This is the first of a two-part series by Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training discussing what doesn't work — and what does — in safety training.
“People generally are going about learning in the wrong ways. In fact, the most effective learning strategies are not intuitive.” ~ An alarming excerpt from the book Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
So, are you approaching training in your facility incorrectly?
Safety trainers work to help employees learn and retain information that promotes safety. But, depending on the approach, it may be a wasted effort.
There are 5 common things that don’t help learning or training.
What doesn’t work:
- Learning that feels “easy”
You’ve probably had a learning experience that seems “easy,” making you think you’ve mastered the concepts or skills. But learning doesn’t really stick unless it came with some effort. If the learning in a training session seems easy, there’s a very good chance you will forget it tomorrow. As a safety trainer, always build some difficulty into training.
- You feel like you’re learning
Studies show that people are notoriously poor judges of when they’re learning, when they’re not, and how well they are learning. We often get frustrated if a learning experience seems hard, and we switch gears to try to find one that seems easier. But this doesn’t typically work.
- Build in some “desirable difficulties” into your training.
- If you’re using post-training evaluation surveys and have positive replies to questions like, “Was the training effective?” take those positive replies with a heavy dose of skepticism. (See this article for more about the poor data from post-training evaluation surveys and how to create them to deliver better data.)
- Reading and re-reading text
Many people read a book and then re-read it again trying to “burn” the ideas into their memories. Research shows that this repeated reading isn’t an effective learning practice.
- Massed practice (cramming)
Another “study tip” is studying something over and over again, very hard, during a brief period of time. Learning experts call this massed practice. You and I call it cramming.
But this approach doesn’t work. You may retain information long enough to pass a test, but will forget most of the information quickly. It’s best not to compile training topics — instead spread them out over time.
- Learning in a preferred “learning style”
Learning style means things like “visual learner” or “auditory learner” and “kinesthetic learner.” But, there’s little or no evidence that this is true, and the theory has been widely debunked by learning experts.
Ideally, you should present safety training in a variety of styles, delivery methods, and experiences.
The deployment of the right telematic software has proven to dramatically reduce safety risks and accidents by identifying which operators need further training. But, this only works if employees retain the information. In the next part of this series, we will explore 9 optimum methods for making safety training memorable.