We’ll admit, Jeff Dalto’s article in Professional Safety magazine, is not necessarily groundbreaking; it’s just a well-written epistle about learning objectives and applying them effectively in a safety training program.

Spoiler alert: Dalto mentions in his article that the concept of learning objectives, which was touched on a bit on the blog the other day, is actually contained in an important standard for safety profresional to understand – ANSI/ASSE Z490.1-2016, especially focusing on Section 4.3 (Learning Objections), Annex A and Annex B.8. S all you gotta do is some reading.

Putting Them on Notice

While companies often make safety training mandatory, sometimes there is training that isn’t mandatory for those who are already experienced in their jobs and the training is not geared toward their work but instead toward other jobs, other divisions, or are meant solely for the newcomers to the company. This is where having training sessions with specific learning objectives known before the training is called.

Having training sessions devoted to a certain objective and announcing it to the workers ahead of time will help motivate those workers who should participate, to participate; and it will help the employees go into the training with an endgame in mind, meaning that they will know what they should learn in the training.

Putting It to the Test

It is one thing to just do the training and send the workers on their merry way. But in order to better ensure you don’t have to go over these objectives a second time with this group of workers, The next two steps in implementing the learning objectives is to test and to evaluate the workers on what they know and execute reliably.

The first step is to test or assess worker’s understanding of the objective, and this can first be done by determining the best way to do the assessment (orally, written, or in actual practice). The right assessment for the objective will help determine the depth of the worker’s understanding of the objective, and to see if the training was effective.

The key sidenote to this is the nature of the assessment – the assessment tool should be developed in such a way that only the specific objective is being assessed and nothing else that might be indirect or incidentally adjacent. An assessment should not be clouded by other things that might conceal the worker’s lack of understanding of the objective, and thus make it harder to help and provide further mentoring to get the objective right.

The Value of Evaluation

After doing the assessment in testing the worker’s understanding of the objectives, which tells trainers and supervisors the extent of the workers’ understanding of the training, next is to evaluate the workers to determine the efficacy of the training in regards to the objective(s).

The evaluation can take on any number of forms, and can be done is any of several ways or just one. These tools however, are not one-size-fits-all for every objective; they must be treated like the assessments earlier, where you find the right one ( or two) that will best show the effectiveness of the training and what might need to be adjusted in future trainings.

Consider these various tools:

  • Learner surveys (oral or written).
  • On-the-job (OTJ) observations. The key here is to see the workers in their normal environment and see if they are ding what they were trained to do, and if not to find out why instead of summing it’s th e training. It may not be.
  • Metrics. This can be measured based on the objective and where it may best be seen – whether it be safety metrics (lagging and leading indicators before and after the training) or overall business metrics (revenue, profit, productivity, downtime, etc.).

Understanding learning objectives and the best way to approach them to meet the needs of your workforce will be valuable in making your training efficient and effective in creating a more productive and safe workforce in the long run.