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Workplace Solutions

Online training

How can I use online training to meet occupational requirements for CPR and first aid training?

May 23, 2014

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Responding is Ralph Shenefelt, vice president of strategic compliance, Health & Safety Institute, Grand Rapids, MI.

When it comes to training for emergency care techniques, it’s really all about the hands-on experience of practicing those skills under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor. So does this mean there is no online solution for CPR and first aid training?

On the contrary. Online training, delivered in the right format, can be an integral part of a robust and successful workplace environmental, health and safety emergency care training solution.

Online training itself will only satisfy a portion of what goes into earning CPR and first aid certification. According to OSHA, online training alone does not meet its first aid and CPR training requirements. These standards require training in physical skills, such as chest compressions and injury stabilization. For detailed information, see OSHA’s Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program

But an emergency care course includes more than just hands-on work with an instructor. Most courses include a student book that offers explanations about types of injuries and step-by-step instruction of skills and techniques. Courses also rely on a cognitive component, with the instructor lecturing or playing a DVD at key points throughout the class. It is this cognitive content that can be provided in an online format when you offer your employees a blended learning course.

Blended learning is a combination of online content followed by a hands-on skills session with an instructor. Many companies find that blended learning gives them more flexibility in the scheduling and managing of employee training. Course content is available 24/7 and can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection.

Students using a blended learning course can work at their own pace, give themselves an “instant replay” whenever they need to spend a little more time on a topic and, best of all, accommodate their training time to the employer’s schedule. And that student course book mentioned earlier? That’s often available as a downloadable PDF, so the employee can refer back to it as needed.

Blended learning courses are easy to administer and are offered by most major providers of emergency care training.

Buyer beware: A Google search for “online CPR training” can lead to trouble. It’s easy to find organizations offering “instant” CPR or first aid certification, with the claim that online-only CPR or first aid certification is “nationally accepted.” It is not. No major ?nationally recognized training program in the United States endorses certification without practice and evaluation of hands-on skills.

When you search for training, remember you’re looking for “blended learning” – a training delivery model that combines online course content with in-person, hands-on skills evaluation. Online-only training features no hands-on component and will not meet OSHA requirements.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

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