IPAF eLearning raises standard for AWP operator training
eLearning experience brings several benefits to operator training
IPAF has launched its new, enhanced eLearning module as part of its full training programme in the US and Canada for operators of aerial work platforms (AWPs), also known as mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). The launch follows two years of trials and further development and testing. IPAF has now unveiled a high quality eLearning module that delivers flexibility and interactive tools, with the same emphasis on practical training.
“The eLearning technology changes the learning experience for operators and drives the safety message home in a very positive way,” said Andy Studdert, IPAF president and CEO of NES Rentals. IPAF member NES was among the first to push the development of IPAF eLearning and was actively involved in the trials.
Together with supervised written and practical testing of operator skills, the eLearning module can lead to a PAL Card (Powered Access Licence) which proves that the operator has successfully completed the training and is able to operate AWPs safely.
The eLearning experience brings several benefits to operator training. It is flexible. Trainees complete the theory part of the course online – anytime, anywhere, on any device, at their own pace, using the same material as in a classroom session and learning the same subjects.
Tim Whiteman, IPAF CEO, said: “eLearning caters to different learning styles. It provides diverse tools to help trainees learn in a way best suited to their abilities, aptitudes and interests. For instance, some people are text-based learners who benefit more from a reading/writing/lecture-type environment. Others are kinesthetic learners who benefit more from activities and practical exercises.”
IPAF’s eLearning uses interactive tools and engages operators by taking them through games, quizzes, videos and simulations to help them retain the required knowledge and skills for their daily operations.
Operator eLearning does not replace practical training. Trainees who complete the online session must still pass a supervised theory test at an IPAF-approved training centre and must successfully complete a minimum half-day of practical training and testing before being issued a PAL Card as proof of successfully completed operator training.
“The PAL Card still means the same emphasis on practical training and assessment,” said Giles Councell, IPAF director of operations. “Students can choose between classroom and eLearning for the theory part, but do not take theory tests online. They will still have to complete the written theory test and the practical part of the training at an IPAF-approved training centre.”
IPAF’s operator eLearning is being rolled out internationally – following the launch in the US and Canada will be the Benelux and the UK in 2016, and IPAF eLearning will soon be available in several languages.
The IPAF operator training programme is certified by TÜV as conforming to ISO 18878. The training meets or exceeds relevant OSHA requirements and ANSI/CSA standards. This industry-led training programme is offered by leading manufacturers and rental companies, and requires that accredited partner training centres pass initial, annual and unannounced audits as part of the quality management system. Instructors are certified and undertake ongoing professional development which includes free annual updates to the training materials and use of a central register of trained cardholders.
There are now over half a million valid PAL Cards worldwide. PAL Cards can be verified online.
Learn more about IPAF operator eLearning at www.ipaf.org/en/training/elearning.
About the Author
IPAF is the parent organization of North America's Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT). Both are not-for-profit member organizations that promote the safe and effective use of powered access equipment. Find more information at www.ipaf.org.