Health, Safety, Environment (HSE), Sustainability and e-Learning

Posted on : June 16th, 2014
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safety e-LearningHealth and safety aspect at workplace is now firmly regulated across the world – be it HSWA in UK, OSHA in US, or WHS Act in Australia. Even in developing countries like India there are various Occupational Health & Safety Acts for different types of industries. All these acts not only lay down the requirements for the organizations for providing a safe and healthy work environment, they also mandate certain trainings to be provided to employees and managers so that they know their responsibilities and rights and contribute towards making the workplace safe and healthy.

Along with providing a safe and healthy work environment to employees, there is also lot of public and government pressure on organizations to go about conducting their business in a sustainable manner – so as to create least or zero negative impact on the environment and community they operate in. Sustainability has become such an important issue that it now finds space in annual reports of almost all big organizations and many organizations are adding sustainability related KPI’s in their employees KRA’s.

While some of the sustainable initiatives are low hanging picks, such as changing electric fixtures to low energy consuming ones or making buildings which are more eco friendly, many organizations are taking up much more ambitious targets upon themselves and that involves making their employees, customers and community around them aware of various environmental challenges and how they can contribute towards making things better.

What’s common across HSE and Sustainability is a need for strong awareness program around these initiatives, and e-learning is an excellent medium to effectively and interactively share information with the target audience. However, just spreading awareness as a set of one or two e-courses, as is mostly done by most organizations, is not enough for the long term success of these programs. We all know how our retention of knowledge gained decreases as soon as we are out of the class or are done with the e-course, which is best explained in research done by Hermann Ebbinghaus on this topic –

Ebbinghaus Curve

Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting (Graph Source – Purdue University)

To increase knowledge retention, one needs to space learning events over a long duration so that newly learned knowledge is retained over a longer period of time. What that means is that instead of a 30-60 minutes e-course, develop smaller learning nuggets, such as elearning modules, quizzes, videos, learning games, case studies etc, and spread them over a period of time (You can learn more about how you should go about spacing your learning events from this research by Will Thalhmeier available here). Spacing with smaller learning nuggets would not only reduce information overload but would also increase retention.

However, just spreading awareness will also not be enough to bring about a long lasting behavioral change in people which is what is actually needed for true success of HSE and sustainability related programs. Picking up one of the ideas from this article from The Guardian by Adam Corner, for your initiative to create a long lasting impact, you would need to create a community or citizenship around sustainability related programs so that people feel they are part of something bigger. Here are a couple of ideas we have implemented for our large, geographically spread customers and which have generated positive results in bringing about some behavioral changes –

  • Set up a social collaboration portal where people can discuss about the initiatives being taken in their geographies, share challenges and results, and seek advice
  • Build a layer of gamification around the initiative – people get points, cross levels (e.g. think of journey from Green Newbie to Green Superhero), get badges for displaying actions that are in line with the program objectives, which employees can then trade for gifts (free bus/metro pass or CFLs for example) or lunch with top executives or simply add it to their LinkedIn profile or email signatures

So with the right elearning design and delivery strategy, active social platform to satisfy social needs, and right motivation techniques incorporated into the program to provide a feeling of accomplishment and to enhance learners self esteem, chances of your HSE and Sustainability programs succeeding will increase manifold.

Please do feel free to connect with us if you would like to discuss how G-Cube can assist you in success of your program at [email protected] or by filling the form below:'

Manish Gupta

Mr. Manish Gupta is the CEO and co-founder at G-Cube Solutions- an eminent e-learning products and services company. He holds expertise in different domains including Business Management, Consulting for e-learning activities, sales and marketing for diverse industrial domains. He loves reading, jogging and exploring spiritual things.


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