The COVID-19 virus has caused the North Dakota Safety Council to move many of its training courses on-line.
Distance learning was in the Council’s strategic plan.
"But we were forced to do it rather quickly," said NDSC assistant executive director Lynae Hanson.
Hanson said that meant the Council quickly checked Internet capacity and speed, and also determining which courses would fit in an on-line format.
"Many of our classes are hands-on," Hanson said. "We like to do 'show-and-tell, test this and try that.' We really had to take a look at our classes and see which ones we were able to provide and do a great job, even though there wasn't a hands-on component."
Safety Council executuve director Chuck Clairmont said some trainers had not been involved in distance learning – and some time was spent in “training the trainers.”
"It took a while," Clairmont said. "You talk to some of the trainers, and some had trained for 30 years. They were reluctant to utilize distance learning, because they weren't comfortable with it."
But that attitude changed.
"Some of them who were afraid of it now are saying, 'Wow -- this is a great way to connect with people,'" Clairmont said.
Clairmont said the demands for training have continued. And he said he expects on-line training will continue even after the virus is controlled.
"It's not going to replace hands-on," Clairmont said. "That's the best way for people to learn. But we have to recognize there has to be other ways to provide training to those people who may not be able to get here."
Clairmont said even with the pandemic, the Safety Council is still open for in-person training.
"Everything isn't done just via Zoom or distance learning," Clairmont said. "Hands on classes are happening right now."