The future of Radiation Protection Training (face-2-face vs online training)

“Live online radiation safety training will never deliver the face-2-face experience”

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had severe effects on the whole hospitality industry, and companies in general. Running face-2-face training courses at a client site will soon be easier as lockdown is rolled back. At least on a company site you have some specific control over room space and number of delegates. For this reason, we see bespoke on site radiation safety training courses being the first to be available in the coming weeks – we have a few lined up already. The clients are making large meeting room available in order that social distancing can be maintained. Forget the snacks bowls on the table, and the buffet lunch, but at least face-2-face training can be delivered.

Face-2-face radiation protection training courses are best

Ionactive has been involved in the creation and delivery of radiation safety course since 2005. Mark Ramsay (Radiation Protection Adviser), has trained 1000’s of delegates over this time at awareness level, Radiation Protection Supervisor (RPS) training, bespoke training onsite and courses specifically designed for the emergency services. This training experience, and delegate feedback, has confirmed that face-2-face training with a group of delegates sat together in the same space is is best. A good trainer reacts to delegate feedback (this being direct or subtle) and delivers the training accordingly. In addition, there is face-2-face interaction between delegates, each in the group is influenced by others. Finally, its not just about interaction during the formal training time, but in the breaks, lunch and after hours. Part work, part social, this interaction is very important and with courses lasting more than a day you can see a distinct warming between delegates during days 2 and 3 (etc) as they get to know each other.

Mark Ramsay meeting training delegates
Mark Ramsay meeting radiation protection training delegates after completion of course
Mark Ramsay presenting face 2 face
Mark Ramsay presenting face-2-face radiation protection training
Mark Ramsay radiation training face 2 face internal radiation hazards
Mark Ramsay in the training room, face-2-face discussion of the internal radiaton hazard
Mark Ramsay radiation training face 2 face
Mark Ramsay , face-2-face training discussing the units used in radiation monitoring
Mark Ramsay radiation training face 2 face with props
Mark Ramsay, face-2-face training using props (a range of radiation monitoring equipment)

This constant feedback loop is vital when delivering training material that many perceive as “difficult”. Whilst wearing PPE (masks etc) may ensure a course is “covid-19 compliant” (if recommended by the government), it does compromise this important feedback. Delivery of live face-2-face training will clearly evolve over the coming months as everyone gets used to social distancing.

During the most restrictive phase of the lockdown, the use of online conference / communication software has expanded massively. Ionactive has used this technology to hold RPA client meetings and short (< 2 hour) training seminars. This technology cannot and does not replicate the face-2-face training experience, losing much of the advantages noted above.

Online radiation protection training is the alternative

Ionactive strongly believes that online training is NOT a replacement for live face-2-face training. Using conference applications and running a live training course is possible, many are doing it. However, if you value that face-2-face feedback between delegate and trainer, and between the delegates, then you just will not achieve the standards you should desire. Online training should be a totally unique process that enhances the advantages and minimises the disadvantages. It should, in fact be a viable alternative and not a replacement – if you can achieve this there is no reason not to offer training by face-2-face, and by online means, and let the delegate choose.

To enhance the advantages, we believe it’s important to concentrate on the trainer to delegate relationship. This cannot be practically done live, so live training is out. Instead, the online training should provide an immersive totally interactive training experience, perhaps like having your own personal tutor. Delivering training this this way also means that you can offer the course to any delegate, anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night. Each delegate is unique.

This is the approach we have taken – it’s a difficult one to accept at first, since we support absolutely the advantage of training in a training room environment. Understanding the importance of delegate interaction whilst learning about radiation rules out live training via conference applications (if you want to deliver the best training experience to each delegate).

So how are we designing our courses to make the most of delegate – tutor interaction?

  • We are using multimedia rich content that ‘talks‘ to the delegate (via video, audio, slide shows, text, animations etc).
  • We will be providing regular checks on progress via interactive quizzes and puzzles.
  • A personal chat window with direct access to the tutor will be provided.
  • We will be including mini videos present by the trainer throughout the training process to encourage the delegate
  • We will NOT be providing longer training material specific videos – that is passive training, not interactive learning.
  • Included with the course is a 3-year subscription to the training material so the delegate can go back and refresh as required. This means the delegate will always have the most up to date material – it never ages.

Online inquiry is now open: Online radiation safety training.

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The definition of 'safe' is not strictly an engineering term; it's a societal term. Does it mean absolutely no loss of life? Does it mean absolutely no contamination with radiation? What exactly does 'safe' mean?

– Henry Petroski -