Online or Classroom Orientations, Which is Better For Contractors?

05 May 2018

Contractor orientation training has changed a lot over the past few years, with the process gradually moving towards the online orientation training model, which is incredibly reliable and can save both time and money. Despite this, many UK construction firms are still opting to carry out their contractor orientations in classrooms, which is an expensive model and increases the chances that workers will get bored, confused, and easily distracted. With that said, both approaches have certain advantages, but which model is a better fit for your firm? Or will a mixture of both methods be an effective way to carry out your contractor orientations ? Let’s find out.

Orientation Training

The Stats

According to research by Towards Maturity, online learning platforms are becoming increasingly popular, with two-thirds of employers using these systems to train workers.

Furthermore, in additional research by IOMA, conducting training through online platforms can save an organization between 50-70% of their bottom line, due to the fact courses can be conducted in a shorter time and the expense of one, or multiple trainers, is significantly eradicated.

However, according to research by Anna Ya Ni of California State University, classroom-based learning offers learners the ability to spark a “conversation or discussion” that will enhance the learning experience and reach the “learning objective” in a sufficient manner. Therefore, the study asserts that the online learning approach, combined with a face to face model, may be a necessary solution towards effective learning. Therefore, research tends to suggest that both approaches to learning will provide your orientation training with a distinct advantage. Let’s start with a model that is becoming increasingly outdated and ineffective, but contains some traits that are worth embracing- classroom orientations.

Classroom Orientation Training

These Orientations are a popular method used on many construction sites across the UK. This process presumably is a simple one, where contract workers enter a site, receive some training, and get to work in an environment where the risk of accidents are everywhere. Traditionally, classroom-based orientation training often delivers a mixed bag of training, from information on health and safety procedures to a simple background on the company. The approach requires a construction firm to provide a presenter, who is often the site health and safety officer, but can also be somebody who is appointed by site management. The presenter will then use slide presentations, flipcharts, and hand-outs to train the contract workers on various topics applicable to that site.

This approach has the advantage of providing a human touch to your orientation training and allows for contract workers to ask a multitude of questions regarding the site’s health and safety protocols. However, there are a number of disadvantages.

Firstly, the process is extremely expensive and can quickly tip a typical construction project’s budget into the red quite quickly.

Secondly, if a firm has no trainers on site, you will have to seek outside help, which is an additional cost. Time management can also be an issue, with part-time or night workers posing difficulties for training schedules. Classroom training is often detached from the work environment, turning training into a generic session, rather than something site-specific. The process ranks up administration costs and is quite passive, lacking in interactivity and increasing the risks that your contract workers will get insufficient training, a common occurrence in these situations.

One of the major contributors to distraction and boredom is the use of expensive training DVDs. Video has always played a prominent role on many construction sites, but the information is often quite generic and static, leading to worker confusion and could potentially put their lives at risk. As a result, many firms are considering different options, such as online orientations. But, just how reliable is this process?

Online Orientation Training

Orientation Training

Online orientations allow your contract workers to undertake training through an online platform. This approach has become increasingly popular over the past few years within the construction industry for two reasons.

Firstly it’s accessible, reliable and fast

Secondly, it slashes training costs and provides you with a more reliable training model. There’s an important component of this approach which usually goes unreported, which is learner retention. With GoContractor for instance, contract workers must answer a set number of questions at the end of each chapter, increasing the retention of information in the process. Furthermore, our online model allows for the integration of video, powerpoints, and handout content onto one easy-to-use platform. There are many advantages to this, for instance, contract workers will be able to control how they learn, with training slides saving information, allowing workers to pick up from where they left off. With GoContractor, you can induct your contract workers before they even enter your site. The system allows for automatic reporting and monitoring tools, which informs managers and supervisors; if training has been conducted and even sends emails to remind workers of refresher training.

Our online platform stores data and assessments centrally and automatically generates certificates and reports. The platform is also highly interactive, and includes informative quizzes at the end of each chapter, increasing your contractor worker’s awareness of safety protocols while on site. Our platform can be correlated to suit site-specific contractor orientations and can be accessed with one click from any mobile, computer or tablet.

Orientation Training

GoContractor and the Blended Approach

So which training model is better? Here at GoContractor, we think a blended approach to your contractor orientations is the best approach for any construction firm, as sometimes some procedures will require physical instruction. This approach, will enhance your learning process and increase overall safety on-site.
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Jenny Snook
Jenny Snook

Jenny Snook is content executive at GoContractor with the job of researching the latest health and safety trends in the heavy industry. Her past-experience includes the research of large museum collections such as the Louth County Museum, many from the industrial age.

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