely false. Indeed, e-learning has the potential to actively engage all three types of learners: auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic.
This makes it more accessible to a broader audience and allows for a higher retention rate than a lecture format or simply providing reading materials. E-learning retention rates have been shown to be five times higher than traditional instructor-led training because learners can progress at their own pace and review and absorb information through multiple channels.
The WaterWise Training course interacts with and actively engages the learner through a variety of modes. The course uses film and animation to create and portray the water environment in a way that an instructor-led session cannot. It consists of five highly interactive online learning modules as well as a final online assessment with psychometric validity.
Another common misconception about e-learning is that it is taken less seriously than traditional, in-person training courses. Online learning, on the other hand, is sweeping the globe, and there is no reason why the construction industry should fall behind. Over 40% of the Fortune 500 companies in the world now use some form of online training, and e-learning is expected to grow by 23% over the next three years.
The support of key construction industry bodies will be critical to the growth of e-learning in the UK construction industry. The WaterWise Training Foundation Course has already been approved by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is recognised by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). Those who have a CSCS card will receive an official CSCS endorsement upon completion of the course, and their employer may be eligible for a CITB grant.
Ultimately, e-Learning provides employers with the ability to ensure that their employees receive comprehensive and consistent training, providing a flexible and cost-effective solution. It has the potential to provide the answers that the UK construction industry requires right now, such as reducing workplace incidents and improving health and safety standards for all.