Keeping up with ever-changing regulatory requirements and increasingly complex processing environments requires an evolved approach to safety training, according to one industry expert.
Lawrence Lynch, president of the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals, told FoodProductionDaily tackling safety training in the electronic age requires a more dynamic approach than educators have taken in the past.
“We can’t continue trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions,” he said.
One tack institutions like Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins are taking to food safety and other training topics, Lynch said, is offering massive open online courses, or MOOCs. This method enables students from all over the world to take advantage of sessions led by global experts, without having to leave their home offices.
Additionally, educators are finding it effective to encourage learning with a user’s personal electronic devices (iPhones, laptops, tablets, etc.). This increases engagement, especially compared to use of paper notebooks and textbooks, because the devices can extend the learning experience by taking students online to learn more about sanitation, cleaning practices, and other crucial topics.
Turning it around
Another learning model that has seen some success, Lynch said, is the “flipped classroom.”
“The flipped classroom is a training model that puts the information in the hands of the students, with the teacher acting as an advisor and resource for answering questions,” he said. Lynch added that US high school and college classrooms are increasingly going this direction, and food safety lessons can be brought home in the same way.
Lynch also discussed suppliers working to create educational programs to increase engagement in food safety training. Alchemy’s SISTEM training tool combines group training, e-learning, coaching, and interactive handheld units.
Lynch spoke to FPD at the Food Safety Summit, an annual conference and exposition focusing on current safety concerns and emerging technologies. The event is taking place in Baltimore, US, April 8-10.