ASBESTOS - BLOG : E-learning


Posted by John Toms


I thought I should start this blog off by saying that I've always been suspicious of e-learning. I've always felt that a classroom setup, with a tutor, candidates and colleagues was a better option. I don't think my opinion has greatly changed for certain types of training, but technology is now allowing greater efficiency and easier delivery of training across many sectors.

We are an IATP (Independent Asbestos Training Provider) Approved Asbestos Awareness Training provider already, with offices across the UK and skilled, experienced asbestos surveying staff who can speak and teach on the subject to a diverse range of occupations.

In the last few months, we have been looking more closely at Annual Refresher Training. We assumed that the legislation on Asbestos Awareness Training would mean that most of the construction sector, including architects, surveyors, electricians, plumbers, heating engineers, data installers and other trades would have received formal Asbestos Awareness Training. We still believe the half-day Asbestos Awareness Training should be delivered in person. 

But what about the Annual Refresher? For many sectors, particularly in the professional services, there is a need to obtain CPD points. This, however, is quite different from receiving a formal Annual Refresher, which is still a legal requirement, and listed as such on the HSE website.

Aside from the brevity of this course, typically one hour, there seems to be a great deal of reluctance on the part of many tradespeople to accept that they would be learning anything new. In many respects, a lot of the information one receives during the Annual Refresher has been covered in the initial Asbestos Awareness Training; but that's the main point of the Annual Refresher.

So, why am I writing this article on e-learning if I'm a sceptic? I've changed my mind; it's that simple. Technological advances mean we can realistically transition from classroom learning to e-learning using modern equipment, such as smartphones and tablets.

Our new e-learning course is robust, and we're relied upon across a wide range of the construction sector to deliver high quality training. For around two years now, the RICS have utilised our training for their members across the UK, with 2017 training courses and CPD's advertised on the RICS website.

Grasping what can be done with technology is nothing new to IOM; we're experts in fields which require us to understand a diverse range of health risks, including those posed by new technology!

Around two years ago, we created a Quick Quote System which allows the customer to input data into a PC, smartphone or tablet, and progress to a quotation by virtue of uploading plans and drawings or progressing to an initial walk-through. Surveyors and architects find this system particularly helpful because it allows either a ballpark estimate or a strict quotation, depending on what information is provided to us. Here is the link to that quoting system.

So, what are the benefits of the e-learning system we're about to roll out? Candidates can learn at a time that suits them. There is no travel difficulty and no necessity to book training rooms. A more efficient, dynamic and yet still robust approach to training is therefore possible.

At this stage, you're probably thinking that this has already been done. We know this because we have seen many e-learning systems, clunky and cumbersome as they are, albeit there are also some very good examples in the market.

Quite simply, we've looked at this from a different angle. Aside from fresh material, the creation of video content and a bespoke approach, we've also looked at segmented questions during the delivery of the course, with a final questionnaire.

We've also looked at pricing, certification and the fact that some candidates will have questions which they might wish to ask to a human being.

We're rolling out our e-learning platform soon. If you've received already Asbestos Awareness Training, we'd be delighted to chat with you to demonstrate what is available on our e-learning platform for your Annual Refresher.

We are available anytime by email on: and by telephone on 0131 449 8000 if you have any questions.

We're always here if you'd like to have an informal discussion around your requirements as an employer or trades person.

Thank you.



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