‘Classroom or Online Learning?’ with Victoria Hughes

‘Classroom or Online Learning?’ with Victoria Hughes
The Safeti Podcast - connecting Env...

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Welcome to the Safeti Podcast  

‘Classroom or Online Learning?’ with Victoria Hughes 

If you are involved in Health and Safety, Environment or anything in between, make sure to join us for some laid back learning!

In this Episode, we talk to Victoria Hughes, Support Tutor with SHEilds Elearning, global HSE training provider.

Victoria tells us how she progressed from working in a health and safety role to becoming an educator. Find out what students have been saying about their experiences of the NEBOSH classroom and online course options.

As part of the podcast, SHEilds Elearning have offered to give Safeti Podcast listener’s additional discounts on their courses. Just use ‘safetipodcast‘ as your discount code on the SHEilds website when purchasing your course.


SHEilds Elearning – global leader in eLearning courses, specialising in Health Safety and Environmental qualifications. Use the discount code ‘safetipodcast‘ to save on course fees.

NEBOSH – What you need to know – take an in-depth look at NEBOSH courses in this Safeti blog post

What is elearning? – Mike Shields explains how SHEilds break down their e-learning content for students

NEBOSH Examiners Reports – tap into the key to success in the NEBOSH qualifications, think like an examiner!

Full Transcript – ‘Classroom or Online Learning’ – read the full episode

Here’s a taster….

Richard: In this podcast there is something for those of you who are considering completing online or class room based health safety environment courses.

We have a course tutor from Sheilds who are one of the largest global eLearning and classroom providers.

We have Victoria Hughes on the show today as someone who is involved in both the delivery and the supporting of classroom based and eLearning focused courses. To give us an insight into some of the pros and cons of each option.

So that you can get an idea of what might suit you if you are currently having difficulty deciding which route to take. Or if you’re thinking about taking another qualification in the near future.

Extra discounts for listener’s

Along with the usual links and extra resources, Sheilds Elearning have been kind enough to offer a specific discount on their courses to safeti podcast listeners.

If you’re interested in that just keep listening and I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the show.

So let’s jump onto the call with Victoria and see what she had to say. Victoria Hughes thank you very much for coming onto the safety podcast, how are things with you?

Victoria: I’m fine thank you and thank you very much for having me.

Richard: Not at all, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Would you care to give us a little bit about your background. And how you actually got into health safety and environment and have ended up as a tutor?

From doing to teaching

Victoria: Well my background I kind of fell into Health and Safety like a lot of people did I think. I was a health and safety officer for a company called, well you know Mind the mental health charity.

That’s where I first got a taste for it and then I took on a new role as a manager for a group of charities in Hull. One charity was a shelter housing scheme in a listed building.

There was school for which we were responsible for the fabric of the school. Not the running of the educational facility. But just the upkeep of the buildings. Yeah and a couple of educational grants.

Upskilling on the job

So when I got there, there was no ‘health and safety’ in place at all and I decide, I did my NGC (NEBOSH General Certificate) while I was there and realized fairly rapidly that I needed a bit more than that. To run a grade two listed building. A sheltered housing scheme and we were doing developments on upgrading the school.

We did a first upgrade which was a two million pound upgrade and then we went into the environmental side of it. We put up seventy-nine PV solar panels on the roof. Re-roofed it because the roof wasn’t strong enough and I ended up acting as the CDM coordinator.

Which is what they were back then and that’s when I decided I needed the degree. So I went to university on a night and then once I got my diploma. I moved to Sheilds, got my environmental diploma and I got my degree last year. So that’s my experience in a nutshell.

Richard: Always learning, which is good!  Obviously I am bringing you on the show today you have a wealth of experience across mainly NEBOSH. In terms of actually both taking the NEBOSH courses and providing student support.

You’re a tutor at the moment with Sheilds training and you’re exposed to both the classroom and the online offerings, is that right?

If you would like more of this free content and access to exclusive offers from Safeti’s partners, click on the image below

Victoria: That’s correct yes. We run a couple of classroom courses a year and while I’m not dealing with those classes. I act as a tutor support for the diploma courses and some of the construction courses at certificate level.

Richard: I have done, I have said one or two things my site about survey courses I’ve done. I did the NEBOSH general certificate myself in the classroom forum. I went on to complete the NCRQ diploma, which of course is distance learning as well.

But similar to the online learning or e-learning option. So I have had exposure to both forms in terms of the online and the classroom albeit haven’t done the NEBOSH online.

Make the right choice

I do know that there is quite a lot of debate and difficulty for students in terms of deciding what might be appropriate for them. Of course we don’t want people to be within their time or making the wrong choices.

I’m interested to know what your views are from the tutor’s perspective. So maybe we could kick off by looking at the classroom examples first of all. Just try and get a little bit of perspective if you could about what your experience has been what they can really expect if they take this root.

Victoria: Well the classroom. Looking at what outcome you can expect from a classroom course. You’re looking at achieving a qualification in a predetermined time period. Because you’ll have your class at set times. Be it over a series of around 14 weeks or as we do it within two weeks.

We run our classroom courses in to block weeks and so students can think well if I take the classroom course, I know it’s going to start on this date and I know it’s going to end on that date. And while I’m studying I’m going to have to really apply myself.

You’ve got a tutor on hand all the way through your classroom course during the actual classes themselves. The study plan is designed for you. because the tutor will have planned when you would study certain topics, how long you would spend on them, what kind of homework there’s going to be that kind of thing.

The resources that you need for that class are provided for you and you have the experience in a classroom or for the class members everybody will come from different backgrounds and everybody will have a valid input into the class with different experiences of health and safety.

Understanding how health and safety can be applied to different job roles, different walks of life that kind of thing and keeping with the sort of group analogy. You’ve got group activities and exercises.

Peer assessments

There’s peer assessments that can be done that kind of thing and that I think helps. You’re in a classroom with other people who are learning at the same rate as yourself and so I think in some ways that classroom experience suits certain people much more.

Because they can gain input from other students as well as throw out areas that they’re not sure of.

For example if you’re confused about hazards and risks and the difference between them; you’ve got other people there who can help you aside from the tutor. You get instant feedback from a classroom course.

If you ask a tutor a question you get an immediate answer. Because the tutor is there with you and your examine dates on a classroom course are preset.

So you know that you’re going to have an exam at the end of your weekly classes or your block weeks whichever one you decide to do. So those are the benefits of attending a classroom.

Sharing knowledge

Richard: I think you touched on an important point there in terms of and I can say this from my own experience. There is certainly a lot to be learned from the fellow students in the room. I found there was a lot of value for me listening to their experiences. And yeah I guess as long as they you are encouraging those experiences to be brought out and discussed with the class.

That is really good way of contextualizing the stuff that you’re trying to learn.

Victoria: We do try and encourage people from different backgrounds to  voice you know their own experience and what they found has worked, what they found hasn’t worked and what you find is a tutor as well is that the National General Certificate is so varied.

It covers so many different topics. there is more than likely going to be somebody in that classroom who has more experience than the tutor, at least one of those topics.

For example you could have qualified electricians and they will know more about electricity and electrical hazards and things like that then the tutor will have experienced.

So you could have people who work at a chemical plant, who have more experience of you know things that require josh assessments and controls that can be put in place for that.

So I think a health and safety tutor especially needs to draw on that experience and that knowledge. Because all it can do is benefit the class.

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