Here we are, 2021 and due to the pandemic, many of us find ourselves with limited options for training, and education. In person classes seemed to have disappeared and are quickly being replaced with many different online options. But which type of training is better, online or in-person? Well, it turns out that there have been studies on the subject and like everything else the answer isn’t as simple as the question. Better isn’t always best for everyone in every situation. There are a lot of different variables,. What kind of training are you looking for? Does it involve an exam like the food safety manager course or is it compliance training like harassment prevention? Some classes require hands on training such cooking or or equipment skills while others may only need to be one on one like a therapy session. Maybe the question should be, which type of training is better for you?
Most of the studies that I looked at use the Kirkpatrick Model which accounts for all styles of training but can be applied to our situation here. What I’d like to point out is that half of the model addresses the individual learners needs (satisfaction & comprehension) and the other half of the model addresses the businesses needs(application & cost benefit). Almost all of the studies I found online says that there is no clear evidence that between online learning and in person learning that one is more, or less effective than the other. It might be important to ask, what are we trying to achieve? Well, I’d say if you the employer much of the decision as to what is better is based on results and behavior and to the learner it’s more about how much you learn and how was their reaction.
One of the most important aspects about these studies to me is that all of them mentioned satisfaction and repeatedly reported that people claim to be much more satisfied by in-person learning, whether it be one on one or in a group setting. And as an instructor myself, we offer an online study at home version of our training and an in person version of our training and those that chose to the online studying only pass our certification process at about a 60% rate. In the end here is what I suggest, if you are an individual who is deciding what is better for you the think about your learning style, ask yourself what your trying to achieve and go from there, know one knows you better than you. If your an employer and you’re trying to figure out what is best for your employee, just ask.
One of the biggest complaints people have when it comes to keeping their food safe is the time and money involved. How do we know this? Because since 2011 when we started Western Food Safety the two biggest questions we get from our clients is how long will this take and how much will this cost. Generally we give a price and a time frame for our audits and classes and don’t really go into the costs of not keeping your food safe, but there is a much bigger picture.
When it comes to understanding costs of food borne illness you don’t have to look any farther than your local news, restaurants are being featured daily. Most health departments use a grading system like school grades, A, B or C. Food establishments in your area are receiving low grades and some are even being closed down due to their lack of practical food safety knowledge. How much does a B or C grade posted on the front window cost a restaurant? What does one customer who chooses not to dine there cost? And even worse, how many people could they tell? How much does it cost an establishment to shut the doors for a few day until the health department has a chance to come back around? And did you know that social media restaurant review sites such as Yelp post your health inspections on their website with a list of all your violations and no explanations? It doesn’t paint a rosy picture. How do you even quantify how much something like that costs you? And did you know you could be sued, not just for your actions but for the actions of those who work for you? There are many other costs as well but when you add all this up and compare it to taking a food safety class or getting an audit… its a no brainer.
A good audit includes a 2 hour inspection, We will go over your documentation, your facility and equipment standards. We will look at employee behaviors such as proper hand hygiene and prep processes. Temperature controls will be evaluated, storage units will be looked at and general cleaning and sanitizing practices will be reviewed. You can choose to receive a single audit that is designed to teach your managers what to look out for or you can have us do several audits to just “shake things up a little” and show your staff how important food safety is to you and your facility. Included in your audit you will receive a score based off of your counties inspection reports which includes a report with an explanation of violations. You will be given an action plan with recommendations of how to fix problems and a priority report of what should be fixed first. And finally you will have a resource to ask basic questions when you have uncertainty about keeping within the guidelines.
Organizations such as the National Restaurant Association, NEHA and the USDA all recommend that food operations start taking a more proactive approach to keeping their food safe rather than reacting to an incident after it occurs. Getting an audit, being proactive and taking charge of your own food safety by having a professional who you trust and is there giving you the strictest of audits with the interest of protecting your organization in mind you will prevent all of these costs. You will be better a business and you will be a trusted part of your community.