The construction industry has a reputation for lagging behind in the adoption of new technology. In an industry that’s far from new, adopting new methods and technologies can feel unnecessary or intimidating. It shouldn’t.
Exploring how technology can improve a business is as important for construction companies as it is for those in any other industry. eLearning and online education offer significant benefits for businesses in all industries, including construction.
eLearning is a broad category that encompasses any sort of learning facilitated by electronic technologies outside of a traditional classroom. This includes everything from an online degree to free webinars, podcasts and email courses. A common thread among these avenues of online learning is that all are highly accessible.
What Can Construction Professionals Learn Online?
Everyone can agree that the construction industry is complex. Laws, regulations and codes vary by project type and location and can change depending on a company’s role on the project as well as contract value. Staying on top of applicable rules and regulations is fundamental for construction businesses to operate successfully. Failing to follow pertinent lien laws, health and safety codes or building regulations can result in serious consequences ranging from financial exposure to legal penalties and fines.
Taking advantage of the accessibility of online resources can help construction businesses increase efficiency, improve business practices and boost productivity.
Health and Safety
Staying on top of health and safety training is particularly important in the construction industry due to the nature of construction work. Operating heavy equipment, working at heights and performing physically demanding labor can be dangerous. Effective training is the best way to make a workplace safe and prevent job-related injury. There are many private online health and safety training programs, such as PureSafety On Demand, and OSHA offers training courses.
Financial protection is a subject relevant to all industries. Due to the credit-heavy nature of construction work, learning to manage credit and secure payment is of particular interest to most construction professionals. The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) offers online courses and webinars specifically geared toward construction businesses.
The laws that govern mechanic liens and bond claims are incredibly complicated. They vary by location, project role, project type and more. Keeping of track of requirements that apply in one state can be a challenge, let alone staying on top of the rules for companies that do work in multiple states. Fortunately, articles and state-specific resources simplify and clarify the complex process of securing lien rights, and forums such as Avvo make it possible to get answers to legal questions from licensed attorneys without having to foot the bill.
There are many online sources for learning about building codes. Some are state specific, while others are more broadly applicable. The International Code Council, an association dedicated to developing codes and standards for design and building, offers online certifications as well as training materials that cover a broad spectrum of codes, standards and more.
Benefits of eLearning in Construction
In the information age, continued education is easier than ever. Companies and organizations like Kahn Academy, Coursera and Udemy make it easy for anyone seek out self-betterment through online education. The clear benefits associated with eLearning have made it a popular avenue among people who wish to expand their knowledge and improve their careers.
The following benefits of eLearning are useful in any industry, but can be especially helpful for construction industry participants ranging from managers at large companies to contractors at small ones.
- Save money. Online education programs tend to cost much less than in-person courses or training seminars. This benefits individuals seeking self-improvement as well as managers looking for ways to train and onboard employees.
- Flexibility. The flexibility offered by eLearning allows people to educate themselves at their own pace and on their own schedule. Having the opportunity to slip in self-edification when there’s down time permits squeezing in a bit of learning between projects or if there is a delay. This is much easier than trying to force a static, inflexible commitment, like a weekly class or a seminar, into a hectic schedule.
- Learn from anywhere. With eLearning, it’s possible to learn on the go, at the jobsite or at home. The ability to take advantage of down time whether commuting or waiting for a meeting significantly reduces the burden of reserving time to learn.
- Simultaneous delivery. Training and onboarding employees can be a major headache, especially for large companies. Arranging for everyone to attend training sessions can be expensive, as well as a logistical nightmare. eLearning makes it easy to roll out the same educational program to all employees, even if the company has multiple locations in different cities or even different countries.