What Is Continuous Learning?
As a professional safety training provider, we spend a lot of time discussing options in course content development techniques, processes, content delivery methods and measurable objectives. One concept in workplace safety training is what is referred to as “continuous training” and it’s a concept companies should be familiar with.
Continuous learning, also known as constant learning, is the concept of always expanding your knowledge to gain new skills, ideas and expertise. For businesses, continuous learning is about encouraging their employees to constantly learn by providing them with the tools that facilitate the learning.
Stimulating the brain with the continual learning of new information not only enhances the cognitive ability of the individual, including increased problem-solving ability and memory, it also benefits the company. Most companies may qualify for a reduction in workers compensation rates or credits anytime qualified training is conducted. So, don’t ever forget to forward any of your employee training records to your insurance provider’s risk management department.
Now, the real benefit to continuous learning is not really about the dollars and cents…. the real benefit should appear obvious when we look at long term job performance. It’s no secret that well-informed and properly trained workers make much safer workers who have far fewer injuries.
My theory is that as humans, we’re continuously expanding our knowledge, from cradle to
grave. Even well into adulthood, our minds are continuously acquiring, sorting and storing information for later recall. Some of the information retained may be extremely valuable for a lifetime while other information may be immediately rendered completely useless. Why not step back and just contemplate, “What is it that my employees are actually learning?”
Are they learning valuable knowledge and skills that will increase their overall value to the business? Are they learning that all the company’s safety policies and procedures were implemented in an effort to ensure their safe return home each evening? Or are they learning about the newest shortcut that was recently discovered, negative behaviors, cultures, and slangs.
Implementation of a Continuous Learning Program can help demonstrate your company’s commitment to worker safety while ensuring that the information that employees learn is valuable information that’s also beneficial to your workplace. It's also a great way to counter the negative tendencies to learn that newest shortcut or at-risk behavior. A positive workplace safety culture of continuous improvement is just as contagious as the negative workplace safety culture.
Pat Kelley, CET
Board Certified Environmental, Safety & Health Trainer