NEBOSH Diploma e-Learning
With over 30 years of experience at providing health and safety training to individuals and companies of all sizes and industries, we have seen a lot of changes during that time. Perhaps one of the biggest occurrences to affect the health and safety learning profession is the introduction and growing availability of e-learning courses. With courses ranging from short courses taking no more than an hour or two, right up to the mighty NEBOSH Diploma by e-learning, it may seem highly tempting to attempt these courses and qualifications in this format for some of the reasons outlined below. However, as will also be explained further down, not all courses are suitable to be conducted in such a format; not if the person wants a reasonable chance of passing the assessments and actually obtaining the accredited qualification that is.
The Advantages of e-Learning Health and Safety Courses
The two main advantages which online courses have over their classroom-based equivalents are typically:
Health and safety training conducted in a classroom is nearly always more expensive than an e-learning course. This is because training companies who conduct classroom-based courses will not only need to pay for the premises (rent, business rates etc) and expenditure on heating and lighting, but they will also need to pay the course tutor, whether they are an associate trainer or a fully-employed member of staff being paid a salary. An online course however will not attract these costs as delegates do not attend the premises and there is no tutor stood in front of them conducting the training. In fact, health and safety training providers who offer nothing but e-learning courses may sometimes not even have an office to pay for if the company is run out of a person's home as a purely online business reselling another company's products.
No Travel or Accommodation Costs
Another significant expense associated with classroom training courses is travelling to and from the venue. Additionally, if the course is located quite a distance from where the person lives, they may need to stay overnight at accommodation nearby, which also costs money. When the course is being conducted over many days, such as the two weeks of tuition required by a NEBOSH General Certificate course for example, this cost can be considerable.
So e-Learning Courses are the Better Option, Right?
Enrolling on an online course which is not only lower in price, but also eliminates the cost and hassle of having to travel to a training venue may initially appear to be an obvious choice. But classroom-based training courses have numerous advantages over online and e-learning courses, so much so that in our opinion classroom training is by far the more superior option. These advantages are detailed below.
The Amount of Information Can be Extremely Overwhelming
Countless individuals get so fixated on the benefits of not having to travel and sit in a classroom that they forget to stop and think about just how much information is actually taught and needs to be learnt. To give some examples of course durations when conducted in a classroom, an IOSH Managing Safely course is run over four days, NEBOSH General Certificate courses are conducted over ten days, and the behemoth which is the NEBOSH National Diploma comprises seven whole weeks of classroom tuition along with hundreds of hours of necessary self-study and revision.
Whilst this may seem daunting, just imagine having to spend that amount of time sat in front of a computer screen, reading line after line of text. It is not just a case of getting through all of the reading; you actually need to be absorbing and remembering this information so that it can be recalled in the examinations and assessments. The content of this page is only about 2,200 words and no doubt you've probably skimmed over it and not read every one, so imagine trying to learn days and days' worth of information off of a computer screen!
Examinations and Assessments for Accredited Courses
Many short online health and safety courses will have fairly easy multiple choice assessments at the conclusion which are also taken online as part of the course. For more comprehensive qualifications such as the NEBOSH courses, the examinations are much more difficult and require written exams conducted over a couple of hours each and practical assessments for most. So not only will delegates have to find, book and pay for these exams themselves if they are not included as part of the e-learning course costs, but they will need to travel to a venue anyway. When these exams are linked to the NEBOSH standard sittings, students may face a wait of up to three months between finishing the course and being able to sit the exam, during which time a great deal of information and knowledge can be forgotten. The fact that we are able to call and schedule our own NEBOSH exams and can therefore align them with our courses is just one of the reasons why our pass rates for courses like the NEBOSH General Certificate are above the national average.
The Absence of a Course Tutor Can be Highly Detrimental to Success
Sitting in front of a computer for hours reading information on screen and trying to stay awake long enough to absorb it all is hard enough, but trying to learn it all by yourself is an equally tough challenge. Accredited health and safety courses are far from easy, with the NEBOSH Diploma being one of the most difficult of them all due to the amount of information which needs to be learnt and understood. A lot of this information is on particularly gruelling and potentially confusing topics such as health and safety legislation. It is therefore all too easy for a person to either completely fail to understand certain elements of the syllabus, or to misinterpret some of the information being imparted. Either way, it will inevitably lead to lost marks when it comes to examination time.
Some online and distance learning courses will offer remote tutor support, but there will be time delays between questions and answers going back and forth, miscommunication, unavailability of the tutor on certain days due to other training commitments etc. There may also be many minor points for which the student does not deem it necessary to bother going through the process of getting in touch with their remote tutor, but which actually need clarifying for them so that they can give the right answer in the exam.
The benefits of taking the course in a classroom and having a tutor right there in the room all of the time is often overlooked, but significantly increases the chance of passing the assessments and successfully achieving the qualification. Not only will the tutor be skilled in keeping delegates focused on learning the information by mixing up the sessions (utilising group work, quizzes, activities etc), but they will also be on hand straight away to clarify points and answer questions no matter how trivial. This results in more knowledge being learnt and retained, but just as importantly CORRECT and ACCURATE knowledge, which is what is required in the exams. The importance of a skilful and knowledgeable course tutor on NEBOSH courses and other comprehensive health and safety qualifications cannot therefore be overstated as a key component of increased pass rates. Obviously, with the NEBOSH Diploma being the most difficult of all the NEBOSH health and safety qualifications available, trying to tackle a NEBOSH Diploma e-learning course will be taxing to say the least.
