Online Safety Training Maximizes Training Efforts for CIC Members

Over 3,500 Users Taking Advantage of the Latest Technology for their Employees

With the advent of new technology, delivering safety and risk management training has become far less time consuming and more cost effective.  In 2007, the County Mutual developed the Coursework Database, our online safety and risk management training portal.  Well ahead of our peers in the industry, the County Mutual has continued to adapt to positive technological trends by improving the features and functionality of the Coursework Database.

Traditional training in a classroom or field setting certainly has its benefits, and there are numerous specialized trainings that safety professionals will resoundingly recommend should be completed in-person.  However, according to training industry reports, over the last 10 years organizational online training usage has steadily increased from 9% to 28.5% of training delivery methods.  While training in a classroom setting remains the top delivery method, many ignore the inherent efficiencies of online training and its adaptive nature to an array of trainee learning types.

Since 2014, the Coursework Database has recorded impressive numbers:

•    43 member counties registered
•    3,602 active users
•    6,415 courses completed and quizzes passed

What Are The Benefits?
Traditional training in a classroom setting or in the field can result in a number of different scheduling hurdles.  Do you have space large enough to handle all staff you are hoping to train?  Do you have to pay a trainer?  Do you have to absorb travel expenses for staff to attend regional training?  Do you have to divide training and absorb additional costs over multiple days to accommodate your highway/sheriff’s department staff?

Online training through the Coursework Database features numerous benefits, including:

It’s adaptable.
The Coursework Database can be used to train your employees in a number of different fashions to suit your needs.  Heidi Ullman with Door County’s human resources department uses the portal to as part of the new employee orientation process and for annul employee training programs:  

“At the new employee orientation, I introduce the Coursework Database to the new employee(s) and provide them with access instructions the courses to be completed within the first month of employment.  All employees complete the basic safety programs and some positions complete job specific safety programs.  The Coursework Database provides our employees with a consistent message:  the employer is concerned about their safety in the workplace and the employee has a responsibility to work within the safety guidelines provided.”

It’s always available.
Training opportunities exist online anytime and anywhere with a data/Wi-Fi connection.  Most e-learning websites, including the Coursework Database, are available on mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones.  This can be particularly useful in your county where computers with internet access are a rare find in most rural highway shops/depots.

It’s budget neutral.
Unfortunately, safety programs rank low on the budget priorities lists.  The Coursework Database is available to County Mutual member-owners at no additional cost.

It’s convenient.
Wisconsin’s counties can cover large geographic areas, making coordinating training difficult.  The Coursework Database allows you coordinate training across your county’s offices, highway shops and work sites.

It’s relevant.
Online training courses are completely fluid in their ability to adapt to changing regulations, standards, and trends.  This ensures training is timely – but most importantly relevant.  The Coursework Database features courses produced by County Mutual Risk Management Consultants who work only with Wisconsin counties on a daily basis.  This knowledge of the risks and exposures faced by Wisconsin county employees is turned into courses on the Coursework Database.

It’s self-directed.
Fast-learners, slow-learners, note-takers, reviewers, visual learners, auditory learners and more are all accommodated by online training.  Working at their own pace and with an array of audio, video and other visual forms, trainees can take time to read and view slides until they properly comprehend a topic.

It provides immediate feedback.
For each course contained on the Coursework Database, trainees are required to complete, and pass and 10 question quiz.  The quiz provides immediate feedback by letting the attendee know which questions were answered correctly and incorrectly.  Traditional training in a classroom setting may not provide such an opportunity – requiring trainees to take in large amounts of information and retain it for long periods of time.

Coursework Database:  Features & Functionality
In 2014, the County Mutual board of directors invested in a complete re-imagination of the Coursework Database.  Working in conjunction with web developers, staff from the County Mutual’s general administrator studied the pain points of the old portal and developed remedies in addition to creating brand new features and functionality, including:

The Groups feature allows a county member to group its employees by department, job title (administrative, trades, maintenance) or by training program (Annual GHS Hazard Communication Training).  This feature also allows the county member to establish a specified curriculum for the group.  For instance, your highway department group could schedule a course curriculum of Work Zone Safety, Excavation Awareness and Forklift Safety training to its staff. Training professionals often say, “focused training = effective training,” and the Groups features achieves this goal.

Knowing how well your employees are comprehending what they’re learning is vital to any successful training program.  The Reports feature allows you to gain valuable data on course comprehension directly from the Coursework Database.  A basic Quiz Score report can be run to provide quiz performance filtered a number of different ways; by employee, by course, and by group.  The Question Report gives drills down a given quiz and provides the percentage of correct answers for each question.  This report will let you know specific areas within a given topic where your employees may not comprehend – which gives you the opportunity to provide further training in these areas.  Each of the reports are exportable to an Excel file to be placed in employee files or presented at your county’s safety committee meetings.

User Import
The user import process makes adding your entire county staff to the Coursework Database in few clicks of your mouse.  The import uses a spreadsheet of employee information (most HRIS systems have spreadsheet export features), and when imported, asks you to map the fields on the spreadsheet to fields in the Coursework Database.  You can even add a field to your spreadsheet to place your employees in Groups right at the import.

Since that initial re-imagination, the Coursework Database continues to evolve.  We are currently in the process of developing new features, such as course certificate, and giving member county’s the ability to post their own county-specific training courses to the portal.

An online training program poses numerous benefits for your county.  If you are considering online training for your county, and are a County Mutual member-owner, please reach out to your dedicated risk management consultant or contact Josh Dirkse at 800.236.6885. 

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