Virtual learning has expanded in many ways during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, staff members at Volunteer State Community College are taking virtual teaching techniques and applying them to a new audience, one that is well outside the usual focus of Middle Tennessee. Vol State is home to an OTIEC (OSHA Training Institute Education Center). OSHA health and safety training organized by Vol State reaches companies and employees across the southeast United States. A program is taking that education global as part of a U.S. Army Europe training initiative. Participants will come from countries across Europe.
The first course is OSHA #2264 Permit for Required Confined Space Entry. That may not sound like an exciting topic to members of the public, but for people in industry fields, health and safety training is critical not only for compliance, but for worker well-being. The expansion to a Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) method is a big change for OTIEC training, which is normally held in a classroom.
“Over the last year we have learned to better use the tools of a learning management system and video conferencing to bridge distance, whether that distance is due to social distancing or the Atlantic Ocean, we are connecting with our learners where they are,” said Vol State senior instructional design specialist, Star Boe. “Video conferencing allows instructors to meet with their students in a virtual environment. OTIEC has intentionally included interactivity in their video conference courses to boost student engagement.”
“Social distancing, travel restrictions, and budget restraints are just a few of the challenges facing both employers and training providers with COVID-19,” said vice president for Economic and Community Development, Nick Bishop. “We were forced to find new ways to deliver OSHA and workforce development trainings. The new virtual classes, which have direct interaction online between instructors and students, are proving to be very efficient and effective. Vol State’s ability to work together as a team with subject matter experts across multiple departments allowed us to evolve into a virtual training provider for OSHA. We are now using that model with other groups.”
Robert G. Murphy, acting director of OSHA at the U.S. Department of Labor said: “As a direct result of VSCC’s efforts, U.S. DOL announced a change to the OTIEC policy allowing all OTIECs to request exceptions to standard classroom delivery. Throughout the pandemic VSCC has worked to ensure the delivery of high-quality training continues to be the focus for its programs.”
For more information about OTIEC training from Vol State visit www.volstate.edu/osha