Learning · NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety · Online learning · Revision

Technology and the Human Touch – are they mutually exclusive?

“The consumerisation of IT has resulted in a dramatic cultural shift in the modern workplace” writes Cornerstone, a global leader of cloud-based talent management software solutions, and here at Astutis we couldn’t agree more.

As witnessed in recent years, the significant rise in the use of mobile technology (smartphones, tablets, laptops, ultrabooks or netbooks) in every-day life has led to an expectation for their usage in the workplace.

Embracing Technology

Over the course of the working week, we speak to many HR departments and Training Managers  who are embracing this technological and indeed, cultural shift in their training and development and in its delivery – because it offers tangible and measurable benefits reflected in defined KPI’s and not solely because it is perceived as ‘the next big thing’.

E-learning should embrace the most current technologies available in order to provide the user with the most engaging learning experience
Online learning should embrace the most current technologies available in order to provide the user with an engaging learning experience

However, for the multitude who see online learning as an opportunity for developing the skillset of the individuals that make up their workforce (whilst offering flexibility in terms of pace and place of learning), there are many that still need guidance on the ways in which this method of learning can support their organisation and its employees. Indeed, there also remains a certain sub-sector of employees who will balk at the thought of losing the ‘human element’ in their training and development and to these, HR departments will need to communicate the benefits in order to overcome the (frequently perceived) barriers of using online learning to its full potential.

Technology can be a valuable asset for the organisation seeking to build a successful HSE training program. Benefits of on-line learning to the individual include:

  • 24 hour access to training 7 days a week
  • Consistent training between locations and across different shift patterns
  • Training that offers engaging state-of-the-art graphics, animation, audio and narrative to engage the learner and keep their attention

and for the organisation:

  • A reduction in time away from production
  • Cost savings in not paying an instructor’s fee
  • Reduced travel expenses
  • Savings on printed training materials
  • A streamlined and easy-to-follow reporting process that allows management to track employees progress.

Technology v’s the Human Element – what to look for

In choosing an online learning course, Training Managers should seek out a course that offers multimedia techniques and excellent reporting which will benefit both employers and employees alike.

Seek out:

  • A personalised learning experience and easy to use LMS (Learning Management System)
  • Work-based learning activities using video, audio, animations
  • Progress checks with automatic feedback
  • Full colour digital course notes to download for studying on-the-go
  • Expert tutor support during the course
  • Time-saving reports for managers to report on employees’ progress

In doing so, organisations will ensure that employees will be well-placed to succeed in their studies, and in turn get a return in value for their investment and a better qualified workforce.

Support, support, support…

Astutis is all about health, safety and environmental training … but it is also all about people and ensuring everyone who trains with us gets the best support possible, regardless of how they choose to learn. The sales and admin support, and the design and delivery of the course are all very important … but without the tutor, a classroom course wouldn’t work. So how does it work with online learning?

All of our e-learners are offered support whilst working their way through the online learning materials. The support ranges from the colourful course guides and videos, to our knowledgeable safety advisors and friendly, helpful online learning advisors, on the end of a phone or an email. The discussion groups for our NEBOSH courses also enable learners to stay in touch with us and their fellow students, supporting and encouraging each other along the way.

The Human Value of Web-based Technology

Over the last year at Astutis, we have developed a range of webinars (live, online sessions led by one of our Diploma tutors and supported by one of our learning designers) to add more of the human touch to the NEBOSH Diploma online learning course. We have just completed our 3rd round of these webinars, which are intended to support learners when they might need it most … in the final stages of their preparation for the Unit A, Unit B and Unit C Diploma exams. And one of our learners recognised this when they said the sessions were … very helpful, very exam orientated.

The webinars are live, hour-long, online sessions focussing on specific elements of the Diploma course. The learners can join the webinars from wherever they are, via a computer or even a mobile device. As well as giving them the opportunity to focus on revision for a particular topic, the webinars give them that all-important human touch … the opportunity to see, hear and ask questions of a real, live Diploma tutor!

The sessions were very helpful as the trainer’s input helps put a practical view on revision notes and examples of scenarios.

It isn’t just the tutor who the learners have the chance to hear from though … it’s each other, which can be just as useful.

I really enjoyed it, especially the interaction between the tutor and students.

And here are a few other things our learners had to say about the benefits of attending one (or more) of the online revision sessions:

They helped to clear up any difficulties with the topics covered.

 It helped me recap the revision I have already done and identified personal gaps / areas I need to revisit on the topic.

It definitely helped me to quickly review what I’ve learned already and just aided the study / revision process.

We record each of the webinars and make this recording (along with a PDF of the presentation) available to those who attend, so that even after the session they can revisit any part of it to help them with their revision.

I found the pdf download a great revision tool.

Our first live online support session (webinar) for the Unit D assignment will be taking place shortly … and with increasing numbers of attendees, and positive and constructive feedback, we will continue to develop and extend this support service, which ensures that we really are providing the human touch (using the marvels of technology) to our e-learners, wherever they are.

Our learners can have the last word on this one:

It has really helped me to focus and to bring the material to life.

Helpful, informative and easy to participate.

A worthwhile exercise which compliments my online learning experience.

Excellent! Best use of an hour!

One thought on “Technology and the Human Touch – are they mutually exclusive?

  1. Really liked the fact that this combined technology is now leading the way for many companies. Nice to see the positive difference these tools are making to learners.

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