Workplace Perspectives on Education and Training

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Organization Science. Level-setting and recognition of learning outcomes: The use of level descriptors in the twenty-first century PDF. The Phi Delta Kappan. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. European Journal of Education. Categories : Educational practices Constructivism Pedagogy Experiential learning. Gives people a chance to reflect on experience.

Can be repetitive if each small group says the same thing. Instructors need to prepare focused questions to avoid repetitiveness. Social action skills. Information Prioritizing and planning activity Ensures participation by students. Allows for active discussion and debate. Requires a large wall or blackboard for posting. Posting activity should proceed at a lively pace to be effective. Skills Hands-on practice Provides classroom practise of learned behaviour. Requires sufficient time, appropriate physical space, and equipment.

Skills Adapted from: Wallerstein and Rubenstein By permission. Actually conducting a well-designed education session becomes the easiest part of the process; the educator simply carries out the plan. The educator is a facilitator who takes the learners through a series of activities designed to a learn and explore new ideas or skills, b share their own thoughts and abilities and c combine the two. Both physical and social environments need to be well planned to allow for maximum interaction, small group movement and confidence that there is a shared group norm of listening and willingness to participate.


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It is a role that relies less on a talent for effective public speaking, the traditional centrepiece of training skills, and more on an ability to foster cooperative learning. The use of peer trainers is gaining in popularity. Training workers to train their peers has two major advantages: 1 worker trainers have the practical knowledge of the workplace to make training relevant and 2 peer trainers remain in the workplace to provide on-going safety and health consultation.

Though often overlooked in worker education, evaluation is essential and serves several purposes. It allows the learner to judge his or her progress toward new knowledge, skills, attitudes or actions; it allows the educator to judge the effectiveness of the training and to decide what has been accomplished; and it can document the success of training to justify future expenditures of resources.

Evaluation protocols should be set up in concert with the education objectives. An evaluation effort should tell you whether or not you have achieved your training objectives. The majority of evaluations to date have assessed immediate impact, such as knowledge learned or degree of satisfaction with the workshop. Behaviour-specific evaluations have used observations at the worksite to assess performance. Evaluations that look at workplace outcomes, particularly injury and illness incidence rates, can be deceptive. For example, management safety promotion efforts often include incentives for keeping accident rates low e.

These promotional efforts result in under-reporting of accidents and often do not represent actual safety and health conditions on the job. Conversely, empowerment-oriented training encourages workers to recognize and report safety and health problems and may result, at first, in an increase in reported injuries and illnesses, even when safety and health conditions are actually improving. Recently, as safety and health training programmes have begun to adopt empowerment and popular education goals and methods, evaluation protocols have been broadened to include assessment of worker actions back at the worksite as well as actual worksite changes.

Social action objectives require long-term evaluation that assesses changes on both the individual level and on the environmental and organization level, and the interaction between individual and environmental change. Follow-up is critical for this long-term evaluation. Several programmatic components have been identified as important for promoting actual behavioural and worksite changes: union support structures; equal union participation with management; full access to training, information and expert resources for workers and their unions; conducting training within the context of a structure for comprehensive changes; programme development based on worker and workplace needs assessments; use of worker-produced materials; and integration of small group interactive methods with worker empowerment and social action goals.

In this article, the growing need for preparing workers for broad participation in workplace injury and illness prevention efforts has been depicted as well as the critical role of workers as advocates for safety and health. The distinct role of labour empowerment training in responding to these needs and the educational principles and traditions that contribute to a labour empowerment approach to education were addressed.

Finally, a step-by-step educational process that is required to achieve the goals of worker involvement and empowerment was described. This learner-centred approach to education implies a new relationship between occupational safety and health professionals and workers. The educational process, instead, is a partnership. It is a dynamic process of communication that taps the skills and knowledge of workers.

