Training to Manage Aggressive Behaviours: eLearn or Face-to-Face?

Training to Manage Aggressive Behaviours: eLearn or Face-To-Face?

How do you provide meaningful training to upskill your staff to safely manage aggressive behaviours?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the merits of eLearn, face-to-face training, and a combination of the two.

Training provided to staff to prevent and manage aggressive behaviours needs to achieve a level of competence, and not just compliance.

A less-than-best response to a situation involving aggressive behaviours could result in yourself or someone else being harmed physically, psychologically and/or financially.

What training should you be providing so that your staff will more safely control the outcomes of incidents involving aggressive behaviours?

We need to consider questions like:

1. What is the likely volume and severity of incidents of aggressive behaviours?

2. What resources and strategies are utilised to avoid incidents in the first place?

3. What resources can staff call upon in the event of an incident and what is the response time for those resources?

4. What skills, equipment and support will be required by staff on scene to manage the situation until additional assistance arrives?

5. What level of skills and competence do staff currently have?

6. How effective has previous training been?

7. How will the effectiveness of any new training initiatives be measured?

8. What might be the outcome if no investment is made in training at this point?

With these in mind, you can then think about the type of training that will be required to meet any identified gaps, what format that training should come in, and whether internal or external facilitators would be best.

The objectives of your training to better manage aggressive behaviours might include improving safety performance, behaviours, wellbeing and culture by:

• Increasing awareness

• Stimulating participation and collaboration

• Broadening the knowledge base

• Improving attitudes

• Initiating behaviour change

• Reducing risk, incidents and associated costs

• Realising a return on investment

Having answers for the above considerations will help you determine whether an eLearn, face-to-face training, or a combination of both is more appropriate for your situation.


Well-designed eLearn programs can offer an effective pathway to increase awareness and knowledge across your workforce, and improve attitudes and behaviours.

eLearn programs provide consistent, mobile, and self-paced content for adult learners that can be completed at a time of the learner’s own choosing. Learners are able to define their own speed of learning rather than following the speed of the whole group.

Learners can typically access the eLearning content an unlimited number of times during the licence period and can choose to review relevant areas of the learning material at a point of need.

The practical limitations of speed and ease of delivery associated with face to face workshops can be overcome by eLearn programs. This can be a significant positive for organisations with large numbers of staff or geographically dispersed staff.

However, basic computer literacy is required to complete eLearn training. Also there may be the administrative burden of following up individuals who are slow to complete the eLearn.

eLearn programs provide immediate cost-effective gains relative to face to face training in terms of training venues, facilitators, course materials, travel and accommodation.


Face-to-face training provides an optimal framework for effectively incorporating learning objectives, maximising individual participation, peer to peer learning, demonstrating sought after changes in behaviour, and enhancing learning retention.

Interactive face-to-face training provides the opportunity for in person facilitation, story-telling through case studies, peer to peer learning, and interactive role plays. Face-to-face workshops can reinforce interactive training experiences with group learning activities such as practice drills for situations involving aggressive behaviours and emergency procedures.

The use of specialist facilitators to deliver the training should maximise both the depth of knowledge presented and the opportunity for learning. Participants should have the opportunity to validate their actions taken in the past and to absorb recommended courses of action for challenges in the future.

Which is better for you?

The decision between eLearn and face-to-face training will depend on a multitude of factors.

A combination of delivery formats may be best. eLearn packages can serve as a prerequisite for more advanced face-to-face training. All staff across the organisation could have immediate access to the eLearn component with the face-to-face component being rolled out over a more protracted period of time. Alternatively, all staff are provided the eLearn component while the face-to-face component is made available for higher risk sections of the organisation.

However for some organisations, rostering and other logistical challenges render face-to-face training impractical.

Irrespective of the delivery model, the content should provide practical strategies and place an emphasis on collaboration. Incorporating multiple learning opportunities, your training program to safely manage aggressive behaviours should develop personal safety leadership and reinforce learning and skill development over time.

How will you enhance staff skills and improve service levels over the next 6 months?


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Travis Holland

Travis Holland
Managing Director
Holland Thomas
Travis Holland email address

Should you wish to discuss strategies to improve your staff’s safety in their work environment, please feel welcome to contact Holland Thomas.

Passionate about creating safer workplaces our goal is to enhance wellbeing for all concerned whilst also delivering improved operational and financial performance.

This blog draws on our years of experience delivering our M.A.B.™ Staff Safety Training (Contextualised Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviours) across Australia and the development of My Safety Buddy, our smartphone app and web portal based lone worker safety solution.

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