Six Essentials to Using Video for Safety Training

While video content isn't a new concept for safety training, it's suffered the same fate as other content formats. Most videos pack in too much information, and since employees often only see it once or twice—at scheduled safety training events—they only remember bits and pieces afterwards. The consequence? When employees get back to their jobs, they don't apply what they've learned.

This is why organizations are turning to a more effective approach that presents video content in short and focused bursts that are spaced out over time, with key concepts continuously tested and reinforced. Known as microlearning, this approach is proven to help employees learn and engage and better apply safety training on the job because it is mapped to the way people actually learn and retain information.

For one manufacturer, employees log on to their microlearning platform either through kiosks in the breakroom or their mobile device to engage in short safety training videos. This includes watching a micro-video and answering three to five questions about safe work practices, while playing a fun game. Then, based on their answers, the platform intelligently identifies areas where each employee needs more knowledge and delivers learning to continuously fill those gaps, while reinforcing what they already knew. This approach helps the organization's employees improve long-term memory around safety topics and build additional knowledge over time. It also helps managers and supervisors identify where employees need coaching so they could give them the assistance they needed to be successful. Today, the manufacturer has seen a significant decrease in safety incidents. Also, positive work behaviors have created a corporate culture of safety.

For organizations to move the needle and follow this approach, they need to not merely chop down their videos into smaller chunks, but rather consider these six essential components:

1. A focus on specific safety goals.
The key to driving success with safety training videos, and microlearning, is to start with a set of very specific objectives (e.g. reduce ladder incidents by 50 percent). Often, organizations try to cram everything into one in-person safety training session and when they only have employees' eyes once, they tend to take a kitchen sink approach to content. Instead, employees are more likely to retain knowledge when organizations identify specific goals and address those topics one at a time.

2. Proven brain science techniques for ingraining information into memory.
While bite-sized content is ideal for the brain to process, this isn't enough to make it stick. To ensure employees recall safety best practices at critical times it is important to combine microlearning videos with proven memory-building techniques, such as spacing, retrieval practice, and confidence-based assessment. Employees often get hurt at work because they develop shortcuts and bad habits over time. Brain science techniques help reduce these habits by consistently keeping the "correct way" top of mind.

Spacing involves increasing the time between the first moment someone learns a concept and every subsequent repetition of the same concept. Retrieval practice uses questions to help the brain remember information. Confidence-based learning asks employees to rate their confidence in the correctness of their answer to a question. The act of asking people to think about their response, embeds information more deeply in the brain.

3. Personalized and adaptive learning on a continuous basis.
The workforce is made up of multiple experience levels. Employees have different roles and therefore specific safety considerations. Given this, it doesn’t make sense to create one-size-fits-all videos and micro-content.

To achieve the best results, videos should be served up through an adaptive microlearning platform that can identify what employees know or don't know, as well as how they are performing on the job on an ongoing basis. Then, learning can be presented automatically to target each employee's individual strengths and weaknesses. This allows employees to learn at their own pace and focus on building the safety knowledge they need to perform their jobs at an optimal level.

4. Gamified elements that are integrated into the learning experience.
Bite-sized videos won’t benefit a safety program if no one takes the time to engage with them. For content to drive results, continuous participation is key. Incorporating multiple game mechanics—such as points, leaderboards, and peer competition—into the learning experience is a proven way to motivate employees to return time and time again.

5. Mobile accessibility for anytime, anywhere access.
Today, many employees rely on their mobile devices for information and to stay connected. This is especially true for workers in remote settings, such as construction locations or delivery fleets. Microlearning is ideal for meeting the needs of a workforce that consists of both desk-based and deskless employees. Anyone can easily weave in a few minutes of quick, digestible chunks of video learning into their work day, no matter where they are. Not to mention, the whole experience also fits perfectly on a small mobile screen.

6. Reporting and analytics that tie learning to business results.
While videos and microlearning offer an effective way to learn, they won't prove their value if they can't be tracked beyond a one-time test score and, more importantly, employees' specific behaviors. To really boost employee knowledge, it's essential to identify the safety training knowledge employees understand versus the information they're struggling with. Identify patterns and trends to adjust content to fill in knowledge gaps. By using data to close critical knowledge gaps, organizations can proactively keep people safe rather than waiting for an incident to occur.

Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify.

Posted on Jun 18, 2018

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