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Time wasted on inappropriate training modules

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 23 May 2022, 10:37

Occasionally, staff need to do online training on issues like safety and the "one size fits all" means that time is wasted on irrelevant content.  For example, I had to do a course on health and safety for people who work remotely.  This included several minutes spent on safe behaviour when driving.  I do not drive and do not intend doing so.  Perhaps there could have been a yes/no question about whether the person taking the course drives and if they answer "no", they would not have faced the questions.

There were also some fairly irrelevant questions about carrying heavy loads at work.  I do not carry anything heavier than a book for work but I suppose that content could be useful for other times in my life.

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Online training courses for staff

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I have needed to do various kinds of training on aspects like the GDPR legislation, Health and Safety and Prevent for my work at the Open University and other universities.  Although these aspects are important and it is vital that I know some of the content (the OU could face a very heavy fine if its staff, including myself, make serious mistakes in terms of the protection of data), I am struck by how trivial some of the assessment is.  For example, I did a GDPR module at another university today (I am working on a presessional course) and one of the questions was about the organisation responsible's name and I needed to get this correct to pass the test where in the real world, I would need to know more than the name but how to contact them if there was really a problem. 

These kinds of multiple choice questions are often very inappropriate for such areas of knowledge where the real issues are exercising good judgement in complex issues.  Universities need to decide whether they really want to train and assess their employees' skills or whether their aim is just to put the responsibility on the employees if anything goes wrong.

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