As of December 2019, our world has forever changed. A global pandemic has much of world in lockdown hoping to stem the spread of COVID-19 by practicing “social distancing.” Some of us have seen a reduction in our workload at the moment, while still others, who, in essential service roles, are putting themselves on the front lines every day working in hospitals, grocery stores, and other key service areas that depend on the work we do to help keep their facilities functioning. Wherever we may find ourselves during this time, there is something that weighs heavy on all of our minds: how do we keep ourselves and others safe while still improving upon our skills to help us do our very best work.
That’s where training comes into play.
Skilled professionals, whether they are on the front lines or at home, need continuing education, especially as many states are shifting to the new edition of the NEC. The need for quality training, the renewal of licenses and professional credentials - all of these things are vital to our jobs now and after this health crisis has lifted. But during these unprecedented times, social distancing is forcing us to find alternative options to meet our training needs. Training centers are shut down, trainers are cancelling classes, and many of us are confined to our living rooms. So, just like many public schools across the nation have done, it’s time for us to explore online options.
Today’s online and distance learning landscape has taken on a new look and feel including the capability to incorporate hands-on learning techniques applied within a virtual environment. The implications of this type of learning for electrical safety training are very exciting. Now is a perfect time to refresh our skills with many of the online training options available like NFPA’s Safe Electrical Work Practices online training series. This series utilizes a series of tasks in a virtual environment to provide simulated hands-on training for tasks like establishing an electrically safe work condition and performing voltage measurements. And on an important note: learners are not exposed to a hazard during the process.
And, while self-paced, online learning is one option that can help keep skills honed and up-to-date while we get through this era of social distancing, we recognize that there are many learners who also need interaction with an instructor to help better understand a concept. As an instructor myself, I have always valued that one-on-one interaction in my classes with those who are active, engaged, and asking questions. So, what can we do to help in this situation? Distance learning is perfect for the current times we all are experiencing, and it might just turn out to be a better way of delivering the needed safety training to more people, more efficiently, and more safely. In fact, NFPA is currently exploring ways to deliver what has traditionally been an in-person seminar, through an interactive web-based presentation where attendees will be able to interact in real time with the instructor throughout the course. Having the ability to learn from afar while maintaining the quality of training that comes from being in the classroom with the subject matter expert, is, well, just fantastic, and I look forward to sharing more about this unique opportunity with you in the future.
If history has taught us anything, it is that people can and will get through anything that comes their way. We will get through this, and we will be better off when we do. Those of us in the training world understand the need to adapt our delivery to meet the needs of our audiences, and the world’s current state of affairs has surely brought that front and center. Trying new methods and exploring different ways to provide the needed training and information has become a new way of life in electrical safety.
Electrical hazards don’t shelter-in-place, so while we are all doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, we must still do whatever is needed to protect the world from what comes along with using electricity in our daily lives. But NFPA can’t do this alone. Contact us to find out how we can help you meet your training needs while respecting social distancing guidelines. It’s a big world, let’s protect it together.
As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.