Thursday, March 8, 2012

Study Book Before Starting a Health and Safety Course?

For health and safety training courses such as the NEBOSH General Certificate where a study book accompanies the course, many delegates often request to be sent the book beforehand so that they can familiarise themselves with the course content and what they are likely to face. Whilst this may seem on the surface to have some advantages, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, which is why many providers prefer to give out the book on the first day of the course (or even a few days into the course) and are reluctant to send it out in advance.
The main reason for not allowing delegates to see the book beforehand is that for many it will be their first experience of classroom-based health and safety training. Whilst some may already have a good level of health and safety knowledge and be on the course simply because it is a legal requirement for them to hold a certain qualification, others will be attending the course because they do not currently have little or no health and safety knowledge, at least not to the level of complexity required by their position. Like a school child opening up a textbook designed for a university student, in all probability they will simply be overwhelmed by the level of detail it contains. Much of this information is designed to be taught first by a knowledgeable tutor before being read or looked up in a text book, so seeing the content written down in the book before it has been taught may frighten or at least discourage potential attendees. Some may even panic and decide that they will never be able to understand all that and not even show up to the course (it happens!). This is the main reason for not sending the textbook in advance.
Another reason is that different course tutors may prefer to teach the course syllabus in a different order to that of the book. A lot of the accredited health and safety courses are made up of modules which do not necessarily have to be taught one after the other or in a certain order. Some modules may even have a direct relevance to other modules, and the course tutor may prefer to teach one module before another one, even though they may be located in different sections of the book. If a delegate has read ahead, they may misunderstand the points being made, which could cause a problem if it relates to another module or unit as well. This is why course tutors much prefer to teach the delegates the information to ensure it is correctly understood, before they read about it in the book and potentially get the wrong end of the stick.
As well as the potential for misunderstanding, for some courses these textbooks can be big, weighty things which cost a lot of money. Not only does sending it in the post cost money in shopping charges, but there is also the possibility of it getting lost in transit. Just as likely, if not more so, is that if the delegate receives the book a couple of weeks or so before the start of the course, there is a good chance of them misplacing it, which means somebody has to fork out more money to replace it. Whether that's the training provider, the delegate's company, or the delegate themselves, somebody won't be too happy about shelling out for this avoidable cost!

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