I am going to outline five facts of training that will get you thinking.
1. BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS OF TRAINING
There is much debate in whether food safety training does actually make a difference in changing food handlers’ attitudes, behaviours and practices. On one side researchers will advocate trained food handlers is the best way to prevent foodborne disease and other contaminants in food (Hedberg et al 2006; Medeiros et al 2011). But equally many researchers report that training of food handlers does not result in ‘positive attitudinal’ and ‘behavioural changes’. (Medeiros et al 2011; Seaman 2010; McIntyre et al 2013).
2. STATE THE OBJECTIVES OF TRAINING
Setting objectives for training is important in measuring its success. Think about what will be achieved through training and how success will be measured. Training must address the risks specific to the business and connect at a personal level.
3. TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODS
People learn in different ways. Using different teaching and learning approaches creates an inclusive learning environment and provides better opportunities to change mindsets and improve food handling practices.
Many authors (Howton et al 2016; Seaman 2010) suggest a ‘blended style of learning’ is the most effective and desired among food handlers. Blended learning offers a holistic approach towards training by combining different methods of teaching and learning. This includes online learning, guided self-study, on-the-job training and classroom learning.
But success in food safety training is not simply based on the transference of knowledge. Actual changes in behaviour and practices in the workplace are more likely to succeed where competent supervisors and managers perceive the value of training.
Competent food handlers are better than trained food handlers. Competence demonstrates food is handled safety in a practical context. Traditional assessments such as multiple-choice and written tests may not check competency. People can pass tests without answering any questions on critical controls measures, such as personal hygiene, contamination and temperature control.
There are many effective methods to check competence. Ask closed, open and hypothetical questions. observe food handlers behaviours in practice. Check gmp and ccp records. Look for trends by reviewing previous reports and customer complaints.
5. HOW TO EVALUATE TRAINING
Organisations need to know if training has achieved its objectives.
Philip seaman reports that evaluation of ‘food hygiene training’ is necessary to ‘attribute value to the intervention. Any evaluation criteria for training interventions will need to be measurable.
Donald Kirkpatrick outlines four key measurements for evaluating the effectiveness of any training programme. The first level is reaction to learning. this level evaluates the experience of training. The second level is learning. This measures knowledge acquisition against specific learning outcomes. The third level is behaviour and measures changes in job-related behaviour and performance that result from training. The fourth level evaluates results and determines if training has met organisational, occupational and individual needs. This also includes if training was good value for money.