Show Daily

‘The way people learn is evolving’: Campbell Institute Forum panel addresses progressions in worker training


New Orleans — Lectures and books gave way to hands-on exercises, which then yielded to interactive boards, virtual reality and other technologies.

As the learning preferences of today’s multigenerational workforce continue to progress, Tamara Coppens reminds employers and workers it’s important their empathy grows, too.

“One thing we need to keep in mind is that the way people learn is evolving for everyone,” Coppens said. “And yes, there are some generational differences, but we are all going through that curve at different speeds. And we need to take that into [account].”

An environmental, health and safety expertise principal at The Dow Chemical Co., Coppens spoke Monday during the Campbell Institute Forum at the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. She and co-panelist Amanda Ladner, senior training specialist at Chemours, agreed that collaboration between workers is key to creating and developing effective training.

“Putting out that education, teaching them that learning from each other and putting that all together, honestly, that can be beautiful,” Ladner said. “That’s how we learn and become safer and we send home our employees the same way they came in that day.”

Taylor Abel, director of safety at United Rentals, moderated the discussion, which itself illustrated the advancements in the way people learn. Attendees submitted questions via an online platform before the information was relayed to Abel, who presented it to Coppens and Ladner.

The forum covered various scenarios in which workers might appear averse to training. Perhaps a particularly experienced member of the organization thinks they’ve already learned everything about a topic. Or maybe seasoned workers view a training simply as something that satisfies compliance or certification renewal.

Whatever the case, Ladner stressed consulting with these workers for their opinions on what they believe would improve the training. Above all, though, she emphasized adding different elements to the training – essentially “anything but slide-reading.”

Some ideas? Use video, storytelling, gamification, and small group discussions or breakouts.

“Make it fun, make it engaging and make it relevant so they know it’s not a waste of their time,” Ladner said, “not something where they feel like they just are checking a box.”

Continuing the dialogue between workers – both inside and outside of the training room – only can augment that approach.

“Deep connections will help them internalize the goal of the training,” Coppens said.

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.)