Learning occurs in all directions: workers learn from the instructors; instructors learn from workers; and workers learn from one another see figure For a successful partnership, workers must be involved in every stage of the educational process, not just in the classroom. Workers must participate in the who, what, where, when and how of training: Who will design and deliver the training?

What will be taught? Who will pay for it? Who will have access to it? Where and when will training take place?

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Whose needs will be met and how will success be measured? McQuiston, P. Coleman, N.

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Wallerstein, A. Marcus, J. Ortlieb and S. Until very recently the effectiveness of training and education in controlling occupational health and safety hazards was largely a matter of faith rather than systematic evaluation Vojtecky and Berkanovic ; Wallerstein and Weinger With the rapid expansion of intensive federally-funded training and education programmes in the past decade in the United States, this has begun to change. Educators and researchers are applying more rigorous approaches to evaluating the actual impact of worker training and education on outcome variables such as accident, illness and injury rates and on intermediate variables such as the ability of workers to identify, handle and resolve hazards in their workplaces.

The programme that combines chemical emergency training as well as hazardous waste training of the International Chemical Workers Union Center for Worker Health and Safety Education provides a useful example of a well-designed programme which has incorporated effective evaluation into its mission.

The Center is a cooperative venture of six industrial unions, a local occupational health centre and a university environmental health department. It adopted an empowerment education approach to training and defines its mission broadly as:. Those attending the courses are members of six industrial unions and a smaller number of management personnel from some of the plants represented by the unions. Workers who are exposed to substantial releases of hazardous substances or who work with hazardous waste less proximately are eligible to attend.

Each class is limited to 24 students so as to promote discussion. The Center encourages local unions to send three or four workers from each site to the course, believing that a core group of workers is more likely than an individual to work effectively to reduce hazards when they return to the workplace.

Long-term goal: for workers to become and remain active participants in determining and improving the health and safety conditions under which they work. Immediate educational goal: to provide students with relevant tools, problem-solving skills, and the confidence needed to use those tools McQuiston et al. The curriculum includes both classroom and hands-on training.

Instructional methods emphasize small group problem-solving activities with the active participation of the workers in the training. The development of the course also employed a participatory process involving rank-and-file safety and health leaders, programme staff and consultants.

The importance of skills and training in the workplace

This group evaluated initial pilot courses and recommended revisions of the curriculum, materials and methods based on extensive discussions with trainees. This formative evaluation is an important step in the evaluation process that takes place during programme development, not at the end of the programme.

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The course introduces the participants to a range of reference documents on hazardous materials. These charts form the basis for action plans which create a bridge between what the students learn at the course and what they decide needs to be implemented back in the workplace. The Center conducts anonymous pre-training and post-training knowledge tests of participants to document increased levels of knowledge.

However, to determine the long-term effectiveness of the programme the Center uses telephone follow-up interviews of students 12 months after training. One attendee from each local union is interviewed while every manager attendee is interviewed. The survey measures outcomes in five major areas:. The most recent published results of this evaluation are based on union respondents, each representing a distinct worksite, and 50 management respondents. The response rates to the interviews were The average number of co-workers taught 70 and the average length of training 9.

Of special significance was that more than half of the union trainees taught managers at their worksites. Secondary training covered a wide range of topics, including chemical identification, selection and use of personal protective equipment, health effects, emergency response and use of reference materials.

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The interviews asked a series of questions related to attempts to improve company programmes, practices and equipment in 11 different areas, including the following seven especially important ones:. The questions determined whether respondents felt changes were needed and, if so, whether improvements had been made.

In general, union respondents felt greater need for and attempted more improvements than management, although the degree of difference varied with specific areas. Still fairly high percentages of both unions and management reported attempted improvements in most areas.

Workplace Perspectives Education Training - AbeBooks

Questions concerning spills and releases were intended to ascertain whether attendance at the course had changed the way spills were handled. Workers and managers reported a total of serious spills in the year following their training. More detailed questions were subsequently added to the survey to collect additional qualitative and quantitative data.