Benefits of Automated Safety Training for Initial and Recurrent Training Requirements
Aviation safety training can be a logistical and financial nightmare. This is especially true in larger companies or in organizations where financial/human resources are stretched thin.
Training not only costs money, but it also does so at the expense of workers’ duties because they will have to miss work in order to complete training.
Some organizations address this issue by requiring employees to complete training from their home – off the clock. However, this is definitely a less than desirable solution. Automated training is a much more safe-culture friendly and sustainable way to fulfill training requirements. Automated training:
- Requires very little logistical effort;
- Is automatically generated for a user to complete at their convenience; and
- Cuts most overhead costs generally needed for training.
With these kind of benefits, why don’t more companies adopt automated safety training in aviation SMS programs? In general, the reasons we hear are:
- It’s a big change (and people don’t like change);
- Lack of direction and know-how for creating automated training;
- Fear of inability to manage automated training; and
- Other challenges of automated recurring safety training.
Challenges of Recurring Safety Training
Despite the numerous benefits of automated safety training for initial and recurring safety training, there are several distinct challenges as well:
- Monitoring automated training;
- Creating effective training;
- Managing documentation of automated training; and
- Creating automated training.
This training is best developed and created by industry experts with experience with training automation. But organizations who wish to address and overcome these challenges will cut down on the headache and financial burden of manual training.
Here are the best ways to establish and manage automated training.
Require (End of) Training Assessments
Automated training is done at the convenience of each employee, and it completed alone. Which is why the most pressing question organizations usually have when considering training automation is: how are we going to manage and monitor it.
The simple and effective solution is to include end of training assessments as a part of the automated training. Or, these assessments can be the automated training in and of themselves. These assessments should be:
- Short, such as 5-10 questions;
- Multiple choice;
- Automatically scored and documented; and
- (if applicable) Created in direct reference to the training.
Assessments give safety managers documentable evidence of training performance.
Use Safety Training Articles Library
There are many training articles available for company use. For example, organizations such as Boeing and the FAA (among others) have contacted us to use our articles as training materials. With such articles you can:
- Compile all desired articles into one location for your company to access;
- Organize all articles by “type,” such as hazard identification, human factors, etc.;
- Set yearly requirements for each position in your company to read a certain number of articles from relevant article “types”; and
- Require post reading proof of reading, such as a summary, assessment, etc.
One of the major benefits of this method of automated training is that it only requires managements time for choosing the articles and reviewing performance, both of which should not be time consuming.
Moreover, employees get to choose (within prescribed boundaries) which articles appear to them the most. This is a great incentive to engage employees with safety. There is also no reason you can’t include training videos in the training articles library as well.
Of course, if you are using external article resources you should always ask permission from the article owners, and give credit where applicable.
Use Aviation SMS Software
Aviation SMS software and other similar web applications provide natural forums in which to provide safety training. These web applications can be full-fledged SMS software, or point-solutions, such as a software dedicated exclusively to training or assessments.
The upside of such a strategy is that:
- Your training data is secure and easily accessible;
- Complex training data will always be readily available;
- Data charting tools should be built in to the software/application, allowing you to easily create reports;
- Provide best method of compliance, as software/apps are often built to be compliant; and
- They require the least amount of manual work.
The only downside is that you will be required to learn a new application, and this method of automated training will be more expensive than other automated strategies (though only marginally).
Final Thought: What You Need to Move from Manual to Automated Safety Training
Making the jump from manual to automated safety training is smooth, however it requires three things:
- Upper management support;
- A clear plan of what kind of automated training you are going to use (i.e. articles, assessments, software);
- A clear plan of how you are going to implement the new training; and
- A plan for how to effectively notify employees of training changes (be positive!).
Here are a couple of training resources that may prove very helpful in demonstrating the recommendations from this article: