PROS and CONS of Online vs. Onsite Training

Online vs. Onsite

If you choose to have your people take the online course, please take into account the below items in order to give them best chance at success.  Also, consider the Pros and Cons of both online vs. onsite training.

1.) Do NOT tell your employees to get it done nights and weekends.
The best way to go about this is to allot them time during the day just as you would with a live class where a trainer comes in from 8am – 2pm for so many days for example.  The most probable outcome of telling them to complete the online course at night or on weekends is that it just won’t happen.

2.) Allot them 35-45 hours to complete.
Just like an OSHA 30-hr training in-person takes more than 30 hours (because of commute, breaks and lunch), so does the online course. More reasons for this are given in next item #3.

3.) There is a possibility of failing the online course.
The online course has a multiple-choice quiz after each topic.  You must pass the quiz in order to advance.  7 correct out of 10 is passing.  If you fail the quiz (let’s say the topic at hand is electrical safety), then you get bumped back to the beginning of the electrical portion of the training and you must scroll through the entire electrical presentation material before you are presented with the electrical quiz again.  But you can’t just click advance quickly, you must spend a minimum amount of time on each page (something like 15 seconds per page).  This is what adds time to the 30 hours.  It is common to fail a quiz once in a while, so don’t get discouraged or fearful.  But if you fail the same quiz 3 times in a row (let’s stick with the electrical safety topic as our example), then you will get locked out of the course and you must take an onsite class.  Now, in the over 300 OSHA 10-hour courses I’ve sold, literally 3 people have failed.  Two had trouble with English.  So I ONLY recommend having someone who is fluent reading and writing English to take an online course.  But one guy truly just failed it.  So, your chances of failing are minimal, but they still exist.

1.) The camaraderie.
There is no online class that can match the benefits of having all or part of your crew in the same training for 10 or 30 hours.  The mindset, conversations, group activities, interaction, ideas for improvement, identifying gaps in your safety program, discussions and takeaways that the employees gain from a good trainer who presents challenging materials is unmatched by online training. I created two videos of me training and explaining about my onsite training.

2.) No quiz to pass.
The live training has no pass/fail requirements.  There are no quizzes you must pass. The only requirement for a person to obtain or earn their OSHA 10 or 30 hour card on Construction or General Industry is for them to be present for the entire training.  This relieves a lot of pressure for some people who are not test takers.

3.) More expensive.
The onsite course will be more expensive than online courses.  Typically, if you have one or two people who just can’t find a class, the online version provides a great option.  There are other reasons like time constraints or geographical location, but -generally speaking- the benefits to a company of live training with a great trainer cannot be matched by online training.

All my best and until next time,

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Leave A Reply (9 comments so far)

  1. Jessica
    6 months ago

    Great information on your site!! I work in the Scrap Metal Industry. I do not know if I should take the “Construction” or “General Industry” Training as we deal with areas covered in both programs.


    • spanishOSHAguy
      6 months ago

      Dear Jessica,
      Thanks so much for your comments and question. I’ve trained quite a bit for Scrap Metal Recycling companies. They fall under General Industry because they are a permanent facility. Whenever a permanent facility/manufacturer does “Construction-like activities” such as renovations to a building, then they fall under construction. But your industry falls under OSHA’s General Industry regulations for normal operations such as welding, cutting with a torch, your material handlers (massive grapples, magnets, etc.) and so many other things that you do as part of your normal operations.
      I hope this helps!
      -Steve St. Laurent
      The Spanish OSHA Guy!

  2. Nayrb
    10 months ago

    If I fail the same quiz 3 times, is there anyway they can let me take it one more time? I am really close to completing all of the lessons and I don’t want to lose my entire online training progress. Please help. What can I do?

  3. BobOliver
    10 months ago

    very nice post 🙂 i like it online training is very easy to every people very helpful to users 🙂

  4. Jake T
    3 years ago

    Hi Steve,

    As I gain experience in both the world of H&S and in training it is important that we live trainers understand the key term here “awareness training”. Many of my colleagues are not as fortunate as I am in the sense that I only wear the H&S Coordinator and Trainer hat. Which gives me the time to ensure I deliver quality training because I do not have other duties fighting for my time.
    Many wear multiple hats, for example HR and H&S. For people in those type of situations the online awareness training is a valuable tool and it’s effectiveness will be measured when the live specific training is given. It also allows us to trim off some of the excess from the training courses which makes for shorter live training sessions and frees up more time for other duties.
    I believe for many the key is to effectively combine both methods to deliver quality training that will prove compliance and due diligence for those trainers who have time constraints.

