(With apologies to everyone for referring to myself in the third person for this blog title.)
At 53 years of age, I have plenty of opportunities to exclaim –
“I cannot believe I own a tech business!”
When I cannot work my iPhone.
When I say to my tech team – “please explain this slowly!”
When I ask my nieces how to download an app.
When I cringe at online anything.
About ten or fifteen years ago, when web-based safety training started to became a thing, I was not intrigued.
I was, in a word, repulsed.
Some of my clients and colleagues were buying into the concept, early to the game. I was smug when their employees, accustomed to my interactive and could-not-be-more-customized safety training sessions, complained to me.
“Ugh, Patti, it’s so BORING!”
“It has nothing to do with us.”
“I just hit click, click, click.”
Web-based training. For me, it was a hard no.
Then I spoke at an ASSE conference on safety training techniques for the classroom, and managed to squeeze into another session while there. On the topic of Millennials and Safety.
It was filled with safety professionals, largely within my age bracket.
The session was led by a millennial, who attempted to orient us to this generation and how they ticked.
We listened intently, bewildered, as though watching some documentary about a rare and exotic wildlife species.
But one statistic grabbed me that day.
By 2020, millennials would be roughly 1/3 of the North American workforce.
As an entrepreneur who relied on connecting with employees in safety training, I knew this was a critical fact for my business future. These millennials thrived on, no, expected, to be learning skills and information on their computers. Their tablets. Their phones.
I thought again about web-based training.
I did some research.
I took some online courses.
I was still repulsed. It was so bad!
But now my perspective was entirely different. If this was what was out there, if this was the competition in the marketplace, if this was what millennials were comfortable consuming, well, I could do it better.
In 2016, PCS Custom Training Solutions LLC was formed, a sister company to my long-standing live training and consulting business, Proactive Compliance Services, Inc.
Our approach was simple.
Just like my in-person training, I would not provide virtual courses that were canned or impersonal or the equivalent of a talking head, failing to engage with the audience, reading from a PowerPoint.
Everything would be customized.
Everything would be relevant.
Everything would be interactive.
Everything would test the learner’s understanding of critical, scenario-based, questions related to the safety content. (“What would you do if … ?”)
And that’s what we did.
We partnered with clients who were uninterested in the canned stuff on the marketplace, who were interested in a different sort of web-based training experience for their employees or contractors.
But as we evolved, something else happened.
I discovered I was not alone.
While I should have realized it standing in that session on Millennials in the Workforce at that ASSE conference, it took a few years for it to sink in.
Like me, many of my safety professional colleagues were uncomfortable with safety e-learning.
They were also repulsed. Or at least hesitant.
In the years that have followed, my role has become crystal clear.
I am not a tech wiz, I will never be a tech wiz, I am the antithesis of a tech wiz.
But I am a safety professional who is embracing technology. Or at least jumping in with both feet to see what it can do to further my end goal of making employees safer in the workplace.
My role with my web-based training clients is unique.
I am still that boots-on-the-ground-let’s-go-look-at-that-tank-and-talk-about-confined-space-entry-requirements, but now I am also:
The LMS (Learning Management System) Whisperer
The How Do We Make Web Based Training Effective Guru
The Let Me Explain How This Tech Stuff Works Conduit
The No Way Does My Client Want That Filter
In the same way that I used to tell employees in training, “Hey listen, I had to really simplify this complex stuff so I could understand it and teach it to you!” – I’m doing the same with how eLearning works.
Now it’s not OSHA’s regulations about confined spaces; it’s SSOs and learning plans and branched learning scenarios.
In the same way I have said to engineers for a few decades, because I found it was the magic phrase, much like “Open Sesame … “ I now say to the very adept technical team with whom I work – “Okay, explain this to me like I’m in fourth grade. I promise I won’t be insulted!”
In many ways I’ve become an interpreter, creating a bridge between the safety professionals who I understand inherently and this specific tech world, so they can have their needs understood and met without learning a foreign language themselves.
Without an interpreter, or a guide, it is more than a little overwhelming.
I have a great team of tech-savvy folks with whom I work and they are endlessly patient with my requests.
“Okay, slow down, let’s talk about this in a way that I understand so I can share with you how my client will approach this, and we can make sure we take care of what they need.”
“Let’s look at this from the 30,000 foot view. Will this make the safety training better?”
“Wait, stop, let’s look at this from where a contractor is sitting, trying to get into our course.”
“No, that won’t work. As a safety professional, that’s a big no.”
“Before we use that photo, let’s try to find one from their workplace.”
“Let’s try something else. A long-time construction guy will roll his eyes at that quiz question!”
What is out there is overwhelming if you’re a safety or HR professional trying to make sense of it all, to build something from scratch.
You may be trying to select or work with an instructional designer — or become one yourself, you know, on the side, because you need another task on your to-do list and a new software program to learn. Safety training, that you know inside and out, but building web-based courses? That’s a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish.
Or you are trying to pick a LMS (Learning Management System) to deliver and track your employee training, and find that your head is spinning during the demo because it all looks like a control panel at NASA. It’s simply too much.
Or you’re wondering how you’ll handle Help Desk calls to replace lost passwords or help someone who is having an IT problem, when what you thought you were solving was a Safety Training Dilemma.
I get it.
We get it.
Let us help you step across that bridge.
It’s 2021 after all, and all the cool kids are doing it.
Let us be your conduit to web-based safety training.
The way it SHOULD be done.
We’ve built a demo course for you to view.
It will get your creative juices flowing about how it can be customized to meet YOUR needs for YOUR employees in YOUR workplace with YOUR hazards with the topics YOU need.
Let us walk you through how to make that a reality, how to get you set up on a LMS, how to get you signed up for the Help Desk calls you simply are unprepared to handle.
Just drop a line or give me a call. Let’s talk about it.
I’ll explain it to you like a fourth grader if you promise not to be insulted!