Gobbling or Grazing: The Choice is Yours
calendar icon February 24th, 2022
author icon Christy Conte
Gobbling or Grazing: The Choice is Yours

When it comes to learning, one size does not fit all.  


Maybe food is the better analogy: do you and your next-door neighbor eat the same food, in the same quantities, prepared in the same way, every day? Or do you make selections based on how much energy you need, what you feel like eating, and how much time you happen to have available?  


Just as your food intake should match your preferences and circumstances, your learning solutions need to support your likes, dislikes and performance goals. How do YOU learn best? 


Choice in learning is especially important when it comes to health and safety. All workers must be equipped with the knowledge needed to keep them safe at work. Understanding critical concepts related to identifying hazards, assessing risk and implementing hazard controls is fundamental for employers, supervisors and other workplace parties such as Health and Safety Representatives or Joint Health and Safety Committee members. PSHSA understands that people are better equipped to fulfill their health and safety roles if they’ve been effectively trained. And effective training is training that is geared to a person’s needs and preferences. 


Consider Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certification training. Workplaces that regularly have 20 or more employees must ensure at least two personnel have completed JHSC Certification training. JHSC Certification training consists of two parts – Part 1 which concentrates on common workplace hazards and Part 2 which focuses on sector-specific risks. Applicable to all Ontario workplaces, this course is mandatory for all workplace JHSC members, regardless of any previous experience in health and safety. Let’s look at how two newly appointed JHSC members might use different learning options to their advantage when it comes to Certification training.

  • Kamil has just joined his organization’s JHSC. He’s excited to take on this new role and is looking forward to participating in JHSC Certification training. He works shifts and was happy to find out that he’d be able to complete Part 1 training online on his own time in the form of eight eLearning modules spread over 12 hours, and Part 2 as an online group distance learning session over two days. Kamil hasn’t been to school in decades and likes the idea that the Part 1 material will be explained with text, graphics, animations, audio and video that he can complete in the comfort of his own home. Knowledge checks will gauge his understanding of key concepts and provide valuable feedback, so he won’t get left behind. By the time he gets to Part 2, he’ll be ready to get the most out of the group learning experience. 
  • Morwenna has also recently joined her company’s JHSC and is looking forward to learning all about health and safety. She loves a good classroom course: it’s a great way to break up her week and socialize with peers. Over the years, Morwenna has discovered that she learns best when she has opportunities to ask questions and wrestle with ideas in conversation with others. Until it’s safe to return to the classroom again, she’s looking forward to participating in three days of online instructor-led training for Part 1 and another two days of live distance learning for Part 2. She’s even splurged on a wireless headset so she can get a bit of exercise during the sessions. 


PSHSA understands that it’s important to provide learners with flexible learning options. Like Kamil and Morwenna, you and your colleagues have preferences around technology (mobile/desktop or pen and paper), pacing (fast-paced and high energy or self-paced), time of day (early birds and night owls) and media (text/image/video/audio narration/interactive games). Employers who want to get the greatest returns on their training investments will choose flexible learning options for their employees. When a learner’s needs are met, that learner is being set up to have a successful learning experience. 


So, what are the factors that might steer an employer toward one format or another when choosing a training solution? If a set of skills or knowledge base is considered fundamental, new or complicated, consider a shared experience such as an online distance learning or classroom option. This format provides the convenience of attendance with the ability to ask questions and have conversations in real time. Distance learning can be as simple as a short, real-time lecture on an important topic on Zoom, to a multi-day feast of large and small group exercises and lectures supported by downloadable resources. Of course, distance learning is also an excellent solution for learners who are separated by geography or dangerous weather conditions.  


ELearning is a lot like distance learning, minus the live instruction. PSHSA’s eLearning options are designed and developed by teams of accredited subject matter experts and skilled learning developers, who work together to create engaging content for learners. ELearning modules are completely self-paced – a great solution when an employer wants to leave pacing and attendance decisions up to the learner. Resources and job aids are downloadable within the modules, and material can be revisited. Although an eLearning module might take several hours to complete in total, the learner can snack or graze on demand, taking bites here and there as needed.  It’s also a great option for those with busy and demanding schedules. 


How is the learning menu likely to change over time? One trend that’s getting a lot of attention is microlearning. This is learning content that’s presented in smaller and smaller bites, designed to capitalize on the affordances of mobile technologies combined with the needs of an increasingly home-based workforce. Think of it as a quick snack regularly delivered to your home every afternoon, versus traveling to a restaurant for a one-time full course meal spread over a few hours.


Learning is a lot like eating. Whether it’s a sit-down meal shared with friends or a kale smoothie in the car, the choice is yours. 


Complete JHSC Certification Part 1 online with flexible learning options that fit your schedule and learning style easily with PSHSA.  Find the right course for you at pshsa.ca/learnyourway


Christy Conte 

PSHSA Curriculum Development Specialist