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Continuing Education in 2018 & Beyond

Jim Smith, M.S., CSP, 2017-18 ASSE President
Feb 02, 2018

Jim SmithOne primary focus of a professional organization like ASSE is to provide our members with continuing education opportunities that help you advance your career, address emerging risks, enhance capabilities, achieve and maintain certifications, or share effective intervention methods. Because of our focus on and investment in this strategic area, ASSE is the premier education provider to our members and the OSH professional community.

As the leading education provider, we constantly monitor trends in adult learning. Let’s take a look at several of these trends and explore what ASSE is doing right now to stay ahead of them.

Online, Mobile, Micro & Blended Learning

People want learning to be self-directed, on their schedule and in micro bites. This past year, we expanded ASSE’s online offerings beyond our well-established monthly webinar program. In late 2017, we rolled out our first entirely online full-length course through our new LearnEx platform. This learning service changes how ASSE can deliver education.

In LearnEx, topics are modular, broken into smaller chunks and supplemented with interactive elements, including chats with the instructor and discussions with other students, case studies, games and even simulations. All of these activities are completed entirely online and on your own schedule, typically spread over a multi-week timeframe. Our first course covered prevention through design. Our next offering in March will be ASSE’s ISO 45001 certificate program. Look for more LearnEx programs to come in 2018.

Flipped Classroom Learning

A flipped classroom concept calls for students to review and digest core content outside of the classroom. Class time is then used for deeper discussion, collaboration and experiential learning.

ASSE is moving quickly in this direction. Our current ISO 45001 certificate program already follows this model. Before students ever step foot in the class, they complete a 30-minute online course that reviews the standard and covers the basics. Then, during class, their time is spent taking a deeper dive into the standard and learning how to implement it through group discussions and interactive exercises.

Immersive Learning

Making learning more immersive can involve both low-tech and high-tech approaches. A low-tech approach might be as simple as incorporating more experiential-based learning into a traditional instructor-led course. We are doing this now in some courses and will continue to do more as we build new courses and revise existing ones.

An example of a high-tech approach is real-time virtual experiences that involve the use of a virtual reality headset and a standard smartphone. Through these devices, learners are completely immersed in any environment. Organizations are exploring how to incorporate augmented and virtual reality to achieve tasks such as training employees for new roles.

Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning is about personalizing the learning process. By using adaptive learning techniques, we can reduce the time it takes learners to become proficient, which eliminates the need to cover content they already understand.

This simple approach accounts for a core principle of adult learning: People enter any given learning situation with varying degrees of knowledge and experience. Through adaptive learning methods, students can test out of areas and receive a unique learning path or set of modules/resources suited to their skill level.

In 2017, ASSE was a signatory of the Singapore Accord, which calls for adoption of a global framework that defines the roles, skills, knowledge and qualifications recommended for university-educated OSH professionals and vocationally trained practitioners. To help you align your professional development and set career goals around that framework, ASSE is developing a self-assessment tool that will enable you to identify a personalized set of courses, microlearning or other learning resources that will help you meet the framework’s parameters.

We are all adult learners looking to elevate our knowledge so we become more effective in eliminating worker injuries and fatalities. I encourage you to explore our training products, try our microlearning products and share your feedback. Your input will help us continue to improve our content and better meet your learning needs.

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