The Campbell Institute

The Campbell Institute: Training for all generations

The Campbell Institute

The Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council is the EHS center of excellence. Built on the belief that EHS is at the core of business vitality, the Institute seeks to help organizations, of all sizes and sectors, achieve and sustain excellence. Learn more at the Campbell Institute website.

One of the major challenges every health and safety professional faces today is how to effectively convey information to increase knowledge and awareness throughout his or her respective organization.

In the past, we have used a variety of training methods, including traditional instructor-led training, on-the-job training and e-learning.

Between new technologies and a digital-driven generation of workers entering the workforce, we must continue to challenge the status quo and find ways to improve comprehension and retention. With those challenges in mind, I set out with the mission to leverage technology and innovation to truly improve the learning experience for my company’s skills-based workforce and customers.

Our first success was pioneering the concept of blended learning for skilled operator training. We combined highly engaging and interactive computer-based learning with the human element of hands-on training. The program solved the capacity problems of traditional classroom training while integrating technology and moving into the digital space – a win-win.

Leveraging cutting-edge delivery methods, such as online interactive games and immersive 3D cinematic experiences, enabled us to provide an interesting and engaging training experience while emphasizing key learning objectives in a safe environment. Coupled with more traditional teaching methods, this style elevates the experience for the learner and enhances employee engagement because it embraces and adapts to a variety of learning styles and preferences.

One thing our learners embrace is the interactivity, rather than attending a presentation or theoretical training without any interaction or passively listening to someone speak about a subject they are not passionate about.

Interactivity in training allows you to apply your knowledge immediately. Along with 3D cinematics and serious games for training, it enables students to learn key concepts and develop multiple skills they might otherwise miss in static training.

Combining these tools has had a tremendous effect on our compliance and training, resulting not only in a reduction in training costs, but in superior business results as well.

The approach is about providing the best, most comprehensive training experience to our customers and employees. A blended learning approach helps us better address two of the most common causes of incidents: failure to assess hazards and inadequate pre-use inspection. Using the latest interactive technologies and methods helped our workers develop better jobsite problem-solving skills where it mattered most.

What else did we learn?

  • “Just-in-Time” delivery of training and hands-on instruction cut training time and cost.
  • With online training, employees can complete the important instructional theory on their own time and at their own pace, which means less productivity downtime and more convenience for employees.

I believe we are on the cutting edge of a new category of training: i-learning (immersive learning), in which participants experience rich, interactive content in a safe and hands-on way. Now, onward and upward with investigation and innovation in virtual reality and augmented reality to further drive the quality of training for the skills-based workforce.

This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

Jim Dorris joined United Rentals Inc. in 2012 as vice president – health, safety, environment and sustainability. He also is the chief architect and executive sponsor for the United Academy.


Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)