Distractions Will Seriously Impact Study and Revision
It would be hard enough studying for a Diploma by reading all of the information online, but this also assumes that you are always working in a peaceful environment which is free from all distractions and temptations, allowing you to concentrate fully on your studies. The reality however is likely to be somewhat different.
We saw earlier in this article that one of the main advantages of opting for an e-learning course in the first place was to negate the need to travel to a training venue. This probably means that the majority, if not all, of the online course will be conducted from the comfort of your own home. Sounds great in theory, but in practice it seldom works.
For starters, are you really going to be free from distractions all day, every day for the duration of the e-learning course? Children coming home from school, people turning up at the front door, the telephone ringing... all of these can interfere with and disrupt learning and revision. And these are just the distractions which are out of your control. What about the temptations of the television? The extra hour or two in bed? Taking the dog out for a quick walk before settling down to work but ending up stopping off at the pub to put it off for a little bit longer, which turns into half the day? Then of course undertaking the training online will inevitably lead to the checking of Facebook messages, reading e-mails, finding out what the top news headlines are, seeing what is going on with the stock market etc. With so many distractions and disruptions present, it is little wonder that the majority of individuals who sign up to an online NEBOSH Diploma or similar large course, tempted by the benefits mentioned earlier, soon begin to question whether it was in fact a good idea after all.
Conclusion - Not all Online Courses are Bad, but Avoid Comprehensive Qualifications
The overriding theme of whether courses are suitable to be taken via an online or even a distance learning format is that of the scale and sheer amount of information which is contained on the course syllabus and needs to be understood and learnt in order to pass the assessments. Short half-day or one-day courses which provide a simple overview of hazard awareness on certain topics are perfectly fine. Indeed, we offer a number of online health and safety courses on topics such as fire safety, manual handling, food safety and asbestos awareness which provide tremendous overviews of the main dangers to health which individuals need to be aware of. However, they are not designed to be comprehensive and far-reaching.
As far as substantial, accredited qualifications are concerned, we have seen more and more health and safety training providers offering these courses through distance and e-learning options, keen to highlight the lower cost and fantastic advantages which online study has over classroom-based training. The temptation of lower prices and the convenience of not having to travel entice many to choose this option. Understandably though, few if any of the providers are so enthusiastic about pointing out the disadvantages of attempting qualifications of this magnitude in such a format. Once signed up and struggling through for a couple of weeks, it is often too late to change your mind and get your money back. Even worse, you will have to pay out again to enrol upon a classroom course.
Although at ATC Risk Management we understand that for some people it may simply not be possible to get time away from the workplace to attend a classroom-based health and safety course - and indeed we have considered offering courses such as the 5-day CITB Site Managers SMSTS, the 4-day IOSH Managing Safely, the 10-day NEBOSH General Certificate and the 7-week NEBOSH Diploma as an e-learning or distance learning option - but we have always decided against it and have no plans to change this stance anytime soon. Whilst we would love to take hundreds of pounds from you, register you onto an online programme and let you try and work your way through it, at ATC Risk Management we care more about pass rates than getting every penny we can. We have always firmly believed that providing high quality training and helping delegates achieve the qualification is the main priority. Our pass rates are above the national averages because of this approach, in conjunction with our excellent and experienced course tutors. As such, we only run qualifications such as the NEBOSH National Diploma as block classroom courses (i.e. no one day a week day release courses), as the pass rates for such continuous training and going into the exams with the information all fresh in your mind are so much better.
A Possible Alternative: Health and Safety NVQ Qualifications
For those who really struggle to get time away from the workplace, a health and safety NVQ is an alternative option to a NEBOSH Diploma. These qualifications require the collection of evidence gathered whilst performing your usual workplace tasks, and as such require no time to be taken out of the workplace and do not commit you to spending hours and hours reading stuff off a computer screen at home in your leisure time. With 12 months of support, they can be worked on at your own pace. It does however require you to already be in a health and safety job role which enables you to collect relevant and appropriate evidence. For more information on health and safety NVQ qualifications, please click on the NVQ tab at the top of the page.
Need an Accredited Course?
Along with designing bespoke health and safety training programmes, we also run the accredited NEBOSH, IOSH and ConstructionSkills (CSkills) health and safety courses as open courses at selected venues across the UK, as well as in-house for those companies who have a number of employees requiring the training, as it will be much more cost effective than sending them all onto a scheduled open course.
For more information please call 0115 984 9940 to discuss the options or send us an online contact form. Alternatively, use the "Courses" menu at the top of the page to view the courses and qualifications for the various awarding bodies.
These courses form the basis for our in-house training programmes. They can either be run as they are if the outline is exactly what you want, or can be be modified to suit the individual requirements of your organisation. Two or more can also be combined to tailor a bespoke training session for you.
Please click on a course title to find out more about what each one entails: