Awareness Training Vs Compliance Training – What’s The Difference?

We often get calls from new customers asking what sets our online course-content apart from some cheaper alternatives online. Typically, we discuss what unique needs they might have and learn about their specific situation as much as possible. This allows us to know exactly what type of company we are dealing with to point them in the right direction. After that, we often let the company test our course-content free of charge to make sure it’s a great fit. Even after the trial, a lot of people wonder why they would need to use a very thorough, in-depth safety course to train employees when there are shorter options found elsewhere. It’s a valid question, especially when some of these training courses are extremely inexpensive, or even free.

There is no denying that we do not shy away from better content with our online safety training courses. One example is our Ground Disturbance 201 course, which takes five hours to complete. Compared to a 20-minute course found somewhere else online, most employees if given the chance would vote to go ahead with the shorter option. There is a difference though, specifically from a corporate safety perspective. It comes down to what can be called ‘compliance’ training over simply ‘awareness’ training.

It certainly pays off for employees to have even the minimal amount of awareness training to a certain degree, but it is comparable to taking just a single class in school. In this example with Ground Disturbance 201, employees who take this course get a full education which is approved, endorsed and recognized by the Alberta Common Ground Alliance as equivalent to classroom training programs. By offering these type of courses to be done online, it is a more convenient option when it comes to getting all the material. Companies can set a specific time for taking the course, or a deadline can be set for people to complete the course on their own time.

A lot of awareness-type Ground Disturbance training courses are receiving more and more backlash these days from not only the higher ups at companies, but the Alberta Common Ground Alliance as well. It is impossible to get properly trained in just a short video running 20 minutes or less on some topics, and it compromises on-site safety as well. While they are somewhat helpful at times, mostly they should only be looked at as refresher videos for safety training or a general synopsis of a topic.

It should be noted that not ALL online safety courses are regulated or “approved” (depending on your province, state or industry) though. For example, a general “awareness” course on topics like Ladder Safety or Distracted Driving may provide sufficient content for your training needs. Any topic that is relatively easy to understand will not need hours and hours of training to get the point across.

Naturally if there is a skills component to your training requirements, there’s a separate conversation around “competency” requirements and most-often, the company is liable for ensuring their employees are competent to complete these tasks safely. Our powerful Learning Management System can help facilitate your company with checking skills thru digital paperwork competencies – feel free to reach out and we are happy to explain.

So just remember, when looking at training courses online, it is not always beneficial to go with a cheap, short or free solution. There are more options than ever out there for basic awareness training, but that can only help so much. Compliance training will take more time and likely cost a bit more money, but in the end it could save companies money by having smarter, more responsible employees on-site. It only takes one accident that could otherwise be prevented with proper training to convince many people the importance of not cutting corners.