Learn More About Online Training Options

Schools, businesses, academic societies and other organizations are taking advantage of modern technology to share information more effectively than ever before. Not only does the power of electronics enable people to share infor­mation and learn from experts anywhere around the world, it also provides a host of powerful tools that help teach subjects more clearly and interestingly. Animation, narration, video demonstrations, and on-screen simulations help make learning more effective and fun.

The construction industry is particularly well suited to benefit from this revolution in communication technology. Lifting is a true science, and its principles remain the same no matter where the job is per­formed (although the work rules may change). Online training offers an excellent way for construction workers to develop the skills they need to excel at their jobs, meet qualification or certification standards, and work safely. It also can offer an efficient way for employers to train large or spread-out workforces, and to automatically document that training, regardless of whether the learner is in Tulsa or Timbuktu. Many construction-related topics are well suited to online training, including rigging, signaling, crane operation (including preparation for the certification exams), overhead crane operation, and aerial work platform use.

Courses use many methods to help users learn the required mate­rial, such as providing videos with descriptions, audio narrations, graphics that restate and describe the learning concepts. All the mate­rials and presentations help users visualize the lesson at hand. The teaching methods can be dynamic, interactive, and user friendly. Simulators are used to introduce operators to realistic environments, and the pedals and joysticks are solenoid driven to replicate pressure.

High-resolution imagery and surround sound make the experience realistic. The advantages are cost effective and give operators the chance to experience many scenarios without injury or damage to property. As trainees proceed through the training, results of online quizzes and tests are recorded and used to generate progress reports and point them to areas they may need to review or work on. Again, this can be done online, anytime, and from anywhere. Depending on the training provider, online learning may require no spe­cial software, other than the user's web browser. Courses in rigging, signaling, and aerial platform operation typically take only hours to complete, while mobile crane courses may take longer to finish.

Once the training course has been completed, users will receive their training records (transcripts) via email. If the student is part of a company program, records also may be emailed to the company's designated training manager.

The system can let an employer, supervisor, or safety director review employees' progress reports on the fly from a smart phone, iPad, or computer. The dashboard provides real-time progress report­ing for an unlimited number of employees 24/7. The transcripts include the date and time started, scores for each learning session, date completed, and how much time was spent on the courses. Every interaction carries a date and time stamp. The employer doesn't have to document anything. The system does it for you! Records and tran­scripts are easily accessible anytime. If a customer needs proof of a qualification, you're just a few clicks away.

Online training isn't for everyone, but if you are considering online training opportunities, review these key points as you evaluate potential providers:

  • Be sure to ask for recommendations. See what a potential pro­vider's customers are saying.
  • Test drive the training to see if the shoe fits before committing.
  • Ask about record keeping, does the learning management system accommodate your needs?
  • Is the training and learning management system easy to use?
  • If you call, does somebody answer the phone and assist?
  • Was the training designed by industry experts?

Robert Slingsby is an experienced equipment operator with more than 15 years at the controls. He now owns the Operator Network, an online train­ing company serving the construction and heavy equipment industry. He can be reached at robert@operatornetwork.com


Author: Robert Slingsby

Source: Lift and Access Magazine, March-April 2013

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