    Stay Safe!
    Jake T.

  5. J. Patterson
    3 years ago

    There are holes in the system for both methods… Just because the online method requires a pass on the test, does not guarantee that the student was actually the one that took the test and does not provide for any better proof of competency.
    This is, in my opinion, where we as instructors MUST use diligence when deciding whether or not someone has absorbed the material from our class, and whether or not we believe they are safer when they leave our class before we decide to issue their certificate and pocket cards.

    I have taken both online and live trainings, and I believe the live trainings to absolutely be the superior of the 2 ( I have had people admit to me that they had someone else do the online trainings for them rather than sit through them themselves).

    • spanishOSHAguy
      3 years ago

      Dear J. Patterson,

      Thanks so much for your comments as well!! It is true that if there is no effort on the part of the trainee, then either method could prove fruitless and render the 10 or 30 hours a waste of time. But again, a good trainer will engage, challenge and effectively communicate the topic in an engaging way so that even the most skeptical and cynical of participants are transformed into someone who leaves blown away by the content and decided on how they will improve safety and health in their lives. This is my specialty and what I dedicate my professional life to. And I love every minute of it!

  6. Jake T
    4 years ago

    2.) No quiz to pass.
    The live training has no pass/fail requirements. There are no quizzes you must pass. The only requirement for a person to obtain or earn their OSHA 10 or 30 hour card on Construction or General Industry is for them to be present for the entire training. This relieves a lot of pressure for some people who are not test takers.

    How do you prove competency and compliance without a quiz or an exam? To say he is trained because he was there does not show any due diligence what-so-ever and is in my opinion a recipe for disaster.

    • spanishOSHAguy
      3 years ago

      Jake T. Thanks so much for commenting on this blog post. Regarding your question of how do I prove competency and compliance without a quiz… The OSHA 10’s and 30’s are awareness trainings and do not sufficiently train or certify the participant to do anything specific regarding safety or health on the job. The purpose of the 10 and 30-hour Outreach Trainings are to help students have an increased awareness in identifying hazards and how to remediate those hazards, along with knowing their rights under OSHA. We are not supposed to focus on the standards. What I mean is even though we talk about fire safety, fall protection, power tools, ladders and more; the OSHA 10 and 30 do not certify or sufficiently train the participants to use a fire extinguisher, use a harness, use a power tool, use a ladder or anything else. That equipment-specific training is to be conducted by their employer on their specific equipment.

      Now OSHA’s guidelines for these outreach trainings have gotten better over the past 4 years (I’ve noticed) because now they do give us trainers the ability to “fail” someone or choose not to issue the card because a student was -for example- sleeping during class or simply not participating or not able to answer any questions we give verbally, written or in any other activity or “quiz”. In the first years I was doing these Outreach Trainings in 2007-2008, I actually had an issue with a student who refused to participate and was actually reading some kind of book in the back of the class. I called my OTI (the part of OSHA that issues the cards for these Outreach Training and I was told that if the person attended the 10 hours, I had to give them the card!! But again- now things are improved and we (trainers) are required to quiz or test the students on certain topics, but it is not a pass/fail thing. As long as the trainer believes that the participant has increased their awareness of safety hazards and how to eliminate, minimize and protect themselves against those hazards; then they will get the course completion card which simply verifies that the student has completed the 10 or 30 hours of class and participated in the class.

      So, thanks to your comment, I should re-word my sentence above to read, “The only requirement for a person to obtain or earn their OSHA 10 or 30 hour card in a live training … is for them to be present and participant for the entire training. This includes demonstrating their increased awareness of the safety topics covered by means of some kind of test or quiz as planned and administered by the instructor.” The objectives, outcomes and quality of the training are crucial to ensuring that each participant leaves challenged and indeed compelled to take action and put into practice what they learned about safety and health at home, on the road as well as as work! Thanks again for your comment and passion for quality and effective safety training!

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